Of reality and perception

27 Feb 2019 / 09:19 H.

IN this highly globalised world every country, which has established linkages, will be watched closely by the usual array of “analysts”.

There are those with direct and indirect links to the broad financial and economic sectors, studying each and every policy measure, announcements of important and vital economic statistics, and anything coming from the government of the day on the performance of the nation in key areas and sectors.

Often, the analysts will analyse the information being put out and come to their conclusions as to what grading they feel the national governance deserves.

In days gone by before the advent of social media there was not much room for the “corruption” of information in the public domain.

However, today “analysts” are a dime a dozen. Some are indeed professional and objective in their analyses.

But there are those whose views are tinged if not clouded by personal or group subjective imperatives and motives. There tend to be blurred lines between fact and conjecture, and between reality and perception.

Certainly social media has been an effective enabler and catalyst in that determination.

In addition, there is that tendency to put labels on everything and when convenient to suit whatever objective an analysis will be slanted to. I call it the “rojak mix”.

Pick your ingredients individually and criticise or make whatever comment to suit one’s motive, rather than view the rojak as that delicious mix of crispy vegetables, fruit, tofu, blended together with that tasty peanut sauce.

A highly competent professional is appointed to a coveted post, and there will be the xenophobic lot who zoom in onto the individual’s race and ancestry, rather than accepting the person as a highly capable Malaysian.

A person can be a crook of the highest order and that can be simply pushed aside by invoking the “rationale” that it is acceptable because it should be seen in the context of racial and religious “unity”.

In other words, forget the overarching national interest and throw principles and good values to the wind for as long as xenophobic attitudes are politically expedient.

Sometimes, there is the tendency to be in a state of perpetual denial about wrongdoings, choosing rather to condemn those who are trying to put things right and to allow justice to prevail.

It is akin to chastising and killing the messenger, simply because they do not like the message.

Is it any wonder that people who observe Malaysia and Malaysians, perceive us as being fractious and “divided”. As a country “driven” by Islamophobia or more aptly “Arabisation”. And concluding that there is no political stability.

Often some Malaysians themselves, tend to tarnish the nation’s image.

While foreigners who know the country well have only positive things to say about Malaysia, there are Malaysians who put us in a less than good light.

There is that tendency to display caustic verbal haemorrhage, criticising without reference to facts, motivated solely by politics.

Posturing on social media sometimes takes precedence over objective and beneficial communication.

Instagram postings, which are not deeply thought of, sometimes trigger “instant geram”, creating unnecessary debates and divisiveness.

Every now and then, there will be those who without hesitation play the racial and religious card to the hilt.

And yet the silent majority continue to get on with their lives, respecting their fellow Malaysians, and often feeling sick when confronted with Malaysians with xenophobic tendencies.

Malaysia is a nation on the mend after the ravages of kleptocracy and inept governance.

Mending broken systems and at the same time creating that momentum for sustained growth is certainly not easy.

There will always be attempts by detractors to muddle the operating environment and sow the seeds of doubt and politically motivated negative and conflicting views.

It is time that the majority of nation-loving Malaysians strongly repel any effort to tarnish the nation’s image.

And convey to the world, the reality that they want the nation to succeed and to be proud of a Malaysia that is a nation of many diversities.

Sejahatera Malaysia kita.

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz believes in speaking from the heart, mincing no words. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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