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Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Sarawak Politics, Sarawakian

Do you think protests have made life better in the Middle East?

OVER the last year protesters have featured prominently in the news from overseas.

When the news was about the Arab Spring, Western media organisations and governments were quick to throw their support behind the protesters and seemed to fan their anger and encourage them to go against the authorities in their respective countries. This, according to the West, is democracy. TIME magazine even made the protester its Person of the Year.

However, when it came to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which basically sparked similar protests in other Western nations, somehow although there was coverage of these movements, the protesters were not as championed by the media and definitely not by the governments.

Sure there were stories, but somehow these protesters were treated more as an irritant and were shown to be disrupting life for everyone else. Surprise, surprise.

While mass protests are ‘fine’ in someone else’s country, it isn’t as welcome in their own Western nations.

Well in Malaya, it seems that some are also keen to ape this protester culture, despite seeing how badly it affected socioeconomic conditions abroad. Blinded by power, certain quarters were (and seem still are) willing to endanger our nation’s way of life.

Although a certain movement, which has started to rear it less than attractive head again just because parliamentary elections are drawing nearer, did try to import protester culture to Sarawak, thankfully Sarawakians were wise and the movement was forced to call the meaningless exercise off.

Assistant Minister of Youth Development Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah recently called on the State’s youth not to be blindly influenced by protester culture because it can lead to Malaysia’s downfall as exemplified by what has happened in Arab nations.

“We do not want to see what happened in the Arab countries recently, when they demanded for freedom of speech, freedom of this and that until they managed to topple the government. However, when we look back at where they are now, I think their lives were better off before the protest. I hope this won’t happen in our country,” he said.

He’s right. Life isn’t better for these nations. Chaos and uncertainty are the new ‘order’ of the day.

In Tunisia, which has been credited for beginning the Arab Spring, foreign direct investment has fallen by 30 per cent. “The political transition in Tunisia is creating a lack of certainty that’s holding back investors. There’s a wait-and-see attitude on the part of domestic and foreign investors,” Dubai Department of Economic Development chief economist Mohamed Lahouel, a Tunisian national, is quoted as saying in Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper.

Think life is better in Libya after the brutal murder of Muammar Gaddafi? Well the so-called new government appears to have no control over the country, as militias have been operating in different cities at will. They have been looting, killing and torturing people and there appears to be no government or official authority to curb their illegal activities. But of course the mainstream Western media spotlight has moved on from Libya.

In Egypt, football riots (yes, football) left 74 dead. The country’s stock market continues to plunge. Its once thriving tourism industry also dropped by 30 per cent last year. That’s nearly US$4 billion. Yes, a loss of RM12 billion.

Don’t just consider the figures. What the reports don’t tell you is the personal stories of those who would have lost jobs and the means to feed their families thanks to the chaos caused by protests.

Although we all love to gripe, we should really be counting our blessings and realising how much we stand to lose if we allow ourselves to be blindly drawn into this protester culture.

The report from Bernama:

Do not blindly follow the ‘protester culture’, youths urged

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Youths were urged not to be blindly influenced by the ‘protester culture’ because it can lead to a nation’s downfall exemplified during the Arab uprising last year.

Assistant Minister of Youth Development Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah yesterday advised youths to use their rationale in judging what is beneficial for the country when observing happenings around the world through the media.

“We are given education plus the access to information all over the world through the internet, blogs and Facebook. This is good because our minds will keep on expanding. But in this open-mindedness, we must also know how to use our rationale to analyse things happening in the world,” he said when closing the ‘Perkampungan Menara Gading Sarawak 2012’ programme at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

He also advised youths against blindly following the ‘protester culture’ in other countries without thinking of its implications.

“We do not want to see what happened in the Arab countries recently, when they demanded for freedom of speech, freedom of this and that until they managed to topple the government. However, when we look back at where they are now, I think their lives were better off before the protest. I hope this won’t happen in our country,” he added.

Abdul Karim also advised the Bumiputera students to emulate the confidence of Chinese youths.

“Sometimes, I must admit that our Bumi youths can be a little timid. This attitude can slow down our progress in the society and also the workplace. When you are already a graduate, by then, you must own your confidence and don’t be timid. Bumi youths must emulate the confidence of Chinese youths because it contributes towards their progress in life,” he said.

The three-day programme was attended by 133 Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysai (SPM) leavers from Kuching. It is organised by Sarawak Muslim Students’ Welfare Association (Perkepis), Unimas and Ministry of Social Development (KPS).

The programme is held to expose school leavers to academic institutions available in the country.

Also present at the event were Unimas deputy vice-chancellor Associate Prof Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman, KPS special administrative officer Richmond Allan and Perkepis chairman Hisyamuddion Roslan.

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