Monday, 7 December 2009

When Does A Tailspin Start?

“Afghanistan has gone into a tailspin largely because President Hamid Karzai’s government became dysfunctional and massively corrupt — focused more on extracting revenues for private gain than on governing.”

I read this line in Friedman’s “May It All Come True” back and forth a couple of times; a stark and blunt reminder of how a nation can turn to dust and grime.

Yes; the whole column was written with America’s wellbeing in mind rather than Afghanistan’s, but it rightly identifies “ownership” as an important ingredient for nation building.

With ownership, progress can be sustained - Friedman proposes to US President Barrack Obama - in alleviating Afghanistan stock from the current strife ridden-wasteland that it is.

Good luck to BHO in pulling this possibly mission-impossible off, I say.

Friedman’s line of thinking brings to mind the two recent postings by our own Farish Noor on revelations last week of our migration figures.

More than 308,000 left the roost – so as to speak – between March 2008 and August 2009 “to find better opportunities”, compared to about 140,000 for the whole of 2007.

It is, of course, not at all unusual for people to leave in search of greener pastures, but what was telling however were the somewhat despondent responses which followed Farish Noor’s first posting.

In his mind, FN imagines this despondency as people having given up on what he says is the Malaysian project.

Is there still One (pardon the unintended pun), in fact?

Once upon a time during arguably democratically-defective days, we had the so-called Vision 2020 dream – where supposedly the country will stand equal with developed nations.

This dream has certainly withered since.

Somehow, ego and personality driven visions for country do not really cut it where nation building is concerned.

Once they leave, so too their so-called visions.

Which make sense because the other guy will want to show that he is equally visionary in having his own grand visions for the country.

Is FN’s contention correct in that many are giving up on the Malaysian project?

News briefs on the same do not provide any racial breakdown.

But does it matter which race is leaving the country in droves because they no longer believe it can provide for their and their next generation’s wellbeing?

Read Friedman’s line of Afghanistan again.

A government that doesn’t care for long term future of the country will spawn a population that is equally gregarious in their thinking.

Afghanistan is perhaps a far too extreme an example, but the context of its continued collapse is still spot on, isn’t it?

We can certainly draw some (distant cousins ?) contextual similarities here in Malaysia.

Right now, people – even if they are in the minority (as a Deputy Minister suggests of a 10,000 respondents feedback on “feeling safe”) – have also begun to lose confidence in the country’s authoritative institutions.

What there is left when the governors are no longer looked upon as providers of security?

Isn’t this, thus, a kind of “tailspin”?

What's wrong with this picture?

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