Be the change (yeah yeah)

This post is going to be pretty rant-y(?).

Many times when I write, I avoid as practically as possible any generalisations without backing it up with some kind of data or research.

But this time I’m going to throw everything to the wind, and I’m going to use all the anecdotes, and wield a giant brush to paint over everything and make unsubstantiated conclusions. Because I’m just frustrated.

I am going to be as sanctimonious as I can probably be. And I rarely do sanctimony, because I despise it. I am not better than anyone. But I’m pretty sure you will be able to relate.

Who am I frustrated with? Well, with us. Malaysians in general really. The urban, generally-assumed-to-be-highly-educated, modern progressive types.

I am annoyed in general because if social media, or mass media is to be believed, the lot of us want change. The good kind of change – we want more civility, more transparency and accountability, less corruption and all the pretty things. We demand all these good things from everyone, from our neighbours, from our colleagues, and most especially from our government.

Very often though, we fail to demand this from the most important agent in society: ourselves.

As fairy-tale like as this sounds, what we need to tell ourselves is that, “change begins with me”. Yes, “me”, as in you, the individual. Things would be so much better if we lived each day with the mentality of wanting to make each other’s lives a little bit better.

I think in general, we go about our daily activities with one thing in mind, and that is “how can I make things better for ME?”

We’re a selfish society. We don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. As true as the sun rising in the East, every single day.

We do things with only ourselves in mind. How did I come to this conclusion?

Stuck in traffic at a ‘give-way’ junction, and what do we do? Cut in front and try to squeeze in at the end, causing even more congestion, because why? BECAUSE WE’RE THE ONLY MOTHERFUCKER WHO NEEDS TO GET TO WORK ON TIME! AND OOOH I’M SO CLEVER CUTTING ACROSS ALL THIS TRAFFIC TO BEAT EVERYONE!

In residential parking lots, what do we do? WE DRIVE AT 60km/h BECAUSE HEY I’M A RACECAR DRIVER AND RELAX-LAH, NO ONE ELSE WALKING WHAT???

We hate racial discrimination when it hits us on the nose. But treating foreign workers who do jobs we’d never do, or let our offsprings do? HEY FINE BY ME! WE PAY THEM WHAT! ALSO THEY’RE DIRTY AND SMELL!

There were a couple more example that I had thought of but they seemed to have fizzled as I went on typing this down. My anger dissipated as profanities flew out of my oral cavity and as my fingers tapped angrily over my keyboard. So I guess writing can be pretty therapeutic – LOL.

Anyways, in general, the point I’m trying to make, and what I’ve always been saying is that, we all want the good stuff. We want a harmonious society, one where everybody gets along with each other (okay this statement is a little redundant, but screw it). We want society around us to be civil, our government to be honest, and our environment to be nice – but we always want someone else to do it first.

And the problem is this, we rarely want to do it first, because, WIIFM. What’s in it for me? If I play nice, some dirtbag is always going to cut in front in traffic anyway. Can’t beat them, join them, right?

Wrong.

Hey, I’m idealistic, and I’m often disappointed because I can be too entrenched in my idealism. But I believe that if each individual can live through everyday thinking about how to make things a little more pleasant for themselves and everyone around them, life could turn out to be that little bit nicer indeed.

Sure, one individual may not have that much power, but when individuals make up a collective, things can really change.

It’s like voting, right? One vote changes nothing. Individual votes coming together? History happens.

We’re not going to see everything change overnight, no, but little by little, I think we turn ourselves into the the community we’ve always dreamed of being a part of.

We don’t need the government to do it for us, it starts with ourselves first.

I try my best, we should all try our best.

Be the change you want to see.

And all that jazz.

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