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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jom Ubah! (Let's Change!)

The Malaysian general election will be held this weekend on the 5th of May 2013. Indeed both sides (the government and the opposition or at least their supporters) seems to be at each others' throats in trying to show which party is more corrupt (which I find to be quite an interesting strategy) and not to mention the huge array of sex videos leaking out from both parties (which kinda makes me wonder how sex-crazed or sex-deprived Malaysian politicians seems to be).

Anyway, what most interested me is the tagline that the opposition has chosen for this election (and do bear in mind that I am not a political analyst and your opinion could be different than mine, but that's cool with me). So, the tagline is, Jom Ubah! Ini kalilah. It basically means, Let's Change! This time. I find this to be very interesting because the tagline seems to insinuate that we haven't changed since the government coalition have governed our country. Or on a basic note, it seems to say, let's change to a new government (which is also interesting for we do not know yet how good or not this new government that they are proposing will be - what scares me is how some members of the opposition seems to be at each others throat when they're supposed to be working together as a team, but that's another story).

So, back to the tagline, Jom Ubah! Now, let me just say that I was born in the '80s (yup, I'm definitely not as young as you might think I am). In the '80s, the roads in Kuching was practically free of vehicles (on most days that is) as people were not able to afford them then. Traffic jam is an alien concept to us then. Going from one place to another would mean using public transportation (to us back in those days it would be either the Chin Lian Long blue bus or the Sarawak Transport Co green bus) but we managed to get by. Then a few years later the first national car, Proton Saga was launched and this made cars affordable to Malaysians and that was what most Malaysians decide to purchase (it was also what most Malaysians were able to afford then anyway). I still remember when my dad decided to get his first Proton car (the Proton Saga aeroback and how proud he was of the car). So, life was changed for the better and our quality of life improved (at least transportation wise it did).

When I went to primary school, I still remember we had the teeth brushing campaign (if you think about it now it does seem kind of unusual that the government had to play such a big role in making sure we had good dental hygiene) and there were dentists who came to our school to give us free dental screenings and other free dental services. Indeed that taught us that taking good care of your teeth is very important (growing up in the '80s, good dental hygiene is not one of the things that people focused on; in those times some even relied more on Bomoh or witch-doctors for medical help rather than medical doctors). There was even Kempen Susu Sekolah (School Milk Campaign) where we were given the opportunity to get milk at only a few cents per carton. Back in those days, some of my classmates had actually grown up drinking sweetened condensed milk because not everyone was able to afford formula milk. Even my mum told me she grew up on sweetened condensed milk (and this could be the reason why she's quite small in stature, but that never affected her thinking ability though, she did grow up to become an associate professor).

I'd say in those days the standard of living is not the same as it is today, although people would say things are pricier now (to which one could blame inflation, but I'd say it's probably due to time value of money and other stuff) but the standard of living has increased thus, people can afford more stuff now. So things have changed, there are more cars on the road, people no longer had to rely on the government to provide dental services to schools, we have government clinics that charges only RM1 per service (and most prefer to patronize private clinics as they could afford them) and some parents even insist of getting the best (and most expensive formula milk for their kids). It's amazing how our lifestyle has changed, our standard of living is definitely a LOT better today that it was when I was growing up.

I've traveled to a LOT of countries. And some of them are third world countries. I've seen the houses that these people had to live in, their standard of living and how difficult life is for them. And just to show you how fortunate we are, I'm sharing some of the photos that I took from my trips to some of our neighboring countries:


A small toddler having lunch next to a mosque.


Some kids begging for money next to a shopping mall.


A row of squatter houses underneath a bridge. 


A typical village house.


Some of the parking attendants enjoying their lunch by the side of the road.


Ox carts. A prominent feature in one of the countries that I've visited.


Public transportation. Even in the '80s I've never seen Malaysians using this mode of public transportation.

The photos are not intended to brag on how modernized we are in Malaysia, nor does it serve as a purpose to belittle our neighboring countries (and you might have noticed that I didn't even mention the name of the cities and countries that I've visited on my photo captions).

Indeed in the past 55 years of independence, Malaysia and Malaysians have changed, changed for the better. I know for a fact that my parents lives are a LOT better than my grandparents, and my life is also a LOT better than my parents. So, the question is, Let's Change you might say, but I say, we HAVE CHANGED. Changed for the better. And in fact, we will continue to change from what I've seen from the government's transformation plan and economic roadmap.

So Malaysians, be careful of who you vote for; what you get might not be what you had wished for.

Be informed. Research your facts before you vote. Make sure you have VOTED for the RIGHT leader.

Happy voting peeps!


xoxo Mrs Fashionista