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As the Malaysian mainstream media has the tendency to be one-sided, many of us would look towards the internet for alternative views and contents. It is not that we believe whatever we read but we need all viewpoints for us to have a balanced perspective.For the educated it is intellectually boring to read only what the government feeds you. Please don’t get me wrong as I am not politically inclined. I vote on the election candidate’s personal attributes and not along party line.

Free to be one-sided

In my quest for alternative views, I visited both online news portals and blogs and honestly I usually find thoroughly pro-government or pro-opposition party websites distasteful. But marrying the two is enlightening. Both have good and bad points in their propaganda to win votes. I notice the pro-government bloggers are quick to call “names” on their opposition counterparts. Name like “Dajal” which is the Devil in Arabic is freely used for people who express views different from theirs; I suppose the opposition bloggers also have similar names for their adversary.

It is a mark of true democracy and political maturity for citizens to be allowed to express themselves and identify areas which could be rectified and so avoid similar mistakes in the future. Why then people are so angry with such expressions? One simple answer is nobody likes to be told that they have made a mistake. Nobody likes to be told that they are responsible let alone accountable for a mishap or for a life event such as death. And yet these outpourings of expressions either objective or emotional could potentially make people rethink about circumstances surrounding an event. In most cases, with the hope that the way things are done could be altered,modified and improved to protect, for example, lives.

I am sick and tired of people ascribing many things to fate. If you continue to think in this manner, you will never improve on safety measures. You will do things the same way day in day out and when an event such as death occurs you would happily assign it to fate.

When US space shuttles Challenger and Columbia were calamitously destroyed in 1986 and 2003 respectively with the loss of 14 highly-skilled astronauts, NASA (National Aeronautic Space Administration) worked hard to study the factors contributing to the disasters as a result later flights were made so much safer and accident-free that they were able to accomplish their mission of setting up, inter alia, ISS (International space Station) and launched the brilliant Hubble telescope. Had they assigned the disasters to fate, they would never be able to move forward with the space program. There were lots of “blames” going on then and in the end knowledge,skills and good sense prevailed.

Blame is destructive when it becomes a game.

Now,why can’t we in Malaysia emulate such an approach? Why are we quick to attribute occurrences to fate? Why do we have to keep telling people to stop giving opinions and stop blaming an event? Many of these people are merely giving their take on what has happened in the hope of preventing future repeats. I am not saying that everyone is sincere in their blaming an event. Some are trying to capitalize on it to gain political mileage. Having read most of the write-ups on such an event , one would have known which one to believe. Do not take things at face values. That is why it is boring and perhaps even irresponsible to read only one side of the story.

You could detect a sign of political maturity whenever the government leaders are able to take questions and answer them in a way that people would put their trust on the politicians instead of arrogantly dismissing those “disturbing” questions and worse still calling the inquiring reporter from an alternative media “Dajal“. The prevalent immaturity is in fact synonymous with bare emotion bereft of an analytical mind.

Everyone makes mistakes so why not promise to look into the circumstances of the event and rectify any part of the faulty sequence leading to it? We have yet to see this kind of mature and objective response from politicians whose integrity is unquestionable.

Who is accountable?

Our Malaysian politicians love to appeal to our emotion rather than reasoning. But for how long can they do this? As the masses become more educated and politically-savvy, this kind of pandering will no longer be effective.

It is better to have the blame game which is constructive rather than nothing at all. A silent and non-critical community is one without a soul and this situation doesn’t augur well for its social health.

Remember under the communist’s regime in Eastern Europe and the former USSR how the environment was badly degraded as the people were muzzled and the State was allowed to carry on regardless without any public views,criticisms and discussion at the planning and implementation level. Factories polluted,pesticides contaminated and an irrigation system dried up the biggest lake in the Soviet Union causing an environmental disaster of epic proportions. How could this have occurred? Because the people were afraid to voice out their opinion and what more to blame the State. They would face incarceration in places like Siberia if they did.

Ignore the negative-oriented blame and concentrate on the positives. It is not that hard an exercise. In fact, you might find that certain opinions are quite a novelty worth applying. Not all the people who seem to be blaming the government,organization,private sector etcetera, have inherent bad intention.

So when certain quarters are blaming the recent shooting death of the BernamaTV camera man on the Putra 1 Malaysia Club Humanitarian Aid Mission to Somalia, please “separate the husks from the rice” and strive to improve and safeguard such future missions for a better “fate” of their volunteers.

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