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It has been 10 days since the video dubbed “Listen,listen,listen..”,  was uploaded and went viral especially in these pre-13th General Election days. The opposition was quick to blame the government for what had transpired in that so called forum organised by students at UUM (Universiti Utara Malaysia), Northern University.

Bawani... so you think you're smart eh!

Bawani… .you’re smart eh!

Some smart aleck stood up to demand answers why Malaysia cannot afford to give free education for all up to university level and some arrogant but not so intelligent woman took it upon herself to admonish the student before the latter could finish her lengthy question.

It is not usual for Malaysian students to speak up in public. But Bawani, the student, is a different kettle of fish. She is a political activist and obviously has the gift of the gab. She has every right to ask the question albeit with a political undertone.

Instead of waiting for Bawani to finish her piece, the arrogant woman who is apparently the President of Suara Wanita 1 Malaysia (SW1M) or the “Voice of Women of 1 Malaysia”, by the name of Sharifah Zohra cut her short and using her privilege as the moderator of the forum, kept on asking Bawani to listen. Then, insanely, she went on a tirade of  dreadfully low-intelligent responses to a valid question.

Sharifah Zohra, not  so educated in the real sense of the word!

Sharifah Zohra, not so educated in the real sense of the word!

Quite often when someone is not equipped to answer a question, he/she will go on babbling about mundane things like in this case “animals also have problems”, besides being utterly defensive. Sharifah also told Bawani to leave the country if she was not happy in Malaysia. Now what kind of reasoning is that? And who does she think she is?  I wonder which school and University she went to for displaying such shallow thought processes.

And as for the students, who applauded blindly both women’s words, clearly they had no sense of principles. A sad reflection of what type of future generation we are going to have in Malaysia. My guess is they only read their respective textbooks to pass examinations instead of widening their horizon through reading extensively on issues relevant to today’s Malaysia at least, and make up their mind as which argument to support.

Sharifah Zohra is an embarrassment and no wonder the government is keeping their distance. And Bawani is the smart ass who has not really done her homework on free social services by citing those countries which have free education without appreciating that an important social service which is health is  mostly inaccessible and unaffordable to the people there unlike here in Malaysia. The Malaysian Health Service is essentially free, being 98% subsidised. You don’t have this  in the Philippines or Argentina, among countries cited by Bawani. And don’t use Cuba as an example because it is a Communist country.

We cannot have all social services  free in the country without going into funding problems. Wealthy Australia used to have free education right up to the  university level but found out later that it was becoming costly to continue the scheme. It is just not sustainable. The people have to share the burden of funding for  services though I agree the truly poor should be helped.

By the way, democratisation of education is good for the country otherwise you would not have universities like the world renowned LimKokWing , a favourite of  many international students.

Turning back to Sharifah Zohrah and Bawani, now, why couldn’t they have an intellectual interaction? This is a university’s forum for God’s sake!

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