kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,
kheru2006
kheru2006

The poor our true VIPs

 I AM writing in response to Wong Chun Wai’s column “Cut the frills, make it simple” (Sunday Star, July 31) on wasting money and time on government VIP functions and the numerous articles by editor Soo Ewe Jin in the Monday Business section of The Star on our need to focus on the important issues of life.

The Star has also recently started an important trend of feature articles focusing on the average person that can inspire us.

It amazes me that any person can consider himself above others. We are all born the same, even if we are born into rich or powerful families. There are no very important persons (VIPs) in this world, everyone is important.

If we want to accord special status, then let it not be to leaders, the rich and powerful, but to those who need it – the poor who need our helping hand to move to a better quality of life, young children who require our protection from the dangers of evil adults, the disabled who need our respect/support in their struggle to live in this world created for the able.

People in power need to see themselves as servants of those in need, not the masters.

If anyone is considered meaningful then it cannot be as a result of their wealth, family, position or political power.

It is rather a result of their contribution to weaker members of society and a result of their personhood – who they have become in spirit and soul.

However, the reverse is prevalent in our society. Many people in power and authority expect us to fawn on them. They use their status to push others around and demand special treatment for themselves.

They become very upset if you treat them as just another human being.

This is very prevalent at government functions where the “VIP” expects to be given a separate table to eat, away from the “commoners”. The repetitive introductions of the “VIPS” at functions is another waste of time.

Yes, there are exceptions, and I have met some wonderful persons, but these remain the minority.

So much can be achieved if we can just remember that we are all God’s creation. No need for airs and special treatment. Such a contrast to truly developed countries.

I was in a Scandinavian country recently and the minister who came to open the medical event was just introduced by his name, and the high level international function began promptly.

We were allowed to constructively criticise his speech and there was an informal (but professional) air to the event. No one wore suits except for the minister – the chairperson wore a tie and publicly apologised for it.

Our culture needs to move from one focused on wealth, power, possessions and status to one that values every person. Currently we are still trapped in “gaya mesti ada, isi tiada tidak apa” model.

Government departments are caught in the trap of “showy” launches, many of which are not sustainable.

Let’s do things and allow the work to speak, rather than our mouths. Let’s be found on the ground and not in our air-conditioned offices and enormous cars.

One mark of success of a nation, the measure of a nation’s worth, is how much we value and support the poor, children, disabled and the marginalised. These are our true VIPs.


DATUK DR AMAR-SINGH HSS, Ipoh.

Source: The STAR Home News Opinion Tuesday August 2, 2011
Tags: assessment, education
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