Monday, July 19, 2010

Laughing Stocks

There was once many years ago when my uncle told me an interesting story about the time when he was interviewing a man in his mid-forties for a job as a security guard at my uncle's organisation. For those of you who're unfamiliar with the situation in Sabah, security guards are earning very little here. Those who work as security guards have no more than 10 years of formal education. In fact, many of them only have primary school education.

Towards the end of the interview, when my uncle asked the man if he had anything he'd like to raise, the man gave an interesting response. He asked my uncle what's his chances of becoming one of the Head of Departments; and how long would it take for him to be promoted from being a security guard to a Head of Department. Some people have no sense of proportion; they have no sense of reality. And they quite often end up becoming laughing stocks!

But sometimes, the lowly-educated people are not the only ones who're laughing stocks—even the very highly-educated and great leaders are laughing stocks too!

Last week, notebooks were given free to some eligible people in Kudat under the first phase involving 500 units (including 100 units in Pulau Banggi). But it's not just any kind of notebooks. No—it's the 1Malaysia notebooks! The photo above is just one of the many lucky recipients. [The Daily Express]

According to the Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, it was part of the government allocation to provide one million computers nationwide. And Sabah will be getting 10,000 units of those. It is a part of the Federal Government's initiative to achieve a nationwide 50 percent internet penetration target by the end of this year.

"Looking at this situation and through the Government initiatives, I am sure the people would have better level of IT literacy and can be competitive and at par with other developed countries," Rais said.

Oh for crying out loud, "at par with other developed countries"? If these people can improve their economic situation so that they can live in houses made of at least wooden walls and metal roofs, and perhaps piped water and electricity supplies, then maybe—just maybe—I can begin to convince myself that they are "at par" with other developed countries.

I don't know about these rural folks, but if it were me, I'd be happier if the Government could help to improve my living condition first. Save the computers for later, when I can afford to put 3 square meals on my table.


teo said...

I wonder how the poor old man is going to charge the batteries of the laptop when his atap house dont even have eletricity.

Cornelius said...


It's interesting that you should wonder about that. I wondered about the same thing too. Just yesterday morning, I mentioned about this notebook comedy to some people, and I, too, raised the electricity problem.

My wild guess is that one possible way to solve the problem is to modify the system on their bicycles where the electricity generated from the dynamos (when the bicycles are moving) will be used to charge the batteries. They only need to spend a couple of hours pedaling their bicycles each day.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Or he might get practical and barter it for food on the table!

Anonymous said...

Apa salahnya kita bersaing dengan negara maju? Kalau kita yakin boleh, kita pasti boleh!

Cornelius said...


I think this idea was raised in Parliament recent. If I'm not wrong, it has been suggested that some of these lucky people were offered RM700 per notebook. Sounds like a windfall for these people.

However, the minister claimed that they have been told that they're not supposed to sell the notebooks. I'm not sure how the Government will monitor 1 million units of notebooks throughout the nation to ensure that they won't be sold to others. I suspect that a special department will be formed soon so that some people will be given the jobs with awe-inspiring salaries to monitor the 1 million units of notebooks.

Cornelius said...


Memang tak salah pun jika kita bersaing dengan negara maju. Tetapi tahap saingan dan cara saingan itu bukannya tiada had. Kita perlu akur dan sedar akan kekurangan dan kelemahan pada diri kita.

Kalau kail panjang sejengkal, jangan lautan hendak diduga.

Marilah kita cerminkan diri kita ni dan lihatlah samada kita mampu bersaing dengan kekurangan serba-serbi pada diri kita. Jika memangpun sudah kenyataannya perbezaan kemampuan antara kita dengan pihak yang nak disaing itu bagaikan langit dengan bumi, maka kita perlu akur dan terima kenyataan!

Maju selangkah tetap kemajuan. Tidak bererti kita perlu maju sepuluh langkah sekali gus. Jangan lupa, teman, Sang Kura-Kura akhirnya kalahkan Sang Arnab!