Let's talk about Zahra. I know this is old news, at least in internet years, but I keep seeing offhand comments about it everywhere and it's not sitting well with me.
Let's make it clear that when it comes to whiny, entitled Malays, you can count on me to smack some sense of autonomy into these people. I personally know a handful of good-for-nothings who talk shit about the government for not giving enough handouts to the Malaysian "master race" and it annoys me to no end. Incidentally these scums also tend to be the Lowyat-type insurgents who chalk up their failure to thrive as a result of racial prejudice.
However, I do not find Zahra to fit this description. Far from it. If her words are to be trusted, she's well-educated and hardworking. Her speech, albeit a bit overly dramatic (wtf is up with the accompanying violin track?), is one that many honest Malaysians can relate to. All around me I hear people languishing about life getting harder by the second in Malaysia, what with the GST, the sluggish job market, the plummeting ringgit, the political ruckus, the fall of the high-and-mighty oil & gas industry, the palpable racial tension and the perceived rise in crime rates. This all translates into a weaker purchasing power and a bleak future for the Malaysian lower echelons .
Zahra encapsulated this in her earnest plea, thinking it would resonate with the general public. Instead it was met with a backlash. Even I was taken by surprise.
"Typical Gen Y, expecting handouts at every turn."
"Ungrateful little shit."
"Look at this spoilt kid."
"Look at this spoilt kid."
Next comes the deluge of anecdotal life stories from people, recounting how they started their career with a shitty job that paid a miserable amount of money, and how they climbed up and out of the shithole they were in only by sheer determination and hardwork. All of these stories were tied up nicely with the snarky message along the lines of "Kids today should stop lamenting and start working hard. We did it alright, so why can't you?"
How in hell do these people not get vertigo from the top of their sky high horses?
'Kids today' come from a paradoxical system where everybody gets pushed hard into the same mould, all the while being promised that you can be anything. We believe the government propaganda that Malaysia is the best at this and that, and we strive to fulfil the country's aspirations. We've got big shoes to fill, after all.
'Kids today' hear that Malaysia is moving forward in all aspects, we are modern, quality of life is getting better, people are happier and healthier. The government promises, PROMISES, us with a long list of goodness we are destined for, so we grew up looking forward to leading a prosperous working life.
Once we tread the water of adulthood, little by little, our hopes and dreams get crushed. The protective veil is slowly getting lifted and we start seeing smokes and mirrors everywhere. Nothing turns out the way we were told it would. The honest persevere. The rest? They take the easy way out and cheat their way through life. You start to know exactly what dog eat dog means, because all around you people are smiling with a hidden snarl and a wagging tail, waiting to snatch that bone from under your nose.
The jig is up. No one's looking after you because out here, it's sink or swim, baby. And you get scared and frustrated. So you turn to the same people who promised you greatness, and they turn their backs on you. You turn to the generations before you who fucked it all up, and they just smile and say, "Buck up and suck it up. You're cleaning this mess, and will still be cleaning it well after we are long gone." The generation whose survival was purely the product of government handouts and bailouts. Hypocritical old pricks.
"I started working as a miner and I lived in a tiny hut with no running water, and I didn't complain! Kids today are so entitled!"
So tell me, mister. How is Malaysia a modern, properous and developed nation when the younger generations of 2015 still need to adhere to the same standards of comfort as the late 80s/early 90s? Is it our fault that we adjust our expectations based on our alleged GDP growth? Or is it too much to ask that we no longer deserve to be paid less than you were when Malaysia was still transitioning from agrarian to industrial? Is it entitlement, when all we want is just some proof, any proof, that we actually are better off as a nation now compared to the last decade?