Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whopper and Malaysia's Lack of Confidence

Malaysians lack confidence. This is not based on any formal observation, psychological or scientific research or coffee shop talk between friends. It is based on the goings-on around me that I come to this conclusion – which I will explain in a short while.

Is that our fault? Yes.

I came to this informal observation after helping myself to a Whopper burger yesterday (RM1, queued for an hour, worth it). I remember eating whopper burger in Saudi Arab a few years back, and it was enormous – managed to finish 1 burger and helping myself to leftovers of my mum’s and aunt’s. Yesterday, when I ate the burger at my office pantry, I received the common remark of “wow that’s a huge burger”. It was huge, but not as huge as the one I had in Saudi.

Why is it that our Whoppers aren’t as huge? Is it because we Malaysians don’t eat much? Is the Burger King franchise belittling our appetite? Maybe. Every time I watch the food channel or travel and living, I see Americans, Arabs and Europeans eating huge portions of food, unhealthy food, but food nonetheless.

This is very Malaysia (that everything is of little portion) because in Malaysia, no one thinks we can handle bigger plates.

This is not just the perception restaurants give us (Pizza, mcD, TGI-Chillis) but in most of everything around us as well. Government gives us countless amounts of subsidies – like Petrol (of course this is leveraged by the ridiculous duties on cars)

Malay also has the NEP which is by far the biggest stick anyone could give the helpless Malays to walk in this country of ours. Regardless of what you say, it is a lack of confidence that we’re given NEP.

Then there’s a whole load of needless regulations and laws. The lack of confidence by the government in the people’s ability to control themselves (after the racial riot 40 years ago when arguably the nation was in its infancy, and it seems we are still in that stage) results in the over-regulation on the press, free speech (even though enshrined in our constitution), writings (Hassan Sekodeng’s case is testament to this) and ceramahs as well as forums.

Proton needs the government to impose ridiculous tax on imported cars for it to survive. Why is that so? It is mainly because Proton themselves have no confidence in their car-making ability and feel they can’t compete with imported cars. I mean we buy more expensive Protons in Malaysia then let’s say those in UK or Dubai do. Why? If Proton can actually produce good quality cars, then the excessive tax is not needed and Malaysians can confidently drive Proton cars.

The confidence in talents within this country is also in tatters with the government’s dedicated efforts to bring Malaysian professionals abroad to do the job here. I don’t mind really if they can contribute, it is welcomed. But what about the millions that are already here? Can’t we contribute as much? Well I’ve raised that in my previous entry; need not dive into it any further.

Then of course, we’re not confident of our judiciary, police, graft-busters, taxi drivers, corporate leaders, media, city councils, maids and I could go on for days with this.

Hence, does Malaysians lack confidence? I’d say yes. But the reasons being we contribute as much to our lack of confidence by our lack of trust in ourselves. Therefore, we need to be a bit more liberated by trusting ourselves more.

Give us enormous Whopper burgers!

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