Can we move away from ideology to good old pragmatism?

Malaysians, in general, are never free from the shackle of ideological dogma or religious bigotry. From young, we are inculcated in a certain way to preserve our so-called values and identity.

For this reason, politicians have never failed to capitalise on race, religion, parochialism and now ideology to exploit to the fullest the gullibility of the people. Never mind that in the process the nation has gone to the dogs, so long as they are able to go on plundering the nation.

We completely ignore the empirical evidence around us – from Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore to now China.

Which of these countries talk about religion day and night?

Which of these countries issue decrees and edicts on how people should live their personal life?

Which of these countries are fixated with VIP status and nobility?

Which of these countries are concerned with whether they are theocratic, communist, socialist or capitalist?

But, over time, have they not progressed and achieved much better than us despite their lack of natural resources?

I think I know why; I think other countries in the region are not as hypocritical and phoney as us. Our politicians use religious and ideological sentiments to hoodwink and exploit the people routinely and habitually. Our people play into their hands because most are ignorant and naive to the core.

Seriously, why would most Malaysians still want to rant about religious piety when we are a nation most inundated with juicy sex videos involving politicians ever?

We like to talk about fairness, equity and social justice but for decades, we are more or less jumping on the spot with nothing much to show. We then blame the capitalists, the socialists and now the communists for all the ills besetting this nation. I think soon we may run of ideology to blame.

We talk the most in international politics as if we are the most righteous and holy nation – from Palestine, the non-aligned movement, rule of law to condemning the hypocrisy of superpowers and the West. But what have we got to show? Other countries in the region, including countries much bigger and more powerful than us, have stayed quietly developing their nations by leaps and bounds while we are still talking.

We have talked about competitiveness and meritocracy for years now. But have we moved an iota from 30 years ago? I don’t care about the political cost to some politicians or political parties anymore. I only know “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

It is about time for the nation to move ahead of archaic politicians who know next to nothing other than playing politics in its most rudimentary forms. Every day, we hear of some utopia that will come our way if only we adhere to their brand of ideology and belief.

We have clear empirical evidence for us to follow, but we choose to believe the Pied Piper who will take us to Timbuktu.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.