From Youth to Adults

So a few days ago, Twitter had this really interesting post: The r.Age section of the Star was running this section where youths got to answer questions posed to them by “adults” (when you see the names you’ll know why I had those as a qualifier).

Most of the questions don’t stray too far from the “patronise” youth questions, but there are a surprising number of really good ones. Thing is, I don’t think most of my answers would be considered politically correct and/or gentle. To quote Ti: You’re really snarky la!

So click through for my answers to some inane questions (really, what Malaysia you’d like to see? This is like… how old???)

PS: Ela, you might want to check out the answer I wrote to Ivy Josiah. It was inspired directly from the conversation you had with Ry.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister
How would you like to see Malaysia in the future?
A secular Malaysia with less morality and religious policing. Those doing the current policing have no right to be there.

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Transport Minister and MCA President
What do you understand by “youth empowerment”?
Allowing both youth and so-called “adults” to listen to and carry out projects that will benefit both sides, encouraging each other not only to live out their dreams, but to be confident and not knocking the other down for the disillusionment and discouragement on both sides.

BTW, please get rid of those “what’s the problem with youth these days” essays in schools. It’s the easiest way to discourage and dispower the youth from doing something fruitful.

Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Youth and Sports Minister
What can you contribute to the country in this time of economy crisis?
An alternative view and road, along with the passion and drive to make it happen. The question is, will I, a youth, be allowed to carry it out, or will I be thrown in jail because the way I propose will possibly see an upheaval that “threatens” the current “stable” and possibly stagnant order?

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Women, Family and Community Development Minister
Are you ready for gender equality?
By asking that very question, doesn’t it show that YOU are not ready for it, Datuk?

Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, CEO Air Asia
What will it take for you as the youth to think ‘Malaysian’ first and Chinese/Malay/Indian next?
When people like you stop asking us questions in forms what race we are.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno Youth Chief
When you look into the mirror, do you see a member of an ethnic group (Malay, Chinese, Indian etc) or do you see a Malaysian?
I see a Malaysian, but pardon my scepticism if you reply the same as I do.

CW Kee, Cartoonist – Kee’s World
What drives you crazy?
Questions being asked of people just for the sake of “soliciting” their views… and then promptly ignoring them.

Anas Zubedy, Managing Director Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd
What do you think about yourself?
I’m a strong woman, with a mind of my own and the drive and passion to fulfil my dreams. I do not need the State’s validation to do so.

Ivy Josiah, Executive Director, Women’s Aid Organisation
How can we educate men to stop committing violence against women?
By not throwing them into a stereotypical role and expecting them to live up to it. By easing the pressures of a patriarchal society; it’s ok for men to fail, but it’s completely not ok for them to hit a woman because of it. By reassuring them that they are NOT Gods, that it’s fine to make mistakes, that it’s fine to be fallible.

By not upholding and encouraging a system that views them as superiors.

Jit Murad, Playwright and Actor
What things about us seem unfair to you?
That you do not listen. That you insist we act according to your whims and fancies. That we may be asked for our opinions, only to be ignored. That we as a voice, is dismissed simply because we do not have the economic power to back us up.

Perhaps, most damaging of all, that we are dumbed down to make us more malleable. See: Education system in Malaysia.

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Writer/activist
What do you really think of your parents (and no need to be politically correct and only say nice things!)?
They are children. While I love both of them dearly, I think they believed they sacrificed too much to bring my brother and me up. I wish there was a way for me to reassure them that they didn’t, that they’ve done enough, that what they have done IS enough.

There’s no need for them to push each other further; my brother and me can take care of ourselves. Our parents should stop fighting with each other over money matters for us both. If there’s any dreams for us to do, we’re capable of doing that. You don’t have to support us anymore. Let us help you, treat us as adults!

Shebby Singh, Football commentator/pundit
There are many things that can motivate us, but that is different from what our own motivation is. What is your motivation, and why?
Accepting that I can do better and then striving to do just that. The drive to reach my dreams, and the belief that I am capable, I am worthy, and that I’ll achieve my own dreams my way.

Zainal Abidin, Singer
What is the definition of an artiste?
Someone who creates works of art, regardless of whether it’s song, plays, music, comics, writings, etc.

Lee Khai Loon, Secretariat Member of Youth for Change (Y4C)
What will make politics more interesting to you?
I’d prefer it if politics were LESS interesting. As it stands, it now resembles a Hokkien drama with words that sound like cursing but are actually polite and too much backstabbing going around.

Anita Sarawak, Entertainer
How important is national pride to you?
At this rate, nothing.

Dr. Irene Fernandez, Tenaganita Director
If you were elected into power, what three immediate changes would you make?
1. Remove all laws that seek to supersede the Constitution, regardless of moralistic and party whining.
2. Follow the Auditor’s General recommendations on cutting costs. Among them: Merging all departments and ministries that can be merged, and giving posts according to merit, not to parties
3. Get rid of the rule that says if you resign, you cannot stand for elections for 5 years.

Datuk Misbun Sidek, National badminton coach
What does it take to become a champion?
Drive, passion and talent, in that order.

Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood, MERCY Malaysia President
How important is it to you to put aside time for voluntary work in the community, whether locally or globally?
It ranks no 2, behind time spent with family.

Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister
If you were the Penang Chief Minister, what is the one policy action you would take to the people?
Fix the roads in Penang.

Dr Adeeba Kamaruzzaman, Malaysian AIDS Council President
If there’s one thing you would change about school, what would it be?
Allowing students to question and give answers based on issues of the day, and encouraging them/offering them the resources to write to the authorities with their questions and suggestions. Also, encouraging teachers to take PERSONAL accountability for the changes in their students, and protecting them when necessary for the betterment of their students and themselves.

Youssouf Oomar, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei
How do you perceive your role and responsibility as a citizen of Malaysia and the world?
To encourage others to reach their dreams, no matter how nonsensical or whimsical. Or even impossible.

J. Anu, Artist
What are you reading?
Psyhik (of the Septimus Heap series) Kushiel’s Scion after that, and probably Freaknomics. Also: Kuroshitshuji, Katekyo, Malaysiakini and the Nut Graph.

Datuk Yasmin Yusuff, Artiste
Do you believe only the young can speak to the young?
No, but only the close-minded can understand each other.

JJ, Hitz FM Radio Announcer
We had games like Chopping, Kunda Kundi, Catching, Five Stone, Galah Panjang, Police and Thief and many more. What games bring you out of the house?
Kejar-kejar, badminton, cycling! 😀

Michael Wong (Guang Liang), Singer-songwriter
How will your lives be different if music ceased to exist?
I will lapse into depression and probably die not long after that.

Zang Toi, Fashion Designer
What fresh new ideas do the young generation have to help solve global economy crisis and world peace ?
By asking that question, are you going to listen to our ideas and credit us for it, or are you going to pass it off as your own idea?

Francesca Peters, Singer
Is there more to you than money, money, money, the rat race, finding a rich partner and “scoring”?
Are you asking us for real, or are you asking yourself that?

Jo Kukathas, Theatre actor and director
When you close your eyes and see yourself, what do you dream you are and what do you dream you can become?
I’m a writer, I’m a teacher, and I am a woman, accomplished, assured and confident.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Former De Facto Law Minister
Do you care who your leaders are?
Yes. They must be committed and seen to be committed to their promises and way they uphold themselves.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Immediate past president of the Malaysian Bar
Do you feel disconnected from the politics of Malaysia and in this regard how much do you value your right to vote?
Yes and Yes! Simply because there is no way for me to vote on policies that affect me. Beyond my vote every 5 years, what else matters? Forgive a youth for being disillusioned with a system that does not empower me or even respects a human’s right to choose.

Khalid Samad, Shah Alam MP
What are the characteristics of good governance and what is your role in ensuring that these characteristics are truly embodied by the government of the day?
Making decisions for the good of the people, and making these transparent. Letting people know what you’ve done, what you’re going to do, and allowing everyone to have a say. Responding to complaints and suggestions immediately, even if it’s just a simple, “Thank you for your suggestion but we are unable to do so immediately.”

On my end, I will support and attempt to explain the reasoning behind the state’s decision, but I will need the state’s help in explaining their own reasons to convey this to others.

Camelia, Singer
What do you think is a good age for a young person to leave home?
Anytime they can support themselves without needing to rely on their parents.

Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, President Limkowing University of Creative Technology
Do you feel that creativity (or freedom to express oneself creatively) is sufficiently encouraged in this country?
It is discouraged, especially when “creativity” has to be expressed according to strict guidelines that serve to mollify the authorities.

Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Principal Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
If, as a young person, you are able to lead this nation, how will you seek to build a Malaysia where there is greater consciousness of being Malaysians first?
Demolishing all aspects of the quota system, deleting everything that gives bumi privileges, allowing people to choose their religion WITH NO CONSEQUENCE to their loans, finances and lifestyle, and by deleting anything that enforces the perception of race.

Patrick Teoh, Actor
Why are so many young Malaysians apparently so apolitical?
I’ll echo what someone else said: Because of cynics like you.

Winnie Loo, Hairstylist
You all are so blessed with everything lay on your table whether is technology, transportation and even communications, but what do you see yourself 10 years from now? Can the world be a better place with your new generation knowledge?
It’s either that or slide into apathy.

Yasmin Ahmad, Film director
What is the best thing about being in a multi-racial country?
FOOOOOOOOD! And the reminder that we are all humans first.

Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, Historian
Do you think lecturers in a university should learn to be more effective teachers?
YES. YES YES AND YES! They should also be more effective at encouraging their students to think, and be more concerned with empowering their students as individuals, with a healthy dose of imparting knowledge.

Jeff Ooi, Jelutong MP
How would you like to see Malaysia become in 10 years time?
A revert to either Syariah courts, or better yet, just have the secular courts. Whatever that is decided in the secular courts takes precendence over the syariah (after all, if we are living in a secular world, doesn’t it make more sense for the rules of the secular world to take precedence over the next world?).

A return to common sense would be the MOST welcome, barring the above.

Hishamuddin Rais, Writer
Should the young know who is Tun Sri Lanang, A.Samad Ismail, Usman Awang, Victor Hugo, Tagore, Lu Xun or Tolstoy?

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Transparency International Malaysia president
Do you feel that you have got a good deal as a Malaysian citizen?
What deal?

Aznil Hj. Nawawi, TV personality
How can we become a developed nation without sacrificing our local and traditional values?
Define developed nation first, then we talk about ways to get there.

Ujang, Cartoonist
Apakah yang anda fahami tentang pentingnya mencintai sungai dan alam semulajadi?
Yang saya faham adalah dalam suratkhabar Bahasa Inggeris anda bertanya soalan dalam Bahasa Melayu. Ok, this was mean as someone pointed out they could have forgotten to translate the question to English, but I still find it kinda annoying.

Rivers and the sea are the veins of this country. Without it, we will die. Keeping the rivers clean will go a long way to keeping our lives clean.

Azean Irdawaty, Actress
What does being grateful to your country mean to you?
It means being unafraid to tell her what her mistakes are, as well as offering ways to overcome them. It means being a friend to her, rather than a parasite.

Datuk Faridah Merican, Executive Producer KLPAC
What is the most important thing about being a young Malaysian?
To be young and patient.

Eddin Khoo, Writer and traditional arts activist
What do you think you are all about, really?
Do the “older” generation have such a disconnect from the younger generation that they need to question the younger’s identity, or is this symptomatic of their own identity disorder?

Marina Chin, Bukit Jalil Sports School principal
The youths of today will have the most impact on making the vision of ‘One Malaysia’ a reality. How are you as young Malaysians today going make this dream a reality?
By not giving giving it legitmacy. We already have a 1Malaysia, what we need to do is get rid of 3 races + assorted others.

5 thoughts on “From Youth to Adults”

    1. I wasn’t really in a good mood that day, partially also because of the news that Zambry managed to get a stay against the acknowledgement that Nizar’s the MB.

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