Education provides one with knowledge that is often useful in earning a better life. Education in Malaysia serves another purpose: to promote unity and harmony among its people. To fulfil this aim, national schools are built where students of different races learn and socialise with one another. Through this socialization in schools, racial integrity is promoted. Education also teaches people about the proper conduct in life. Children are thought to be respectful towards others. Simplicity and humbleness are often values which are highly looked upon in the Malaysian context of living. A Malay saying, ‘Ikutlah resmi padi, makin berisi, makin tunduk’, teaches us to become more humble as we grow wiser or even wealthier.
So, what happens when education fails to instil these values in people? What we’ll then get are hard-headed stuck-ups who show little or no respect to others. In my life I’ve sadly met quite a number of people like this. Not only are they racist, they even show disrespect to the elders in their own families. The worst part is these people are not those with little education. They are professionals who hold degrees in highly looked upon careers. What use is their education if they only end up as people who forget their roots?
I have met people who think so highly of themselves and their careers that they feel only their careers deserve recognition and that their careers are the best of all professions. These people look upon ‘lower’ careers such as teachers, economist, tailors, etc with nothing but deep contempt. They fail to realise that their success is very much attributed to their teachers. They are oblivious to the fact that the nation’s stable economy depends greatly on the economist in the country. And obviously, they do not acknowledge that the clothes they wear are from tailors. I doubt doctors or lawyers or even engineers would be able to sew a garment which is perfect to be worn. Even I don’t have the skill to do that and I know many who read this blog are just like me.
These people tell me that ‘people who opt to do careers which do not result in an income of thousands of ringgit are stupid’. I think the greatest idiots on earth are the people ruled by such thoughts. Their ego has been so inflated that they fail to realise money is important but-it is not THE MOST important thing. It is essential in providing a comfortable life. However, excessive wealth is dangerous. Money, after all, is the root of all evil. What’s the use of having thousands of ringgit if you have to slog like mad and end up not even enjoying the hard-earned luxury? What’s the use of thousands of ringgit if you are going to be so busy working so much so you miss the joys of raising your own children? What’s the use of all that money if it makes you so arrogant that you no longer know how to treat others with respect? Most importantly, what’s the use of all that excessive luxury when in the end of the day, only a white sheet of ‘kain kapan’ accompanies you to the grave? And has all those wealth brought you happiness? Are you free from worries and problems?
This is what happens when education fails to correct the third-class mentality of some people. While there are many educated people who are successful yet still humble and respectful in manner, those few who are of the opposite nature continue to be a real pain for everyone who have to bear their existence. May they regain their senses and realise that once upon a time, they too were poor, and that their lives depend highly on all other people who are not only teachers and tailors, but also farmers, hawkers and fishermen and most of all, their lives depend very much on the grace of the Almighty. HE needs only a plit second to turn our lives around, so while we're still well off, it's best to stay humble and respectful.