Enough with the com­plaints

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

IT was a fine rainy Tuesday morn­ing when I opened up so­cial me­dia with a cup of cof­fee, after having com­pleted a pri­vate ses­sion. Among the many posts up on my Face­book feed, I found one pop­u­lar one about how a mono­rail car­riage was be­ing towed by an­other, and that there was a 20-minute de­lay.

Fol­low­ing this was an on­slaught of com­ments, namely how bad trans­porta­tion is in Malaysia. I think the one that an­noyed me the most was a com­ment about how we are such a “third world coun­try”.

For a stark con­trast, an­other friend posted a video from Aus­tralia on how a car­riage of peo­ple in a mass trans­port car­riage broke out into Some­where Over The Rain­bow on the way to work. The con­trast for me was not that the car­riage in Aus­tralia was mov­ing, while the one in Malaysia was stalled, but more the men­tal­ity of the peo­ple; our lot com­plain­ing and the Aus­tralians singing.

Malaysians so love to com­plain that the Malaysian Book of Records, per­haps even the Guinness Book of Records, should con­sider in­clud­ing this as an en­try!

Here’s the news. We are in fact a third world coun­try. What is the point of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tar­di­ness on a mono­rail, shak­ing your head, and say­ing, “Such a third world coun­try?” That’s like go­ing to a fast food restau­rant, or­der­ing and eat­ing two por­tions of large fries, shak­ing your head, and say­ing, “Fat­ten­ing”.

I would like to point out that most “third world” coun­tries do not have mass pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tems, wifi avail­abil­ity, good mo­bile phone re­cep­tion, ca­ble tele­vi­sion or even the in­ter­net. So we are ac­tu­ally a lit­tle bet­ter than “third world”, at least in some parts of the na­tion.

I think the prob­lem lies with us having trav­elled to “first world” coun­tries or watched me­dia from de­vel­oped coun­tries, and then com­par­ing our­selves with them. While trav­el­ling is good, and even the com­par­ing can be good, the end­less de­struc­tive crit­i­cism is what makes me scratch my head. If Malaysia is so bad, then ei­ther find a way to leave or try to make it a bet­ter place.

Of course, many peo­ple have mi­grated from the coun­try. Some are re­ally happy in their new homes, but oth­ers con­stantly check up on Malaysia, blogging about how bad things are from over­seas. Why do peo­ple leave the coun­try and busy them­selves crit­i­cis­ing their for­mer domi­ciled coun­try? Shouldn’t they be happy they mi­grated? Shouldn’t they be more con­cerned about the cir­cum­stances they are cur­rently liv­ing in?

That is what I find so un­ap­peal­ing about many Malaysians. We com­plain so much but we rarely do any­thing to make any changes. When a busi­ness sells us some­thing de­fec­tive, we com­plain all over so­cial me­dia but don’t even bother to speak to cus­tomer service; when some­one dou­ble parks, we take a photo, post it on so­cial me­dia, and never even bother to con­front the er­rant driver; when a boss or col­league bul­lies you, com­plain on Twit­ter and never seek some kind of con­struc­tive res­o­lu­tion.

“What’s the point?” the com­plain­ers would say, “Noth­ing’s go­ing to change what”. Well, of course noth­ing is go­ing to change if you are go­ing to be pas­sive ag­gres­sive. Are they re­ally un­happy about their ob­ject of com­plaint, or are they just plain un­happy?

I don’t think I need a psy­chol­ogy de­gree to ob­serve that if one is con­stantly com­plain­ing, it re­ally re­flects on the com­plainer rather than the ob­ject of com­plaint. The thing is you can’t change the other per­son you’re com­plain­ing about or your cir­cum­stance or your en­vi­ron­ment, but you can change your­self and how you view things.

A meme (how life has de­volved!) suc­cinctly put it this way: “Be­ware of des­ti­na­tion ad­dic­tion: the idea that hap­pi­ness is in the next place, the next job, or even the next part­ner. Un­til you give up the idea that hap­pi­ness is some­where else, it will never be where you are.”

Daniel free­lances in writ­ing and fit­ness train­ing, and has a deep pas­sion for health, fit­ness, sleep and travel. Com­ments: let­ters@ the­sundaily.com

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