Not Responding to the Whims of the Elites
Mug of coffee, the lonely box of kretek and a writing pad with the untouched pen by its side. The trip to a forgotten village in Sungai Pelek has left me drained, partly from the blistering heat, the incredible Malaysian humidity and the numerous conversations with both locals and foreign migrant workers.
Aye, all are affected by the institutionalised plantations where palm oil industry influences the lives of the rural poor.
I've reached a point, this time around, where societal apathy has pounded the nagging anxiety. Indifference, others not mine, towards the lower class, those deemed by capitalistic whims are ostracised simply because they do not fit within the grand order of things. Even with the government's well-planned self-improvement masterplan to improve quality of life, I forsee trouble for the poor beyond the yearly propaganda. I wonder, with this level of hypocrisy among the state and federal officials, how is it different than the "road-maps" of Thailand's clueless junta.
Malaysia, just like Thailand, depends heavily on the rural poor for economic progress. Yet fearing equality and the lost of privileges, society particularly the middle class do not want the rural folks empowered. Has that always been the case? Apparently so.
I still don't see corporations, district officials, authoritative figures and even the nearby teachers interested to stimulate the empowerment needed to bridge communities. Its quite obvious here and there, within this village that borders the palm oil plantation, the increase of poor families, and the debt-filled life of a lowly paid worker is intended to keep them in their place.
Coffee has grown cold, and the mosquitoes are attempting another raid on my exposed limbs. Just like everything, I grow annoyed at the sense of complacency. It seems as a society, we prefer to respond to what benefits us more rather than respecting the lives of those with no home, low wage and unable to articulately communicate.
One more kretek, and then I'm done with the night. However the memories, and sharing the hope that those in power take the political initiative to support the marginalised.