Why want more, when you can't afford it?

I was browsing through my Facebook timeline and came across a photo upload from a friend. In the photo was an excerpt from Borneo Bulletin's Opinions page which read 'We want more, we want it cheaper, we want it better'. The 'opinion' from the writer, who identified himself as 'Mau Paha' (irony) talked about how Brunei is such a rich and abundant country and that everything that the rakyat want or require, our wealthy state is more that capable to cater to. He suggested that everything in Brunei should be free and that we shouldn't pay for anything. He even went further into saying that we must not be compare our country with developed countries, because according to him/her, they are different with us and even when those states are rich, they still incapable of catering the needs of their people, unlike ours.

When I read the whole thing, I couldn't decide whether the writer was expressing a sarcastic piece of the mind, whether he/she was testing the depth of Brunei Press's handling of cognitive dissonance (which evidently failed) or whether he/she was simply dead serious. But in the midst of this, I concluded that the writer has clearly failed, effortlessly in Economics. But on a side note, it brings out a great deal of concern, at least from me personally, of the mindset of our fellow Bruneians. Don't get me wrong, I didn't get this after reading the silly article, but on one of my late night coffee talks usually with my friends. More saddening is the fact that once in a while, I got the opportunity to observe such mindset first hand amongst a handful number of friends.

My question is, why want more, when you can only offer less in return?

Any citizens, in any country, will always want more from their government, but usually, you have to deliver something in return for concessions, even in rich and developed countries like the US and UK. You want a to improve the economy, you pay more tax, you give the government the power to bail out important companies, good healthcare system, raise tax, so on and so forth. Irrespective of which part of the development phase the country is, or how rich they are, the same can be said. In Brunei, Mr or Mrs Mau Paha wants more 'free' benefits, in return what can you offer? Giving lips service or wanting more and more may not be fair or even close to being enough, expectedly. Sadly, I believe, a lot more people, especially those who are so used to being 'nursed' by our government, and those who are oblivious to reality are still in the same mindset as 'Mau Paha'. Yes, Brunei is a rich country, but we are resting our wealth and future on a finite source, i.e. oil and gas. What happens if these resources are no more?

That is why we need to find ourselves more avenues in terms of investing for our future. Instead of asking more, why not give more to the government? From time to time, I've been long comparing our nation with Singapore. People in the small city state had long sacrificed a lot for the betterment of their country. Bear in mind, their main source of export aren't oil and gas, but 'brains', their brilliant individuals that is. For long, Singaporeans have and will continue to achieve greater things. The paramount example of this is their strong economy in spite of the fact that the country has no natural resources like ours. Even in the 2008 financial crisis, although the country was affected by it, but it didn't take long for them to recover. Again the emphasis is on the capacity of the people to deliver, giving what they have for their country, rather than asking endlessly. In the end, Singapore achieved a good standard of living, world class facilities in transport, healthcare, education and welfare, and crucially a wealthy and stable economy.

To this end, regardless whether the article by Mau Paha was sarcasm intended, it lets us to reflect on the many mindsets of our people. After all, a beloved ruler from Brunei once said in his titah,
"As a small country, both in size and population, our future hinges on the quality of our people".

Something to think about...

PS. I strongly believe BB shouldn't have released that article, for the sake of their own integrity in their so called brand of journalism. BB isn't an internet forum but a 'news' provider.

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