Hi guys! Sorry I kept my blog dormant since October 2018. Just like how I usually tell my friend when catching up, “busy” is a boring and inexcusable reason. So while work has kept my schedule tight, “busy” is not the reason for not writing.

Writing is difficult. Period.

So what is the reason then? I think the reason is three-fold.

Firstly, writing is difficult. Heck, I think writing a court submission is easier, I’ll explain this further below.

Secondly, writing contemporaneously is even more difficult. You read something ridiculous on the news like the incident of Malaysia Airlines (“MAS”) making an apology when its passenger mistook wagyu for pork and later imposing self-censorship – you have this urge of yelling at (if not punching) MAS – but you need more time to do your research amidst all the other deadlines you have – time passed and the incident is no longer a hot topic for public consumption – any blog post in relation to the incident is now not contemporaneous.

Last but not least, the most difficult part is to make sure your writing is contemporaneous to your current reader and relatable to a new reader 3 months later. Going back to what I said about writing a court submission – a good submission will be adopted by the judge as part of the written grounds of judgment, become precedent and be read by generations to come. It has no element of expiry save for future change in societal norms and cultures which will then call for change in the law. Therefore, until and unless there is a change in the law, a good court submission vis-à-vis written grounds of judgment would remain contemporaneous and relatable for decades.

Confirmation bias

I wanted to write about the MAS incident. My blog post usually gives more than 1 example. So I wanted to link the Auntie Anne’s hotdog incident a few years ago to this MAS incident. I also wanted to add a more recent incident about the angpow designs this year. This was how my skeletal blog post looked like:

MAS incident (pork) – Auntie Anne’s incident (dog) – Malaysian banks collectively avoided from depicting a pig in their angpow designs despite it being the year of the Pig and the past tradition of having the zodiac animal as the focus in angpow designs.

Now the skeletal blog post was all well and good until I recently had a better look at UOB’s angpow design. Instead of random circles, it actually depicts a pig.

Had I went on to write a blog post complaining of the MAS incident, Auntie Anne’s incident and linked those 2 incidents with the mistaken “angpow incident”, I would have ended up looking as stupid as the man who mistook wagyu for pork.

This reminds me of one of the chapters I read in ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’. Rolf Dobelli talked about an irrationality called the “confirmation bias”. He called it “the mother of all misconceptions” and “the father of all fallacies”. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. In plain language, you collect information to confirm your biasness. Here, I collected information to make sure what I planned to write in my blog post is justified and supported with facts.

Now you might ask, what’s the big deal? Just write about the MAS incident, linked it back to the Aunty Anne’s incident and post it la! Well, it is a big deal because I am then writing on a specific incident which does not in any way reflect what the majority of the Malaysian society is practising. Mind you, MAS received more criticism than the man who made a wrong complaint.

A change for the better

This then reminded me of the Carlsberg incident last year. A video purportedly complaining about a Carlsberg promoter was uploaded on social media. The man who uploaded the video complained that the Carlsberg promoter tried to promote Carlsberg beer to everyone in the supermarket, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Carlsberg promoter responded in English, politely, no less. The man then remarked that this is Bumi Melayu and she should converse in Malay. The Carlsberg promoter in turn asked if he was being racist. Within a short period of time after the video was uploaded, the man was tracked down by the Malaysian netizens and heavily criticised for his racist conduct.

No doubt, the Malaysian society is improving in terms of racial and religion sensitivity. Though not by majority, many understand that respect is a virtue to be practised mutually. Stripped away the racial cards played by politicians, Malaysia could be as harmonious as our forefathers envisioned it to be. While this is still, to a large extent, an ambition, I can say with confidence that it is an achievable one, if:

  • The majority accepts that the protection of minority is part of the basic structure of the Federal Constitution; and
  • The minority believes that the majority are working hard to make things change for the better.

Now, if the majority and the minority could make things change and challenge my biasness quicker before I commit into writing my next blog post, that would be great.

新年快乐。

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