Malaysians need to learn to be angry about the right things

JUNE 3 — Anger is easy to manufacture on social media; something that is often used to the advantage of those with an agenda.

I have often been accused of having my own agenda or being manipulated by hidden hands when the reality is I just have a singular talent at pissing people off.

Time has taught me to temper my anger and things that once got my attention do so no longer. Yet on social media it feels as though there is always some new thing to be angry about and online mobs form over even the slightest perceived slight.

Take, for instance, the baying for a certain beauty queen to have her crown taken away. One justification for that, I was told, was because we have little good international representation that we must defend it at all cost.

Here's the thing: she is but a beauty queen. She is not even a famous beauty queen.

Where past beauty queens racked up endorsements or landed cushy acting gigs, many people did not even know who she was until she made a few inane Instagram posts.

The vitriol and rage is hardly proportionate to what she has done. It is upsetting because there are public figures who have done far worse and yet we are preoccupied because we need to preserve our so-called image?

We do not have much to preserve in the first place. The preoccupation that some Malaysians have about putting Malaysia on the map comes from good intentions but it is also a sign of our misplaced priorities.

If we want to get noticed, we need to do the work. Instead we have blowhard politicians loudly proclaiming lofty goals to win prestigious awards such as an Oscar or Nobel Prize.

They forget that we need to put in the work first. South Korea's emergence as a cultural powerhouse did not come from mere pipe dreams — it was from concerted effort and co-operation between both public and private sectors to fund and support the arts.

Parasite was not a movie intended to win an Oscar; it was a story to highlight the class divide in South Korea and the filmmaker's aim was what the goal of all dedicated creatives: to tell a good story.

We need to spend less time getting angry and more time getting busy. Anger is a great fuel to drive the creative process or inspire civil movements.

It is a waste if instead we use it to make too many posts on social media.

On a separate note, June is also Pride month. There will be no parades in times like these, with protests and a pandemic to consider. This will be a better use of social media -- to remind those who Pride is for and that they, like everything good in this world, are worth fighting for.

Happy Pride Month.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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