Saturday, October 08, 2005

Things are never so simple

*This post was written yesterday but was not posted due to a busy day at work. It's a rant and a manifestation of my dislike for authority figures and people who think they know better, so don't expect this to be rational and bias free. Thank you very much.

I can't decide whether to go for lunch or not today. Or whether I want to have it outside or not. It's so hot outside right now.

I was reading the news and reading blogs this morning. As usual, lots bad news. Then again, what can we expect from the mainstream media. Why is that huh? Is the public so keen to read bad news?

I was reading milblogs by servicemen from Iraq and I've noticed so many good stories, some heroic, others heartwarming and others not so great. But I've also noticed that these stories from the front aren't quite as negative as the mainstream media puts it. So which is it? Who's winning? Is it really Vietnam II?

Like I always say, I think that the truth is always in the middle somewhere, halfway between the John Wayne'esque stories hawks like to tell and doom and gloom that is the mainstream news.

My opinion? America should withdraw BUT not without someone else replacing them. They cannot just pack up and leave just like that without securing Iraq. To do that would be the height of irresponsibility. And more people would hate America.

If they can't secure Iraq, then they need to find someone else to help with that. Who? I have no idea.

Of course, some people, who mean well I'm sure, are too naive to see that. I still see many antiwar folks who hold on to the idea that once America leaves, religious terrorism will magically disappear and everyone will live happily ever after. Really?

It's never quite as simple as that is it?

And talking about naivety, I read in the paper today that some well meaning but naive people think that the solution to bad habits like smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages is to either hike up the price until it becomes too expensive or a total ban.

This will not work. I can tell you that absolutely. Is this me being stupid again? Don't believe me? Believe it. Bans have been tried before and they don't work.

Why doesn't it work? Why won't people stop drinking and smoking when things get too expensive legally? Two words.

Black market. The demand is still there, so somebody will fill the gap. It's just the way it works. The idea of pricing these things out of people's reach is invalid. And no, enforcement won't work either. If it did, the Mafia wouldn't be as powerful like it is now would it?

The fundamental truth is that people are people and among other things, people hate being told what's good or bad for them. Yep, even in Malaysia. Everyone and his moral guardian brother talks about how people should not smoke/drink/mingle with the opposite gender/modify their vehicles/etc but how many people listen?

Why not listen? It's annoying and insulting that's why. People don't like being treated like they're stupid, even if what they're doing is stupid.

Take me for instance. If people treat me like a pariah because I smoke, will this make me want to stop smoking? Hell no. It will only piss me off and make me want to smoke more, just to prove a point. Juvenile and immature I know, but it's not illegal and it's still my choice right?

What can be done is to reason and educate. People will listen more if they are treated like adults and not some stupid budak kecik (small kid).

Having good intentions doesn't make it ok to be condescending and kurang ajar (rude).

People stop bad behaviour and quit bad habits on their own, and for no other reason. And certainly not because of some asshole moral guardian.

My point is that people should stop minding other people's business, whether or not they are agreeable. Opinions are fine, but not when you try to impose on other people. No one has any right to do things that are "for my own good". I'll decide that, thank you very much.

This is my opinion.

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