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Heroes and villains

Heroes and villains

CRIME is at an all-time high, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. My friend who lives in Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya laments that snatch thefts occur daily in the streets leading to the LRT station there.

What she finds incredulous is that there are no police personnel in the area despite the severity of the situation.

“How are the people going to report to the police? If they are using the LRT, it means they don’t have a car. They would have lost their mobile phones, and by the time they get everything sorted out and get someone to help them, it is probably late afternoon. They wouldn’t be bothered to report the crime by then.”

The police’s proffered explanation that they do not have enough personnel is, my friend says, a “lame excuse”. At the same time, she is distressed that foreigners are allowed “to run rampant in our country” since she believes they are responsible for rising crime rates, even though police statistics do not prove this to be true.

The question on her and many other people’s minds is: why is someone not doing something about it?

Power at the stroke of a pen

I will diverge here by asking a silly little question. Ever read comics like Superman? These comics tell of someone more powerful than us mere mortals, who strives to protect the weak from evildoers. The comic-book hero might be imaginary, but would it not be wonderful if there were someone like that to protect the people and create a utopia for humankind?

Believe it or not, there are many such powerful beings walking among us, all disguised as politicians, given powers beyond us mortals to enact laws and manage an entire state’s or a country’s resources. Regardless of age, gender, religious leaning and economic wealth, these politicians (accidental or otherwise) are the super-powered beings of our world. With but the stroke of a pen, they can change the lives of the people around them, for better or worse. People, understandably, flock to them for help.

Citizens, ignorant of their rights, go to the politician to beg for a hawker’s licence because the official way of getting the licence is frustrating to no end. The educated middle class, who are fully aware of their rights, still go to the politician in frustration when a humungous highway is coming up next to their homes. The rich and the powerful fete politicians to lavish dinners, where they would attempt to broker for a slice of the power the politicians wield.

Perhaps I am exaggerating, but it is only so that I can emphasise my next point: (some) politicians are looked upon as our saviours, even if we do not care to admit it.

Heroes and villains
The roads around Taman Paramount are said to be crime prone, with snatch thefts occurring daily (Pic by KW Mak)
Coming back to the issue of crime in the streets, we need to start realising that the police and the criminals are not to be fully blamed for the situation, but that our ruling government has a hand in it, too.

When the police complain of insufficient resources to do their job, they are indirectly telling the public that their bosses (the politicians in government) have not given them these resources or fought hard enough in Parliament to secure these resources.

When 80% of crimes are committed by locals, the criminals are telling us that those in power have not managed our resources well enough to provide education and job opportunities for all.

Help them help us

I am not trying to shift the blame to our politicians. Because while they, as policymakers, wield the power to change society, only the good ones will be visionary enough to act without being prompted. The majority, however, are not visionary, and will need prompting and public support to do the work that needs to be done in Parliament or the state assembly.

Which leads me to my final point: does the public even know who their political representatives are? My friend did not, even though she exercised her voting rights. To her, and many others, all that was important was the party she voted for, because the party was supposed to take care of the rest.

What we do when we don our apathetic veils is look for a Superman to save us. We pray that a saviour will deliver us justice, but stop short of doing what we have to do ourselves. We vote once in five years — hope, pray or wish for the best — but do not ourselves do the needful to right a situation.

If you are a victim of a crime, report it, no matter how difficult it is, perhaps with a friend’s help to ease the process. Help the police and your politician justify the call for more resources to be given to the police. If you know of people who need welfare, help them get it through your elected representative. If you don’t know who your representative is, find out.

If you don’t care, chances are, no one else will either.

Malaysians created a small sense of hope for themselves when they delivered five states into opposition hands, but that hope cannot be sustained by wishes alone. No politician can effect change without the public’s backing; their power lies in us. End of Article

Heroes and villains
(© Dawn Hudson / 123rf)

Since being made MBPJ councillor in July 2008, KW Mak wishes he has powers like Superman to help him deal with all the problems the Petaling Jaya community is facing.

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