On the difference between myth and reality…

I spent this morning browsing the usual cornucopia of news sources, from the usual government-endorsed mainstream ones, to the independent sources which claim to report the sordid truth… And what a world of difference it was. Eye-opening, really… If one could call it that.

A gaping chasm opened when we begin the comparison between what is considered news. I felt as if I wasn’t reading news from the same country. Heck, a different continent would have been more appropriate. In the mainstream media, all was well and dandy. We hear of people living a good life, and that the standard of living is improving, the infrastructure is improving, crime rates on a downward trend, inflation is lower than ever, bla bla bla… The coming elections just happen to a bump in the road for the government, who is doing fantastically well, and will again win the people’s mandate of ruling ohh-so-justly and unselfishly.

In the independent sources, however, we read of tales of corruption and stories that would make your grandmother’s hair curl. And I tell you, my grandmother’s hair won’t curl so easily. Take your pick – we have the whole judicial crisis and Lingam thing going on, and then there’s the who circus about the elections.

As a person who claims to be ‘informed’ and ‘unbiased’, it is indeed mind-boggling to make sense of the horseshit both camps are hurling at each other. Some are true, of course, from both camps. Some bits of news, though, are so out of this world, they seem better placed as a plot line in a Spanish soap opera.

As an ordinary person on the road, I always tell myself that the powers-that-be, and their opposition will utilize the media as a means of influencing the rakyat. It is after all, a far-reaching and influential form of persuasion. All the more reason why all parties with a stake will make the effort to get their stories out. Some more effectively than others, some more believable, some just plain crazy it makes your tummy tickle at the insanity of it all.

That is why, ladies and gentlemen, always take what the media feeds you with a bucket of salt. Think it through, before you commit an opinion or heaven forbid, make a commitment based on them. Rather, rely on your own cow sense and observation, to validate these outlandish claims.

A perfect example would be the whole Nurin Jazlin / Sharlinie thing – if it were so, as said by the media recently, that crime rates are on a downward trend, would there be more high-profile kidnappings in a such a short timeframe, as it has been now? Or is the public being deceived, that in the past, there were MORE such kidnappings, but not as widely publicized? I’m more likely to draw the easier conclusion, that there are indeed more kidnappings now that there were before… Apply Occam’s Razor to the equation, where the simplest solution is always the most elegant and more likely answer…

What about the cost and standard of living? The mainstream media has been constantly bombarding us with ‘facts and figures’ about how it has been improving. Conveniently, they forgot to mention that inflation too, is rising in tandem, or more likely, to be rising even faster than our growth would allow. We are now earning more, but then spending ever more much money to keep at the same standard of living. Take for example, the price of roti canai, that has doubled in the span of two years, from RM0.50 to RM1.00 per piece. Has the salary of minimum wage earners, doubled in the same span of time? The answer is obvious, that we now pay more dearly for the very same things we did not ten years ago, but just two or three years ago, and wage has not increased. Instead, when the government recently announced a pay hike for civil servants, the price of goods and services went up and up and up!! I won’t even start on petrol and toll… That, ladies and gentlemen, deserve their very own rant…

This coming general election, choose wisely. For even the wise, may make the very best choices, and live to regret it later. Even the opposition may not have the cures for all our ails. We, ourselves, need to make it better…

Wishing for simpler times, when RM10 felt like a king’s ransom – Jasmine.

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