Friday, April 06, 2007

Critical thinking: lead by example

I have to agree with the deputy minister when he said that most young Malaysians are unable to think critically. He has asked that parents give their children more freedom to make choices and take responsibility, which will encourage their young to think.

Personally, I can't really blame the parents when the leaders of our country are quite incapable of thinking critically either. Suggesting that bloggers be require to register themselves is just the most recent example of ministers trying the wrong solutions to solve non-existant problems.

So, it's not just the young that are lacking the necessary critical thinking skills. Our government ministers consistently demonstrate the very same behavioral deficiency as well. Actually, if everyone in the country was capable of thinking critically, bloggers would be the least of their problems.

I don't think that this problem is one that is endemic to Malaysia. It is a problem that afflicts every nation in the world. Everyone is trying to solve this problem through different ways. All the countries in the world recognise the need to have a nation of thinkers, rather than just doers, if they wish to remain competitive in the current world market.

So, maybe it would be a good idea to get some of our political leaders to lead by example. Instead of donating RM 20+ million to a single school for building new infrastructure, the government should probably, think critically, and spend that money in a better way, like investing in the OLPC project.

Giving every child in Malaysia the access to information and showing them ways to use that information properly, will give birth to critical thinkers. Trying to get someone to think critically is merely a question of access to information and exposure to external experiences. Essentially, giving the young an opportunity to break out of the coconut shell.

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