Sunday, December 30, 2007

Problem Solving, the Malaysian Way!

One of the very first things that we were taught, during the first year at my former university, was problem solving. At first, I was fairly surprised that such a skill had to be taught. But then, I came to realise that some people lack the necessary logic facilities to work out how to solve problems. And as engineers, this could be a problem. Hence, problem solving became part of the syllabus, to teach us how to approach a problem and tackle it.

Generally, the steps involved are:

  1. Define the problem clearly and concisely.
  2. Consider all factors, criteria and constraints.
  3. Come up with ideas using different techniques.
  4. Test each solution against the factors.
  5. Choose a final solution.
  6. Implement it.
  7. Voila, problem solved!
Through my reading of various media, I've come to conclude that our government works with a different 7-step programme. From what I understand, it's generally:
  1. Redefine our Constitution and create a problem where there was none.
  2. Trumpet the problem and raise public awareness of it.
  3. Present a solution, which is to restore status quo.
  4. Do nothing (i.e. restore status quo).
  5. Claim to have solved the problem.
  6. Show that the government loves the rakyat.
  7. Voila, problem solved!
There are just so many examples of such situations. The issue with the Christian publication, Herald, is one example. Actually, all other major national issues are the same, such as the NameWee and Hindraf scandals. In each case, the government tramples on the Law, artificially inflates the issue, and finally solves the problem.

So, it's really no wonder that we're still stuck with 50 year-old problems, such as national unity, and regressing further each day. Little progress can be made on the real issues, when the government is too busy putting out fires that it lit itself. Maybe, the solution is to send all our ministers for a problem solving course and teach them how to put out real fires.

I love this quote by Shepherd Book from Firefly:
"A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned."
Oh, we're so screwed.


zewt said...

hahahaha... i like this.

Shawn Tan said...

thank you..

cm said...

I like the wicked banner in the right column with the word "Merdeka" partially obscured to read "Merde" which in French means "Shit"


Shawn Tan said...

Oui, bien sur! I didn't notice it until you mentioned it. I cannot claim credit for it though. It's not my design.