Everyone has an Opinion


Everyone seems to have an opinion. It is interesting to hear people communicate their thoughts, especially when one is busy clicking away on the mouse from the comforts of their office. This world is made fat from opinions, everyone wants to have a say at every fucking thing. When it comes to poverty-reduction or community-building, we see the academic fraternity and so-called community consultants offering their views of everything under the sun. Maybe they just like hearing their own pompous voice?

The greatest threat marginalized people face is the lack of hands-on work experience or the dwindling number of people who actually know whats happening on the streets, in the slums, among the hill tribes or in the troubled disaster-infested area. We can find many people with the voice and the opinion, comfortably being interviewed in an air-conditioned room, or within the comforts of a bourgeois-inflamed cafe. Everyone seems to have an opinion but not many people are actually doing any work, whether prevention or intervention. Seems these “activists” are busy attending conferences and seminars; the bane of efficiency.

So, have social advocates and activists been reduced to publicity-hungry opportunists? Are they looking for a way to be fucking celebrities? Do they eagerly seek a way to appear on the newspapers or being seen in the latest edition of national TV? Seems pointless but they have their moments of vanity and ego. So while everyone is lecturing the same old shit on national media about how to eradicate poverty or set up programs to give access to clean drinking water to children, are they truly involved with community work? Or is it the “in-thing” nowadays to be in a position to articulately lecture others while never actually been there on the ground work?

With 20 years of experience, I have seen many of these activists, regardless of age or gender, loving themselves and charmed at the thought of their profile appearing in the newspapers. What more of these self-proclaimed academics who tell people that they are the ones on the ground, with the disadvantaged, helping them through their bleeding compassionate hearts. It is fucking rubbish of course, and what happened to humility and good-old-fashion social work?

Let us not be too harsh on the bureaucracy and mentality of the government. They do what they do best, which is practically nothing. After all their bosses are usually one-off politician who would say anything to win the political skirmishes with their enemies. Let’s just blame it on the hypocrisy and complacency of activists. Yes we do have loads of social activists, lecturing about the plights of disabled people, but they are merely attention-seekers.

Can’t do much about these vanity-licking numskulls. You can’t. The fact is we are human beings, we make mistakes and we show and share our egos to others. Why you ask? Simply because they make a choice not to do work for the vulnerable community, and instead are more interested in increasing their profile, enhancing their persona. So where does this leave activism? Who the fuck cares! I’m sure as we speak, an advocate is busy preparing for another high-publicly event .



An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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