Why must something go viral to matter?

Erna Mahyuni
Erna Mahyuni

JUNE 24 — The world is crazy enough that I've rationed my time on Twitter to a few quick scrolls a day.

It still gave me time to spy a Tweet from an ex-colleague who was a little angry that her calls to her local council went unanswered while the sinkholes near where she lived remained unfixed.

I wonder if the representatives that are supposed to look after Ampang even use the roads she has to traverse every day, fearing for her own safety while the sinkholes remain unaddressed.

Must she resort to tactics such as placing gravestones in the sinkholes to underscore  just how much of a threat they are to road users? That would be awful as in a working government, issues like these would be addressed without needing to amplify them on social media.

Yes, it sounds rich coming from someone who owes her current career to social media. I just think that bringing up daily woes should not require a citizen to need to beg people to retweet their problems.

That recent viral video about a Sabahan girl having to climb up a tree to get mobile reception made me sad as it brings to mind one of the oft-repeated, ill-thought jokes made about Sabahans -- that we all still live on trees.

The video did manage to make the poverty of my home state more easily fathomable to the masses but it also makes you wonder why is it still left behind? Why must widespread mobile reception and easy access to Wi-Fi be concentrated only in the Klang Valley for the most part?

It goes beyond state governance. Sabah and Sarawak's needs are not catered to as they should be, with too much of the national budget being concentrated on the Peninsula leaving the Bornean states with crumbs.

Veveonah Mosibin's home should have had access to a nearby telco tower but the simple truth about why towers aren't built more extensively in rural areas is they're not seen as profit generators.

Why build a telco tower where the poor folk live, right? At least, not until one of them figures out how to go on YouTube.

In 2020, there needs to be more efficient means to get in touch with the relevant authorities. The bots I get served by on Taobao are a lot more helpful than my area's council. Emailing is impossible and a phone call gets answered with “We'll get in touch.”

It gets me a little nostalgic for the days when the original Malay Mail was known for responding to reader's complaints via letters. That is unfortunately no longer possible given a lack of resources.

For things to change it really is quite simple: the focus on our modern governance should actually be to put “the people” first, instead of just “the people with a lot of money.”

Perhaps our current Opposition should also ponder those things instead of trying to figure out how to/how not to make a certain PKR head prime minister. Maybe that way they'll manage to finish a full term but the way things are going, I'd be happy to just go a month without some politician announcing they're changing allegiance.

Let's pray the next six months of 2020 are less of a rollercoaster, as unlikely as that may be. However if there's one thing social media and recent global events have taught us is that sometimes, if something matters enough, you just have to make people listen.

Here's to the voices that will no longer be silenced.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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