Thursday, July 2, 2009

House of M: Caveat Emptor

A guy who idolizes 'rebel-flavour' writings recently commented that Communism is better than Capitalism for Malaysia.

Why? Well, he postulated that we would have free medical care and free education, under a Socialist economy system.

I reacted by rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off.

First of all - Oooh, how my ego love being right and proving other people wrong. It makes my ego feel bigger than the other guy's ego - medical care in Malaysia is almost as cheap as water.

My father has diabetes and suffered strokes. He also has heart infarction - which means that his heart beats arhythmitically. Not arithmetically. Arhythmia, if I didn't screw up the spelling. He needs Daonil - an oral medication for diabetes and Strokan - a medicine for stroke - amongst other pills.

For years, as a civil servant retiree, he has been getting those expensive medicines for RM1 at a local Government clinic. It's not NEP. Any Government servant - regardless of race or sexual orientation - who has retired is entitled to the things. For RM1.

It was only recently, when he finds it too troublesome to walk that we decided to purchase his medication from a pharmacy.

Caring for the elderly is also tax-deductible. RM400 or RM800 or something. I can't remember. Sure, it's not RM20K, but it's something.

And my friend Kamil, though not having enough to pay for his treatment at a private hospital, turns to a Government establishment.

I even got my open mouth surgery, when I was 19, at a Government hospital. Granted, that experience saw me turn to private hospitals ever since, but again, it's something.

Agreed, that the Malaysian healthcare can be better. We have read in recent years of doctors decapitating newborn babies or allowed gangrene to set in, while delivering babies. One mother had her blood poisoned during childbirth. A friend of mine went blind at birth and blames the doctors for cutting off his oxygen supply.

Horror stories abound, in these Government hospitals. But still, again, despite everything, you can still get healthcare and medical attention, for cheaps, from the Government.

Private hospitals generally have better service, better doctors, bigger rooms, and bigger bills. People with no or less money can still opt for Government hospitals.

It is not a perfect system, even at a financial angle, but it beats the American healthcare system.

Over there, if you don't have insurance or huge amounts of cash, you better take a gun to your mouth and pull the trigger.

Hippocratic Oath? Hypocritical oath, more like it.

And so yes, I hate this country as much as the next Malaysian. But our healthcare is still accessible to more people than in some developed countries.

Back to Communism vs Capitalism.

People tend to see things as an 'either or' pattern. Either we are the US(Capitalist to the extreme), or we are Star Trek(Socialist utopia). There is no room for another version of capitalism. Another version of democracy. Sure, we can have the fundamentals at heart, but the execution can differ strongly.

Socialism did not work in Russia. Believe we can all agree on that. Maybe even the Russians can agree to that. So it is not a perfect system. Voila!

They still had disparaties; they still had classes. Castes. The ruling elite is still the ruling elite. In big houses and big cars provided for by the State.

It is not - never - the system. It is always the people.

The US, despite all their swaggering of their leftist capitalist philosophies, eventually succumbed to having a form of credit control and intervention from the Government. Laissez faire my ass. Let It Be is a Beatles song.

And furthermore, capitalism does not ensure no free things. In Germany, there's free tertiary education. But taxes are like, what? 40%?

People who read Hishamuddin Rais think they're so cool, so 'rebel', but when they get sick, I believe they will encounter a Malaysian healthcare system that is acessible financially, to almost everyone. Including Hishamuddin Rais. But he's probably rich, so he'll hop on a plane and bunk in with RPK?

Granted, not a very good healthcare system - with the kind of idiots and monkeys running around in ALL sectors - but at least there is one.

So when you buy bullshit, beware. Beware, buyer of bullshit. Beware.