Monday, March 4, 2013

Miss Information

It occurred to me, while sitting down in a bus for 14 hours in a trip up north just a few days ago, that I know a lot of stuff.

I felt - I feel - this 'lotness of stuff' simply because in comparison, sadly, Malaysians know very little. The amount of knowledge an average Malaysian has is, I believe, much, much lower than an average person in, say, Sweden, or Canada, or the States.

Now, I'm not being condescending. I am being quizzical. Why is it that Malaysians know less? Is it because we don't read books? I doubt that. Malaysians read. We also watch an obscene amount of television and film. Is it the content being put forth? We have what, four Discovery channels? Five? Nat Geo. Animal Planet. We have access to the Internet. TED, Wikipedia, YouTube, Google. So why is it that most Malaysians know so little?

I believe - and this is coming from me sitting in a bus for 14 hours - that this stems from our culture of not sharing ideas and information. We are very stingy when it comes to information - afraid, perhaps, that people will steal our ideas or our knowledge.

And so, those who know little hoard their information jealously, afraid their information will diminish if other people know as well.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the key to stupidity.

Information can only grow when it is shared. I gained ALL of my information by reading, by going to Wikipedia and reading an average of 40 articles a day. I ask questions on Twitter and in forums. I also found some tell-tale signs here.

In local forums, if you ask for information for some things, the 'experts' are extremely reluctant to share their info. You go to the same type of forum - an international one - and you get people jumping over themselves to answer your question, if you ask nicely enough. Sometimes, even if you're being an asshole.

And they don't get annoyed with questions. When I was in high school - and I was with the top 400 kids in Malaysia - some of the other kids would groan if anyone asks a question. Why? Because they're monkeys, yes, and also because it is our egotistical culture to pretend to know or to make it seem as if the information we do not have as irrelevant and valueless. Why is this so? BAM! Another rhetorical question, bitch! Because our culture, our civilisation, has not been an information culture for any long period of time.

We are also very insecure, as a people. This is perhaps because we don't come from an affluent society, a society where we can create and determine values ourselves.

I have benefited from lots of people sharing their information with me. So much so, that I get excited when I can share information with anyone. Does that make me better than you? Well, if you still think that way, you are, I'm afraid, a monkey. An egotistical white-faced gibbon.

See, being better than anyone is not the point. That's just stupid. You don't get happiness from being better than anyone. Look at me - my happiness does not stem from me being better than everyone, and I am better than everyone. I am happy with some peace and quiet and doing things I like, for example Thai girls. Also, sharing knowledge.

Some of my best ideas come from random talks with people. Whenever I share information, I always get more information, and so it grew, until I am the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century.

So please, if you want to know more, if you want to be the best at what you do, whatever it is, share your knowledge and skills and what you know. Always answer questions. No, I don't want your dirty little secrets - I believe there are no secrets because I can read minds and blablabla.

I hope that one day, I can write for a Malaysian audience that is smarter than me. That would be such fun.