Flawed system leads to misplaced priority

Khawaza Main Uddin | Tuesday, 1 February 2022

A 10-year-old boy was asked by a teacher to leave online class recently since his parents couldn't pay the dues. Newborns were denied oxygen for the mother's inability to pay hospital charges. Who knows if we'll be advised to accept that there is nothing to be emotional about these incidents!

The death of zebra in Bangabandhu Safari Park and unreported death of a lion under the custody of authorised people also expose the state of human values. And the country's poor ranking in corruption perception index over the years does no longer perturb the establishment. Whoever visits relevant offices these days know what is required to access services.

Some of the country's best students of engineering, medical and other technical backgrounds join non-technical cadres of the civil service, especially administration, foreign affairs and taxation. They were, understandably, not happy to serve the masses professionally for which they were actually trained. They've clear longing for powerful bureaucratic positions and a career free of challenges and uncertainties.

In that case, the public funding for their education at institutions like the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) turns into waste of money. Can we trust they'll remain subservient to the taxpayers when they are more powerful?

Many of the young people listen to motivational speakers and read the life story of Apple founder Steve Jobs - why? No, they won't admire Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in jail and his struggle can be watched better in three hours in a movie, 'Long Walk to Freedom'!

More than any time in the past, professionals today talk about passion or due diligence and that may be because it is largely missing from the restless minds pursuing success within the shortest possible time.

We do what we don't believe in and try to take shelter where we can't feel safe and satisfied. We 'visit' friends and near and dear ones on social media where most people quarrel with each other over ego-centric issues. We are deprived of not only the warmth of meeting each other but also social activism in-person. Individuals recoil into his/her own shell of alienation.

An alumnus of a social network of about 6,000 graduates has recently written, "I've reached a conclusion based on my realisation of turning 50 years of age: Relationship of friends depends on financial solvency and (powerful) positions." Most of the comments there have sadly endorsed this view, expressing frustration at the 'harsh reality' in modern society.

The 'realist' men and women avoid showing simplicity and altruistic attitude towards those who appear to them to be helpless.

'As I took pains to earn my riches, they too should suffer if they want to become successful' is the unspoken message conveyed to the ones still excluded from the privileged class.

A dominant section of the literate people can't understand how kindness could be considered 'the highest form of intelligence' when honesty is synonymous with naivety.

The clever ones take high care of their offspring and that, they may believe, is what they are supposed to do. Their love for their own children, however, seems to be materialistic and is driven by their ego.

This is another manifestation of, on an individual's part, an utterly selfish policy, which can't ultimately be even self-serving. Polluters and criminals alike never expect their children to live in poor conditions or a hostile situation, but all have to face a common destiny they may preferably or even unwittingly decide by their acts.

Public officials who amass resources by means of bribery have been smarter these days - they buy homes abroad and siphon off money earned in the country, lest they can't protect their wealth in the place of occurrence. Their drive for making money overshadows their patriotism and work ethics if any.

Therefore, food adulteration, high incidence of road crashes and water vessel accidents, repeated fire incidents, embezzlement of public money and poor service delivery at many hospitals and educational institutions - all caused by poor governance - come round to the people concerned and may affect devastatingly their posterity unless addressed.


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