When I was in college, I learned how to think critically about many subjects. I grew intellectually in many areas, especially in my study of literary techniques and theological concepts. I heard the death knell of my old life, and although I was a little frightened, I embraced the educational system at university and learned how to become a mature thinker.

Everyday, I engaged intelligently with other students and teachers, talking about current issues in society, trying to defend given propositions for the sheer purpose of transforming our nation. Even though the United States is quite notorious for Machiavellian politicians (especially in Washington, D.C.), they retain their power by convincing the indifferent and ignorant masses often by sheer force of their charisma and promises.

Moral values, in the United States, have fallen behind personal beliefs in strength, as many people view their personal take on the world of more importance than foundational morality and expect morality to follow them instead of the other way around. Students feel the pressure to excel academically and to focus their intellectual energy on race, religion, and special “rights”, rather than focusing their minds on more fundamental concepts like loving each other and sacrificing for each other, basic Christian values that many people grew up with but have lost because of pressure to conform to a a very unique morality that does not include love or sacrifice.

While I admire Dorcas Lam’s letter and I grieve with him about how politicians have forced people to talk about “free thinkers as corrupting the morals of his nation,” freedom of expression is not in itself a balm for fixing the problems of Malaysia, and sometimes if left on its own, can be abused by shrewd politicians just as much as a lack of freedom of expression. I agree with Lam that people must learn to justify their conclusions, and that even the government, whatever government it may be (whether they have government-owned broadcast channels or not) must help people to learn to think for themselves in the context in which they live. If this is a priority, generation after generation may not be born as stillborns, but born to a vibrant life filled with the wonders and expansiveness of true community.

WORDS/PHRASES NECESSARY FOR CLASS DISCUSSION

Think critically
Grow intellectually
Death knell
Education system
Mature thinkers
Engage intelligently
Current issues
Given propositions
Transform our nation
Machiavellian politicians
Retain power
Indifferent and ignorant masses
Moral values
Personal beliefs
Excel academically
Race, religion, and special rights
Government-owned broadcast channels
Corrupted the morals of the nation
Justify their conclusion
Shrewd politicians
Generation after generation
Think for themselves
Sight of a stillborn