Friday, June 17, 2011

Is Perception = Reality?

Recently Prime Minister Najib said something that is controversial. It was reported in Star HERE and I quote,

"In politics, what is important is perception, not reality and this is exploited by the Opposition. Even the truth is always denied as they know that politics is all about perception and not about reality and truth. It is for us to show we are better, more effective and better understand the rakyat's aspirations so that the sentiments are more towards us"

He added that Umno and Barisan must understand how to influence people's minds and taste in order to win them over.


Unquote.

There is no denying that the government IS DOING its best to convince the people that they are making the nation more livable and prosperous. But it is not making the right impact because the people, especially the middle income group, are NOT PERCEIVING the government's efforts are bearing fruits or the right approach. The people is PERCEIVING that there is a lot of talk, a lot of grand schemes like the Government Transformation Programme to boast what it is doing for our well-being, to make us a 'high income nation'. It could be sincere and true but the public perception is 'Nah, you are spending all the money to enrich yourself at the same time, aren't you?'. Is this true? No one can tell but this is the perception which the government will do well to correct, because perception can turn truth into lies and vice versa.

It hurts when you are doing good and people perceive you have other motives. This is unfortunately how many well-meaning Malaysians are inclined to believe and the underlying reason is simply this: the government, or rather the ruling political parties of the government, have not convinced the people that they are clean, honest, capable and working for the people's welfare rather than their own. And one more issue that Najib failed to resolve when he came into office in April 2008. He failed to get his name cleared through the courts over the Altantuya murder accusation to justify he is morally and criminally clean. I think it was a grave mistake because now there is this PERCEPTION that he may have done it although there was no evidence. Perception and Doubt can bring down even a good man if he doesn't get real with those he depends for support.

One thing our government must quickly rectify is regain public trust by proving that they deserve their votes. The only way to do that is be yourself so that voters know if you are qualified to be their representatives in government. The same message goes to the Opposition coalition as the people apply the same yardstick to whoever comes into power.

So is Perception = Reality? My take is no. You are perceived to be what you are by what people say and believe about you. You may be a crook but if you spin yourself to be a saint successfully you can get away. However in this digital era it is harder to be anyone but yourself.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,Interesting post. Sort of an age-old question, that of reality versus perception. In the end, what really matters is exactly the conclusion you draw. We all approach the world with our own set of perceptions shaped by who we are and who we have been. Being tolerant and open minded to how perceptions of others differ from our own can widen our own experiences and perceptions and provide limitless possibilities for growth and discovery. Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

FR AL MAL.

Peter Yew said...

Hi Al, we often perceive what we subconsciously want to believe irrespective of whether it is true or otherwise. In the context of my post I suppose anger plays a major role in influencing what we choose to believe.

Have a good weekend.

LittleLamb said...

Uncle Yew, you've nailed it. Putting it in other context...example: news that is circulated via email/facebook/sms.. let say a certain news is widely circulated n many read it...and in most time, they perceived that the info is true / fact (just because its the talk of the town) but in reality, they have not intelligently checked or research whether is reality or rumors...

Peter Yew said...

Absolutely LittleLamb. A lie told a thousand times eventually becomes truth, not because it is but because our minds have been tricked to believe in a consensual idea perpetuated deliberately. Truth isn't the issue but manipulation is. We sometimes use the word propaganda or brain-washing to explain the process. Politicians are masterminds of such devious art forms and I don't condone the practice. Tell it as it is and let the people decide. In fact the media is the major accessories by playing the tune to fit the fiddler's call.

The play up to the Bersih 2 protest march by Perkasa and UMNO Youth add to the complication of how we perceive a simple act of demanding clean elections into political confrontation and test of might. How then do you fault the people for perceiving that a hidden hand is working to force Bersih organizers to back down?

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