To boycott or not to boycott?

In the midst of our anger towards the oppression and cruelty of Israel’s attack towards the Palestine. There are a group of people who calls for boycotting many of israel related company and their product. While i dont necessarily agree on the whole boycott thing but i respect their choice.

However, i find what Afdhlin Shauki said in one of his talk about why we should boycott quite interesting to share with. He mentioned in his talk that, since we are boycotting Mc Donald, why not we eat the local burger stall and support the local economy instead? Such as the Charcoal burger thats been a trend nowadays

The main point is that when we want to call for a cause, it would be helpful if we suggest what is their alternative to that. Instead of focusing on the negative part, show them the way out. Focus on the positive rather than being carried away by our feelings and anger towards the Israel. Show a better way in solving the issue rather than just protesting it.

Just like if we want someone to change into a better person, we cannot expect people to change if all we do is criticize them negatively on what they should or should not do. Nobody likes to be told what to do, so instead of telling people they should do this and that, show them how to do it.

Even in workplace , there will always be that superior vs junior gap where the newbies or the younger executive for example gets scold for not doing a good job. Forgetting that they too were once young and did not know how to do it.

In school for example, some teachers tend to scold their students for being stupid and lazy without trying to understand that maybe, just maybe, they really dont understand what we are trying to teach them. Some might not be good in numbers,because they are more suitable in subjects that requires them to read. Everyone have their own ability to learn what they suit best, we cant expect all students to be able to be a doctor or engineer , else who is going to be the lecturer? A teacher? Even a painter?

So as a teacher, they are responsible to find out the strength and weakness of their students , and instill interest on subjects they are weak in, and polish their skill on the subjects they are already good at.For example, there was a video on how a teacher help his student overcome his stammering problem by letting him listen to songs on his headphone as he gives speech. By putting the headphone, the boy can focus on his speech and reduces his nervousness. Eventually he can finally give out a speech on the last day of his school graduation and made his schoolmate and teachers cry because of his progress.

I remember one time when i was buying a pasembur, the mamak messed up the plate and accidentally poured the ‘kuah kacang’ too much all over the plate. He cleaned up his table but not the pasembur plate that i ordered. Instead of scolding him, i tried a different way, which is, ask him to change a new plate and make him understand why i ask him to do so. I told him that, if he does this to the customers, they will not come to his shop anymore because they think that his way of serving people are dirty. Since he’s probably the new guy so most probably he doesnt know that things are practiced differently in Malaysia. Ever since, i was called ‘kakak’ or big sister and served right away lol.

As for boycott, if you want to boycott their product , i wont stop you, but try not to assume that just because some of us do not necessarily do as you want, doesnt mean we are less concerned about the Palestinian. Everyone have their own way in helping the Palestine, some just choose not to show what they do for others.

Going back to the whole boycott issue, why not we encourage people to go for local product like what Afdhlin Shauki mentioned. Support the locals.
Personally i would not want to eat Mc Donald simply because its not healthy for our health, Coca Cola contains too much sugar, promote healthy living style per say? Eat locally or grow own vegetables, start cooking from home, most of the products listed in Israel product if we boycott could also mean we are boycotting having too much unhealthy food and chemical hazardous in our life.

Consumerism are one of an epidemic that many countries faces everywhere, we buy things we ‘want’ more than we ‘need’. Some in order to maintain such life style have gone into huge debt to sustain their neverending hunger towards materialism. We keep on buying so many gadgets, shoes , clothes and food that only last as long as the next big thing in the market.

If we are really determined to boycott, then the most extreme and surely way that can really collapse the whole fundings would have been boycotting the paper money we are using and make our own money by exchanging with each other our goods and services. There are a lot if communities around the world who have started off their own community currency by exchanging their service, time and goods between each other due to the scarcity of money or financial crisis per say.

For example in Greece, after the collapse of the Euro crisis, some community barter trades with each other. Iothers in Europe and even in Us prints their own local currency by collaborating with their local bank that helped the local economy to sustain themselves without needing to go to the big supermarket and go to the local supermarket instead. Some exchange their time by exchanging hour for hour under the Time Bank system (you can wiki on your own) One hour of someone repairing their computer are exchangeable for another hour of whatever work or skills that the other person whom they exchange with can do. Some even uses gold and silver coin like in Utah and even in Malaysia with their Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham coin.

However there are also pros and cons to it since the demand and supply of the service and goods dont always meet with one another. The spirit of it, which calls upon the need of rebuilding our local economy . Local shops such as local groceries store are forced to close down due to coming of big supermarket from outside the country. They could not compete with multinational coorperation that offers cheaper price so there arent many local grocery store that is still running until today. Very few like Mydin still manage to operate until now.

But for the small local shops that still does, they barely make much as they do before when this happened, most of us prefers to go to big supermarket, they buy and they went home. Unlike the time when we were small (at least for me) , we would go to the local grocery store and get the chance to talk with the ‘Apek’ or ‘Mamak’ or ‘Pakcik’ running the store. Grocery store are also one of the place where the people in the neighbourhood meet with each other and have a small chat about update news on whats going on around their neighbourhood and their life as well. Its also the place where kids would gather with their bicycle and buy all our childhood ‘cekedis’ or junk food like Ding Dang, Tora and all sorts of it to fulfill our sweet tooth cravings.

Interestingly other place did not need to use money like in Curitiba, Brazil (since World Cup just finished) , exchanges their waste for a bus ticket hence promoting a sustainable living life style that helps their environment. They also have the highest rate in recycling by 70% which was initiated by children and created the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – a bus system that works like a light rail system that is 10 times cheaper.This in a way not just curbs their environmental problem making their city cleaner and healthier but also empowers their citizens in reducing their cost of living while at the same time protecting their environment.The project was an effort by their town mayor, Jame Learner which awards their city as Global Sustainable City in 2010, ( http://www.citiesforpeople.net/cities/curitiba.html)

At that time there was a strong sense of community among us that unites us and give a sense of belonging between one family to another. Nowadays, we either grew suspicious about one another or wouldnt even bother to get to know who lives next door. Thus, leading to a breakdown not just community but the society itself. And when a family breaks up such as domestic violence, divorce and all, there arent many who would be willing to help and protect these family and give their support. We are expected to deal it on our own and would not interfere and mind their own business.

Even if there is government and NGO channel to get support, not many knows how to reach it making these family live in a bad state like we see on the media. Only when its too late we hear news about abusive parents that neglects their children and all kind injustice done to them. And then , we started to point finger to everyone except ourselves. Its easy to point finger and put the blame on others but its harder for us to reach out and pull out people from the state they are living just because we are too busy minding our own business.

We became individualistic, probably selfish and couldnt care less about anyone around us but ourselves. But when we face problems, such as robbery, snatch theft, children getting kidnapped, and even murder, who do we turn to? Its not surprising that as one’s house was on fire or run into an accident, the other are busy posting it up on the social media for their own benefit instead of helping.

I dont quite agree on posting up the misery of others, especially body parts of people dying, as much as we want the people to know the cruelty of what the Israelis done to the Palestinian. It would not do much harm if we could respect the fact that they have passed away. Would we like our body part to be exposed in the social media like that? Respect the dead, instead of showing their flesh esp their aurat.

Instead post videos that can educate the people about the history of the Palestinian per say and why we are against Israel. The way to creating awareness is to educate the public, not judge them or be angry at people who dont support your cause and assume that they are insensitive or anything.

Help them to understand the cause we are doing because they probably dont know as much you do. Afterall not many are aware or exposed to the reality that the Palestinians are facing right now. So it is important that we send the right message and not get misunderstood or worst labeled as extremist by people around us just because of the way we approach them. Its not ‘what’ we say but’how’ we say it that can bring changes to what we do. So if we want to make a change, perhaps its time to change our ways?

But if people dont want to change, dont dissapoint, change takes time, and even if we can only see small changes, if we continue to make small changes in our life and people around us, its already good enough. Look at the bigger picture instead of one tiny bit of things that we cannot change, and move on from that. Sooner or later people will realize what you are doing when they have seen the changes we make in our life, who knows one day they will finally see and change too? Although there is a debate whether or not Mahatma Ghandi did say this, but whoever said it does have some truth in it:

“Be th e change you want to see in the world”

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