‘If you can’t explain it to your parents, you don’t understand it well enough.’ ~Einstein, purportedly
According to twitter there were 3 to 10 thousand people (depending on who you believe) in and around Padang Merbok, KL last Saturday protesting against the TPPA. I believe that most of these people didn’t even know what they’re protesting about, but that’s not the point. But wait, maybe that is the point! More on this later.
Just for the record, almost all the protesters were Malay, about 90%. Everybody seems to agree on this.
Now about this TPPA or what’s referred to as simply TPP in most other countries… I think most people don’t really understand what it’s all about, and that includes me 😉 There are some of us who might know that it stands for – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. We’ve also been told that it is a voluminous 30 chapters with more than 2,000 pages of text.
About a dozen countries have indicated that they’re almost ready to put pen to paper and sign the dang agreement, which makes the man-on-the-street feel a little queasy. What are we signing on? The line-of-divide on opinions is roughly universal in all these countries that are going to sign the Agreement – the ruling government and the big businesses therein are all ‘for’ the Agreement. On the other side of the divide are the opposition parties and the ordinary folks.
The root of the problem is this – clarity. The ‘people’ don’t understand it. And no one’s going to read 2000 pages of the document. (I don’t know about you, but I have never even read a novel which is even 1000 pages!) Now for most people, their main source of current info is the phone – the pesky social media – Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp. The naysayers exploit it to the fullest, frightening the kampong folks with untold dystopia.
For me, I just don’t know enough for me to take a stand as to whether the TPPA is good/bad. But as a citizen, I and my 30 million fellow citizens, have a right to know and it is the duty of the politicians, particularly the honourable Prime Minister, and Tok Pa to lay out to us the following:
- What is the TPPA?
- The Good and The Bad
- Why Malaysia should sign the TPPA.
And they should do this in a language that we all can understand. Maybe a 15-page Powerpoint slide deck, with a maximum of 5 points on each slide would do the trick. And use layman’s language. Assume that we are all dummies. If we don’t do this now, we’ll be spending the next few years trying to contain the fallout from the TPPA.
I propose that the vehicle to do this would be a (thin) book whose proposed cover is at the top of this article. Assalamualaikum.