Not too long ago, the media in Malaysia was abuzz with stories of public university students revealing that they are on instead noodle diet and often go without meal due to high cost of living. There were also complaints that money disbursed from PTPTN had to be used to help their family members back home that are facing monetary problem too. As usual, all blame goes to the government in mismanaging the economy, the implementation of GST and our “beloved” Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
While I agree that the cost of living have increased tremendously, especially in Klang Valley, and yes, I agree that the government are partly to be blamed, but I have to say that instead of complaining, whining and blaming, our university students lack the drive to look for side income to improve their standard of living. If their zeal for complaining and blaming can be used in looking for side income, whether in groups or individually, their situation would have been different. Sadly, it is a case of talent being used the wrong way.
|Busking for school fees on Orchard Road|
Last Saturday, I took a walk at Singapore’s Orchard Road. On short stretch between Mandarin Orchard and Takashimaya, I saw three different students doing three different things but the message is the same. They were using their talent, over the weekend, to earn some money to pay for their school fees. One was selling handmade earrings, the other handmade cards and the last one was doing street performance.
Instead of using their energy to whack the government, these students are using it to increase their pocket money and make a difference. This sort of scene is actually very common in many cities in developed countries. However, I never come across university students in Malaysia doing anything that can increase their pocket money along Jalan Bukit Bintang. All that I know is that the side pavements of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous shopping street are full of foreigners peddling their wares. The Myanmar boy that sell stalks of roses told me that he make between RM 70 to RM 100 each Saturday night.
Peddling on the street and doing street performance are just two examples of what students can do to increase their pocket money. Besides that, there are many other ways in today’s connected world. I’ve known of university students in China who use Alibaba.com’s platform to make side income, Korean speaking students giving weekend classes in San Francisco and many more.
It makes me wonder, if foreigners can do this, then, what is wrong with Malaysia’s public university students? Are their syllabus too overwhelming that they can’t even have spare time to earn side income whether individually or in a group? Too pampered? Lazy? Easier to complain than to do? I am lost…