Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Do You Think Malaysians Are So Incredibly Thin-skinned?

Why Do You Think Malaysians Are So Incredibly Thin-skinned?

I was posed this question from an e-mail sent to me by a 'high-profile international journalist' which you could figure it out if you read further.

Why? I dunno, maybe because most of them are Sensintroverts?

My Engrund is not vely the good so I fired up Google and searched for its meaning:

thin-skinned - quick to take offense
huffy, touchy
sensitive - having acute mental or emotional sensibility; "sensitive to the local community and its needs"

Hello there! Seemed to be like describing me there!

The journalist must have came across my blog post and read this:

Oh, so they are finally saying something good about Malaysia this time.

If the question was directed to me (as I'm a Malaysian also and proud of it), here's my explanation.

The expression was merely a sarcasm (as always The Sensintrovert is) as majority 'negative' news about Malaysia were blaring at the monitors of Beebs readers all around the world. Bless the wide reader coverage of Beebs, I got asked what was the whole 'Moorthy' thingy was all about when I was backpaking in Poland.

The gomen would like to describe them as 'biased reporting'(hence the setting up of NAM News Network etc blah blah) but I would decribe them as 'selective reporting' instead. I am no expert in journalism at all but in my opinion, the Beebs is a broadcasting company based in Britain, which of course, it needs to cater for the needs and appetite of the Brits. Thanks (or not thanks?) to the tabloids, news sensationalism is part and parcel of the British way of life (and to some extent, Malaysia too now). Asia-Pacific news is so friggin' gigantic, so who would actually be interested if they report every single little news about Malaysia like how Mawi went fishing with Diana etc. etc. So, frankly speaking, 'selective reporting' is understandable. Seriously, would people even bother to click 'Malaysia Strengthens Its Position with Latest 9MP Announced' and 'Discontent Protests Among Malaysians for Less Than 5 Pence Fuel Hike' instead of 'Malaysia offers motorway massages' or 'CSI 'helps criminals to escape'? You tell me.

I haven't done a survey too see how my Brit colleagues react when they read the news (if they even bother to) but most probably they would just lament 'Oh, those silly Malaysians' and moved on with their life.

Whom to blame then? We have no one to blame except ourselves, for 'acting silly' or coming out with 'shooting from the hip' remarks like the CSI and Nasi Kandar druggie food ones.

So, coming back to the question: " Am I so incredibly thin-skinned?". The answer is yes and no depending on the situation. But if pertaining to this 'selective reporting' issue, I would say no (as explained in the paragraph above). In fact, I have to thank them for reporting these 'selective news' to let the world know our grievance and the oppressive authoritative gomen would have nowhere to sweep under the carpet cases like 'Squatgate' and 'Botakgate'. These 'selective reporting' will indeed promote a more transparent and accountable gomen. (I'm not being sarcastic here at all.)

But if this question is directed to Malaysians in general, I seriously do not know. Because we are a very young country and still have inferiority complex from our ex-coloners? I seriously do not know. Perhaps I have to get myself one of the books by Dr. Elaine N. Aron on Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

I need to get my hands on this book; will pop down to Borders or Waterstones later, maybe?

Meanwhile, this is what Wikipedia has to say on 'Highly sensitive person':

A Highly sensitive person processes sensory data exceptionally deeply and thoroughly due to a biological difference in his or her nervous system. This term was first coined by Dr. Elaine N. Aron, who subsequently wrote several books about the subject.

The research on sensory-processing sensitivity builds on Eysenck's views on introversion and arousal and Gray's work on the inhibition system. This research shows that about 15-20% of humans and higher animals have a nervous system that is more sensitive to subtleties. This means that regular sensory information is processed and analyzed to a greater extent, which contributes to creativity, intuition, sensing implications and attention to detail, but which may also cause quicker overstimulation and overarousal.

This temperament may also be connected with continuously high cortisol levels, which may cause hypervigilance and susceptibility to trauma. Also, being highly sensitive may amplify or create psychological issues if overarousal is not managed well. Giftedness may also be linked with high sensory-processing sensitivity.

Are you a thin-skinned Malaysian too (psstt...especially to those nasty comments in your blog)?

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