Malaysians are not stupid to begin with. Level of intelligent in Malaysia can be compared with other modern region in the world. There is doctor in Malaysia, lot of lawyer, scientist, etc. In fact, the number is increasing as the population of Malaysia increase.
To be truth about it, the intelligence in Malaysia are only referring to the people that accept the changes and have the desire to enquiry on what is going on around them. People that are adapting to their modern environment. People that change their attitude change their behavior and change their way of thinking. There is millions out there in Malaysia still living with their strict customs and did not change anything in their life. Or only change a certain thing. How they change that is in fact what I’m trying to discuss here. How? One good teacher is always there to be with Malaysian, mass media, specifically television.
Television is the only technology that can be accepted for all Malaysian. Every house in Malaysia has television. Pay around RM50 and you can get satellite transmission to watch channel from oversea. You can keep in touch on what is going on around the world. But that is for people that can afford to but satellite television channel. For those who did not, they will be a free channel for Malaysians. 4-5 channels that supplied by the government for them without a charge.
Television can be a good educator. All around the world, television are used as a part of learning system. In Africa, televisions are brought to a rural village just to educate people. In United Kingdom, elementary student are assign to do some review or homework of one educational television program. No one on earth did not realized about the existence of Sesame Street. A television program that can educate young children on how to read and calculate.
All of this is about education children, but television also can educate older person, or influence and make them more stupid. This is reality. But in first world country, this rarely happen. When you watch American, European, or Japanese TV Movie or Drama, you can learn something from it. I narrow it to medicine. By watching America’s TV drama such as Heroes, and prison Break (two program that I like the most), or even House, Grey’s Anatomy, all of this program are educating the public. Because most of the viewer of these TV show is the public, we can say that this program will increase the knowledge of the viewers/public. All the facts in the program are real, the fiction is the storyline, and the facts are the fact. Medically speaking, even a housewife knows what are the symptoms and sign of liver failure by only watching such program. European, Japanese TV program are also leading to that. Watching some drama such as Practical Doctor from Japan and even Love from Harvard from Korea will produce same effect on educating people by watching. I remember Nitroglycerin as a treatment for angina by watching Love from Harvard.
Ok enough writing on those countries TV Program. Lets turn now to Malaysia. As we know, television is there in every family in Malaysia. So what are they showing in Malaysia. Generally speaking, television show in Malaysia are making Malaysians stupid, not increasing their knowledge. Politics by far is the leading wave show in television. To be honest, I did not feel politics should be ban and bring lot of harmful effect. Politics can be show because it keeps this country in peace. By showing a program about a Chinese child having friends with Malay and Indian can be a good thing to show even this not happens in reality. Showing a Chinese can speak Malay fluently can be a good thing even most of the Chinese in West Malaysia and a few from East Malaysia did not know how to speak Malay at all. Showing a Malay work well with Chinese in TV can be a good thing even Malay and Chinese would not go along together for the next 20 years, in my guess.
So here I won’t talk on that. Politics should be aired in Malaysia’s Television because it could be a way to integrate Malaysians. Because I learn some medical fact by watching over sea’s TV program thus here I want to talk about medicine in Malaysian TV.
How about it? None. Malaysia’s TV never shows the real fact about medicine. Most of the medical facts are created only by showing a person is sick and a doctor is saying that person is dying. Stereotyped. Only the roles of doctors were shown in the TV but not about the disease.
Surely we can educate people by showing details about the disease. Just a little detail. Maybe a Malay Drama can show a person is having a lung cancer, talk about the risk factors about it, some treatment option, or show some early sign and symptoms, or show prognosis. Or put some fact in a drama talking about Gastric Ulcer , then add few real details on how to prevent it, how to diagnose it, what cause it, option of treatment, and risk factor. Everything can educate people about the disease.
In reality, what a Drama in Malaysia’s TV show is about a person having a cancer and only have 3 months to live. What kind of educational fact can we get there? Everyone knows disease can kill. There is no need to show that. And I have seen a drama showing a person have liver cancer, but that person in that drama does not show any symptoms of the disease except collapse in front of her boyfriend and then rushed to hospital. There is no fact to learn there.
And the most annoying thing I have seen is on 7th July 2007, around 11 am in TV1 (Malaysia). I saw a drama there showing a girl having a liver cancer (again) and she is dying. Her boyfriend said that an operation should be initiate but the doctor said her kidney is weak, cannot do operation (?). Is that real? I am also confused about that fact. I thought the doctor would say that the cancer is metastasizing to her kidney. That is most common why people did not do operation because there is less hope if a cancer metastasize. And within the period of the girl having the cancer, she did not taking any drugs, no chemotherapy are shown to be done. Maybe there is no need to show chemotherapy since the drama is a drama about family problem. No time to show that. BUT, that drama was showing the girl going to a ‘Pak Haji’ and take Gamat juice as her treatment since hospital treatment produce no effect. That drama describe about Gamat, talking about research on Gamat, telling that Gamat can cure any disease. And the most surprising things to me is, the girl recovered from that liver cancer in the end because of that gamat juice. A traditional medicine common in Malaysia.
I hate it. This kind of things will cause Malaysians to be stupid. An uneducated person in America would know the symptoms and treatment of a disease by watching popular TV drama, House. An uneducated in Malaysia will know that liver cancer can be treat by Gamat. Things that would not happen in reality.
Most TV drama did not care about the medical fact or any educational fact. Most of them are emphasizing on the character and the storyline only. It does not matter if you did not mention any educational or medical fact in the drama but if you do, you should take it seriously.
So here I conclude that Malaysia TV program is what making Malaysian stupid. I hope that later, director and TV writer can take something more seriously. Do not just put a person sick and then recovered by the miracle of traditional medicine. Peoples always belief on TV program. So do not make Malaysians stupid.
P/S: Gamat is Sea cucumber. In Malaysia, it was very popular and Malaysia is one of the exporters of this product. Available in oil, juice and pills around Malaysia. Gamat are said to cure many disease claimed by the company that manufactured it but no medical journal were published on that. No evidence shows that Gamat can cure any disease, only known that Sea cucumber is a very nutritional food sources. It contains lot of protein. Sea cucumber could cure some wound or relieved some body ache, but to cure a chronic disease such asthma, cancer, heart disease is still impossible at this time. This is because solid evidences are needed to really say about this. A research in Kyoto show a patient recover from a nearly death situation by taking Gamat juice but as we all know, medicine need a big randomized trial to say some drugs is useful. A patient case is always excluded in medicine research.