Sunday, July 20, 2008

How the Fuel Hike is Good News

Thinking 'against the current' doesn't mean you disagree with how everybody feels. It does mean you get a more objective and balanced perspective.

Today I asked about 20 students how they felt about the recent hike in fuel prices. They all said it sucked bad. I then told them to come up with at least five reasons how the recent fuel hike can be a benefit to Malaysian society. They had exactly one minute to do it.

Their answers were:
  • Focuses more attention to budgeting and economizing
  • Forces us to rethink the way we spend
  • Contributes less to global warming
  • Spurs interest (and research?) in finding alternative sources of energy
  • Reduces traffic jams
  • Encourages more people to walk or use a bicycle
  • Promotes car-pooling (and, as a result, deepening friendships?)

I then asked them how they felt after they did this exercise in thinking against their own emotionally charged conclusions.

I guess you could say everyone felt slightly better. We didn't end up feeling great, of course. But there was a small noticeable difference in our eyes regarding the issue.

I suppose even a minute's worth of thinking can matter, can't it?


Leon KJ said...

Good one Alwyn, as much as it hurts, I have to agree with you - the petrol hike really forced me to modify my behaviour. I drive less and when I do, I drive alot slower and I have resolved to not spend more than 50K to upgrade my wife's old car because I expect a greener alternative to be in the market in 3 years - so behaviour modification and innovation is very much alive in Malaysia. I do however think that BN failed the nation because they should have added a more gradual hike, to soften the blow and prepared the public transportation systems before hand.

alwyn said...

Ditto on the public transportation bit (though something tells me they've added a few more LRT trains of late...hmm).

My heart does go out to some of the lower-class workers, though, who rely a lot on fuel (e.g. taxi drivers)...i think churches could give these ppl a hand and show that in time of crisis the Body of Christ acts - what do u think?