Pushing Against A Rock

When you hear about all the things going wrong with Malaysia’s system… Like the rich getting more contracts while the poor get nothing… Or the inefficiencies of the government services… Or the weaknesses of the education systems… Or corruption being the standard way of political life… Or any number of things that nobody seems to be doing anything about… How do you feel? What will you do about it?

Sometimes I wish I could do something worthwhile, meaningful and effective to change the state of Malaysia. Maybe I could enter politics, as Anne suggested. That’s one way to bring about improvements with the support of the people! (UPDATE 17 Jan: Like this guy, 21 years old and running as an independent in Batu Talam! Wow!)

But then I get discouraged… What can one kid like me do in the big, bad world of Malaysian politics? Where everyone and the whole system is so firmly entrenched in the status quo. When the people of Malaysia would vote to keep their own comforts at the expense of any real progress.

I mean, hasn’t Lim Kit Siang been campaigning and clamoring for change for decades now? What has been accomplished? Has the government budged even an inch? Have the people made even a peep?

The way things are in Malaysia have been the way they are for 50 years… More, if you count the pre-Independence shaping of politics and system. And by the look of it, those in the system are in no eager mood to have their comfy little kingdoms disrupted in the name of ‘the greater good’.

And oh, what challenges I would face personally! I’m Chinese but am not fluent in Mandarin or dialects (but if Lee Kean Yew could learn Chinese from scratch to win voters’ trust, maybe I could too). I’m not rich and Malaysian politicians are accorded no regular paycheques. I’m bad at being organized, keeping notes and remembering names offhand – a good secretary would be a must for me!

All taken together, trying to make things better it would be like pushing against a huge rock. The rock of an entire country’s unwillingness to change, mired in the thick and sticky mud of bereaucracy and indifference. What’s the point in even trying?

But comparing the current system to an immovable rock makes me remember a story that’s been told. Here’s how I retell it:


One day, God spoke to an ordinary man and asked him to do something. God showed the man a huge rock and told him to push against it. And so the man did.

Every day, the man would push and strain and exert himself against the rock. The rock would remain still. At the end of the day, the man would go home and recover, and then get back to pushing the rock again in the morning.

After many weeks of this, the man started to feel discouraged. what was he accomplishing? The rock was too big and heavy! How could he ever move it?

The devil took this chance to stir up the man’s doubts. What was God up to, giving the man an impossible task that was difficult, futile and worthless? Why was God wasting the man’s time, energy and talents on this fool’s errand?

But the man kept on pushing and pushing, every day. Until one day when he couldn’t take it anymore, he cried out in despair to God: “God! Why did you ask me to push this rock? It’s too big, I can’t move it!”

And God spoke: “My son, I never asked you to move the rock. I only asked you to push against it. And look at what’s it’s accomplished: Your shoulders have grown broad and your muscles strong. Your stamina and endurance have increased. ANd most important of all, you have learnt patience and perseverance. All of these are to prepare you for the tasks I have for you to accomplish.”

“All that I wanted from you is your obedience. And now, I Myself will move this rock.”

And with that, God flung away the rock with a single command. And the man went on to carry out God’s purposes for him.


That story is inspiring to me. Maybe all that I have to do is to just be obedient and do my best… To learn and grow in the meantime. And keep on learning and growing if I ever play a more prominent role in turning the country around. And God will move the rock in His own time and way.

Our country is blessed, people! We may have floods, but that’s nothing compared to tsunamis and hurricanes and earthquakes.

We’re situated at a major naval trading route, with a pupulation that speaks English, Malay, Chinese and Indian languages – perfect for doing business with the West and rising economic powers China, India and Indonesia.

We’re fairly industrialized and information technology literate, and we aren’t plagued by civil war or racial/religious conflict.

Perhaps God has great plans for Malaysia… And we are all part of it, in great ways or small, directly or indirectly. I for one can’t wait to be used for His glory and the raising up of Malaysia. God willing la…

Thus in conclusion, there is no rock that cannot be moved. Save the Rock of our salvation that we must build our lives upon, Jesus Christ our Lord. And if we stand firm upon His example, every other rock in the way will be broken into dust.

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