Friday, November 7, 2008

Penans in Penang

Why do you have to roam so much, to go as far as Korea?

To look for food.

Can't you grow your own food?

It is not our tradition to grow our own food. We only forage.

Why do you forage?

We have this knowledge. Nature provides for us an abundance of food which is just lying around waiting to be picked. But we must know where to pick and when.

Won't you like to learn how to cultivate your own food, do some husbandry?

We will change our way of life only when we are forced to.

Isn't this the time?

We'll see.


de minimis said...

That's very cryptic. It also raises the question that given the nature of the Malaysian federal system, where the bulk of revenues are received by the central government, how does an Opposition state government go about with its economic programme? Should they just leave t to the centre?

What if the central government maliciously decide to just stick to the minimum grants specified in the constitution and just "starve" the Opposition state? A good example is Kelantan.

Granted that this is more of a political question than an economics question, are there any strategies that an Opposition state can adopt apart from making do with meagre state budgets?

In any event, from the revenue-collection standpoint, foraging in places like South Korea seems to benefit the central government more than the state government.

A real conundrum for Opposition state governments.

etheorist said...

Dear de minimis,

Thanks for kicking up some dust.

Certainly, a problem for a State government caught in such a situation.

The only alternative to FDI is for the local people to invest, which means two things:

(a) They have confidence in the State and are sinking their life savings into their birthplace; and

(b) They are clever enough to compete locally and in the world.

Failing which, of course, we are all beggars.