Friday, October 26, 2012

Point of Views

I've recently been thinking about point of views. Why would just one statement look different to so many people. Like the adage saying goes, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is partly due to the 'effects of expectation' which Dan Ariely wrote about in his book Predictably Irrational. Among others, expectations shape stereotypes.

Why is it just one statement or a newspaper article results into many many interpretations and comments, sometimes 180' in contrast?

Here's one very interesting example Malaysia ranked 12th most business-friendly country: World Bank , which appeared in a few portals / news. Now just looking at this statement, how would you react? Please comment. Here's an examples of reactions I've seen so far.

Mr A: What a joke.... My tuition centre has been waiting the licensing support letter from district health office for 2 months
Mr B: Malaysia is actually pretty friendly to foreign investors (you are better off not being Malaysian to invest in Malaysia...). Japan has a particularly problem with opening up their domestic market.
Mr C: it means songlap (embezzlement) to da max.
Mr D:  over here, biz can move faster and everything can get done with money...
Mr E: Congratulation to all, we have achieved something good at international front. But, let us also remind ourselves that we have al ot to improve on our domestic ranking, likes Crimes index
Mr F: Good news... only from other news portals.. not from Malaysiakini...Malaysiakini only can do "FITNAH
Mr G:  I go to USA regularly and things are really bad there. I am so glad that I am a Malaysian and our economy is under control. go to USA regularly and things are really bad there. I am so glad that I am a Malaysian and our economy is under control.
Mr H: And there is another report on yahoo as well that Malaysia economy growth is the slowest among Aseans, at 4.4 2012 and 4.7 2013. Ask any business on the streets, and they will tell you business is slow and has slowed down significantly, . Sadly It has been under performing year , Now don't give excuse that our under performance was due to economy crisis in Europe cos Indonesia economy growth was published at six percent and Philippines..

AND SO ON... above are actual excerpts. So how? What's up?

Well my theory is mostly whatever you comment or read, is sometimes what you want to 'see'. Yes impartially speaking it's quite hard to be impartial when you have history, background and pre-assumptions. Even though all the above have points, each can be 'shot' down by someone with different views. Lets try to answer (and intentionally shoot-down or oppose the above comments which was a mix response to the article - I think you'd agree) each of the above comments:

Mr A : What a joke - What, this report is World Bank, and takes into consideration probably certain aspects of doing business, probably not opening a tuition centre. Do you have a baseline from a respected source as a comparison saying its easier to open up a tuition centre inother countries? If e.g you say yes and compare to Sg, then why compare only to Sg? Same for Mr H, why compare to Indonesia and Philippines and not Sg?
Mr B: Malaysia is actually pretty business friendly - Who said so. They seem just interested in FDI and not encourage local business.
Mr C: It means embezzlement - are you accusing World Bank giving Malaysia higher ranking because Malaysia condone and recognize bribery...
Mr D: over here business can move faster with money - Is it? Have you recently registered a business (sole ownership) in Malaysia. I did it in less then a few hours, was rather cheap, and I didn't even have to travel far because they have periodically mobile counters near my area. I didn't pay any under table.
Mr E: Congratulations to all - hmm you seem like a BN trooper. (i just learnt about this term). :)
Mr F:  Malaysiakini only do fitnah - Is it ah. So you think The Star so honest ah. (you see again the actual point of news is 'spinned' to talk about other issues' and not comment on the news article itself).
Mr G: I go US and things are really bad over there - In Malaysia I earn fresh grad pay, can hardly buy cheap viva, in US I earn fresh grad pay can buy Toyota already (again to me this is off topic - and not related to being business friendly). Another reply - why you compare USA. Compare to China or Korea, last time so behind us, now see why lag behind them.
Mr H: Economy slowest in ASEAN and blame Europe crisis. See Philippines and Indonesia. - This is a report about being business friendly, not about best performing economies (which obviously would be the news report about Philippines and Indonesia vs ASEANs economy and not titled business friendly). Or - Indonesia obviously since its got a huge population and cheap labour, and huge market potential. Same goes go places like maybe Vietnam or China (I'm guessing here) that it might not be easy to do business there, but companies still invest and do business there because market is huge and labour is cheap.

So now what's your thoughts or comments? First of all the points I put up also can be re-argued over and over again. That's my point obviously. Appreciate your comments. I'll write some more later, and suggest an acid test (acid test now available, click here) to see if one's point of view changes if the news report was the exact opposite. 

So do you think I wrote this because I was pro the article, opposing the article, really neutral, wanted to have an acedemic discussion, or just wanted to.....

promote my blog....Well frankly... a mixture of the above.hahah. Have a good day. 


Skypaul said...

hahaha, respect you to write this entry in response to other people responses :). I guess a lot of time we do not have enough information to comment. Like we do not know why at the first place there is such a survey and in what criteria they put into the survey, how Malaysia emerged as the 12th in the ranking and so on. And of course like all those theories, some of them are even contradicting to each other, and i believe so do the so called survey, even by IMF or World Bank. In order to better interpret the result, we cannot look at one survey alone. It got to be interpreted together with the other surveys or information. Without those data, a survey alone might be meaningless. That's my two cents.

Mukmin a.k.a. Squaremean said...

A good attempt to point out the "flaws?" of other peoples comments on the headline or even a story. however i have to point out that you are only addressing these comments from your "point of VIEW" which is also a perception in nature by itself. But i have to give you credit in trying to remain neutral over i think one or two of the comments :D

To elaborate more, you are right to say that people react based on their short views or perception of "whatever" that is in question. But the motive behind such "Perception" is based on "personal pains".

Although nonsensical to the topic being discussed, the mind forms a logical structure of those who read the comments, as long as they feel the same or similar "pain" or "are in the same wavelength" and when there's more of the same wavelength comments the mind tricks you to think "It must be true!"

All i can say is that these are simply "Normal" human responses.

Are they worthy of being debated over and over again? My personal views is that they will only create fatigue and wear you down.

I remember a saying, "Don't try to debate an idiot, as he or she will bring you down to his level (of idiocy) and beat you with experience"


el the man said...

thanks for the comment Mukmin. I purposely tried to be the 'opposing' side for each comments, but yeah I guess you have a point, that's my point of view that I was opposing each comments. Agree with you, like what I also mention that's impartially speaking its quite near to impossible to be impartial, myself included :).
Very good point that perception does involve some sort of 'personal pains' experienced before. Been thru this and can relate many times over. Good saying, yes I also fear debating an idiot.


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