Friday, May 22, 2009

Lousy MPs like Nurul Izzah should learn Broken Windows Theory

In my previous posting, I mentioned about the lack of prompt action by Nurul Izzah in attending to faulty traffic lights at Jalan Ara, Bangsar. Just for the record, the traffic lights were still faulty as at tonight. Also for the record, the complaint that I posted at was only approved by the website’s moderator today, 22/5/09. That’s efficiency ala Pakatan Rakyat. [Update: The traffic lights were subsequently attended to on 1/6/09 (I think), after 3 weeks' lapse]

(I had other prior experiences with Pakatan Rakyat’s websites, namely Malaysia Today here and here. These Pakatan Rakyat websites merely want to hear praises for them, and will censor any adverse comments against them. In real life too, the Selangor and Penang governments are known to have banned pro-Barisan newsmen because these lousy Pakatan Rakyat state governments do not like what the newspapers wrote about them).

My complaint to Nurul Izzah on the faulty traffic lights may seems petty. But let me relate that to the Broken Windows Theory.

The Broken Windows Theory is about crime and strategies to contain or eliminate it from urban neighborhoods. These were actual observations made in actual studies:-

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

Thus, based on the conclusion of the studies, a successful strategy for preventing vandalism is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood.

The Broken Windows Theory makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behaviour will be deterred, and that major crime will, as a result, be prevented.

Not attending to faulty traffic lights may be petty to lousy MPs like Nurul Izzah. Potholes may be a norm to places like Permatang Pauh, Brader Anwar Bin Ibrahim's constituency. Litters may be common occurrence in Segambut, where her family lives.

But those were never tolerated during MP Shahrizat’s tenure. And that’s what makes Bangsar a nice neighborhood. Impression counts. And if public amenities are all in order, and well maintained, people’s attitude will be good.

To Nurul Izzah, please don’t blame the federal government on anything that went wrong or things that you can’t do. You are not equipped to talk about reforms, police brutality, economic crisis and the like. You can’t even settle petty things affecting your constituents promptly. Try googling and learn more about Broken Windows Theory. Or may be you should consider "doing a Fairus" and resign from parliament and be a homemaker a.k.a. window cleaner instead.

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