A lack of work passion and creativity?


Are we a nation that lacks creativity and risk-taking?

Blog reader tunglang shares his thoughts with us:

Have you heard about work passion?

It has nothing to do with your  paycheck amount or job prestige or social status. It has more to do with your own inner calling, your love for the work you enjoy doing that makes Monday not that dreaded day of the week.

It is what some of us don’t care to listen carefully to in the busy, rat race to achieve or to meet social acceptance, regardless whether we are happy with our work or not.

It has to do with what special talents God gives each one of us to do on earth – your purpose in life. Otherwise, why create you and I?

Why does a particular doctor decide to become a farmer? Or an engineer to become a musician midway through a lucrative career? It baffles the status conscious, the money faces, and the Joneses.

We are conditioned from our childhood to be this doctor or that engineer. Our competitive, save face or kiasu instinct leads us to believe more in status and materialistic pursuits – without understanding the implications it will have on the individuals as well as on the nation as a whole.

One good example: why are many Asian countries always behind the western advanced countries in terms of creativity, entrepreneurship, R&D, entertainment and the arts, medical discoveries and anything that encourages creative risk taking?

Not only that, our talent pool is very limited to those doctors, engineers, bankers, lawyers or high-status jobs. For a nation to advance, it must have a large and diverse pool of talents (that truly goes in for the pursuit of excellence) to meet real world challenges, not to meet social status or my neighbour’s acceptance. Just look at China.

Our myopic view of work challenges and career choices is one of the reason why we cannot match the Western nations in many fields.

This calls for a change in our value system and mindset in order to be an outstanding global nation where things change in a matter of days, not years.

Are we prepared?

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

ha ha ha Yusri, i like what you said… brilliant !!!


Passion at work to most Malaysians is the kopi break for teh tarik & (breaks) at 10 am and 2.30pm!!!


Without going into happiness etc, I’d like to point out that we have a very strong tendency to be comfortable with what we know and avoid new ideas like a plague. How many of you have had your boss or lecturer(if you are studying) discourage you from doing something new or different. They’d probably tell you why do it differently when the previous one ‘works’. They play it safe. I think this has a much bigger effect on creativity than happiness because how can you be happy if the environment itself discourages creativity. Don’t think about new ideas, just do… Read more »


Look. Malaysia is a third world country. Putting food on the table, clothing the children and giving them schooling is of highest priority. Who has time to think whether we like the job or not? A job is a job. And this situation is getting worse year by year.

This is real life practice of Maslow theory. The self esteem comes only when our basic needs are fulfilled. If we wnat self esteem, them we should move to the more advanced countries. Then we have time for this.


It took 52 years to be still languishing as a 3rd world rather than a 2nd world nation! The realities of our present economic situation are rather pesimistic. The survival and fulfilment of basic needs are still paramount for many families in Malaysia yet we can call ourself the first third world nation to have a so-called astronaut went to space. What a self contradiction! BUT no one dares to dream except for this astronaut! Another reason for the high paying job priorities is our education system which is very manipulated, discriminatory and short-sighted. For those having to work harder… Read more »


Certainly passion at work does not exist among most of the civil servants. I suppose the reason is too many staff employed resulted in low productivity and tidak apa attitude. As 99% of them are (from one race), there is a lack of pollination of new ideas from other perspective, resulting in lower creativity.


A nation that is democratic, non-discriminatory and
practice employee fairness, will have a good chance of realizing the passion and creativity in our work force. ANIL,If you are hoping that Malaysia will reach to this potential….just dream on! Perhaps, be a paid spaceman, political prostitutes or corrupt politicians…..
Passion and Idealism have long been erased from the minds of Malaysians, ever since, UMNO has created the new breed of “Ketuanan Melayu” workforce!


Precisely what Sir Ken Robinson said in his book “The Element”.


…why are many Asian countries always behind the western advanced countries in terms of creativity, entrepreneurship, R&D, entertainment and the arts, medical discoveries and anything that encourages creative risk taking?

Yeah, Why?

Cos we believe more in WE in ME rather than I in WE?

John Hilley

Dear tunglang Thanks for that heartfelt statement on the higher moral value we might place on the work we do, or strive to do. Some thoughts, though, on your seeming unhappiness at ‘trailing behind’ the Western nations. Firstly, remember that a large amount of the ‘enterprise’ flowing from those nations involves the ‘creative’ technology of death and destruction, namely state-of-the-art warmongering, nuclear armaments, ‘security’/surveillance equipment and other forms of life-limiting production. Secondly, we need to escape this conditioned mindset urging that nations must compete with each other, or using that as the criterion of ‘success’ in our ‘national development’. Actually,… Read more »


@ John: I think you are quite right when you say that we shouldn’t measure success of a nation by how “creative” or how “successful” they are. I might offend some pro-Chinese readers here, but with all the amount of success China has, there are still a lot of fundamental social issues that are being wrapped under the big blanket of the Communist Party. Any sign of dissidence the army will be jumping right into it and keep things under wraps. However I think we do have to be concern if a nation does not generate enough creative talents. And… Read more »


In the context of ‘trailing behind’ western advanced nations, allow me to explain further in Asian perspective. In this globalised world, a nation cannot afford to languish behind and let global forces determine its future. Growth and advancement are essentials in order for a nation to take the leap. It has to start from the inside. No other nation can help you grow and advance if its citizens are not willing. Let alone global citizens of diverse interest and cultures waiting for UN hand-outs. Though seemingly ideal for free flow of trade, people, cultures and information, globalisation has its unseen… Read more »