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Monday, March 31, 2008

Dayak ego battlegrounds

Dayak bodies become battlegrounds of egos as envious members undermine leaders they elected: Mawan

The so-called ‘crab mentality’ prevalent among members of Dayak and Dayak-based associations have turned the organisations into ‘battlegrounds of egos’, the Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation Dato Sri William Mawan observed.

“When we elect individuals to lead an association, no matter how noble its objectives and good the intentions of the elected leaders, the association is doomed to fail if the members do not support the committee,” he said.

“The ordinary members have the obligation to support the elected leaders. But sad to say, this is not the case. We have the tendency to find fault with those already elected, always having the mentality that we can do a better job than them.”

There is no need to go into high intellectual discourse on ‘crab mentality’ because no one actually knows the mentality of crabs.

The phrase was simply coined by local people who have observed the collective behaviour of crabs when placed in a confined space such as a basket.

In their efforts to get up the sides of the basket they tend to crawl over one another and in the process weigh down the ones at the top.

Unable to carry the weight and the constant struggle below, the top crabs eventually lose their grip and fall.

“Because of this crab mentality, we become envious of those leaders we ourselves elected to office, and we undermine their leadership with the intention of bringing them down,” said Mawan.

He spoke during the installation of the supreme executive council members of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and dinner on Saturday.
Its president Mengga Mikui and organising chairman Dr John Brian Anthony were among those present.

Regarding SDNU which was formed in 1956 with the aim of uniting the Dayaks in the state under one umbrella, Mawan said its next 50 years would be more challenging than the last 50 years.

“The challenges will be varied and challenging. Our community will live in an entirely different environment from what we are experiencing now,” he said.

Mawan said due to the dynamism within the association, the Dayak Iban played a prominent and dominant role in the association resulting in other Dayak communities like the Orang Ulu and Bidayuh staying away and eventually forming their own associations.

“The challenge before the SDNU present leadership is to find a unity of purpose, to get that cohesiveness so as to be able to draw the other Dayak communities into the association to give it greater leverage.

To the members of the supreme council, Mawan has this to say: “Victory goes to those who know which rivers not to cross, which roads not to travel and which walls not to climb.”

Borneopost 31/03/08

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