Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm bannin' it

I don't know about you all but I seriously find this rather stupid: the recent controversy about fast food and all. I'm quite sure that even my friend McIvan, a hardcore pro-BN ( and PDRM) ultra, would find the hoo-hah rather futile since he himself is also a hardcore McD fan.

The story went like this: Our most honoured Health Minister YB Dato' Chua Soi Lek is feeling that Malaysia should impose a ban on fast food advertisements at televisions since fast food is supposed to be the "primal suspect" for the cause of the increase in population of obesity in Malaysia. According to him, fast food has been proved in countries like the U.S. and the U.K. the main factor among all to have caused obesity.

While what he has argued about may proved to be true, it may not be totally true in the Malaysian context. The real culprit of the increasing obesity rate may still be out for verdict, since we Malaysians are not only glued to fast food, but rather we are always indulging in Nasi Lemaks (tambah the Sotong), keropok this, keropok that, Char Kuey Teow, Satay, etc., all of which contain high calories and high cholesterols. Which do you think, fast food or the Malaysian delights, is more popular among Malaysians? I will definitely place my bet on the latter, for you should consider the differences of the price between both: Nasi Lemak Ayam+Teh Tarik (which is usually super-sweet) will cause you around RM5.00 to RM5.50. McValue Meal of Big Mac(M)? RM8.15 excluding tax.The answer is quite clear as to which of both is our favorite breakfast.

From the economic point of view, such act actually violates the basic economic law introduced by Adam Smith, which is the operations of a free market: authorities should not interfere in any economic activities as long as these activities are legal. While this theory is quite unrealistic to be implemented since there should always be a class of control by the government on certain economic activities such as cigarettes and liquor (which are regarded as being "sinned"), can fast food industry be considered "sinned" and be regulated as how they are with Marlboro and Carlsberg? They are food, anyway!

Instead of lingering with the issue of whether fast food ads should be banned from the television, why not put some time in thinking of more effective ways to educate the people properly, that high calories or high choresterols food, be it fast food or mamak food, should be taken lesser. All in all, Malaysians are not idiots to not being able to think by themselves what's good and what's bad to them, and the Government need not interfere with our daily lives with what we eat, what we do with our couple (Mat Skoding!), what movie we should watch (Amir Muhammad's new film is banned again), and so on. If they really care about us, check out what prices are we paying for oil, salt, rice, toll, and so the list goes. I think we Malaysians are more concerned with that.