Loading in 2 Seconds...
Loading in 2 Seconds...
ADOLESCENTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF POVERTY AND THE POOR IN RURAL MALAYSIA. Murnizam Halik Universiti Malaysia Sabah Paul Webley School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Background. Feagin (1972) identified 3 broad categories of attributions: individualistic, structural and fatalistic
Universiti Malaysia Sabah
School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Study aims to extend existing knowledge in 3 main ways:
The most frequent individualistic explanations refer to laziness or lack of effort
In my opinion, they don’t work harder than [they need]. They work just to get enough to buy food. Just enough [RO]
Some of them are just too lazy to do any work [RY]
They are lazy and don’t want to put in effort to change their condition [UO]
I think these people lack effort, they are not hardworking,
that’s why they are poor [UY]
References to lack of education – we have also classified as an individualistic explanation:
Some maybe are not educated thus they can’t get better jobs [RY]
Those who are not educated, it’s difficult for them to look for jobs. They can only work as farmers. They work for other people [RO]
Another common individualistic explanation was the attitude of the poor – though this was only mentioned by older rural adolescents
The poor surrender to fate, they do not
try to improve themselves only accepting
what they have right now [RO]
The two most common structural explanations referred to employment and low income
There are not enough jobs in the village, other than being farmers [RO]
Poverty doesn’t mean that they don’t put in any effort, they work, but they only have a small income [RY]
Only the older respondents sometimes blamed the government.
Maybe because of the government’s policy. The government only concentrates on the development of poor people in urban areas, not in rural areas.
They neglect the poor in rural areas. The government provides
better education in the urban areas. And it’s not the same here [RO]
Among rural respondents, fatalistic explanations covered things like poverty being passed down through the generations:
In our place they are poor because they descended from a poor family, from then until now [RY]
Maybe poverty is passed down from their parents, the first generation Is poor and the second generation will be too.[RO]
The urban respondents mentioned misfortune, death and
Maybe they’ve lost their parents, maybe
they have family problems [UY]
Donation is the commonest response:
Government can assist by giving food, clothes and basic needs. Neighbours and those who can afford it can help by giving food to the poor [RY]
The private sector can help by providing welfare and charitable help to the poor, maybe through donations. The public can help too, they can help if they can afford by contributing money to the poor [UO]
Some poor families have rich relatives so the rich should help their poor relatives to improve their conditions [RO]
Infrastructure, facilities and loans
Government can help by providing facilities such as electricity, public phones and other things. The private sector maybe can build more clinics, schools and a community hall for the villagers [RY]
The government can help by providing water, electricity and access roads to the village [RO]
Government could provide … basic necessities such as water [UO]
Education is seen as a shared responsibility among themselves and the government.
We could help ourselves by studying really hard [RY]
The government can give scholarships to students who are poor [UO]
Rural respondents stress the importance of support from individuals and the government
Parents can help by giving children encouragement to study harder [RY]
Neighbours and friends can encourage
them as well [RO]
Previous research has found a shift with age towards more individualistic explanations: we did not.
There was a strong tendency to favour individualistic explanations overall, both in the adolescents and the adult population we studied
3 themes recurred throughout the interviews: hard work, education, responsibility
Hard Work: this is highly valued by the respondents – one of the causes of poverty is felt to be lack of effort, & they believed that through hard work, they could improve their situation.
Education: With education, the adolescents believed that they could secure a better paid job, usually with the government. Education is seen as the primary route out of poverty. Only 1 person considered making use of knowledge from education to improve their situation IN the rural area
Responsibility:This is seen as being shared between themselves and their parents