Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.

— Joel Osteen, American pastor

I have this asked this before and I will ask it again, since when did we become despicable, ungrateful and simply put – toxic bunch of people?

Last week when Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg cruised through the 110km stretch of road from Sibu to Kapit, some of the comments made are in bad taste.

This is not helped by those senseless folks in Malaya who reported that Abang Johari set a record of travelling more than 100km using a motorcycle.

Shoddy reporting coupled with the gullible and misguided opposition sympathisers, make a wonderful pair of misinformation and ego-stroking. Of course, to these people, it was music to their ears.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that riding a motorcycle 100km is not a record of any sorts. That is just lazy.

That was never the point. The point was that after a half century of wait, there is finally a proper road leading to Kapit. Now was that really difficult?

Of course, then the people would ask, why did it take 57 years for it to take shape? To me, the straight answer is that the road is there now.

Why again are we stuck in this line of questioning where it is of no benefit to any of us?

Yes, the wait has been long, yes, it should’ve been done sooner, yes, it could have spared a lot of inconveniences to the dwellers, but the point is that the wait is now over.

There is now a road from Sibu to Kapit which is safe, proper and will no doubt be useful to connect the rural town to the rest of Sarawak. Now is that too hard to fathom?

Throughout these years, the rural people yearned for their elected representatives to be on the ground more and see the living conditions of the people.

Sometimes, for convenience sake, our leaders took a helicopter ride to the rural area and this did not amuse the village folks.

“How will the YBs know the plight of the people if they come here without using the dilapidated road access?” the villagers would ask.

That is why the chief minister was insistent on travelling on a motorcycle so that he – as well as the rest of the State Cabinet can experience first-hand the challengers and shortcomings in terms of infrastructure the village dwellers are facing.

Once in Kapit, he also announced a slew of infrastructure projects that will benefit village folks after doing a bit of thinking and sightseeing during the ride to the rural town.

That was the point all along. Is it too hard to say terima kasih?

Sarawakians are grateful people. We give credit where credit is due and we criticise where it needs be.

I remember in the words of former chief minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem who always said, “Kita orang Sarawak tahu erti terima kasih (we Sarawakians are grateful people)”.

“Kita kenal siapa yang benar dan siapa yang ‘eksyen’ saja (we know who is sincere and who is only putting up an act)”.

Now, who is putting up an act? Is it the person who travelled 110km to see the plight of the people and doled out development projects for better infrastructure and amenities in Kapit or the duo who just returned from Sabah, campaigning for Warisan Plus?

Of the duo, only one had been open about his party’s support for the Sabah-based coalition, the other had apparently snuck behind his party’s back to campaign in Sabah.

Hot off the heels of the Sabah state election, Abang Johari said only in Sarawak that a chief minister can ride a motorcycle from Sibu to Kapit, and he is right.

The state next to it – Sabah, is now a Covid-19 hotbed after it callously called a state election in a bid to tussle for power.

The message is simple and is quite direct – support the party which is actually of help to the people and kick out those who isn’t.

Rhetoric, plans and promises of reform along with the rest of the carrots on the awfully long stem will not be of any help to the people.

The man who delivered the road to the people of Kapit will surely deliver more.

When the election gong is sounded, all of us should by then know who is sincere and who is eksyen saja.