Cops fear computers

This morning I woke with a growing desire to be more determined in my quest for simplicity. The John Wilkins quote below lingered in my mind over the weekend, as quotes often do.

“Obscurity in writing is commonly a proof of darkness in the mind.”


Like many of you, I fired up my laptop for the day’s work. Something I do with joy everyday. The laptop connects me to the world of people and the kind of things they get up to, and what is uppermost in their minds.

There was a small cloud hidden away in the local news horizon.

A local police commissioner, while touring the Malaysian state’s 27 districts, noticed a that some of his officers were afraid of using computers, according to a report from The Star, a Malaysian daily.

The term “psychological ailment” was used by the commissioner to tag what was a simple fear of brand new unopened computers. They were supposed to help make life easier for the officers. Instead, the computers were still in their boxes, stacked and locked away in storerooms in police stations, he said. At first glance, this looks like a quaint story.

Notwithstanding that Miri is a relatively quiet tropical place in Sarawak, East Malaysia, the Internet is becoming a standard must-have in all offices.

What are these tough cops really afraid of?

Many people and groups have fears. You might say, Fears are just perceptions.

By now we all know that perceptions must be treated as real.

How many others fear the computer?

It brings challenge to ways of thinking, and therefore to ways of living. You and I like to live in small apparently-safe mental shells.

The police commissioner tried to assure his staff, it was reported. He even resorted to that most powerful of tools: humour.

Jangan takut, is takkan meletup,” he told them, in Malay.

Which means, Don’t be afraid, they won’t explode.

But of course computers do cause explosions, don’t they?

2nd July 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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