Sunday, April 26, 2020

Acceptance of Rohingya refugees: People's perception and feasibility

According to the UNCHR website, Malaysia currently has a total of 101,010 Rohingyas [1]. They have been here since the 1980s but issues surrounding their existence have just come onto the surface during recent years - thanks to social media. Recently, due to news reports stating that their boat was being pushed away at Malaysian shores [2], there have been debates whether Malaysia should be accepting more of them or not. Some expressed their opinions from the point of view of humanity and feasibility. Some go to the distance of not welcoming them by stating xenophobic sentiments. I would like to address some of the prevalent statements that are going around on social media.

The first one would be the typical 'they're dirty and they will spread disease'. From the context of Movement Control Order (MCO) and COVID-19 pandemic, some had justified their refusal to accept the 200 Rohingyas who arrived via boat by thinking that some of them might have COVID-19. However, I find that this contradicts with the allowing of Malaysians to come back from abroad during MCO period. The similarity between these groups is that both groups have arrived from other places, but the difference is their citizenship status. For the Malaysian who came from abroad, they had to undergo strict health screening. However, this process was not being considered for the Rohingyas. If they did not receive such treatment, of course they will spread the disease.  So, attribute the problem to the authorities who are responsible for the health screening process, not the Rohingyas. Now let's look at the overall context of this statement by referring to the Rohingya refugees who are already here. Why do most think that they are filled with diseases? I'm not sure how this perception came about but it's worth explaining that if it were such the case, the problem is systemic rather than their own doing. To be able to get health care at government hospitals, they would need to apply for a UNHCR card. However, drawing from several experiences, sometimes there will be difficulties in obtaining the card as well as accessing assistance. Some had to get assistance from informal institutions. In doing this, they have sought to negotiate access to institutions (such as public health facilities) and protection from perceived risks (such as those associated with the authorities). While these approaches can be successful, they are innately riskier, relying much more heavily on luck, personal circumstance and having the right connections [3]. Overall, the perception that they are dirty and bearing diseases is a problem that stems from a system that has several problems which pose a difficulty for the refugees to get basic healthcare.

The second perception that's been going around is that they are uncivilized. In fact, this is also attributed to all refugees. So, how does one expect to become civilized? It's through schooling. Given their refugee status, according to government  school admission process, refugees are not allowed to attend government schools. So, the Rohingya refugees have been living in Malaysia for more than two decades without proper access to education. This implies a generation without formal education. Many adult Rohingya refugees are illiterate, with some able to read and write Jawi and after years of living in Malaysia, the Malay language. The Rohingya refugee children attend learning centres operated by the community and faith-based organisation with the assistance of UNHCR [4]. Only 30% (all refugees) of school-going ages are enrolled into a learning centre. There is not even enough space for them to cater the other 70%. Knowing their situation in terms of lack of proper access to education, locals who perceive them as 'stupid' or 'uncivilized' need to look at it in a systems-based lens. Current research in cognitive science shows that intelligence is not fixed genetically, and that it can be significantly improved when the child is put in a nourishing, supportive and sensory-rich environment [5 & 6]. Therefore, to imply that they are uncivilized and stupid simply for having an identity as a Rohingya, it is to overlook that one element that is missing in their socialization process which is education - which can play a role in enhancing intelligence. With that, being 'uncivilized' is not a product of their own doing, it's because our education system does not allow them to attend.

The third perception that I hear is that they will come and steal our jobs and they're a part of an economic threat. As a general rule, I think perceiving them as a threat in locals' economic participation is valid because if certain working sectors do not have enough supply of job opportunities then competition in terms of demand will happen between citizens and refugees. But then again by looking at the context of Malaysia, due to their vulnerable status (the difficulty to get a UNCHR card), even by having a UNHCR card might help them secure employment, it was an inadequate form of documentation for legal employment. Many of them only work in low-skilled jobs. I think the concern for Malaysians is the threat to the supply of skilled and professional working jobs. To be able to work in these white-collared jobs, they need certain academic qualifications. By taking a look at the education provided for the Rohingyas in Malaysia, they couldn't even sit for SPM and obtain an SPM certificate. So, before we conclude that their existence here will 'take our jobs away', it's worthwhile to look specifically at which sector we are talking about. We have to look at the systemic barrier that the Rohingyas are subjected to in terms of economic participation. According to interviews done [3], the most successful job opportunity for Rohingyas had achieved is to open up a business restaurant, even when there were obstacles prior to opening one. Given the existing refugee policies, I find this assertion is unsubstantiated.

How about feasibility in housing more of them? To help them solely on humanitarian grounds, it is insufficient. If we let them in but couldn't even provide the necessary help without for them to go through so many obstacles, then there is no point of taking them in. This will defeat the purpose of humanitarianism. So, we have to look at the resources that we have. Apart from that, my concern is our existing refugee support system. Considering the fact that their livelihoods are not that well taken care of, and they have also been critical of the UNCHR management, I feel that Malaysia is not a suitable place for Rohingya refugees. All the more so because Malaysia is not a signatory at the 1951 UN Covention for Refugees. Knowing this however, it does not necessarily mean that Malaysia shouldn't improve its system for refugees. Unless there is a change in the system, they will forever be in  a state of limbo. I advocate for the Rohingyas to have a better livelihood, but not in Malaysia - unless we adopt a refugee support system like that of Canada, then it would be feasible. According to The President of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia [7], the organization has denied allegations that they had demanded citizenship rights. They only demanded for basic rights such as better job opportunities that are suitable with the skills that they have, employee insurance, cheaper healthcare fees, and for the authorities to stop catching Rohingya refugees without a solid reason to do so. These are all valid demands so that they can have a better livelihood in Malaysia. However, considering how they need to demand for these basic rights, it shows how the refugee system works here. It needs some sort of improvement. They should not be demanding for them because as a rule it should already be given to them. Another concern is regarding ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army), an insurgent group which has been established as a response to the Rhakine Buddists attack on Rohingya Muslims, poses as a threat to Malaysia's security threat. According to a news report back in 2019 [8], they have been raising funds in Malaysia and these funds have been sent to Bangladesh to fund  the militant activities there. However, it would be a hasty generalization to label all Rohingyas to have any involvement in the insurgent group. The Rohingyas have been giving them money because they have been threatened. In fact, majority of the Rohingyas have rejected this group. Fortunately, the police are quick to act on this. The idealist in me thinks that we should let the refugees in. But under the weak refugee support system that we have, the realist in me thinks of the long term impact of their livelihood if we don't fix the system first.


Whoever has read this piece of writing, I hope we could consider several factors why the Rohingyas are such and such through a systems-based lens before making arguments that dehumanize them. I'm aware that there have been reports saying that they had done some undesirable things to the locals. But then again, if we look at it in a systems-based lens, that would be a product of human beings whose livelihoods have not been well-taken care of. I'm not justifying what they did, I'm just analyzing it from a systems-based lens. As for feasibility, I personally dread the fact that we don't have a better refugee system to cater for them. However, to be realistic, Malaysia is not the utopian place for them. After thinking of what they have been through in Myanmar, they have sought shelter and security in Malaysia probably because we are a majority Muslim country or perhaps it just so happens that Malaysia is one of the neighboring countries that they can seek refuge in. But alas, people's false perception through a short-sighted analysis renders them inhumane and the refugee system indirectly perpetuates such views about this group of people. 

p/s: I'm aware that this is a highly contentious issue at the moment and probably for the years to come. I welcome other opinions but let our discussion be civil.

[2]https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/18/malaysia-allow-rohingya-refugees-ashore
[3] Wake, C., & Cheung, T. (2016). Livelihood strategies of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. United Kingdom, London: Oversease Development Institute. Retrieved from https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57922bbb4.pdf
[4] Letchamanana, H. (2013). Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia: Education and the Way Forward. Journal of International and Comparative Education2(2), 86–97. doi: 10.14425/00.50.24
[5] Perkins, D. (1995). Outsmarting IQ: The emerging science of learnable intelligence. New York: Free Press
[6] Levinger, B. (1994). Nutrition, Health and Education for All. Newton, MA: Education Development Center. 
[7] https://www.thesundaily.my/local/video-rohingya-rights-group-president-denies-demand-for-malaysian-citizenship-GG2329976
[8] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/3019396/militant-rohingya-group-raises-funds-malaysia-extorting-money?fbclid=IwAR2T39A3ju9beKVHTIaGIZo7vbAG9N9v1LnXz983m8sHa3PDU67CkSh6C7w

Monday, April 13, 2020

Permasalahan wacana yang berfokuskan jantina berhubung dengan siapa yang seharusnya menjadi ketua kerajaan dan menjadi punca kejayaan sesebuah negara

Beberapa ketika yang lalu, saya menonton sebuah video Youtube oleh ML Studios yang bertajuk 'Can a Woman be the PM of Malaysia?’ (Bolehkah Wanita Menjadi PM Malaysia?)'. Video tersebut bermanfaat  kerana ia menerangkan kesahihannya daripada aspek Perlembagaan Malaysia. Namun, jawapan di bawah ruangan komen agak kelakar bagi saya. Reaksi sedemikian di dalam ruangan komen tidak baru. Saya telah melihatnya di Twitter beberapa tahun lalu dan pendapat-pendapat yang diketengahkan adalah bernada seksisme dan misoginistik sama seperti di ruangan komen video tersebut. Saya rasa reaksi sedemikian adalah manifestasi sistem patriarki yang masih lazim dalam minda budaya kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia. Respon terhadap reaksi tersebut adalah hujah yang datang dari penyokong pemberdayaan wanita dan kesaksamaan gender. Walaubagaimanapun, kedua-dua sisi hujah itu adalah dibahas dalam cara yang tidak mendalam dan hanya ke satu arah.

Walaupun penyertaan politik yang serata untuk kedua-dua lelaki dan wanita mencirikan sebuah negara berdemokrasi, wacana mengenai jantina mana yang paling sesuai (atau tidak sesuai) untuk memimpin negara sering dalam aspek satu dimensi dan tidak mendalam. Satu dimensi dalam erti ini ialah bahawa apa yang kita lihat adalah tingkah laku psikologi dan emosi berdasarkan jantina. Seolah-olah faktor itu sendiri menentukan kejayaan sesebuah negara dalam aspek politik atau ekonomi. Hujah yang dipakai untuk membalas hujah tersebut adalah dengan memberikan contoh-contoh negara-negara yang berjaya di mana seorang wanita adalah ketua kerajaan dan memberi contoh-contoh negara yang kurang berhasil di mana seorang lelaki adalah ketua pemerintah. Definisi negara-negara yang berjaya di sini adalah berdasarkan peringkat negara dalam Indeks Demokrasi, Kedudukan Ekonomi (PDB Nominal), dan Indeks Pembangunan Manusia terkini. Walaupun terdapat sejumlah contoh yang mencukupi untuk memberi dan menyokong hujah-hujah tersebut berdasarkan indeksglobal, hasil perbahasannya tetap dalam ruangan satu dimensi sahaja. Mereka tidak mengambil kira beberapa faktor yang mampu menjadikan negara-negara tersebut menjadi berjaya atau lebih teruk.

Negara terkini yang memegang tangga pertama berdasarkan Indeks Demokrasi 2019 dan Indeks Pembangunan Manusia 2019 adalah Norway yang kini mempunyai Perdana Menteri wanita - Erna Sohlberg. Bagi negara terkini yang memegang tangga pertama berdasarkan KDNK Nominal adalah Amerika Syarikat yang kini mempunyai presiden lelaki - Donald Trump. Negara yang memegang kedudukan terakhir dalam Indeks Demokrasi 2019 ialah Korea Utara yang dipimpin oleh seorang lelaki - Kim Jong Un. Bagi Peringkat Ekonomi yang terakhir, ia adalah Sudan Selatan yang mempunyai ketua lelaki kerajaan - Salva Kiir Maryadit. Negara terakhir yang berpangkat dalam Indeks Pembangunan Manusia 2019 adalah Niger yang mempunyai presiden lelaki - Mahamadou Issoufou. Apa yang kita dapat simpulkan dari kedudukan negara berdasarkan kriteria global dan jantina seorang pemimpin negara? Ia menampakkan seolah-olah negara-negara yang menduduki tempat terakhir dalam kedudukan dunia berdasarkan kriteria global adalah disebabkan pemimpinnya lelaki. Walau bagaimanapun, adalah terlalu mudah untuk kita membuat kesimpulan bahawa kerana lelaki berkuasa di negara-negara ini maka lelaki tidak sesuai untuk menjadi seorang pemimpin. Logik ini tidak betul kerana kita tidak mengambil kira faktor lain yang mungkin menyebabkan mereka berada di kedudukan terakhir. Korea Utara menduduki peringkat terakhir kerana sistem politik autoritariannya dan Sudan Selatan menduduki terendah dari segi KDNK nominal kerana pada masa kini, negara ini bergantung kepada pertanian dengan majoriti yang tinggal di kawasan luar bandar, tetapi keganasan, kekurangan makanan, dan air tidak cekap bekalan sering menyebabkan kebuluran dan penyakit [4]. Bagi Norway, peningkatan kedudukan negara ini dalam Indeks Demokrasi 2019 dan Indeks Pembangunan Manusia 2019 adalah disebabkan oleh perancangan pembangunan manusia yang strategik dan falsafah 'hidup mengikut kemampuannya' yang telah diamalkan secara bertahun-tahun [5]. Dalam tahun-tahun sebelumnya, terdapat seorang wanita dan beberapa perdana menteri lelaki. Oleh itu, untuk melihatnya dalam perspektif yang lain, adakah ini menyimpulkan bahawa kerana Norway telah diketuai oleh lelaki untuk kebanyakan tahun, adakah ini bermaksud kaum lelakilah yang sesuai untuk menjadi pemimpin? Sekali lagi, kesimpulan sebegini adalah agak mudah untuk dibuat dan ianya menghasilkan sebuah analisa yang tidak mendalam.

Dalam kedua-dua cara kita melihatnya, wacana yang berfokuskan jantina tentang siapa yang sesuai atau tidak untuk menjadi ketua kerajaan sering menjadi satu dimensi dan tidak mendalam. Argumen berdasarkan psikologi dan kelakuan emosi jantina adalah tidak memberikan keadilan terhadap hujah-hujah yang memerlukan analisis dari pelbagai perspektif. Wacana dalam media sosial sering menentang atau menyokong mana-mana pihak dengan menganalisis kejayaan (atau kegagalan) sesebuah negara berdasarkan jantina seseorang dan menetapkan ianya sebagai satu titik perbandingan. Sekiranya wacana jenis itu berterusan, ia akan menghasilkan kesimpulan yang salah kerana tidak adanya hubungan antara jantina seorang ketua pemerintah dengan kejayaan atau kegagalan sesebuah negara.

Gambar diambil dari 'The Economic Times'


Rujukan:

1) Human Development Index 2019 - link
2) Democracy Index 2019 - link
3) Economic Ranking 2020 - link

The problem with gender-focused discourse on who should be the head of government and the cause for the country's success

A while ago, I was watching a Youtube video by ML Studios titled 'Can a Woman be the PM of Malaysia?'. While the video was informative as it explained the legality of it from the aspect of  Malaysian Constitution, the responses under the comment section was rather amusing to me. Such reactions were not new. I've seen it on Twitter few years back with the same internalized sexism and misogynistic undertones. I think such reactions are a manifestation of the patriarchal system which is still prevalent within the cultural mindset of most Malaysians. A response to such reactions would be some counterarguments coming from the proponents of female empowerment and gender equality. However, both sides of the argument are often simplistic.

While an equal political participation for both men and women denotes a democracy, the discourse surrounding which gender would best (or worst) to lead a country is often one dimensional and simplistic. It is one dimensional in the sense that what we look at is the psychology and emotional behaviour of the gender. It is as if that factor alone determines the success of a country be it in political or economic aspect. The usual counter-argument to this would usually be to give examples of successful countries whereby a woman is the head of government and giving examples of less successful countries where a man is the head of the government. The definition of successful countries here is to based it on the country's ranking in the latest Democracy Index, Economic Ranking (Nominal GDP), and Human Development Index. Although there is an adequate amount of examples to give to support such arguments based on these world rankings, it is often one dimensional. They don't take into account of several factors that would make such and such countries successful or worse. 

The current country that holds the number one rank based on Democracy Index 2019 and Human Development Index 2019 would be Norway which currently has a female Prime Minister - Erna Sohlberg. As for the current country that holds the number one rank based on Nominal GDP would be United States which currently has a male president - Donald Trump. The country that holds the last ranking in Democracy Index 2019 is North Korea which is led by a man - Kim Jong Un. As for the last in Economic Ranking, it is South Sudan which has a male head of government - Salva Kiir Maryadit. The last country to rank in Human Development Index 2019  is Niger which has a male president - Mahamadou Issoufou. What do we make of these rankings and the gender of the leader of the countries? It seems like men are dominating the countries that ranked last in the 3 world rankings. However, it is simplistic to conclude that because men are ruling these countries therefore men are not good at being leaders. This logic is a false cause fallacy because we do not take into account of other factors that may have caused them to be in the last position. North Korea ranks the last because of its authoritarian political system and South Sudan ranks the lowest in terms of nominal GDP because nowadays, the country depends heavily on agriculture with the majority living in rural areas, but violence, the lack of food, and inefficient water supply often cause famine and illnesses [4]. As for Norway, their rise toward the top in Democracy Index 2019 and Human Development Index 2019 is an accumulation of years of strategic human development planning and the philosophy of 'live within its means' [5]. Within those previous years, there has been one female and several male prime ministers. So, to look at it in another perspective, does this conclude that because Norway has been led by men for most of the years, therefore men are good at being leaders? Again, this is simplistic and a false cause fallacy. 

Either way we look at it, gender-focused discourse about who would be the best or worst to be the head of government is often one dimensional and simplistic. Arguments based on the psychology and emotional behaviour of a gender don't do justice to arguments that requires multifaceted analysis. Online discourse often oppose or support whichever side by analyzing the success (or failure) of a country based on one's gender and set that as a standard. If such types of discourse continue, it will result in faulty conclusions because there is no correlation between the gender of the head of government and the country's success or failures.

Picture from The Economic Times


References:

1) Human Development Index 2019 - link
2) Democracy Index 2019 - link
3) Economic Ranking 2020 - link

Monday, April 6, 2020

Daulat (first Malaysian political thriller) analysis and review *spoiler alert*

There were so many instances in this movie where they were quite parallel to Malaysia's current political landscape. Using race and religion to appeal to the majority in the rural areas, corruption by one of the previous prime ministers, in-fighting within the ruling coalition, the existence of an Islamist party and the opposition's plan to merge with them for their political gain, and the LGBT issue with the Women's March back in 2019.  Many of the sentiments expressed in the movie have some resemblance to past and current sentiments (Islamist party - Hisbul Muslimin Party being accused of being a Taliban, the discriminatory sentiments against non-Malays and non-Muslims)  coming from both real-life Malaysian government and opposition party, but perhaps it was to give Malaysian viewers a relatable context while watching this movie. The disclaimer during the opening of this movie that said that this movie was purely fictional and any similarities were pure coincidental. Well, I couldn't help but to point out the mention of the word 'boskurr' in the movie. This is an expression used by the ousted former prime minister Dato Sri Najib Razak to regain his popularity after the lost of Barisan Nasional. So, how could that be unintentional and a coincidence? I don't buy that this movie is 100% fictional. 

The main premise of the movie is 'you cannot win in politics by being nice' which is also the tag line of the poster of the movie. This echoes the Machiavellian approach to politics. Machiavelli was famous for his view in politics where being good or kind will not necessarily result in good governance or a good leader. It was expressed in his novel 'The Prince'. and it has since been studied as a political theory. In the movie, nobody is seen as the good one. All of the characters have their own selfish agenda. One of the characters that have such an agenda is also the strategist in this movie, 'Suri' who was played by Vanidah Imran. She is the deputy president of the recently lost opposition party 'MUNA'. As a politician, she gets her inspiration from Machiavelli's suggestions on how to be an effective leader. Machiavelli did not discard the virtue of being good but he also said being evil is sometimes necessary when it comes to politics. The movie shows where she sits in front of a portrait of Machiavelli. It looks as if she was worshiping him. In my opinion, this scene is unnecessary because the movie itself is already an embodiment of Machiavellian politics. Her use of 'Median Voters Theorem' as a strategy to secure voters for the next election shows her strategist trait. That theory is used to assume that voters can place all alternatives along a one-dimensional political spectrum.  Toward the end, she was able to trick the president of MUNA, Hassan who was played by Tony Eusoff to step down by black-mailing him. In order for the murder that he committed to not be exposed by the media, Suri bribed him to step down and she eventually became Malaysia's first female prime minister. Throughout the movie, even as deputy president, she was never in the lime light. She never appeared on TV nor has she ever appeared in press conferences. She was at the background, but plotting everything so that she will become Malaysia's first female prime minister. Her use of kebaya and old school curls throughout the movie probably depicts her urban Malay conservative background but so as to not make the character to look like a typical urban conservative Malay woman, her ambition, strategy, and vision balanced her overall trait as a female politician running a party that upholds conservative values but with a potential to be progressive. To analogize this with a car,  Machiavellianism is the body of the car, while 'Median Voter Theorem' is one of the engines. 

Apart from Machiavellian politics, personality politics is also a common approach in politics in order to attract voters. In the movie, the use of Melissa (played by Sangeeta Krishnasamy) as the leader of a new liberal party under MUNA  - Ikatan Sosialis Malaysia, an Indian woman, to attract the median liberal (which is an idea that Suri derived from her analysis based on 'Median Voter Theorem') is one of the methods to convince those who are against the Malay and Muslim special treatment narrative. This creates a balanced representation of the interests of Malaysians. Personality politics seem to have played a role in the previous real-life political turmoil. Some people were rooting for Tun M, while there were also  other groups of people who were rooting for Anwar to become Prime Minister. People may be rooting between the two of them but our democratic system is not able to cater to personality politics as it is parliamentary democracy, not presidential democracy system. This real-life instance showed how personality politics constitutes the political culture of Malaysia.

As an audience, I couldn't help but view the movie to be something that epitomizes a direct reality and a distant ideal. The 80% parallel it has with Malaysia's current political landscape is a direct reality while the distant ideal is where a female prime minister finally reigns. I think this is a stepping stone for Malaysian films. I have waited for so long for a movie that touches on serious issues, especially politics. Now that we have an online streaming service like iflix, movies that touch on such issues can now be viewed by the public without going through the censorship process by a state-owned censorship board.

Overall, initially I would have given it a 9/10 but on second thought I'm giving it a 8/10 rating because it could've been better executed if the chess playing scene and sitting down in front Machiavelli portrait scene weren't included. I honestly find it cheesy and overplaying with symbolism.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Parasite (2019 South Korean film) analysis: Internalized Capitalism *spoiler alert*

The movie is a black comedy thriller film which tells the tale of a poor family (the Kim family) who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family (the Park family) by infiltrating their household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individual. One of the themes that I have identified in this film is internalized capitalism. It shows different ways in which this has been manifested.

One of the main facets of capitalism is the notion that we have to work hard in order to climb up the social ladder. The academic qualification that Ki-jung helped forged for Ki-woo in order to convince Yeon-gyo during the job interview symbolizes how a capitalist society values college students who work hard. It also shows how universities usually operate which is to produce qualified workers by conveying basic knowledge and skills to the next generation - a functionalist aspect of education.  This functionalist aspect works within a capitalist system as it serves a system that is mainstream within a society. This academic qualification is just a piece of paper representing years of hard work when their hard work could be made by cheating their way through university (eg. paying others to do their assignments for them). I think the act of forging the academic qualification and what that piece of paper is used for can be juxtaposed with the method in which the Kim family eventually climbs up the social ladder and earning more money than they had previously. 

Another important facet of capitalism is competition. It is apparent in the movie that it is about class conflict. While the conflict between the rich (the Park family) and the poor (the Kim family) is evident, competition among the poor (Kim family and Moon-gwang) is a type of conflict where they have internalized this facet of capitalism. Both sides had to compete within a capitalist system in order for them to have a decent life or salary. The conflict and fights that they had to go through with each other is the embodiment of such conflict. By referring to the symbolism used in this movie, which is the stairs, when one was about to go up the stairs, the other kicks them down the stairs. When the character goes up the stairs, that means you have gone up the social ladder and vice versa. From a Marxist perspective, the working class is the victim in a capitalist system. But among the working class, the capitalist system has produced a social hierarchy within the working class and the conflict that emerges is a manifestation of internalized capitalism coming from this group of social class. The Kim family is a level higher than  Moon-gwang because the former has a higher household income.

A graphic representation to show the position of the families in the social hierarchy

The frequent repetition of the talk about 'plans' is another aspect of internalized capitalism. Toward the end of the movie, Ki-woo plans on how he and his mother could have a more affluent life by hoping to buy the house that the Park family had previously stayed in. This is probably due to his determination to get his father out of the house basement in which the place that he went into hiding after killing Dong-ik, the father in Park family. Perhaps it is alluded in the movie that Ki-woo won't be able to achieve his plans, but even by only thinking and planning in such manner, capitalism has been internalized as the only way for him to purchase the house is through climbing up the social ladder and collect enough money through his job and hard work. 

To take into account of the economic background of South Korea, they now emerge as one of the world's developed, high-income economy. From being the poorest country, capitalism is the idealogy that helped the country's economy grow at a quick speed in just a few generation. Hence, in a society where capitalism is the dominant ideology of how one seeks survival, even the victims of such system have to operate within it by any means necessary, even if it's against the law. These are the ways in which how capitalism has been internalized among the working class.