August 30, 2016
Learn to be proud Malaysians from Parents, Not Politicians
by Nickolas Pius Matu
This Merdeka we want–Fight for Justice, Freedom and Equality as long as we live–Din Merican
I remember years ago when I used to sit with my dad, at sharp 8pm in our living room, every day, in front of the television, talking about the nation, corruption, development. He was such a good father to me – he told me everything he knew, explained to me every single detail of every single issue that was broadcasted in the news. He taught me to think carefully, and to judge rationally without bias. And that was when I was only 12 years old.
Today, all grown up, that scene still takes place, but of course our conversations are more excited. I am more mature now, so I have the ability to sometimes counter his arguments. I am more objective now too – he throws, I reply, without emotion, only logic and with rationale. We are both eager to turn our arguments into friendly debates.
He speaks a lot about our nation, and sometimes to illustrate a point, will recall some memory or event that took place even before I born. In this way, he presents to me the root causes of certain issues such as the amendment of the constitution that resulted in the loss of control of Borneo’s state over the 18/20 Sabah-Sarawak agreement, and also the downgrade of Sarawak’s status as equal partner in the formation of Malaysia, just to name a few.
He taught me almost everything I know about our country. He moulded my spirit of nationalism, taught me what being an upright citizen meant as well as a proud Sarawakian, and Malaysian. My spirit of patriotism was naturally rooted at home, without force from authority and without formal learning in school. And that spirit has never faded, not even a little, whether in moments of joy or hardship, happiness or difficulty. I have remained patriotic in the face of so many injustices, discrimination, bigotry, power abuses, and the marginalisation of my state from development. Rather than use these to support the pulling out of Sarawak from the federation, I prefer to think about how to resolve these issues and remain hopeful that the story of devolution of power will have a happy ending.
If prominent Fa Abdul regards Haris Ibrahim as her idol, I have my wise father. If she is amazed by her superman’s dedication to the nation, the same goes to me with regard to my father. He made me believe that father-son relationships could be a great force behind nationalism. He made me realise that parents also contribute to the spirit of nationalism in their children. Of course I will do the same for my son or daughter tomorrow. Because that is what I should do – be a good dad, just like my good dad.
Yes, truthfully, parents play a big role in growing the seeds of nationalism and patriotism in their children. More than just flapping flags on their vehicles or homes, citizens should fully understand what Independence means, the power of freedom, and the contributions of our forefathers in building this nation. And parents should shoulder this responsibility too.
He teaches Young Malaysians–Cash is King
Teach your children what it means to be a proud Malaysians. Teach them the true spirit of patriotism, and how to keep that spirit strong through the good times and the bad, the country’s ups and the country’s downs. Teach them with a pure heart, without talk of conspiracies and without being hypocritical. Tell them there are many ways to show our spirit of patriotism. It is not necessary to join a cause or go to war. We can defend our country either economically or socially. Study hard, be a productive youth, do not insult others of different ethnicities and respect those of other faiths.
Being a concerned citizen is also another way to show our spirit of patriotism. Open our children’s eyes, their minds, their hearts. Let them learn how to determine what is right or wrong. Let them actively participate in the country’s process of democracy. Tell them that obeying a so-called leader does not mean you are patriotic neither does supporting the Opposition mean you are a traitor. It’s very simple – just like my father did, talk and explain, speak honestly, tell them everything with patience, without being a bore. Treat them the way you expect to see them behave someday. Oh, maybe that is why my father eagerly told me the story of our nation. I have to thank him for that!
Oh, one more thing, this August 31 is the 59th birthday of the Federation of Malaya, the 53rd for Sabah, but not for Sarawak. We celebrated it already on July 22.
Happy Independence Day to my fellow Malaysians.
Nickolas Pius Matu is an FMT reader.