September 1, 2016
Spoken like a Malaysian: The Destiny of Malaysia
By Dharm Navaratnam
I am Malaysian. I cannot be anything else. After all, my paternal grandfather and grandmother were both born in the very early 1900’s in what would then have been the Federated Malay States…the destiny of Malaysia lies in our hands. The future of our beloved nation is our responsibility.–Dharm Navaratnam
I was born 10 years after Merdeka so I wasn’t privy to the feelings that my parents or the older generation would have felt when the country gained independence from the British. It must have been an amazing feeling to witness the birth of a new nation.
For those of my generation and after, we have always belonged to an independent nation, a nation called Malaysia. I am Malaysian. I cannot be anything else. After all, my paternal grandfather and grandmother were both born in the very early 1900’s in what would then have been the Federated Malay States.
Some stories have it that my great-grandfather was born in this land as well but I can’t verify that. At the very least, I am thus a third generation inhabitant of this country. My roots certainly go very deep in this land.
I have not only watched this nation grow but I have grown with it. I have seen how the country has evolved and how things have changed. Some for the better and some for the worse.
In terms of development, we seem to have made huge strides but at the same time the developments seem to be centred around the urban areas of the country. There are still many areas, especially in the East Coast and East Malaysia that are still far from developed.
Petronas Twin Towers–A Mahathirian edifice–in the distant background. Poverty amidst urban affluence is not sustainable. The NEP should be about fostering Unity, achieving economic and social justice and building national resilience, not Malay kleptocracy. Why can’t we work toward a Vision of a United and harmonious nation. Of course, we can if we care enough for the future of our grandchildren. It then becomes a question of individual and collective wills.
Diversity is our strength. Ethnicity is our road to perdition. We must never forget this, if we are to avoid being manipulated by our irresponsible politicians in UMNO and our political opposition.–Din Merican
We have the tallest Twin Towers in the world, huge shopping malls, large airports and we even host Formula 1 races. At the same time however, we have fellow Malaysians living in rundown houses, some with no access to clean water, barely making ends meet and worried where their next meal is coming from.
This is the reality of the situation. There is somehow a wide imbalance in the socio-economic structure of our country.
As far as education goes, there never seems to be anyone satisfied with our education system. So much so, we have so many different types of schools. The list includes national schools, vernacular schools, religious schools, technical schools and residential schools. Then you have schools that get more funding depending on whether they are classified as high-performance schools or cluster schools of excellence. Throw in private schools and international schools and you have an even more complicated system. What about home schooling then?
National Unity: A Farce
In terms of unity there seems to be two schools of thought. Many of the general public feel that we are united. However, if you read the newspapers there seems to be someone or the other spewing racial vitriol almost every week, if not every day.
Why is there so much emphasis on race when we are all one people? Why are we so fearful of our fellow Malaysians just because they look different?
Surely we have spent enough time together to understand and accept each other. We are, after all, supposed to be Malaysian.So, enough of playing this race card. Kind of makes a mockery of the National Day theme Sehati Sejiwa.
They are Malaysians (without Race)
In sports, where we were once a superpower in Asian football and world hockey, we seem to struggle greatly in those sports now.
Fortunately we still seem to perform at badminton and have made inroads in diving and cycling. From the days where we only dreamt of taking part in the Olympics, we now are able to count how many medals we have won, notwithstanding the elusive gold medal that has yet to be achieved.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Bapak Malaysia
While many of us complain about the state of the country and how much better it could be, I am inspired by the words of Tunku Abdul Rahman (above) in his Merdeka Speech at Stadium Merdeka 59 years ago.
“But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility. Let no one think we have reached the end of the road. Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour – the creation of a new and sovereign state. At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya. To work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.”
There are many things that we can find fault with but at the same time there is plenty to be thankful for. Let’s not forget that. So complain about the country all you want but don’t just complain. Do something, however small it may be. Make a difference.
Ultimately it is not the government that decides the future of this country. In truth, the destiny of Malaysia lies in our hands. The future of our beloved nation is our responsibility.