Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Merdeka Celebration

It's the country's 49th birthday tomorrow, yet all I can think of is "I can't wait for the holidays". When friends asked what are my plans for the night, I answered without hesitation - SLEEP! Then, they'd look at me and say "But it's Merdeka Day!" Erm...uh-huh?
I don't know if it's just me...but Merdeka has lost its enthralling power on me. I am not saying that I am not patriotic - I stand up straight whenever I hear Negaraku being played and I frown at people who mistreat the national flag. But, lately, the Merdeka celebration is just another holiday for me. To me, being patriotic is an all-year round, whole life affair, not just the once a year thing that most people think is sufficient. I suppose it's because many have forgotten the whole reason we celebrate Merdeka. My belief is that we celebrate Merdeka because it is the day when our forefathers, disregarding the skin colours and different religions and culture have worked together to free our country from people who exploit us. We celebrate because throughout the years, we have remained united, peaceful and harmonious despite the differences.
Yet, look around you now. Take a good look around. Do you see people of all races mingling together or do you see people of all races being together but separated from each other because of their skin colours? The former is a scene that is getting more rare nowadays. I hate to put it so clearly but we have to realise that there is something very wrong in the situation here.
We pride ourselves as a multi-racial, tolerant and friendly country. Yet, the reality does not reflect the pride and joy of the country. On top of that, our poor country has the occasional political party and pea-brained politicians who would try (intentinally or otherwise) to spark off another May 13th tragedy with their thoughtless and insensitive remarks. And what is worse is that we are allowing a lot of the foreigners to be "naturalised citizens" (BTW, I think this is bullshit, Indonesians enjoying Bumiputra status while Chinese and Indians who have lived here for generations are still non-Bumis!). ANd our country's citizenship is supposedly very precious and difficult to get; yet we allow these illegal immigrants to be Bumis and stopping experts in various fields to even get a permanent residency. Ha Ha Ha. Hilarious.
And then there is the fact that we allow maniacs who blatantly try to segregrate the community and funnily, are looking towards Indonesia as an inspiration to become politicians? Come on! You don't like the peace and harmony, go and live in Palestine, Iraq, Indonesia etc! What burns me up is that the society is becoming irrational. Take a look at the recent cases involving the Penang state government. Doesn't anyone care about meritocracy or earning your keep anymore? Do they expect the government to give them all the privileges eventhough they don't deserve it just because it was in the Constitution? Wake up, Malaysia! How much do you think the country can progress if all of us just sit on our asses and wait for the government to provide for us (because it's our right??) ?
I once had a 7 year old student who came to me and said that her mother told her that Malays and Chinese cannot be friends! What the f*ck! If this is what the 30 year olds and 40year olds are teaching their children, what is going to befall our beloved Malaysia? And, don't expect to say that as a teacher we can change the thinking, because family still holds the biggest influence over their children. Teachers may influence but it's the family who shapes.
There is of course much more to complain, but I still love Malaysia. It's just that there are some things that Malaysian do and how some Malaysian thinks that irritates me to no end. I am thankful that I am born in Malaysia. The only place that I can call home, but celebrate Merdeka? I'll watch all the excitement and parade on TV and listen to all the stories of violence at the celebration from my friends after that. Happy 49th Birthday Malaysia!

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