Thursday, August 16, 2007

National day, more than flying of flags

Fairness builds patriotism

As we approach our 50th.National Day this August 31, our national media is full of reports of the various ways people celebrate our hard earned independence. Various generations celebrate in ways peculiar to their own experiences in life in our beloved nation, as it turns 50.The government has lined up a host of events and activities to mark the occassion.

To demonstrate our patriotism to the nation, we are encouraged to hoist the national flag in our homes, offices, shops and on cars. It is becoming increasingly more common to see cars fully draped in the beautiful colors of the Jalur Gemilang. Some of our politicians even go to the extent of castigating those who do not hoist the national flag as being unpatriotic and ungrateful for what the country has done for them.

In schools our children are asked to wave flags as they sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Almost daily the schools organize assemblies, eloquent speeches and other activities towards this end. Being children as they are, most of them are very happy to participate in all these as they create an environment of festivities during the month of August each year.

Is national day all about waving the national flag, singing patriotic songs, having parades and parties? Definitely it transcends these physical expressions of joy of our independence. It should be a day to recollect our achievements and failures over the years since independence. While celebrating our victories it is also the time to resolve to right the wrongs in our country.

A number of issues need to be urgently addressed; otherwise all our achievements will be meaningless. Some of theses include the deteriorating racial and religious tolerance, rampant corruption, high road accident rate, unacceptably high crime rate, unavailability of affordable quality education, costly basic health care, poverty, unemployment, arrogant and indifferent civil service, lack of freedom of expression and respect for human rights and an alarming deterioration of moral and human values.

As loyal citizens we must ask ourselves how we can contribute to the peace and harmony in a multi-racial and multi-religious country. To make “merdeka” more meaningful for the rakyat, serious concerted efforts by all parties must be made to correct these wrongs in our society.

Displaying flags, singing patriotic songs, wearing special costumes, participating in parades and banquet are just superficial displays of patriotism.These do not instill true and lasting patriotism. Nationalism and patriotism are not inborn in us. They should be cultivated from an early age just like how parents nurture them in their children..

The nation, like parents, must provide for her citizens all the necessary needs before it can expect undivided patriotism and loyalty.Only with the provision of the basic needs, can true patriotism develop in the people.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Comments

true..very true

By sakun,22, 18-Aug-2007

Your interpretation is correct and unfortunately, the term 'fairness' in this country has been interpreted to ensure political correctness and hanging on to powers and financial richness [of those in powers] to the neglect of national integration in the truest sense.

Fields in sports, education, promotional opportunities, business opportunities etc are all tainted with UNfairness. Yet the under-well treated communities have also not be able to voice out in open forums. Any discussion may rub salt into the wounds of many people who have to live as though such wounds do not exist.

The powers to bring to courts for example, those who are considered to be in the wrong are also vested in only one person, the AG, who is deemed 'demi God'.The agencies that do the monitoring appear to be hopeless or one-sided as well.

By mzaffendi, 18-Aug-2007

Well said. Unfortunately most of the Rakyat today are "seperti Lembu dicucuk hidung". The path to Hell is laden with blind devotion, smoothen by greed,encouraged by selfishness and concealed by lies. May your writing dislodge some ' nose-chains'.

By nagahakim, 18-Aug-2007

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