Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Merdeka 59 - A reflection

Being the change we want to see

As our nation’s 59th Merdeka looms so does a dark cloud of gloom over our country. We had 59 years of independence but are we really better off than when we took over from the British?

On that historic day of 31 August 1957, the shouts of Merdeka by our beloved Tunku Abdul Rahman filled the air with joy and hope for all Malaysians. The Tunku and his team laid the foundation for a united multiracial and progressive Malaysia, a land where our forefathers pledged would be their motherland that they helped to build with their sweat and blood.

Fifty nine years have passed but today the situation is far from what it was then. There is no more joy but only disappointment. There is no more hope but only despair. No more cheer but only gloom. This is the feeling of the vast majority of ordinary Malaysians.

Malaysians in general are struggling to cope with the failing economy, the rampant corruption, blatant abuse of power, lawlessness and racism. The institutions that were established to safeguard the wellbeing and security of the people are politicised and failing in their noble roles as the guardian of the people. The increasing Islamisation is threatening to take the country to religious extremism in a country with 40% non-Muslim population.

The ideals of our founding fathers are totally ignored and the country is heading in a direction totally opposite to that envisaged by them. Today the very democratic principles on which our nation was founded is severely threatened.

A number of causes have contributed to the present unfavourable situation but all these are the result of a long-ruling all-powerful single political party, Umno-BN. The latest and ongoing 1MDB saga has not only caused financial havoc within the country but also blatant breach of every law in order to protect those responsible for the fiasco. This has resulted in degraded our once highly respected nation to a state of ridicule and insult by the free world. Yes it has made us lose all the respect we had in the world not very long ago.

As concerned and anxious citizens we want solutions to the woes facing us. Umno-BN is the only party that can fix it but it is now not capable and has no will to do so as the power in firmly in the hands of a few elite leaders who will not hesitate to break any laws to remain in power. The Opposition is in disarray and divided with the only leader capable to unite and mobilise the masses sits in prison. Our hopes for change are dismissing by the day. Where do we go from here?

The following incident today threw some light to the solutions to these problems we are facing in our country today. It was a simple lesson from a simple ordinary citizen, a bubur kacang seller.

When I went to buy bubur kachang from my regular hawker stall. The owner of the stall, a middle aged gentleman, asked me to come back again the next day which happened to be the country’s 59th Merdeka Day. On enquiring why he why he asked me to come back the next day, he replied proudly that being Merdeka Day he will be giving out bubur kacang free to all his customers. He said it was his practice to do that every year on Merdeka Day and has been doing that for many years now. It was his way of celebrating the historic and auspicious day, sharing the little he had with fellow citizens. This man’s attitude has put many of us including our leaders to shame. If only we have more people him, greed and corruption will never be an issue in our society and country.

Today we are all unhappy with the political and socioeconomic situation in the country. We complain about corruption, abuse of power and racism but fail to realise that we too are guilty of them in our own ways. We all want change for the better but do not know how to bring about it. We want others to bring that change not realising that no one else will do it. It is we and we alone can do it. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. We must be the change we want to see in the world around us. This is what my hawker friend is doing. In his little ways within his means he is bringing change to the world around him. If only each of us do that I am sure we can breed better leaders so the country will be a better place for all.

Selamat Hari Merdeka

Friday, August 26, 2016

Merdeka 59 - clouds of gloom over the nation

Corruption,abuse of power and racism all time high  

Last year the 58th Merdeka celebrations were marred by the massive gathering of the people in Bersih 4 rally, demanding for good governance and the resignation of the PM over the 1MDB scandal. The Bersih 4 rally failed to bring about the change that the people wanted. Instead it was manipulated into a racial issue, like all other anti-government rallies before, and the people at large were silenced once again.

One year has passed and we are yet to see any signs of change for the better. The 1MDB scandal has become more complex especially with the involvement of foreign countries who have joined in to act against one of the biggest financial scandals of all time. More and more evidence has surface over the last few months but our leaders are adamant to refute them one after another and instead they accuse the foreigners, in particular the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as conspiring to bring down our leaders by their latest filing of the civil suit against those related to 1MDB.

As this major corruption saga continues and our leaders refuse to reveal the truth behind it, the nation is sliding downhill economically and the racial and religious tensions keep mounting. Every issue today is being turned into a racial one doesn’t matter what it is. Even sports that used to be a powerful tool to unite the people is made into a racial issue by some unscrupulous people.

As Malaysians are becoming increasingly more racially divided with corruption and abuse of power at all-time high, hopes for a united and progressive country is fast eluding us. Our hopes to join the ranks of the developed world is slowly but surely fading with every passing day. Today we are losing all admiration and credibility in the international stage due corruption, abuse of power and racism. The respect that we worked hard together as citizens is being systematically destroyed by those in power.

With the clouds of gloom looming over our heads, some comfort came with the recently concluded Rio Olympics. We were so delighted at the young men and women from all over the world coming together to prove their endurance, talents and skills in the various sporting events of the Olympics. Colour of their skin, language and culture did not matter but comradeship is all that matter to them. 

We were moved by watching these young athletes, men and women alike, weeping with joy as their national anthems were played and their national flags hoisted in the memorable victory ceremonies.
We were touched by the spirit of sportsmanship shown by some of the young athletes which puts many of us adults to shame. We seem to be preoccupied with greed and racial differences, forgetting the many things we have in common as humans and more so as Malaysians.

The 2016 Rio Olympics came to a close with us having succeeded in winning the most number of medals so far. We may have won 4 silver and 1 bronze medals but we failed to win the one all important gold medal that would have enabled our national anthem to be played and our national flag being hoisted in front of the millions of spectators all over the world. That would have been our greatest pride and glory.

Many smaller and poorer countries did better than us and it is timely for our leaders to take a serious hard look at the reasons behind our failure. We all know the reasons for our failure and we all know we are capable of greater victory but we lack the political will and the right direction to achieve that.

Do we have the political will to place the nation above race and creed? Do we have the political will to say we are Malaysians first then only Malay,Chinese, Indians,Kadazans or Ibans? Do we have the political will to say regardless of race and creed we are all Malaysian, anak Malaysia? Until and unless we acquire that will there is no way we can succeed as we need the talent of every Malaysian to realise our dreams for a developed nation.

This 59th Merdeka our spirits are low as the very fabric of a multi-racial and multireligious nation is being threatened. We may have 59 years of independence but are we truly maturing in our march as a nation? Corruption and racism are not going to take us anywhere but unity and hard work in line with the laws of our country. It is time for all Malaysians to put aside our differences and unite to save our country from the biggest scandals that are threatening to destroy us beyond repair.

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