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


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