After 59 years of Merdeka, there is much for us Malaysians to be thankful for. Let us not be prophets of doom and gloom and instead be united as one in hope, faith and optimism for the future.
When we look around the world at war torn nations such as Syria, or countries ravaged by natural disasters and other such calamities, though we may feel compassion for the victims, there is also an inner voice deep within us that says – thank God that did not happen here in our country. It is an understandable human emotion.
Admittedly, we may not have emulated the economic success story that is Singapore, but neither have we taken the disastrous path of brutal dictatorship by the junta which Myanmar has, or suffered tragedy and devastation as a result of decades of bloody civil war in countries such as Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
We have also done considerably well when we compare ourselves with some of our Asean partners. Not brilliant, but not too bad either.
Let us then count our blessings and not our woes today. We must be thankful that we do not live in a war zone. Peace is something that many Malaysians take for granted until we turn on the news and see the horrors happening worldwide.
We also live in a nation that is plentiful in natural resources. Oil, gas, rubber, palm oil, rice; you name it – we have it.
Our islands and beaches are beautiful. Our flora and fauna are the envy of many. In short, Malaysia is a tropical paradise. We have not just abundant food, but also a vast variety of it, as a result of our unique and rich cultural heritage.
Our government hospitals are equipped with state of the art machines and medical care may be obtained at minimal cost. State schools, likewise, make education accessible for all Malaysians. Basic civil liberties such as freedom of expression, association, assembly, religion, etc exist; with democracy and the rule of law at the foundation of our political system and our constitution. Granted, these rights and values are limited; but at least they are there, in some form or another; with an attendant judicial system to protect them.
We live in a country where we can be proud of our rich tapestry of racial, religious and cultural heritage. Like our Malaysian dish, “Rojak”, we are mixed of so many different elements: Malays, Indians/Sri Lankan, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan, Orang Asli, the list goes on – our diversity is our strength.
Many of the other virtues above can also not be taken for granted any longer, for the future is what we will make of it. What we have today is precarious and fragile. We Malaysians must be more aware of how fortunate we are, and work harder to build a better, stronger and more equitable nation for tomorrow.
We have come a long way, but to go forward, we must abandon the race/ethnicity card; race politics; racial/religious discrimination which is threatening to blow apart the foundation of unity that our forefathers have fought hard for. It is only when we shed the poison that is race politics that the “Malaysian Tree” will truly mature and blossom; bearing beautiful fruit for all to share.
Only when unity is sincerely embraced and put into practice by all will our generation be able to proudly hand over the baton to our children for a peaceful and prosperous Malaysia in the future.