A miracle has happened over the weekend, when the entire nation burst at the seams with pride for Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, and Abdul Latif Romly.
Due to the sterling efforts of these young men, who each won a gold medal in the Rio Paralympics, Malaysians were not able to hold back their tears at hearing the Negaraku played and sung at the world stage.
Yet even as we sing the words with gusto, there are some local folk who just do not seem to get the message behind the words. The first line goes, “Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku” (approximately translated as “My country, the land of my blood”).
The second line goes, “Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju” (literal translation “The people live, as one and progressively”).
Unfortunately, there are a number who claim to be patriots, but who only wish to cleave to the first line rather than embrace the second as well. Because the majority of the population is made up of one cultural heritage who also happen to believe in a certain religion, the various political parties have often made it a point to emphasise the differences between the races that make up the multicultural pot of Malaysians.
Amazingly, despite the fact that they are the majority, leaders somehow never fail to harp on how the “others” are threatening security (whether fiscal or literal) and rights – when in actual fact, it is the “others” whose rights are the ones that are visibly curtailed.
Churches are not allowed to display the symbol of the cross, which is bizarre, because the whole point of displaying it is to show that it is a church. Displaying the cross is to remember what it stands for – and no, it is not to ward off vampires.
One of the current issues that is still bubbling in our political cooking pot is the railroading of the hudud amendments, with the argument that “hudud will not affect non-Muslims”.
I, for one, wish that they would stop saying that – because that argument is totally fallacious. Hudud (that is, the set of punishments allowed under syariah law) and syariah itself has allowances and rulings when dealing with non-Muslims – so how can you say that it will have no external effect?
Many local Muslims only see the need to cater their own needs, wishing to live in a country where syariah is practised totally, thanks to a general and widespread belief that tends to be based on a rather superficial knowledge and understanding of the religion and its practice.
But dear Muslims, please understand this: non-Muslims have rights too, you know. And even local Muslims themselves are not spared, as those who do not wish to be as conservative in their faith are harassed in many ways.
Next year will be the sixtieth anniversary of Merdeka – a full Chinese cycle, if you will. How long more will people whose great-grandparents were born here have to put up with nasty comments about returning on the boat that they came from?
At the end of the day, coach R. Jeganathan considers his protégé Mohd Ridzuan as a son – and race has nothing to do with it.
Tomorrow is Malaysia Day – and in spite of the historical complexities and politicking that have accompanied the occasion, it is still a reminder that we are all one nation.
To paraphrase the late Terry Pratchett, we are all on the same boat – and although we may disagree on the direction, we are all travelling together. It is only madmen who want to steal the sails, and who will drill holes into the foundations of the ship. Everyone has rights – and that is what is right.