Aida Anuar has a plea for Malaysia Day.
I remember those moments when I would talk about almost everything with my friends, and everything seemed to be fine. We were fine because we shared the same passion for the love for knowledge (even general knowledge of things around us). But I realise now that we don’t feel fine anymore, because we feel as if the more we share with each other about what is happening around us, the greater the chances are of us suddenly getting arrested, not to mention our mind being corrupted with some radical illogical ideologies some ‘people’ have on social websites. What has happened to us that we suddenly feel the need to be over-sensitive?
From Alvivi’s case to the issue about changing room meals, from a woman being condemned for her love for animals to a resort owner being arrested for letting Buddhist followers meditate in an abandoned surau, I think we’ve gone beyond crazy. We punished a couple for making silly jokes, we taunted people of a particular race because we felt they were the only ones being overly-protected, and we tried to ruin their lives as they were being investigated for simply having empathy and sympathy. I mean, what are we trying to achieve by doing all this? By punishing those who are not at fault for trying to do deeds they believe need to be done?
While we are famous in the eye of the world for our cultural diversity, we don’t even try to appreciate or even learn about our differences. We are too busy telling people to tolerate our differences when we actually need acceptance by this stage. In the case of some radical NGOs such as PERKASA and ISMA who spout the superiority of Malays and Muslims, they have failed to sit down and consider the contributions of the other races that they seem to hate so much. My earnest hope is the president of PERKASA, Ibrahim Ali isn’t too busy hopping around from one place to another and that he would take some time to think before he makes other racist remarks and threats to other races.
Frankly speaking — and I think many people would agree with me — we have had enough. We’ve had enough with the myth the authorities have instilled inside us Muslims, that Christians or Buddhists or any other religion will discriminate us if we give them the power to govern. Enough with such prejudiced drama being played in front of us as if we are just bunch of idiots. Enough with the silly arguments our MPs have given us when we expect them to talk with a little bit of wisdom and fairness. Enough is enough!
Now, let’s talk about things that will benefit us and our kids in the future. Where are we heading to with our current education system? Will the government continue to do changes at whim, like revising textbooks and the language used to teach the children in schools? Are we going to see the introduction of yet another ‘system’ without researching the reason of why PPSMI was a failure? What else are they going to change? Shouldn’t we ask questions like, ‘’-What should we do to increase the quality of our higher-level education so our local graduates would have better chances of finding decent jobs?’’ at the very least? How come we ponder over questions like ‘’What’s the reason for guy let some followers of another religion use the surau for their ceremony?’’ or ‘’Why is that woman treating the dog nicely as if it were human?’’ when we have bigger questions and the bigger picture to think about?
We also seem to be facing another big issue – the increasing crime rate. Looking at the results from a study conducted by Political Studies for Change (KPRU) and the Penang Institute, the number of rampant shooting cases which happened in the last four months are surprisingly no higher than its rate in 2012. So far, we’ve had 31 cases, where 23 were shot dead and the other 20 were injured, making it a total of 43 victims. And here, we have a minister who boldly tells us that the increasing rate of crime was only a perception. Well, there goes to all the votes that went for that particular minister.
We as the rakyat can’t do much when the government has failed to give us assurance. Nothing is being done to help recover the image of our law enforcement agencies, which I am assured have got at least something to do with the sudden spate of shooting cases, not to mention the endless cases of snatch theft and other crimes. While we apparently can’t rely on the government to do their job, our alternative way to better things which is through the opposition seems to have come to no end, too. A few opposition leaders have become distracted by people demanding their attention for trivial facility issues like a broken pipeline alongside a road and elevators that can’t work — which are not exactly the reason why we voted for them in the election. Some are just too busy attending wedding invitations, cooking at kenduris and cleaning clogged drains rather than focusing on the reason they got elected as MPs – to debate on our behalf on the biggerissues, such as poverty, poor expenditure by the government,, not to mention corruption (with so many people being threatened for ‘revealing’ the truth of high-ranked officers in government agencies being involved in illegal activities and cover-ups).
I fear for Malaysia. I feel sad for Malaysia. As much as I want change, I know I must start changing myself first in order for me to see change in others. And I’m trying really hard to look at things from what they contain, rather than judge just the surface. But I feel helpless, because I can’t bring change alone.
So my dear mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunties, since we’re celebrating Malaysia Day this week, I have a small favour to ask of you: Can we go back to the times when we didn’t even care about the difference between Malay, Chinese, Indian or other races? To the times we talked about religion because we wanted to know and celebrate our differences; when we talked about patriotism because we were proud patriots (instead of being forced to be one), talked about bigotry and corruption because we were against these things wholeheartedly and because we cared about the future of our youth? If we do this with willing hearts, can we start all over again?
There is so much more for us to learn about Malaysia rather than just the logo and the song.
Tanah tumpahnya darahku, Happy Independence Day!
Featured image sourced from Monash Malaysia.