YESTERDAY, Malaysia turned 53. Yesterday, we celebrated our freedom from colonial rule (and that of the Japanese, Dutch and Portuguese before that) — an event our forefathers fought so hard for. Yesterday should’ve been a celebration.
But yesterday was a lacklustre affair. Sure, there was the usual celebration at the Stadium Putra, but the streets were quiet. There was little hype and fanfare. Fewer Merdeka ads on TV. Far less Merdeka banners or Malaysian flags on buildings. No Merdeka ‘feeling’. Throughout the entire month of August, I could count the number of cars with the proverbial mini Malaysian flag attached on the side; previously, numerous cars were decked with numerous mini flags. Previously, I saw people waving full-sized Malaysian flags on the backs of pickup trucks.
This year’s National Day, sadly, is laced with apathy, anger, and racial discrimination. This year, some have been heard to threaten the increasingly fraying harmony of my country with a repeat of May 13. This year, some of us have been unfairly labelled as ‘pendatang’. This year, those who spoke up against injustice and bigotry in the country were threatened with bullets in their mail, had multiple police reports lodged against them, were harshly branded as traitors to their own kind. This year, principals are turning a blind eye to unity by sowing seeds of discord among students. This year, a few Malaysians walking the streets on Merdeka eve were suddenly attacked by a bunch of youths and told to “balik ke negara asal”, simply because they were Chinese. This year, Namewee is placed under investigation for being vocally critical (in YouTube) over a principal’s racist remarks against Chinese and Indian students in her school.
Perhaps, it’s because Yasmin Ahmad is dead and there is none left capable of carrying the torch. I hope not. Perhaps, it’s because the likes of Perkasa and MPM, namely Ibrahim Ali and his bunch of bigoted cohorts have not been duly muzzled. Perhaps, Malaysians are forgetting what our forefathers fought for; truly fought for. And that, perhaps, is the fault of the powers-that-be.
I am of Chinese-Indian parentage. I make a halal living. I love my country and its multiple ethnicities. I love the peace and harmony here. And I am saddened by what has been happening of late.
Aku anak Malaysia: I am Malaysian, and I am not ashamed of it.
I call on all Malaysians to remember
that united we stand; divided we fall.
And peace to all