Merdeka! (with postscript)
If I appear to you ill-used, forgive me.
People have used me, used my name
And said "I am doing this thing
In her name and
For her sake!"
I don't know what they are talking about!
If I appear to you confused, forgive me.
For people who live with me say one thing
And yet do another,
They talk of compassion, but only for themselves
And those like them,
They talk of progress, but they abuse me
And take me for granted,
They talk of God, but they show no mercy whatsoever,
Confusing information with knowledge,
Confusing knowledge with wisdom,
Confusing tolerance for weakness...
If I appear to you lost, forgive me.
For how would you feel if people try
To disconnect you from your past?
From your own history,
From the testaments and pledges
That were made on your birthday?
Therefore, if I appear ill-used, use me well,
If I appear confused, end your own confusion,
If I appear lost, learn your own history,
And if ever anyone was unkind to you,
What can I say? I am very, very sorry.
For they do not represent me
No matter what you have been told.
I am Malaysia,
And this month I shall be 56 years old.
And even you would be hard-pressed
To look young and desirable at my age...
So have no fear,
Do not be depressed,
Quell your hate and your rage.
For the bumps and knocks that you feel
Are the bumps and knocks I also feel,
It is the opening of our new chapter,
The turning of a new page.
So Happy Birthday to you
And Happy Birthday to me!
|My birthday. The picture is not colour, but the day was colourful!|
Happy Birthday, you are 56! Come, 31st August, we are all 56 years old. We, meaning the 29 million people who live in Malaysia and call themselves Malaysians. Please excuse my poetic license as most people will point out that Malaysia was in fact born on 16th September 1963 when the states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya to create Malaysia. But ultimately, the genesis of Malaysia and Hari Malaysia (Malaysia Day, which we also celebrate) can be traced to the Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31st August, 1957. So there.
|I am an idea. Yours.|
We are (or should consider ourselves at least) 56 years old because we are born into a country that old. So our life has been moulded in the socia-economic, political and spiritual structure of the state, no matter how independent or free-spirited we may think we are.
A Country is an Idea. As I reflect at the age of 56, like most people, death doesn't seem like such a distant event anymore. And for my country, I began to wonder about its mortality too. How many years more does Malaysia have left? One? Ten? Twenty? One Hundred? Unlike us humans, where death is inevitable and can be statistically determined, the life of a country can be extended for the foreseeable future, so long as human civilization exists. For a country is in fact a metaphysical entity, an idea.
The Zombie States. And it can exist so long as people believe and work towards realizing that idea. For some countries, which are categorized by the media pundits as 'failed states' (Afghanistan, North Korea and Iraq spring to mind), they exist in a strange limbo between reality and ideal, where they are still members of the United Nation and retain some semblance of normal stately functions, but are in fact lifeless and soulless... The Walking Dead of Nations. Sad but true.
|I see many countries here. And I see a few more on life-support...|
Our Educational & Ethical Deficit. No, I don't think my country has qualified to join the infamous troupe of zombie countries, yet. I think Malaysia still has some life in it, some soul and some ideals. But we gotta arrest our decline in our educational system. That is uber-important. And we also need to redress the professional and ethical deficit of all sectors of public and private life. Yes, the rot is not in the civil service alone, in some sense it is perpetuated and actively encouraged by the private sectors too. In this scenario, everyone who has taken or directly or indirectly benefited from a bribe, whether it is in the tens of millions of Ringgit Malaysia (our currency) or even for a mere RM10.00 is complicit in corruption. But as the saying goes, the fish rots from the head, so all the bosses and leaders must account for their actions and consider the country, the ideals that they are teaching their children and just what sort of future we are leaving for them.
|This country , Papa... Did you make it better? Or did you make it worse?|
Independence from Our Own Ego. My religion is Islam, my race is Malay, my nationality is Malaysian and ultimately, my species is human. So let us reach out towards one another in the spirit of Merdeka (independence)... to counter the hateful ideology of the ego, manifested in hubris, ugly nationalism, colonialism, corporate slavery and bigotry. For in my book, there is no merdeka more important than the independence from our own ego. And submission to the Love of God the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy.
This is what my Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) teaches me, sunshine. Otherwise, merdeka and independence just becomes a throw-away word with little meaning or life to it.
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way