Hello! I hope all of you are having a good holiday, and enjoying your precious time with your friends and family! Tomorrow marks our 54th National Day, or Merdeka Day. It feels a little different to me this year, because there are no "parades" or marches or helicopters flying around above Dataran Merdeka.
However, I feel that it is quite a good thing to have some sort of silence as proposed to pompous celebrations. I think sometimes, we may celebrate too much and forget what it means to have independence and live as a peaceful country for 54 years.So, I guess I treasure the opportunity this year, to ponder on, or reflect about what it meant to have gained independence, and about all the things that have kept us through these 54 years.
I believe that it is more than the infrastructures that make us proud to be Malaysians. It is not the KL towers, or the Twin Towers that make us proud. To me, it makes me proud to see that despite many conflicts of religion and race, that at the ground -roots we, as Malaysians respect each other and live harmoniously. Some may say that I am "dreaming". I know that there has been a lot going on recently, but I believe that how we live cannot represent the issues that are at most times very political.
Outside the political bubble, lies a freedom of respecting each other's race and religion. Kids of different races still come out to play downstairs at the small field of my flat. We know our neighbors and the maintenance "makcik" enjoys talking to us, about her children and her grandchildren. Although we may not know all our neighbors, I think our block/flat has quite an even distribution of races. And each time we walk into each other at the stairs or the corridor, we still exchange smiles.
So in a very small way, I still believe that amidst the chaos, there are still things to be thankful about, and things to commemorate about our lives as a nation.
For me, these are 5 things that i would like to be thankful about:
Freedom of religion
Somewhat freedom of expression
The people who live around me regardless of race/religion that have somehow come to be dear dear friends
Our elderly who still uphold our heritage as Malaysians
Rich cultures that are uniquely Malaysian
I think all these are more important than any monument or buildings. These are the things that are precious to me. These are the things that I would fight to defend. These are the things that I would hope to see more of.
These are the things that make me proud of our country.
Of course in many ways, our country is not perfect, and there is much space for improvement. But I would still like to hope a little hope that everyone, regardless status/race/religion will do the right things, even when it is hard and difficult. And hopefully in accumulation of all these noble acts, it will preserve what it means to live in "muhibah"
So how are you commemorating Merdeka tomorrow? For me, I would spend at least 5 minutes to be quiet and observe in silence, the significance of Independence and living together in harmony. Will you join me?