At 52, most people will be considered a senior citizen. For a civil servant, it is an age whereby one can opt to leave the service and get a pension. For others, most will be achieving the height of their careers before leaving or retiring in another 5 to 10 years. For my beloved country, she is still crawling on all four, trying to find it's directions and meaning in life. Why is that? Is it because we are a relatively young country compared to many other countries? Is it because we have had a long history of having been colonised by several countries? Is it beccause we are a country that consists of many people from diverse cultures and beliefs? Is it because we still have not learned to accept that we are all different and we have to respect one another BECAUSE OF and IN SPITE OF our differences?
How many times have I encountered situations when there are parties and gatherings attended by various races and people from different faiths ... only to find that the food is not suitable for some people? How many times have I attended talks/speeches, etc. whereby the speakers have made fun of people who practise different cultures? How many times have I attended functions where everyone is seated according to the colours of their skin? How many times have I seen a lack of respect for, and an unwillingness to learn about people who do things differently? How many times have I heard some people who should know better prove to us that they do not know anything every time they open their mouths? How many times ...? TOO MANY TIMES!
So when is this going to end? Perhaps never. But as human beings who dwell in this country, calling ourselves Malaysians, it is time to :
- make an effort to live WITH one another, not IN SPITE OF one another
- try to understand why our friends have different practices and RESPECT them for what they believe in
- not just tolerate one another (I hate that word), but to accept one another. We can always agree to disagree, but we don't have to fight one another for a single conclusion.
- see one another not according to the colour of our skin, but as Malaysians who are different
- love this country so much that we can disregard all the small matters that are petty
- appreciate our individual heritage, our differences and our beliefs, BUT not let these cloud our eyes and hearts that we live in this country which is so blessed with such diversity
It is with pride that I say I am a Malaysian. I want to continue having that pride. Let me not, one day, give up on this beautiful country. Let me grow old with Malaysia, as a Malaysian.