Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer

50 Years of Independence: A Personal Thought

Friday, December 15, 2006

(I was tagged by Najah Nasseri to write the following. I am supposed to be Number 38. Her post is Number 39.)

When our country achieved Independence in 1957, it was just one week after I reached my 13th birthday. When the country celebrates her 50th birthday, I will be 63 and hopefully still alive to celebrate both occasions.
On 31st August 1957, I was in Kelantan the so-called Malay Heartland. Even there, there were other races too. I had as my classmates, Chia, Das, Sardar in addition to people like Rahman Daud, Shukri Hamid, Nik Sidik and Nik Kazeem. All of us took part in the lantern procession to celebrate our country’s independence. I can safely say that none of us knew, let alone understood the word racism. Like any other people in the world, we did fight with each other. Never did we fight over our skin’s colour. Before the bruises on our skin barely disappear we were fast friends again.
Now we have wrinkled skin and the colour has become a bone of contention. After so many years of independence, many of us could not become Malaysians. Somehow, some of us still think of ourselves as Malays, Chinese, Indians or whatever our ethnicity is. Some of us look up to America and embraced the life style of the Americans. The Americans think of themselves as Americans even though they are Greeks, Italians, Lebanese, Jamaicans, Irish or WASPs. This is something that we have not embraced yet. I am not saying that there is no racial prejudice or discrimination in America. There are bigots everywhere. I feel that even with a smaller population, Malaysia has more bigots. I guess this is the result of our system. The sailing boat, the symbol that the Nation’s Founding Fathers chose for the Alliance of the major races is now in rough waters.
We are at sea. We are lost, wondering what went wrong. Some blame it on materialism which gives rise to selfishness, avarice, jealousy, corruption and abuse. Some blame it on politicians. I blame it on materialistic politicians.
Before some politicians descend on me and smother me with their bush jackets, let me ask you if you know of any politicians who joined politics purely to serve the people and the country. You might try to point out some politicians from the Opposition who do not seem to gain much, material-wise at present. The situation might change when they are in power. In the mean time, they are noisily voicing out some of the people’s grievances, real or imagined. This is not to say that representatives from the ruling coalition never criticized the government or its machinery. But when push comes to shove, they will toe the party line. This is the problem. Party first, people later. Even the very people who voted the representative in have no say in the decision. How many times did your wakil rakyat ask your opinion on important issues? How many times did your wakil rakyat speak up and argue against decisions that you and thousands of other people think are not right? Maybe I am a bit idealistic but I long for the day when our representatives ask our opinion and then speak up without fear of losing promotions, contracts, next nomination or whatever. Do we have to wait another 50 years for this?

( I have tagged my daughter Elisa to write Post # 37 but she is away without Internet at the moment so I guess my eldest daughter Elida will have to forgo shopping and encounters with naked vagrants to write the next post. You can tag Elisa next.)

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