To sing or not to sing the Negaraku at cinemas?
Fancy standing up for six minutes before a movie at the cinemas? Starting next Wednesday, a six-minute clip comprising of Negaraku and two patriotic movie clips will be played before any movies in the cinema start.
Action will be taken against anyone found disrespecting the national anthem. Mind you, disrespecting includes texting, chit chatting, and remaining seated during the six minutes.
I can see the government's noble intention. It certainly creates the Merdeka Day mood and atmosphere, but then, how far can patriotism be instilled through this practice? I suggest the government do a research survey, and be clean and honest with the answer.
Take the US and England as an example. Why are its citizens proud of their flag, their country and their national anthem? See, in these countries, it's a culture, whether they sing the national anthem or not, they feel proud of their country. You can't force the people to be proud of something they find "not right".
Fifty-one percent of Malaysians who voted for Pakatan Rakyat during the 13th general election are sick of the mess in this country. You cannot expect these people to be proud of the country after singing the national anthem, considering that they despise the mess, can you?
Just look at the corruption indexes spearheaded by the police, government officials and ministers. Businesses lose out because of corruption. Instead of incentives to improve and compete, corruption becomes the driving force in contracts and tenders.
Ever come across tales of high-ranking officials in government agencies who either don't work, or work slowly when there's no undertable money? I am sure you have. Even the government has been relying on handouts and cash to win the past elections.
Look at escalating crime rates. Burglars are carrying out their activities rampantly. Thefts are on the rise. And mind you, this does not only happen to normal civilians, even ministers, police chiefs, the deputy prime minister, a menteri besar, and a tan sri became victims themselves.
These are high-ranking personnel who have CCTVs and proper security measures at their home. Gangsters, prominent businesspersons, NGOs and even corporate leaders, you name it, are not spared from the wild, wild west shooting style.
The recently-concluded Altantuya Shaaribu murder appeal also raised many questions. There have been few answers on how she got shot twice and then blown up into bits and pieces.
Teo Beng Hock died while in MACC custody. The Coroner’s Court judgment was an open verdict. So, how safe do you feel in Malaysia? If it is still hard to comprehend, just try walking through the streets of Sinsuran or Kampung Air at 11pm.
The rising cost of living. Yes this happens everywhere in the world, but that should not be an excuse to allow the continuation of inflation. Statistics by the World Bank showed that Malaysia is one of the leading countries in terms of rising cost of living. Consumers are losing out because spending power is becoming weaker and weaker.
On the other hand, government politicians are spending like there is no tomorrow. Corporate and conglomerates with political connections are forever expanding and raking in millions and billions in profits.
Religious tensions caused by monkey politicians who want to score cheap political points. Where is the religious tolerance that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak preached to the Arab world?
Witness the likes of Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali, forever indispensable to Umno and untouchable by the authorities despite inciting hatred against other religions. So much for 1Malaysia?
Racism championed by right wing groups and irresponsible parties. Yet again, where is 1Malaysia? Two bloggers who posted a picture of a pork dish initially denied bail by the court while a politician, specifically Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin, who mocked the Indians, got away without being charged.
Ibrahim, who suggested burning Bibles, got away scot free. Even the PM himself blamed his loss on the Chinese. Then Utusan ran a headline asking "Apa lagi Cina Mahu?" What happened to teachers asking students to go back to China or India? Where is the consistency in charges and disciplinary actions?
Flip flop education policies by the forever problematic education ministers. They say youths are the future of the nation, and yes, I agree. Parents are responsible at home, whereas at school, the education system plays an important and fundamental role in shaping tomorrow's society.
A few years back we witnessed a U-turn decision with regard to the teaching of science and maths. Much resources were invested in preparing English to be used as the medium for teaching science and maths, but a few years later, the policy was abolished.
The respective ministers, in order to gain political mileage, are suggesting that they are prepared to use students and teachers as their political pawns. Now, we see them trying to make Islamic civilisation a compulsory subject for university students.
50 or 56 years old?
The worst part is, Merdeka is around the corner, yet many still disregard the fact that Malaysia is 50 years old, and not 56. Even politicians from both sides cannot decide where they stand and try to avoid making a stand. History tells you that Malaya gained independence in 1957, whereas Sabah and Sarawak agreed to join Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963.
So Malaysia is in fact 50 years old, unless your definition of Malaysia does not include the two resources-rich East Malaysian states. You cannot change history, can you?
So tell me, will singing the national anthem solve all these problems? Yes, I will stand for the six minutes because I love my country, but I wish that as I stand and sing, I can be proud of what my country has achieved.
I want to feel proud of the country, the system, and things other countries do not have. But will that happen in the near future? As I have always shared with my friends, at this point in time, I love my country, but not the system.
ADRIAN LIM CHEE EN is currently a first-year law student based in Kuala Lumpur. He loves the country, but not the system. He hopes to see Malaysians progressing and coming together as one without being divided by race and religion.