On this auspicious golden jubilee, I would like to pray for a better Malaysia. A place where racism, crime and corruption is rejected, a place where democracy, accountability and equality is upheld. A dream too far-fetched?
I woke up to a normal Monday, apart from it being a public holiday. I woke up realising the last Chinese New Year and Hari Raya made a better mark. Well, apart from greetings of Selamat Hari Malaysia seen on Facebook statuses, or tweets, what else do we see that indicates it is Malaysia Day? So where is the excitement for this very special day? This is supposed to be Malaysia's birthday!
Well maybe, just maybe, Malaysians are bitter and have a resentment towards what is happening to this country. But let's take a moment to think, what did Malaysia do wrong? We are holding a grudge against the wrong party. The resentment and anger, should be directed towards those who messed up the country instead.
Malaysia on the other hand, has done nothing wrong. This land instead, has blessed so many people in abundance. It is rich in natural resources, and is such a beautiful place to be.
We wake up on the dawn of Malaysia Day, knowing Malaysia is 50 years old, but what do we have that is worth being proud of?
We are known to be a country of multi-ethnicity, but are we really moving forward as a country without being racially polarised, or is it just a myth? Two days ago, the deputy prime minister said, "We should not be apologetic to other races". What a Malaysia Day gift! This speaks volumes.
Try saying this in America or UK, or maybe just across the causeway in Singapore, I can assure you no matter what the context of the statement is, you'll be shunned immediately! Luckily for our DPM, this is Malaysia.
After 57 years of independence, we still see the federal government setting out education policies based on the need to win elections. See, that is where the chunk of problems lie. In a developed country, education is a tool to empower the next generation to bring the country to greater heights. In Malaysia however, the government uses it as a tool to fish for votes.
We have seen flip-flop policies, in particular the use of English language in our education system. What is there to bicker about, my dear education ministers? English is a global language, you cannot deny that. And the only way to move forward globally, is to adapt to the use of the English language. Protecting the national language, or mother tongue for that matter, does not come at the expense of depriving the use of English.
What has happened to East Malaysia after 50 years of "Malaysia"? Sabah and Sarawak are unique in the sense that thay make up two-thirds of Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak did not join Malaysia, instead, they together with Malaya, formed Malaysia. But are they in terms of development, really on par after 50 years?
These states have for the past half a century, contribute a big chunk to Malaysia's economy through natural resources like petroleum, timber, rubber, palm oil, and even tourism. But does the development there reflect such contributions?
Whis is KL such a prestigious place?
I remember visiting the interior once. And a friend's relative asked, "Belajar di KL?" I answered "Ya", and I was given a lecture on how blessed and lucky I am. Another friend from Sabah, now working in Kuala Lumpur, was asked, "Kau kerja di KL bah kan?" And for that matter, she was these villagers' person to look up to.
My point here is, KL has become such a prestigious place in the hearts of these rural folks, and to even set foot in KL, would mean so much to them. You can be selling banana fritters or nasi lemak in KL, and dare I say, these folks will still look up to you. Now why is that so?
And lastly, before I end, I would just like us to ponder, where is Malaysia in our hearts? Who else can be proud of Malaysia, if not us Malaysians? To those who dream on migrating, or already have the ability and means to migrate, please stay in Malaysia. There is no place like home. We may be in despair, we may be broken, we may be in shame. But who else will turn things round and return Malaysia's glory, if all the talents leave?
The only change Malaysia can get, is when Malaysians themselves decide to change.
ADRIAN LIM CHEE EN is currently a first year law student based in Kuala Lumpur who tweets at @adrianlimcheeen. He takes an interest in issues concerning the country and loves food photography. He dreams of seeing Malaysians progressing and coming together as one without being divided by race and religion.