Emulate the wise words of Temenggong Jugah

Visithra Manikam

Modified 15 Sep 2015, 6:42 am

“Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu, manis di pohon, tawal di hujung.” (Malaysia should not be like the sugar cane, sweet at the head and getting less and less sweet towards the end.)

- Jugah anak Barieng @ Temenggong Jugah

Wise words by a very wise man.

Jugah was a very interesting man. Despite being illiterate, he valued education and pushed for it for his community - the Ibans. He was key to Sarawak uniting with Sabah and Malaya to form Malaysia.

To me Malaysia is still sweet despite everything going on now but perhaps hardened from all that’s happening; the sweetness is now getting harder to reach.

We need to remember that we are different. Each state, each culture values something different. We need to remember to take these into account in everything we do and not marginalise people for being different. Our thoughts and needs are different but at the end of the day, we are all Malaysians.

Let’s not forget that.

“Idup ka nyawa dulu. Udah urat tegap, baru kitai ulih bejaku. (Give life to yourself first. Once your foundation is solid, then you can talk and act.) - Temenggong Jugah

Indeed how can we expect change when we won’t make changes to ourselves?

Let’s change how we treat others especially those who are lower in status than us. How about you say thank you for a change and make their day? Write as many thank you notes for great service, encourage people to be better.

Let’s change our attitude that someone else will do it. Be that someone who doesn’t litter, doesn’t drive like a maniac, who calls in to report accidents, suspicious characters, faulty roads, broken pipes, malfunctioning street and parking lights. The people in charge can’t be everywhere, but you can make a difference by aiding them with information.

Let’s change our attitude towards stereotypes. How about we stop judging people just by their race and attire? How about we give people a chance to prove themselves? How about we instil these values into our children and watch how we behave in front of them. Children learn from example, so think carefully what kind of example you are setting for them.

Let’s change our attitude towards responsibility. Your duty as a citizen doesn’t stop at the voting booth, push your assemblyperson and MP for the changes you want. Don’t idealise them, make them stand up for you when it matters.

Let’s change our attitude towards corruption. Stop giving bribes. Stop buying stolen items. No matter how small it is, you’re aiding corruption and little by little you become a part of the problem and not the solution.

Change begins with the man in the mirror - so how much are you willing to change?

This Malaysia Day, ask yourselves that.

Happy Birthday, Malaysia and to all Malaysians, Happy Malaysia Day.

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