Malaysiakini Letter

Getting fellow citizens to love our country

CY Ming  |  Published:  |  Modified:

A good way is assembling large crowds to sing our national anthem while watching the Jalur Gemilang being hoisted up the flagpole.

Many citizens belt out Negaraku with gusto and reverberate with pride. Some wept with joy when Malaysians won international events, especially during award presentation ceremonies.

Such expression of love for one’s country comes naturally. It should be encouraged and extended as a positive contribution for our nation.

If not, it may just be gone with the wind. For example, football fans can be fanatical in their support for a club, even foreign ones such as those in the English Premier League, or their state.

They can easily turn into an unruly mob, acting on herd instinct but turn sheepish when alone, as they lacked individual decision-making or thoughtfulness, and could not contribute anything or even stay loyal.

The love for our country should be translated into concrete action. Singing the national anthem is good for recharging our spirits but should not be the end result.

But how can citizens love a country, which they cannot see and is only shown in maps, when they are not bothered with their own neighbourhood? Every day, they look at their surroundings but could not see what they can do to make it better.

If they have little love for their community, colleagues, customers, relatives or even their own family members, how could they love our country, which they cannot define or visualise?

Can hatemongers, who are fond of condemning fellow citizens of a different race, language, culture, faith and opinion, love our country which they unashamedly claim to be?

Should we continue to organise activities which are more like charades, to express love of our country? Could we go beyond the superficial and work on something truly meaningful?

It is common to see people patronising others, particularly leaders, to please them. Leaders falsely think they are being respected, when they were actually patronised.

The love of one’s country has to start with loving oneself

The love of one’s country has to start with loving oneself. Only by learning to truly love and respect ourselves, can we do the same to others.

But the majority would fail at the first hurdle, as petty quarrels are common among family members, and the same with relatives and colleagues.

We must also learn to love our work and do a great job that others would be proud of. Instead, many Malaysians do a lousy job and yet are mighty proud of themselves.

When we are efficient and productive, we contribute to our nation’s economy and the income taxes we pay add to the government’s coffers needed to develop our country.

On the other hand, if we treat our work as unimportant and earn low wages, we will be draining our country’s resources by relying on government facilities when we fall sick.

When we are contributing to charity and society with our treasure, talent or time to help the poor, sick or those needing help, we are loving our people and country.

On the other hand, those involved in pilferages, leakages and wastages are bleeding the nation. Bigots have a field day pulling others down instead of lifting up their own communities, which they are not prepared to do as it requires too much hard work.

When answering a supplementary question in the Dewan Rakyat, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said extremist groups fan feelings of anger and hatred, as this tactic is easier than to ask people to practice principles and values of moderation.

Those who have the greatest love for our countryfight against corruption, poverty, injustice, ignorance, extremism, pollution, deforestation, and degradation of our environment.

Those who condemn the champions of noble causes are looking after their own interests more than that of the nation, but their ill-gotten gains would eventually turn into a curse. Time will tell as it is a great equaliser.

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