Sixty-years into our nation's independence, how many of our citizens will proudly stand up to say, "I am proud to be Malaysian"? How many of us will take up arms to defend our country from a foreign threat? How many will call another countryman "my brother" or "my sister"?
The sad truth is that the inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and inter-religious national fabric has been torn wider apart.
The Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin has blamed Malaysia's segregated education system for the lack of unity in the country. The minister attributed the disunity to the different types of schools.
Putting blame solely on the different types of schools is both myopic and dishonest. Our public universities are good examples of poor integration among students of different races, despite many of them coming from national schools themselves.
Prior to coming to the universities, these students would have been influenced by their parents, who have their own political affiliations and societal influence. The way the students behave is reflective of the way their parents think, and how politics have shaped the minds of their parents.
Any honest Malaysian will not deny that divisive politics and politicking is a major cause of today's less than united nation.
Different persons may have different perspectives of what has contributed towards poor racial unity and national harmony. It ranges from stereotypical thinking towards other groups - thinking of others as kafir, as second-class citizens, of being uncared for, unwanted, unwelcome. Even plainly, we think of others as our enemies.
In all honesty, we in Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan do not profess to know what caused the poor state of national harmony. But as veterans of the military and police, through our profession and experience, we certainly know how to unite.
In our organisation, we do not have inter-ethnic disunity and animosity. We share common goals and objectives.
As leaders, we treat our men fairly and equally, and with respect. In turn, we love our leaders and many a time would die for them. It is not blind loyalty. But if we feel cared for, wanted, important, respected, loved, and have our welfare taken care of, under necessary circumstances, we are prepared to give our lives to our leaders, king and country.
It is now, more than ever, we see it imperative to unite all Malaysians.
We call upon all Malaysians to reshape our thinking. To think as one, and as a nation of people united as one.
We need to relearn how to care, respect, and help each other, to share our knowledge, when to motivate each other to excel. In short, we need to make everyone feel important.
Let us learn to call each other "saudaraku," "my brother" or "my sister." We need to share a common goal of a united, progressive and harmonious Malaysia.
We can start by changing our thinking.