Merdeka – 54th

August 24, 2011

We are just about to celebrate our 54th Independence Day, exactly in a week’s time to be exact 7 days! Yes, we have been liberated from the colonial masters, the Brits.

But the question I would want to ask right now and today is: “Are we truly Independent”!

I remember when I was a kid growing up in not so much of a Kampung environment in a great town called ‘Paloh’! Yes, the same one which the late Yasmin Ahmad talked about so much in her movies, it is none other than IPOH!

My dad was just a simple man. A Government Servant serving the Government of the day, oohhh that was just 52 years ago, the time I was born and emerge into this world. Hardly 2 years after Merdeka.

As I grew up, all my neighbours were a pure mixture of 1 Malaysia, we had all the races all around us, Malays, Indians, Chinese, Punjabis, Eurasians and you name it.  My immediate Jiran to my left was a Malay family with many kids, mostly girls, we played “masak-masak” during the weekends and one day we had a big fight ! Yes, big one, over a rubber thrash-can cover or rather rubbish bin cover issued to homes those days! The black ones! She banged my head with the top cover and I in turn bit her ears! Feisty devil we were, but it was all over in just a moment and we made up and became friends, how I wish I can contact her today, totally forgot what’s her name and where she went after that!

The neighbour on my right was a Punjabi family, three boys and a girl, my own house had 5 boys and two girls only. They were also friendly neighbours, and the very next time I met with one of the sons was about 40 odd years later after we last saw each other! Imagine we sat together had dinner in a mutual friends place in New York and as we were enjoying the after dinner coffee and desert started talking about our roots. Bingo, everything seems the same and here he was my long lost neighbour, god made it happened that day! Coincidentally, he also became a Muslim.

The neighbour opposite my house was a Chinese family with 2 boys and a lovely and pretty daughter, which we all admired from far only, her dad was feisty too, his elder brother became a NSTP reporter, guess he is still there.

Way back then, I guess we were all more tolerant of each other despite the indifference we had deep inside! Our forefathers came from faraway lands and settled for good and most if not all my uncles and aunts served the government loyally. Even my own siblings served the Government as teachers, not less than 6 of them in all, what do you say about being patriotic!

My perspective started to change after the May 13th riots, life was never the same again, the little things I heard and personally experienced had a great impact on my life up until today.

Yes, I do not deny it and do not like it. After completing my fifth form, with a 2nd grade, I was not able to further my studies into 6th form, despite of representing the school and state in sports & games! After my effort to appeal, it was rejected.

I asked myself why am I being victimized? Am I not a citizen, don’t I have equal rights, why is this so? At the tender age of 17 years old these questions, stuck inside me for good and remain inside of me and until today still sometimes cannot accept it!   

Why can others continue to study Form 6 with the same results and some even worse off than mine and can get admitted into local University whereas I am left out in the cold, what did I do wrong? Those days going to Univeristy wasn’t easy as today, competition was tough, my Dad just could not afford to send me overseas, he was already retired even before I finished schooling.

Why am I a victim of politics and rules of inequality in my own country! That was the beginning of my views about this country, why is it that way, why punish the others? What have they done wrong, the country expects them to be loyal subjects and must be patriotic and at the same time treat them indifferently all together! Is it that not strange! Is it not just like South Africa, in its dark apartheid days, where a black man has no rights, he just merely exists, just like in the USA at one time!

Today things have changed, some do say we are better now, but I beg to differ, those days the politicians are more sensible, less emotional and less moronic than what we are having and seeing today! Maybe those days they hide their very true feelings well, and respect others, whilst today they brag about it, defending their so called “RIGHTS” as though others have none! Even to the extent of shedding and spilling blood!

What we are now actually much worse off than before, after 54 years we are moving further apart, thanks to all the morons that we have in place. EACH day they fume at their mouth and yell out profanities against each other, protecting and defending this and that. The rules and regulations are all already in place what more to shout and cry about defending RIGHTS !

One has to sit down and observe this:

  1. During Merdeka Days – how many fly the flags at home, office, cars and attend the parade, how many are there in the grounds – MIC ( Malays, Chinese & Indians)
  2. How many would watch a soccer match if the Nation is Playing as opposed to if MU or Chelsea is in town – how many again in the breakdown of M.I.C.?
  3. How many of the others ( I.C.) have willingly serve the Govt service – and get promoted on equal terms and based purely on merits?
  4. How many of the others (I.C.),  became leaders in the Govt Service?
  5. How many top scorers (I.C.) do not study in local U’s and prefer to pay for it even in overseas!
  6. How many have left for good and work elsewhere, instead of coming home and serve!
  7. How many prefer to even work on their own and be their own boss and have a little business instead of working for the Govt.

So is this only a fiction of my imagination or just an isolated story, or is it because of the culture, the values, the norms, the ideals and different individual needs?

The Chinese and Indians have a long historical culture of a few thousand years, some are good and some I agree are not that acceptable! Yes, as in any race or culture some are just too much!

But the bottom line is we live and let live and we respect each other’s space and rights’. Otherwise we can’t exist in this small world we all want to call home!

Now after 54 short years, the question still lingers on my mine! When can I call myself a truly Malaysian and have absolute equality and not treated as another alien and having to be class as 2nd class PENDATANG anymore? Is there any light at the end of the long tunnel, or is it just a dream to have true equality in this land we all were born, raised and defended for and eventually die and be buried here!

My reminders to all my kids are that they are to stand up and be counted and work hard for success and do not depend on hand-outs and freebies, for that will surely kill one’s initiative and the ability to strive for higher grounds. Be proud of the rich background and incredible inheritance that they have inside of them!

My two kids are truly and international beings, because they have – Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Turkish and Javanese blood flowing in them, if that is not international what is, they are not Malaysians and hardly any Malay-ness in them bloodline!      

Yes we are still proud to be MALAYSIANS!

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