“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
― Mark Twain
Tomorrow is going to be one momentous day for Malaysia. Even though I am not a first time voter, but for the first time ever, there is such a strong sense of hope for change that rises among her people. It is so encouraging to see so many who are now more interested into the current affairs of the country and the government… and one should. Gone were those days where people who shun at the talk of politics (well, some still do) but I personally do think that it is one’s responsibility as a citizen of a country to be interested and delve fully into politics. Politics drives the direction of the nation. Politics decides our economy’s future. Politics discerns what is used into our education system. Politics, almost, just almost decides our lives. How can one not be concerned about politics? For one who claims that he isn’t bothered about politics, isn’t bothered about his and his family’s lives. It is simply an act of ignorance.
In line with the election fever brewing since months ago, please allow me tell you a little story.
There once was a truly blessed little girl who was born into a wonderful family. She grew up, went to a local school and had many friends. Her friends were made up of different races and religions and she often asks them questions about their cultures and beliefs for the sake of wanting to know more and finds these new information astonishingly interesting. They would all attend classes together and participated in the same school clubs and societies. She was a happy and contented girl.
She sang Negaraku alongside her friends during the morning assembly every morning. She was quite okay with that, but was shy and often dreaded the raising of the right hand to recite the Rukun Negara. “Should I put my hand really straight like a soldier? Maybe I should curve my hand a little to seem a little more dainty like the other girls” Yes, these were thoughts than ran through her little head when she spoke the words,
“Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan,
Kesetiaan kepada Raja and negara,
Kesopanan and Kesusilaan”.
These phrases repeated again and again everyday until she memorized it by heart because she had to for her exam questions…but never quite thought through the implications of these rather sacred words.
She was taught that the then prime minister, Dato Seri Mahathir should be revered for all the good things he has done for her country. She learned to acknowledge him as Bapa Pemodenan – The Father of Modernization. She had to learn of his biography and the international roles he led while in post. She witnessed the building of the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the ever famous Twin Towers and was so proud at the launching of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Once she even thought that it would a great honour to meet this man in person. She was often confused and disagreed when her family spoke ill of him. Back then, such opposing thoughts had to be said quietly and behind closed doors. Sometimes she was embarrassed that her family background was so against the government’s policies that she would rather stay silent of her family’s stand when it came to politics.
She grew up and entered university. She was aware that her friends with less excellent results were accepted into local matriculation and university programs. Well, she thought it was acceptable since they come from a family who probably could not afford to send them to university and should therefore be given an equal chance at receiving a tertiary education.
Her university, even though a privately funded one, still had a good mix of races and religions. These cultural differences were often celebrated grandly and everyone would always remember “Indian Society Night”. When her own class graduated and before they parted ways to different states to serve, they were all subjected to undergo in induction program and a course called Biro Tatanegara (National Civics Bureau) and that was when a horrible nightmare began. She completed the course never feeling so dejected as a citizen before. For the first time in her life she heard her ‘friends’ utter the words that people of her race were just guests in this Malaysia ‘home….never really housemates or family. These were friends who slaved years of tears, blood and sweat to attain their degree certificate together and but now realized that she was treated as no more than just guests and not even friends. She felt so unwanted in this own country of hers where she was born and where she grew into an adult. She fought many thoughts of running away to other countries who might appreciate her more than her own home.
She had read about the Bersih movement a few months before she graduated and now realized the essence of creating a country and government which is free from the lies they have fed children at school, the brainwashing they insisted at these governmentally funded camps and courses, the corruption that lingered like a chronic disease and the racism promoted at all levels of society. Enough was enough.
Tomorrow she joins many into voting for a better future. She yearns for a time when the children of the next generation will never have to go through the same things she did.
Change is imminent. It is time we ubah.