Saturday, August 30, 2008

51st Merdeka

Tomorrow we will be celebrating our country's 51st merdeka or independence day. Many individulas and agencies have made the necessary preparation for this auspicious event. As usual, there will be parades by the public and private sectors and many school children will also be taking part. Now, what does merdeka actually mean to each and everyone of us? How do we show that we are loyal citizens and that we love our country? What is patriotism? Does draping as many jalur gemilang as possible across the width of our cars show patriotism? Or does flying the flag in our house compound or sticking many tiny jalur gemilang on our vehicles show that we are citizens who love our country dearly? Does criticising the government at times mean that we are not loyal and good citizens? I don't fly the jalur gemilang or drape it across the bonnet of my car but that doesn't mean that I am not patriotic or a loyal citizen and don't love my country. I love the peace in my country and the beautiful people there regardless of their race and religion. I love the fact that I don't have to worry that I might be blown to pieces by a suicide bomber each time I leave my house to go to a shopping complex or an entertainment outlet. I love this peace loving nation. I love to sing the national anthem and all the rest of the patriotic songs. For me, patriotism comes from within the heart. It is a way of life. Patriotism and loyalty to the country cannot be forced onto every individual. He or she needs to understand the true meaning and do it willingly. For example, we can't force a child to stand in attention and respect the raising of the flag when singing the national anthem. He or she should automatically know what he or she should do in such a situation without having to be told to do so. A few days back, my colleagues and I were talking about this. We were pointing out that children nowadays do not love their school as we did when we were in school. If we do not love our school, the institution where we first learn about the history of our country, then how are we going to love and be patriotic and loyal to our country? I remember when we sang the national anthem and all the other patriotic songs including our school song, it was with much pride and admiration that we stood in attention during the singing and the raising of the flag. We took the trouble to memorise the songs and sang with all our hearts. This is what patriotism means to me. Only with this can we learn to love and be loyal to our country. However, everyone is entitled to his or her interpretation of patriotism and loyalty to the country. We might differ in thoughts and opinions but we are one, that is Malaysians. Happy 51st Merdeka!

jennyiyan's recollections...

No comments: