Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jalur Gemilang

In our household, we have always put up the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian flag) for Merdeka (Independence Day) which will be left to fly proudly till after Malaysia Day before it’s finally kept away for the next year. And we wouldn’t be the only ones. Most of the people in my small town would fly the flag as well.

In my past travels around the country I saw the same thing at other small towns. Houses, whether in brick or wood would have a flag proudly flying in front of their homes. And very rarely will the flag be tattered, old maybe.

The city on the other hand is another story. My house is the only one which has a flag up, it was the same thing last year. Most of the houses I pass by don’t have one either, and I live smack in the middle of the city. Leave the businesses, they put it up because it’s an instruction or a must do thing.

That’s the thing about having lived in a small town. You didn’t need someone to tell you to do something. You didn’t need an incentive to do something. No matter what the political situation was, small town people knew what patriotism was and the difference between government and country.

They also knew no matter who you supported, that doesn’t mean you are a horrible person. They wouldn’t stop talking to you because of who you supported or judge you on your views. Somehow the concept of agree to disagree is better felt in a small town than in the city. Mind you, they’re not unaware of what is going on. No they’re not simpletons, they just choose to prioritise on things they can change around them instead.

Neither will they wait to make changes in their community. I was once visiting a friend for Christmas when there was a commotion outside. Apparently someone saw a person climb into the neighbours house who was away for the holidays. The whole neighbourhood turned up to investigate the matter with sticks and brooms in hand while another called the cops who turned up in a short time.

Try imagining that happening in the city. Heck do you even report faulty roads or any issue that happens around your neighbourhood? Or do you wait for someone else to do it? Seriously ask yourself who are you waiting for?

So when we don’t care about what happens around us? Why do you think others will?
That’s what’s happening to the country. We all think we care but are we really doing what is necessary to bring change? Are we changing as citizens? Are we pushing our MPs and ADUNs to represent us where it matters? Are we equally doing it for both sides of the political divide? No we aren’t.

The silence when the opposition does wrong is sometimes so deafening. Don’t you realise you will create the same monsters on their other side since you never asked for accountability? Since you never walked up to your MP or ADUNs office and questioned them?

How many of you have actually put up the Jalur Gemilang for Merdeka this year?

Not flying it doesn’t mean you aren’t patriotic but make sure you know the difference between country and government. Somehow people get these wrong all the time. Tell me you are embarrassed by our government and I’ll stand with you on that. If you tell me this country is hopeless, then I have issues with it. This country is more than the government that runs it. Governments can be replaced, leaders can be replaced eventually coz WE PLACED them there but the essence and what makes you a Malaysian doesn’t change.

We are more united today then we have ever been. The concept of this was not how my country was before is a fallacy. Our ancestors were kept divided during the British and Japanese occupation. They mixed and tolerated each other because they had to and not coz they wanted to. They did so because of fear not because of love. The older generation said more racists stuff then the current generation today. It’s just most of it happened behind doors amongst their own races.

Yes there are issues but I can bet with you most people will stand up for their fellow Malaysian if they were being racially attacked. The problems we have amongst ourselves will solve itself the day we call ourselves Malaysians first before anything else. Only when we learn how to stop putting our religion or race first, only then will we be truly united.

You don’t need to fly the Jalur Gemilang but let me tell you why you should.

Because you love this country.
Because you value the struggles of the people who helped get independence for this beautiful country. Their struggles were real. No matter the issues we face today, we should always remember and celebrate this.
Because you truly feel you are Malaysian first.
Because you love this nation and its people.

On the same line, stop being embarrassed about celebrating Merdeka nor should you make others feel so. Merdeka is a day to celebrate the struggles of our forefathers to gain independence. It’s a day to remember our fallen heros. People who died for this country, the armed forces who still die for our country. That is what it is. Nothing more.

Don’t mix that with what you feel for the government. It is two separate things.

If you’ve ever been to the Merdeka day parade you will know that as long as the king is in attendance, no one else holds precedence. There are no speeches only a host occasional trumpeting the governments projects for the year which is usually drowned by the cheers from the crowd as the armed forces march by. Some years even that is not there.

Anyway I hope you understand the difference between country and government.

Raise the flag for your country, never for the government.

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