Being Malaysian in Malaysia

We’re celebrating Malaysia Day today.

But what does Malaysia Day mean to all of us Malaysians who love this country?

Is it just another holiday to add to our already growing list of festivities and celebrations, or is it a day for us to think – what it means to be who we say we are?

Is it just the iconic Twin Towers, the tangible symbol of our building prowess?

Is it the Melayu, Cina and India bits of us all?

How I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

For a start, let’s cut it out with the corny taglines.

Taglines mean nothing if actions don’t follow the intention.

How can we profess to be one nation when:

– we still get asked about our race in every form that we fill up?

– some people still think Sabah is Sarawak, and Sarawak is a country?

– people still don’t know what’s going on over there in Borneo? (I got lucky – I married a Sarawakian so I at least know a little of the people over there)

– many of today’s youth are now terribly confused about what our history really is?

– politicians start twisting facts to suit the politics of the day?

– we have double standards for everything?

– we can pull cables for anything?

– a movie isn’t supposedly Malaysian until it has all 3 races represented?

– we still don’t understand our neighbours’ lives and traditions (isn’t it true that we fear which we do not understand?)

The only time we ever feel remotely Malaysian is when we leave this country either for work or travel. When we meet other Malaysians in a foreign land, we have no qualms lapsing into Bahasa Malaysia (the language we refuse to use when we’re right here in this country – hello, what gives?).

Malaysia Day encapsulates the best of us Malaysians and it doesn’t matter what colour you are. It is not in our food, our dress, our traditions. It is not in our faces, our hair, our skin. It is not all these. It is not whether we put up the flag.

It is in our hearts.

And how we are all striving in our own unique ways to create a truly better Malaysia for the future.

That’s what Malaysia Day should be all about.

Happy Malaysia Day, everyone!

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