We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.
— Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s 1st Prime Minister
August 31, 2017 —
Today mark’s the 60th year we celebrate our independence.
59 years may not seem long and it isn’t. It is true that we are still a somewhat new and developing country. And like any every other country, we are flawed. We are not perfect and we may not ever be.
We have gone through so much as a nation from colonisation to major disagreements; and both have led to racial polarisation that still happens even in supposedly ‘advanced’ cities like KL.
Really what is race anyway? Perhaps during the war the term ‘race’ was evident from the way some of us were brought into the country and segregated.
But that was then. Now the term ‘race’ is merely a social construct to further divide us. Sure ‘ethnicity’ is still a thing, and our ethnic origins and cultures may vary, but no one is purely Malay, or Chinese, or Indian, or Iban, or Kadazan (or any of the other beautiful ethnicities our country has). In this current day and age, a majority of us were born in Malaysia and/or are citizens. At the end of the day, we are all Malaysians.
We may look different and we may speak different languages but different doesn’t always equal to bad.
Our differences is what makes our country and its people beautiful and unique. And it should take so much more than our religion or the colour of our skin or our customs or our ethnic background to divide us.
It’s so easy to see and place the blame on others but we need to realise that if we want to see change, we need to put ourselves responsible for that change as well. The “Us vs. Them” mindset that we have when something goes wrong needs to go; and those emotions should be channeled into working together to move forward.
Dividing ourselves will only make us weak. It will only slow down our progress and we need to realise that if we want to rise as a nation, we need to act as one unified unit instead of segregating ourselves.
I have faith in us. I have faith in our ability to come out stronger. We have gone through so much and although we may shake and stumble, we are still strong. We are all still similar.
Similar in the way we have the same goal to move forward; the same vision for our country to develop into one that is both developed yet still rich with culture; and most importantly the same love for our country.
And those similarities should be more than enough to unite us.