And we wish you this peace, Malaysia. I wish you this peace. This peace that surpasses all understanding; that in the midst of troubled and troubling times, your people will still stand firm in faith and belief. Faith and belief in what? Not in a person, not in a man, not in a party, not even in God really, because that has and will always be a dividing point in this nation, but faith and belief in Malaysia itself, as a nation.
It sometimes seems to me that we, as a nation, are in a state of collapse. As peaceful as we may seem on the outside, we are a nation at war. We are a nation at war with ourselves. We are a nation struggling to define who we are as a nation. Malaysia goes beyond the simple categorisations of race, language, or religion. There is no easy way to define what is truly Malaysian or what is not. And that’s the beauty of it, as well as our downfall.
There are so many things that can unite us. Our common interest in food. Our love for all things cheap. Our multilinguistic capabilities. Strangely enough for this non-sports person, our badminton. So many little things, and so many great things, make us one. And when we are away from home, we allow these things to unite us. We identify with our fellow Malaysian more than those of our own race. Why? Because we are Malaysian. Because we are not simply Chinese and Indian and Malay and Iban and Dayak and Orang Asli and Kadazan and what-have-you anymore. Our cultures have changed. Our mindsets have changed. We are Malaysian first by culture and upbringing.
And yet, we allow these very things to divide us. We allow the sneaky thought in our heads that because you are of a different race, you are lesser than me. Because you do not speak my language, you are lesser than me. Because you do things differently than I do, I do not need to accept your ways. Oh, it’s easy to lay the blame on one race and one religion and say that this divisiveness stems from them. It’s easy to allow that to divide us, as we have always done.
But as a nation we need to grow up. We need to realise that this is not about them and what they’re doing. It should not be. There should never be an “us” and “them” in our nation. There should only be us, the all-inclusive kita. This is about where we want to go and grow as a nation, as a country. This is about claiming Malaysia as our own. Not as our own for our race. Not as our own for our religion. But as our own, to belong together.
And I wish you this peace; that whatever may come, you will live knowing that Malaysia is more than a concept in our heads, or something to be grasped for our profit, but Malaysia is who we are in our hearts.
Happy Malaysia Day.
Selamat Hari Malaysia.