Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy 55th Merdeka Day, Malaysia!

Where am I this year for Merdeka Day? Sydney, yet again. However, compared to how I felt last year, my feelings this year are less emotional, perhaps due to my recent long stay back home. In addition, this trip allowed me to meet people who shared much of their knowledge and experiences.

We could say that our nation is another year older. Are we a year wiser, though? I suppose, we all have our own definitions of 'wiser', do we not? Here is my personal take on it.

Unlike last year, I did not take part in Bersih 3.0 this year. I am unable to recall the reason for my non-participation but deep down, I was proud of everyone I know who did partake. To me, the Bersih rallies are linked to Merdeka and more importantly, linked to how proud we are as Malaysians. Regardless of whether the effects of Bersih will take place tomorrow, next year, or next generation, it is more significant that I was here to be a part of and experience the change.

It is funny that we are all afraid of change because nothing endures but change. We hear that pretty often, do we not? Change is the only constant, there is nothing permanent except change - sound familiar? More and more now, I think that this notion of change should be incorporated into our education system to allow for progressive change to take place in a nation.

Of course, where there is good change, there will be bad change, too. I suppose, it depends on which end of the tunnel we are positioned. For what is the point of making bold statements and finger-pointing while remaining in the same spot? We would have to step away from one place to view any one thing from different angles, the same as how we take photographs of the same person from different positions to get the best shot. Everything flows, nothing stands still, so why should we?

Okay, for some of us, even after numerous attempts at affecting positive change, the change remains negative. Does that mean that we and the rest of the nation should hoist the white flag and maintain the 'tidak apa' mentality? Well, we would have to remind ourselves that we could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to us. There are so many other influencing factors, which make change difficult. Some of these factors also make us fear change, as we often equate change to less power. But in the words of the famous French military and political leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, "He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat." I think we have to conquer our own perceptions of change before anything else.

It is always the perception, ey? It is like how I saw the glass is half empty but you say the glass is half full. I wonder if it matters if we see the glass as either empty of full. I suppose not, because even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe. We need everyone to be part of a cause, not just the goodies but the baddies, too, for opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.


So, where do we start? We start from young. We start from building a child's character for character is destiny and good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.

I guess, instead of asking what Malaysia is able to do for me, it means even more this time around to ask, "What am I able to do for Malaysia?" instead. As an early childhood educator, as a daughter to my family and country, and as an accidental but vital influence in another human being's life.

Happy 55th Merdeka Day, Malaysia. May you age with grace and grandeur.

This post was inspired by my parents and besties, my past and current students, my fellow PhD friends, my wise supervisors and also the work of Heraclitus of Ephesus (Ancient Greek: Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος—Hērákleitos ho Ephésios; c. 535 – c. 475 BCE), a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Quotes in italics are by Heraclitus.

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