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Patriotism of a Deeper Kind

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Patriotism of a deeper kind

Zhang Su Li

People today are very different from the Malays, Chinese and Indians who fought together to become Malaysians. Therefore, the "patriotism" of the 40's and 50's is no longer relevant. It must evolve into a different form, because things have changed since 1957.

We know of political bias, and conflicting interpretations of the Federal Constitution. We know that the "Malaysia Boleh" opportunities are not necessarily available equally to all people. At this point, it is only fair to say that the representatives of the other communities are not blameless - they allow it to happen.

As a nation, we have no voice. Not only is expression controlled, we are expected to believe in propaganda that talks down to us.

Malaysia boasts of progressing towards fully "developed" status, and yet basic amenities like drinkable tap water and clean public toilets are still not available to tax payers. We have the biggest this and the grandest that, but not public facilities for the handicapped. Of late, street crime has increased to worrisome levels. They've become so bold as to smash car windows to grab bags, while the driver is in the car. What are the police doing about it? When we see a policeman or a police car, what is our initial reaction? Ask yourself - is it a feeling of security?

How is patriotism possible if we don't even have basic safety in the country we live in and work for? What is the government's policy on the protection of citizens who are also voters and tax payers?

Despite the hype about our achievements, the people have no idea what this country stands for. Patriotism is about a belief in a common philosophy. What is ours? Making the longest kuih ketayap?

If the word "patriotism" is to have a place at all in this country, then it needs to be re-defined. And we, the people, have somehow, unknowingly defined ourselves.

Malays, Chinese and Indians today live in harmony simply because we are tolerant people, and we like each other on a personal level. This is not patriotism to the constitution, but patriotism towards each other as Malaysians. A Malay woman in a tudung uses chopsticks to eat her noodles. We see Chinese fingers on a banana leaf. Hear Cantonese words from Indian lips. When someone trips



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