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2019 on the horizon

19.5 hours to 2019. It’s about 4.30 am on the 31st December 2018. What have we done with our lives so far? We’ve changed our government but are still struggling to find elusive common sense in daily life. Elation at our ‘victory’, the ‘People’s victory’ is slowly settling down to reality. The reality of what we have become over 61+ years of being treated as doubtful stakeholders in this homeland, despite our birth right to have a homeland. (I speak from my point of view, one of the ‘un-chosen’ of migrant descent) There are leaders who want change for a more just, democratic and people caring nation, but there are also those who live to gang for power, self-interest and exhibitionist nationalism. They know who they are. The rosy veneers are peeling off to reveal the true color of each individual’s patriotism, if patriotism is what is practiced. Perhaps, people are starting to think about ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’.

To pick a phrase by Emanuel Macron (the French President – 2018) “nationalism destroys patriotism”. Some may wonder, why the differentiation between the two? Does patriotism mean the same as nationalism? To my mind – NO. Patriotism to me comes from the spirit that aspires to higher, nobler goals…a united nation of people. Unity in diversity, peaceful co-existence, equality, respect for human dignity and rights; all in all a nurturing love for one’s country that will make it a better place and we, a better people. Even, the critics of the government, the so-called ‘prophets of doom’, the pessimists who are critical of policies, laws and more importantly, actions of government, may be the true patriots. These who keep the government, hopefully, on the right track, exercise freedom of speech with responsibility upholding democracy. Yet, freedom of speech and democracy is a two edged sword.

Some self-proclaimed nationalists assume they are patriotic and swear blind their allegiance to king and country but preach societal fragmentation, intolerance of diversity, race and religion. Equality, respect for human rights and dignity is anathema to them. This, we saw so recently. This twisted view of patriotism, too often calls itself “The Patriot”.

So what are these ‘nationalists’? Are they ‘patriots’? Nationalism seems a grey area. They possibly see themselves as defenders of the realm, but whose realm? Their realm of self-interest or the nation’s realm of wider societal interest and diversity?

Far right nationalism is trending in many countries today, an apparent backlash against current migration trends sparked by an epidemic of conflicts around the globe. There is a defensive attitude towards migrants and refugees, and Malaysia is no less vulnerable to such far right nationalism even within its own society.

After 61+ years of communal race and religious based politics shaping our mentality, one could excuse this mindset. Yet, we need to take stock of ourselves and realize how ingrained in ourselves is this kind of ‘nationalist’ thinking.

To make a real change, we have to change ourselves. Can we do that as we start 2019?

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Those on-going Californian fire storms are really scary. Winds up to 100 km per hour are unbelievable and so frightening. At least 25 lives have been lost and many more are missing, perhaps gone forever, burnt to cinders. Billion dollar properties gone up in smoke and a whole town wiped off the map.
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Malaysia’s new dawn?

It’s seven months since we (the Rakyat) decisively changed our government through the ballot box. 9th May 2018 goes down in history as the ‘re-birth’ of a truly independent Malaysia. The euphoria was real for most, but some like me, wondered where this ‘tsunami’ would take us.
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“It’s so hard”, the father shook his head, ” to let go of a beloved child”. “He’s grown up now and we don’t seem to matter as much as my wife and I did, when he was younger.” We’re all faced with letting go at some time in our lives. Continue Reading »

Hello All from the Long Silence. These past few years have been hectic. I got a new ‘job’ called ‘house keeping for mother’. Many people, especially those who have regular jobs may not understand that this profession, if you can call it one, is not as easy or as leisurely as many think. It’s very much like being a mother/home-maker, which I was for 10 years of my married life i.e. home-maker. But, getting back to what I actually wanted to talk to you about, it seems to me these days that we have to cautiously interact with others, with a healthy amount of suspicion. What a healthy amount of suspicion is, I’m not too sure.
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“It’s silly to say ‘thank you’, quipped the five-year old to his grandfather who told him to thank an aunt for the birthday present she gave him. I wonder what our children learn today? The word ” thank you” seems  fast becoming obsolete to the extent that when it is said it raises expressions of surprise, amazement, annoyance, puzzlement or unresponsive indifference. People don’t understand its meaning anymore. Continue Reading »

Sweet Solitude

Sometimes the noise and the crowds in daily life get too much to bear. The incessant demands made, the rush to meet deadlines, the obligatory chores bring on episodes of near insanity, confusion and mental fatigue. Life becomes so contradictory that even words are jumbled, thoughts fragment and melt away like wisps of mist evaporating in the sunlight. It is hard to focus, hard to hold a sensible, logical thought. Nothing makes sense anymore. My mind shuts down. Continue Reading »

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