Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

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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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. (more…)

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The long standing tragedy of the Myanmar Rohingya community was brought into sharp focus with the initial find by Thai authorities of mass graves on the Thai-Malaysian border. (more…)

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Progress in degradation

This year so far has been like light years gone by as the country advances towards further deterioration in humanity, intelligence and a rise in unjustified authoritarian heavy-handedness. (more…)

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I am reading an interesting story set in 1960’s Louisiana, USA, on the political race for Governor of Louisiana. The central figure of the story is an ambitious woman who aims to attain wealth, power and status at any cost. Ambition is perhaps, the secondary driving force for her push to fame, fortune and power, as her main objective is to ‘get-back’ at those who have humiliated, insulted and overall belittled her in the past. This book was published in 1960, but its ┬árelevance to today’s dog-eat-dog social environment is so apt, I can’t help but relate to and identify with it.The story is presented through the eyes of people who knew her well on her climb up to the pinnacle of her ambition and begins at the end i.e. her funeral. As I have not yet come to the end of that story, I will not say more about it, but must put down the thoughts it has inspired so far. (more…)

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Looking at the theme I’ve changed to from the last one, that solid row of houses by the shingle beach in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, I felt it was just too everyday and deceptively safe in contrast to some of the things I talk about. (more…)

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