Merdeka Sentiments – Patriotism is more than just about Raising the Flag


It’s August 31st today.

A date of historical importance and significance for this country that I was born and living in now.

The beautiful nation of Malaysia was born on this date, 49 years ago.

Amid the cries of “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” by our beloved Father of Malaysia.

How I wish I could’ve experienced the electrifying atmosphere of the day.

To relive that glorious moment.

49 years on, the country is booming and has become one of the fastest developing nation in the world.

Yet, it seems our mentality, or perhaps the mentality of many of our leaders, have yet to change at all.

On the outset, Malaysia seems to be like an amazing country.

Indeed, it is a peace-loving nation with a multi-ethinic and multi-religious society, a potpourri of culture so different and unique – special only to Malaysia.

But if you look deep into the heart of Malaysia – you’ll see a completely different picture, a picture not many will dare to be upfront about.

The people of Malaysia lived alongside each other, albeit grudgingly, because it was out of necessity.

We are still suspicious of each other, wary of each other.

It’s true. It’s so very true. And would you believe it, it all became so apparent these past few weeks leading up to this year’s Merdeka celebration.

It all began with one callous minister chastising a certain ethnic group for not showing enough patriotic spirit by raising the country’s beloved flag.

Then, a youth leader of the nation’s largest ethnic group sent out a warning to his people to not show weakness or another people from other ethnic group will take advantage of them to make demands.

While these two events may have just unveiled recently, but honestly, it’s a sentiment that has been felt for a very long time.

Not just by me, but I am sure by many others – segregation among races is still prevalent – don’t believe those newspaper and TV ads, do you really think they are a true depiction of the way of life in Malaysia?

Perhaps it was in the early days of pre-Merdeka as well as the years following Merdeka, but as the nation progressed, one ethnic group became richer and lived a better life as compared to another.

Tensions arose out of that imbalance between the rich and the poor. Between powerful businessmen and poverty-strickened farmers.

Jealousy, envy, disgruntlement, anger and bitterness all swelled till it can no longer be contained – strife ensued on that tragic May 13, 1969.

We have not learnt our lessons it seemed. History has not taught us well to watch our tongues and not make careless, unjustified accusations about one ethnic group or another.

The meaning of Merdeka seemed lost to this new crop of brash, hypocritical leaders who would not hesitate say nasty things about one group of people and then sternly warning others not to say nasty things about other people – I can name a few leaders who are like this.

We achieved freedom from colonial rule 49 years ago. We have yet to be free from our set prejudices and bigotry. We say we are not racists, but we are all liars – who are we kidding? Admit it, there are still many of us who dare not mix with one another because of preconceived misconceptions about others.

Freedom comes with a set of responsibilities. Are each of us responsible for it, or is it just the government? No, each of us are responsible for it. Intelligent people know what to do with the freedoms accorded to us.

Unfortunately, it seems that there aren’t that many intelligent people in the government today. Most likely due to us unintelligent people who voted for these even more unintelligent people into the government. The presence of these unintelligent leaders in the government are largely due to our fault. So, we should really stop asking why are there such stupid leaders in the government.  

Pardon me if I don’t feel like getting into the mood of things…I’d prefer to be patriotic in my own quiet, insignificant way. Like voicing out my dissatisfaction with the way the government runs things.

I show my patriotism not by flying flags and draping my car with flags, but by ensuring my country is clean, by ensuring people give good service because I want to show the world that Malaysians are not rude like a magazine poll said we are.

I show my patriotism by exercising patience on the road and be a safe, careful driver. I show my patriotism by restraining myself from spending lavishly on material goods that I do not need. Not to mention, cutting down on food wastage, water and electricity.

You see, it would be very unfair of the minister to call people like me who refuses to fly the flag as unpatriotic people who do not love the country. I love my country. I choose to show it in less subtle ways. I don’t like to be a show-off, and more often than not, the show-offs are really the ones who are secretly unpatriotic and are only doing so to gain favourable looks from people.

I will not live in any other country. I will not die in or for any other country. This is my home. This is my motherland. For all it’s faults, I love this country and will defend it to the death. I will sacrifice my blood, sweat and tears to serve the people of this country.

That’s true patriotism to you, my friends.



  1. Indeed this is the true patriotism; what you do when no one is watching. Kudos

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