searching the extrodinary in something ordinary

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I am sitting here at home on the eve of merdeka just as any other day. The 50th year that Malaysia achieved independence. The campaigns have been going on forever to remind us of how Malaysia has reached half a century of independence. Not that it has actually made a very deep impression but more of something that showed up stayed and got pushed and faded into the background or rather my background like a humming refrigerator only for me to notice its presence when i do care to observe more carefully. Not sure if the rest feels the same. Strangely enough, the merdeka of any other years before these seemed more significant and stood out more than this yr. Perhaps too much hoo ha made me feel tired of it before it even arrived.

Throughout the whole "50 years of merdeka" campaign, various newspaper ran some sort of columns asking people what does 50 years of merdeka mean to them. I had only managed to skim through one or two of these articles really and i guess some of them are pretty much close to textbook answers albeit personal ones while some did give generally acceptable criticism. But those only scratches the surface of what the everyday people of Malaysia thinks. I think in real life there would be an earful that people have to say of what they think about 50 years of merdeka for Malaysia. And not all of them will be something good. 50 years is indeed a long way to have traveled for a country and even more for its people which are so diverse. And there has been battle scars to show for that. Although what we have now might not be ultimately something which can be called perfect or perhaps even close to perfect, but the fact is there are countries which are worst. There could be countries which are better of course but they aren't perfect either. What irks me the most is when people say with somewhat of an arrogance how great these other places are before they even live there. Don't get me wrong, i am not a very patriotic person either, but at least if you have to, do the comparison when you have already been staying there for a while instead of comparing with some imaginary "perfect" world. That is not even half the problem. But the fact is this type of mentality as well as a general dissatisfaction is pretty prevalent. And the cause for this as with many problems is the lack of proper and thorough communication. So many issues which are deemed too sensitive to discuss. And perhaps it isn't untrue, there are still people which mentality aren't able to accept this kind of openess in discussion. But i don't think ultimately sweeping the issues under the carpet is going to solve things. Just like an over protective parent prove to do more harm to the child. So perhaps at the half way point to a century of independence is an apt time to think of a way to gently but surely push these children on their way to a growth that will bring with it maturity and openess of discussion to solve a much deeper problem.

So what does 50 years of merdeka mean really when there are still so much deep seated sentiments or lack thereof still unsolved. In terms of independence from external forces, these 50 years is worth celebrating as we stand as a free nation, a country which we call our own. But in terms of the people and mentality, much is left to be done. Perhaps another 50 yrs down the road there can be a better answer


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