Today is our 53rd year of indepandence. Indepandence from???? British colonialism, of course! But as we reflect back, are we really indepandent/merdeka?
I was brought up in a Convent school where I mixed with students of all races. I had no problem interacting with them and colour definitely is not a problem to me. My friends were Jeyarani, Revathi, Suseela, Siti Faridah, Halijah, Salamiah and not to mention Julie, Lai Hua, Ching, Ding and many many more of variety colours.
I remembered one weekend, Halijah (my best friend that time) decided that we would have a picnic. She packed her food and I packed mine. She cycled to my house and we walked to a little field on the way to the Malay kampung. We picnicked next to some cowdung!!! We were not bothered and had such fun yacking.
On Hari Raya, some of us would cycle to the kampung to visit Puan Saodah, our Maths teacher. How we adored her because she was so sweet, petite and gentle (before she married). We would sit cross legged on the floor as she served us rendang and we ate with our fingers. Then we would just lepak in her house and played congkak.
Come Deepavali, we would take the bus to Pundut Estate to visit Revathi and then take the bus back to town and changed to the bus to Ayer Tawar to visit Suseela. How I loved these times as I love spicy food. I enjoyed the thosai, idly and of course the curry.
I ran round the neighbourhood barefooted with my Indian neighbours and played masak-masak with them. I ate in their house if my mother came home late and there was no food on the table. They were never hesitant to lay out an extra plate or two (Ing would always be there too).
Then there was the Malay family down the lane who worked for McCullogh. All boys...I only remembered Rudy. Ing would call the boys 'abang' and got my mom all worried. But that didn't stop us girls from playing combat with them!
Today when I talk about patriotism in class, I get very unpatriotic responses. I fail to see the sense of pride for the country, the flag, the national anthem. Whose fault is it?
Actually the older we get, the more colours we see. We forget to be colour blind and thus pass on the colour codes to the younger generation. It is not the fault of the adults only, it should be equally shouldered by the administrators of the country. Who we are and what we have become is not the work of certain people but the whole society and nation. Who makes up the society and nation? The rakyat and the rulers.
So are we merdeka?? What are we not indepandent of now? Colour, status, name?? We are still colonised by ourselves......
JALUR GEMILANG ....
Are we getting better or worse? Let each patriotic Malaysian work towards harmony and equality regardless of who we are and may our leaders stay true to the ideals of a leadership that is fair, true and of integrity. (Hmm....do I sound like a hypocrite?) This is the Malaysia that I dream of.