Malaysia – 50 Years Young

Saturday, 25 August 2007

In recent weeks there has been a very noticeable ramp-up of the government's efforts to make us feel patriotic.

At the daily early morning wet market in Section 17: a truck is parked at the front of the market blaring unintelligible propaganda and Petaling Jaya's very own theme song. I kid you not.

At LRT stations: again, more patriotic songs in malay with unimaginative, lilting singing. Actually it just seems as if the singers haven't eaten for days and they can't keep to the beat--they're always one step behind. 😕

On the LRT carriages: ugly stickers of a badly-rendered Malaysian flag are plastered on the windows.

On Telekom's headquarters: its exterior became the 'screen' for a giant slideshow

Somewhere in Putrajaya: an international fireworks competition is going to be held there. You get to buy tickets to inhale more than your fair share of gunpowder and heavy metals.

Sorry, but I'm just not buying into this whole 'celebrate 50 years of nationhood' thing. Not this way. Worse still is the knowledge that our hard earned money is being thrown at frivolous activities like these. And corrupt government officials are sitting on paperwork, waiting for their duit kopi (bribes).

Why not channel the money into things like proper town planning? How about proper road resurfacing works so that driving through PJ doesn't feel like a rally? Putting more emphasis on environmental protection? Making education a viable career path so that we get better quality lecturers and students? Paying professionals like doctors and engineers a decent salary so we won't lose them to other countries?

Yes, Malaysia is rich. It's just a pity that its resources are being wasted.

Having said that though, we have come a long way since we gained our independence. For all its (man-made) faults, its people have, in some way or other, influenced me to become what I am today. There are some things to be proud of (the food), some not (the government's obsession with "the biggest...", "the longest...").

So, happy birthday Malaysia. May we all exercise our right to cause peaceful change and improvement to this country some of us call "home".

3 Comments

#1Gravatar imageruach says:

Wordy McWord. Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a constant source of frustration that this nation has so much potential and wealth and yet it continues to fritter it away carelessly in so many ways.

#2Gravatar imageferret says:

did you flag your rights by wearing yellow today?

#3Gravatar imageMichelle says:

ruach: I want my money back. :p

ferret: Wear yellow? I didn’t know about that. Who initiated the movement?

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