Taman Sri Nibong RA Log

1 Malaysia

Our 1 Malaysia logo had been launched with singing and dancing in an air of festivity. Elsewhere, other parties follow suit. While we didn’t sing and dance here in TSNRA, we all come under this logo. Our Taman is after all a mini ‘1 Malaysia’ with its potpourri of races in our Taman melting pot. Always bearing in mind that we are apolitical, we must support and work closely with our government of the day.

Let me share with you my views on unity. I want our future generation to grow up in a blessed land where they do not see the colours of the skin but the beauty of the hearts. I totally support our PM in his concept of 1 Malaysia but to me this is not something new. We were already 1 Malaysia when we were young.

I grew up in such a generation a long time ago. One of my good friends was a Malay girl called Mariam who used to come over to my house for sleepovers. I still remember her looks – quite fair with adolescent pimples and bespectacled with a short bob.  We would play badminton over the fence or just read and chat. In Assunta Convent, we made skipping ropes with colourful rubber bands, kicked fragrant frangipanis tied with a rubber band and played ‘five stones’ with chilli-red angsana seeds sewn into tiny bags. During recess, we girls of all races played happily – race was never an issue. Our Mother Superior made sure of that, constantly reminding us that God loves all His little children – red or yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight, and we should do likewise.

It was in the midst of our Form Six years that we had to suffer the bleakest period in Malaysian history – May the 13th. Mariam and I remained close friends and we didn’t understand why all these terrible atrocities were happening around us. I do not wish to dwell on this dark chapter in my life. But I do want to share with you the close bond that all our Chinese, Malay and Indian school friends shared for many years to come after this. My father and Mariam’s father also remained good friends until the day her father passed away.

Today, unity remains a serious issue. I do not wish to hop onto the ‘who-blames-who-merry-go-round’. Every time I read the pages of our dailies or watch the news on TV, some leaders are blaming others for some mess somewhere. Issues never get solved this way. Our government has many campaigns and programs planned to instill the concept of 1 Malaysia. But will all these bear good fruits? Deep within my spirit there’s a grave concern for my country and all her future generations.

Today’s young people are an IT-savvy lot. They are often in front of their PCs or I-phones and they absorb a lot of info, good or bad. Their parents may or may not have a lot of influence on them, but their friends certainly do. All these negative squabbles among our leaders further negate their opinions of their country. They blog about it and network with their friends. Information over the www can spread like a virulent virus.

1 Malaysia has now been launched. How many of our young people will heed this call to unite as one?  They are aware of what has been going on – at this age, all their senses are sharpened to the peak. Their impressionable minds are like sponges, absorbing what they read online. Their passions run high and their emotions are also volatile, prone to outbursts as they speak out loudly and act boldly.

What about their parents? They have the watched the ups and downs of our country. Some pass down their anger and bitterness to their children while others only care about themselves and their families. The rest may awaken to this call but can anyone estimate this number?

Too much has been said and done. Careless words, cuttings words, coarse words, cruel words that stab through a human heart without drawing blood – read the verses below :

  1. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
  2. “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. The  truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:18)
  3. “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)
  4. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)
  5. “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25)
  6. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge  rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1)
  7. “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Proverbs 13:3)

Such dissenting, destructive words have rooted deep into the spirit of many Malaysians. We are a nation in need of healing and forgiveness. We  know about forgiving others, but we also have to forgive a nation. The Oxford Dictionary defines nation as “ a large community of people, usually sharing a common history, language etc and living under one government ”.

In the light of all these, let me share with you excerpts of a thought provoking article entitled  “ Choices – Living Consciously : Are We Ready to Forgive?” by Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Cape Town and the recipient of many honors and degrees, including the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

“Is forgiveness possible at a national level? And if so, how can political leaders support that process?

A nation is made up of individual persons but it also has an ethos, a culture, a tradition, a corporate memory and identity, distinct from those individuals. A nation can do good, can triumph, can fail. A nation can be held accountable for a holocaust, and so a nation must remember national achievements of which it is proud. It must recall the things that make it hang its head in shame and perhaps be a little less arrogant as it recalls its own anguish.

Leaders can influence the mood of their people; they can make them vengeful or conciliatory; they can pander to their baser instincts or they can hold out a vision of the sublime, of the noble, of the idealistic.

We are exhorted to forgive one another. And we can do this only through God’s grace. It is ultimately God at work in us to make us to be like God. Yes, it is a tall order, but that is the love that changes the world, that believes an enemy is a friend waiting to be made.

God does not give up on anyone, for God looks on each of us as a masterpiece in the making. But God took an incredible risk in creating us not to be automatons but to be decision-making creatures with the freedom to choose to obey or not to obey God, to love or not to love God and others.

That is why we admire not the macho, the aggressively successful. No, we revere a small, frail woman, Mother Theresa because she was good. The world admires an old man, Nelson Mandela, because he is magnanimous, he is forgiving, he is good. We have an instinct for goodness, our hearts thrill in the presence of goodness for God has made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him.

Dear friends, please remember that ultimately there is no future without forgiveness.”

Our nation needs healing. There are wounded hearts and rejected spirits throughout our history. We have to forgive others, especially some of our leaders, for our past hurts and release them to God. When unforgiveness takes root, it will destroy lives and a nation. We can try to mask this by decorating our ‘ tree of unity’ with beautiful flowers among its branches as we dance and sing around it. However, the rot slowly creeps up from the roots and weakens the tree. One fine day, we may wake up to find it has uprooted and fallen to the ground. When we forgive, we are healed and we are set free. Then and only then can we move on to make Malaysia a truly great nation.

– Molly S.C. Ooi

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