A reflection on "independence day"

I've never been a patriotic person...probably because I wasn't born in an era where wars dominate the headlines of the papers. Instead, what we read on the paper is corruption, racism, poverty, jobless, economy crisis etc. But just as the 59th Merdeka day passed, a question lingered on. 

Has Malaysia grow as a nation? Has political stability been something that we are proud of or are we ashamed because most of us dare not take a stand, as we become too comfortable with this "independence". Have we become the very society we know is not right?

I was never born into a fair and unbiased society. 

In fact, the moment I stepped into this world, society has divided me into a "race"...they call me Chinese. And then, there are "us" and there are "them". We are being categorized, labelled. And yet we celebrate Independence. Schooling taught me more labels....the first class or the last class. The elites, the commoners.  And when we enter the work place, we seen further division. The rich, the poor. The Datos, the Tan Sris, the "sirs" and "mr" and also the outcasts....Yes, as we learn and embrace the way society labels things, we see less of human in others but more of labels. We no longer treasure the differences and unique identity of an individual but for everyone that is different or unacceptable to the society, we look away, with disgust and a sense of superiority over them.

Not only are labels becoming a part of us, corruption and bribery become a part of us. We see it as a way of life. How many of us have gotten our driving license by paying some sort of incentive? And how many of us know that the "white uniform" authorities on the road during the festive seasons have a hidden agenda? But yet, we accept it. We indulged in corruption, because we see opportunities in it. We think that if we let it go, it will go away, or somehow we could benefit from it when one day, it is more convenient that it exists.

We read of the publicly exposed scandals in 1MDB and we accept it. Just look at how many CEOs, management of higher institutions, lecturers, teachers, governors and leaders of the country choose to accept it. Hardly anyone said much about it for good reasons? 

I once talked to someone about the scandal and he told me this, "Billy, there is hardly any chance of a change in the way we run our country. For businessmen like us, it's important that there is stability, so that we can do business."

Money, is the new currency. Money is the new value. It decides for us what is acceptable, what is right. Even as I blogged about this, I am as flawed as the society I lived in.

I've heard friends that talked about Malaysia as a failure and that moving to Singapore is the best option. Probably, they are right, because after all they are earnings three times what I am earning. (Again, it is about money) But look around you, whether in Singapore, the US, UK, or even Malaysia, the same problem exists. (it's a question of whether it's something that is contained or not; some countries contain it better than the others) Staying in Malaysia does not make me any more patriotic than someone who left the country for another place. It is simply by chance that I am still here. It is simply because it's also the same when one crossed the sea. 

Independence day was meaningful because we have broken free from what is termed as "British colonization" but I think if we are colonized by "corruption", "self-righteous and superiority over others", "money", how different and meaningful is independence really?

Has Malaysian grow through these 59 years? Definitely, in some ways. But I will be frank in my opinion; there is such a big division among the people in the country; whether it is the race, or the economic division in the country. Prejudice between Malays, Chinese, Indians and other races remain strong; the rich and poor have seen a bigger gap; the middle class is slipping....I genuinely hope more could be done. 

Is there hope? I think so; I hope so. The only thing to do is persevere...

And I find comfort in Gandhi's words:

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Sorry for the rambling post and offensive choice of words to some. Just a thought of an imperfect individual. Happy Merdeka Malaysia!