Saturday 30 August 2014

Written by Natasha Wong, Sophomore Cempaka, Class of 2016

As Merdeka Day approaches, we fill our hearts and thoughts with the various 
small liberties we’ve been blessed with. We now have the freedom to choose our own path and future, without having to succumb to the will of a colonial master governing our every move. As we are thankful for the wonderful country we have, we begin to think of what had brought us here together. There was and is something that has allowed this to happen, an immense feeling that compels and moves us, giving us the resolve to fight for our country - nationalism.

Students of Junior 1 Higgs reenacting one of our nation's greatest prides — Dato' Lee Chong Wei claiming the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games!
Nationalism is the feeling that people have of being loyal and proud of their country. It is the reason for our great fight for independence. In fact, the reason for every country’s independence. However, nationalism and racism, as with war and destruction are 2 sides of the same coin, with it being one of the main causes for World War I and World War II. 

When it reaches a point of it being overdone, nationalism can bring along great destruction. We've seen it happen in World War I, as the desire to fight other countries and prove their superiority was strong, and when Germany enslaved the Jews, deciding for the Germans that they were the “perfect race”. Nationalism, when it reaches a deadly point, is when you start to see anyone who is not similar to you as the enemies. Discrimination is a noteworthy example of nationalism gone wrong - the most profound of this being again when the Nazi Germans ousted everyone outside of their own “Aryan Master race”, exclusive to only those with blue eyes and blonde hair.

A skit done by the students of Form 4 Science 1, depicting the social etiquette of Malays, Chinese and Indians and its cultural impact that has formed the unique Malaysian lifestyle

First off, lets start with nationalism and its great effects on Malaysia, our very own country. Nationalism was the driving factor in our journey to gain our independence, and the main reason behind how we are united as we are today and why we felt as patriotic as we did during the tragic MH370 and MH17 disasters. In that sense, you could almost say that nationalism stems from tragedy, as we are often at our most patriotic whenever something has happened to our beloved nation. Be it war, a terrorist attack or a plane crash; these problems make us come together in our time of need, to unite and take a stand. As with many things great and positive, there often is no clear distinction between what is deemed a healthy amount of nationalism before it starts having adverse effects, leaving us to wonder just how much is too much.

Now, lets relate all this with Malaysia in the past. Back then, we were known as British Malaya. Throwing away the racial masks that had been our identity, passed down from generations before, we rebelled and revolted against the British in our fight to seek independence for ourselves. Despite never seeing each other together as one before, the races that now shared the land fought against all odds, and claimed our freedom. We didn’t discriminate nor did we simply tolerate, but instead united and became one to achieve a common goal - independence for our nation.

It would be naive to say that it was all perfect from then onwards however - the tragedy of May 13 1969 would be true testament to that fact. On that day, we were jolted into a sharp realisation that there was a friction existing at the edges of our various racial ethnicities that had been underestimated - a friction that mainly existed due to nationalism; with each race striving to protect their identity and rights as a citizen of this land. Given the circumstances of how we all came together, it was a matter that could not just be simply cast aside, but with perseverance we strived on to smooth out our differences in the name of seeking and creating a better Malaysia. 

Nationalism is what had drawn us Malaysians together - and it is what will continue to keep us together. We are able to accept each other despite coming from different roots, and as we celebrate Merdeka Day, all of us appreciate the bond between our different cultures, races and religions. Our duty as a Malaysian is to not only raise our flags and stand as we sing our national song but to have a deep love for our homeland. With the collective endeavor of every single Malaysian’s love for our country, whave strived to improve and make great leaps in our country for these 57 years and will continue to do so for the next 57 years and beyond.

All photos were taken by Lai Li Chan, Class of 2015
by Anonymous 13:24 20 comments | in , , , , ,


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