Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MERDEKA 2010 - A Brief Observation.

This must be the saddest Merdeka Day I ever felt in many years. Normally, beginning from the eve of Merdeka and even on Merdeka day, I would receive so many sms'es wishing a happy and selamat hari Merdeka . Not this year. All I received was a single sms from a police officer whom I know, wishing me " Happy Independent & Malaysia Day. may good bless our nation and all its citizens (sic)" and to which I replied " Let us treasure this beautiful land. Happy Merdeka."

But what has made the day even sadder is seeing how Merdeka day is reflected in the newspapers. Both the STAR and New Strait Times frontpaged picture of a group of smiling and joyous children of all races, waving Malaysian flags. It was a nice portrayal of one united Malaysia. The New Straits Times on its front page carried the clarion call of the Prime Minister calling on Malaysians to value peace and stability and asking the people "not to allow the Malaysian way of life based on diversity and moderayion to be undermined by extreme attitudes which manifest themselves through racial issues."

The STAR had on its front the Prime Minister telling that " every malaysian citizen is crucial to the country's development" and reminding Malaysians that " we should value the prevailing peace, harmony and stability in the country" and if all these are undermined then "everything which we have achieved, everything which we have built and things which are dear to us will be destroyed". I think these are sobering words and a timely reminder.

In contrast, Utusan Malaysia which reduced the Prime Minister's Merdeka message to the inside page, and instead front paged "Peringatan Raja Nazrin" the advice of the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah to Muslims. Utusan Malaysia highlighted His Highness reminder " Pencerobohoan besar bermula daripada perbuatan kecil. Ia mungkin bermula dari surau, madrasah, masjid atau mimbar. Ia bermula daripada satu ungkapan, ucapan, khutbah, tazkirah atau doa. Ia bermula daripada pencerobohan kecil dan jika ketika itu orang Islam masih degil dan sombong mempertahankan ego serta memilih untuk bertelagah maka sebenarnya telah membeikan petanda yang salah seolah-olah menggalakan pencerobohan ;ebih besar boleh dilakukan ke atas umat dab institusi Islam".

Just a little reflection, could Utusan Malaysia not, on Merdeka day celebrate oneness of Malaysia and highlight the Prime Minister's rallying call to all Malaysian's instead of downplaying and reducing to almost insignificant the Prime Minister's Merdeka message to all Malaysians.

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