Today the 16th September marks Malaysia Day, a day that commemorates the establishment of the Malaysia Federation, the joining together of the states in Borneo and the Malay Peninsula.
Malaysia is known for its vibrant culture of people of various ethnicities and beliefs sharing common interests such as food and football.
In the latest election, Malaysians have somehow turned over the ruling party that had been governing the nation since independence in favour of the then opposition, all without bloodshed. That’s definitely something to be proud of.
However, despite the achievements to date, Malaysians still have got a long way to go.
Yes, the culture is great and Malaysians seem to be living in harmony. But take a closer look and you may discover many parts still blemished with racism, sexism, cruelty and discrimination of all kinds. We may look at our circle of friends and think that they’re not like that. But try stepping out of that circle–you might find a different story.
I know you don’t like to be confronted with negativity, but this needs to at least be acknowledged. Mistakes and demeaning actions need to be made aware of so that a change for the better can be made. I believe that with every bad situation, there’s always something good or better that accompanies it.
Just a few days ago, there’s this news that two men killed a cat by putting it in a dryer at a self-service laundry. It’s shocking. How could anyone do such a thing? This may be an isolated case, but it shows how there are still people without compassion who are compelled to do nasty things for their own amusement.
The flipside of it is that many Malaysians expressed their disgust on social media. This shows that there are also people who do care about the welfare of others and who wish to see justice served and a more civilised society in the future.
You’ll hear me talk a lot about mindfulness and I can’t stress its importance enough. It’s the key to achieving a higher intellectual capacity to make better decisions. Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve been too complacent and we tend to get trapped into the lure of immediate gratification.
When we’re mindful of our actions, we take full responsibility. We’re also able to act more intentionally and bring about a positive outcome.
The cat murder wouldn’t have happened if the perpetrators just pause to think whether their actions would actually benefit anyone other their own ego. If they were more mindful, they could’ve just left the cat alone or adopted the cat (who was pregnant by the way!!).
So yes Malaysia seems to be in an upward trend of progress, but I’d argue that the intellectual capacity of its people is still rather primal.
But I am optimistic that things will change, as I’ve met people who have developed the practice of mindfulness and are doing their parts to free others from the herd mentality.
I hope that we use our intelligence for good.
I hope that instead of blindly following orders, we take a step back to think rationally and have the courage to seek justice.
I hope that instead of sneering and jeering our peers for their effort to better themselves, we pat their backs and encourage them to march on.
I hope that instead of catcalling women on the streets, we treat them with respect and dignity.
I hope that instead of censorship, we embrace freedom of speech–even if it hurts.
I hope that instead of isolation, we welcome those with psychological issues.
And I hope that instead of death, we choose life.