ALTHOUGH our National Day is still some time away, I find there is a need to impress upon the readers how important it is for us to love our nation.
We sing the national anthem every day in school. We join in the march past to pay respect to those who went to the battlefields to defend our nation in times of troubles. We cry out ‘Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka’ every year echoing thousands of others in the heat of the Merdeka celebrations.
But how deep does our patriotism go? I am not talking about running to the battlefront at the drop of a hat when summoned.
And I am not just talking about paying tribute to the past heroes (political figures and soldiers alike) who so gallantly fought for the freedom of our nation. I am talking about how proud are we of our nation.
I am talking about holding our head up high when we talk about our country. How much do we really love our country? Perhaps we should ask ourselves: “Do we love our country at all?”
I am not advocating that we Malaysians should only speak Bahasa Malaysia. It is a subtle example of how patriotism can manifest in many forms. We are quick to pay lip service, saying that we love our country. But teenagers these days sing the national anthem because they have to and not because they want to.
They look forward to leaving the country to further their studies, not knowing that there is no place like home, in every sense of the word. Some say they dislike their own country for the many reasons only best known to them. Yet, they’ve grown up in this country, enjoyed subsidised healthcare and more importantly peace and serenity in the neighbourhood.
Imagine growing up in a war battered country. We often see on TV and read in the newspapers how these people protest against the invasion of their motherland at the expense of their lives.
They still stick it out despite being constantly bombarded with shrapnel and explosives, and despite their homes being riddled by bullets. Now, why do we find it so hard to love our own country when we don’t have to bleed or die to do so?