True Malaysians and patriotism

With Merdeka Day just round the corner, the nation can feel proud to have enjoyed peace and freedom for the past 55 years. Still, more can be done to nurture a patriotic spirit especially among the youths.

IN the midst of the excitement in celebrating Aidilfitri, one must not forget another forthcoming celebration — Merdeka Day. While the former rejoices the spiritual journey and striving in the way of God during the month of Ramadan, the latter calls for every citizen to commemorate the feeling of love towards the country and be thankful over the nation’s independence enjoyed over the past 55 years.

Why does a country’s independence matter? When we look around us today and see the physical and social development that has rapidly taken place, we need to appreciate the freedom that we have been enjoying in determining our own path and future.

Compare this to a situation where we could not make decisions on what was best for us as a nation but had to succumb to the will of a colonial master. With this realisation, a sense of appreciation must be demonstrated in various ways during the Merdeka Day celebration.

It is thus imperative to have in us a strong spirit of patriotism.

Patriotism is generally defined as the feeling of love or devotion to one’s country. When we claim to be patriotic, what do we actually mean?

One must realise that being patriotic should not be limited to only putting up a flag or merely standing up for the national anthem. The spirit of patriotism entails a deeper reason for these actions.

Being patriotic also requires a feeling of wanting what is best for the nation and doing things that would make the nation proud.

So, when we hope for a gold medal in the Olympics, a win in an international football tournament or feel exuberant when the first Malaysian astronaut boarded the International Space Station, we are actually taking pride in the country’s success.

This pride and hope are a form of patriotism, as is supporting the good qualities and ideals of the country and striving to mitigate its negative ones.

Patriotism also implies feelings of solidarity and mutual responsibility among people of different ethnicities and religious backgrounds. A multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia needs to find commonalities due to the differences that exist among the various groups.

Therefore, through the spirit of patriotism and love for the nation, these differences can be transcended, thus allowing a strong basis for consensus among the citizens. For Malaysia, this form of solidarity is central.

by Enizahura Abd Aziz.

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