NST Leader: Branding patriotism

It was not so much that the government was forthcoming with information when the pandemic first hit our shores, unlike other governments which “did not want to cause a panic”. It was because we, as Malaysians, banded together and acted on the government’s advice. - NSTP/AMIRUDIN SAHIB.It was not so much that the government was forthcoming with information when the pandemic first hit our shores, unlike other governments which “did not want to cause a panic”. It was because we, as Malaysians, banded together and acted on the government’s advice. – NSTP/AMIRUDIN SAHIB.

TODAY, we celebrate 57 years of being a nation. We are a young country, but one with some level of influence in the region and, to a certain extent, the continent.

We can be proud of our achievements. After all, we are the only nation to have put down a communist insurgency; we are quick to send aid to nations in need; we have been consistent in answering the call of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions; we are among the few nations to have sent a man or woman into space; and though a small nation, we speak up for those whose voices need to be heard.

Therefore, it is only natural that we fly our flags proudly whenever Malaysia Day comes around each year. And how we fly them! The Jalur Gemilang is displayed in most, if not all, houses.

Cars have those little pole-mounted flags that have become a common sight over the past decade or so. Yes, we have achieved much during our 57 years as a nation. And we are proud. But is flag-flying the true meaning of patriotism?

Patriotism is more than just flying or waving the Jalur Gemilang on National Day or Malaysia Day. It is more than just bringing out the flags for a month or so in August and September.

It is so much more than remembering the deeds of our forefathers who fought for our independence. It is more than when Tunku Abdul Rahman thrice shouted “Merdeka” or when the Malaysia Agreement was signed in 1963. How do we strengthen our patriotism?

How do we make it meaningful? One way is for us to shift from patriotism that is based on sentiment to one of achievement.

The spectre of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal — it matters not who did what — still haunts the country.

What we need to do is put Malaysia on the map, so to speak, for better reasons. We are not talking about veni, vidi, vici, being world beaters or world famous personalities. We already have them — previous world champions like Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David.

Or world famous celebrities like Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, popularly known as Yuna. We also have fashion industry icons like Datuk Jimmy Choo and Zang Toi.

What we need to do is act as a nation in normal, everyday things. How we’ve handled the Covid-19 pandemic is one example. We have been able to control the pandemic and prevent it from overwhelming us.

It was not so much that the government was forthcoming with information when the pandemic first hit our shores, unlike other governments which “did not want to cause a panic”. It was because we, as Malaysians, banded together and acted on the government’s advice.

Another example is for us to live in peace despite being a nation of different cultures, races and religions. We have been doing this for 57 and more years, of course, but there is still tension between the diverse peoples of our beloved country.

Accept and respect the differences between us. By being a model country, we will put Malaysia on the world map. Now, that is patriotism.

A Happy Malaysia Day to all.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2020/09/624802/nst-leader-branding-patriotism

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