Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Nation In Progress


A Nation In Progress

The year draws to an end.

A kaleidoscope, 2008 defies description. In the swirl of colours and sounds, chords were struck and themes developed. I imagine an orchestra tuning up, falling silent and then suddenly and majestically playing a symphony of divine beauty.

Each of us an instrument, our voices lent themselves this year to the harmonies that described and cumulatively defined us as a society and a nation. In the silence behind each echo, we felt whom it is that we could be if we wanted to: one nation, one people.

2008 was the year that transformed us. We found our voices.

We may have voted for one candidate or the other, or even for one party in preference to another. We may have regretted our choices or felt vindicated in the time since or even suffered bitter disappointment for expectations not having been fulfilled. Whatever the case, this year we reclaimed democracy and the right to choose.

It does not matter that since March this year we have seen more political bickering than we would have liked to on either side of the divide, and within the ranks on either side. Any vision that emerges from a true democracy is necessarily the product of the synthesis of varied perspectives and opinions. There never is just one side to things and the heated exchanges about key aspects of our lives is something that we should welcome rather than fear. It is only the truths that flow from this crucible that are sufficiently strong to forge the foundations of a lasting civilisation.

Equally, it does not matter that the governments of the federation or the states made decisions that we would have preferred them not to. It does not matter that this politician or that one acted in a manner that we would have preferred him or her not to have. The reality is that for the first time in a very long time we have had these governments and those who form them behave with some regard to what it is we want; such is the power of the ballot box.

Enhanced opposition presence in parliament, the establishment of Pakatan Rakyat governments in five states and a courageous civil society have also allowed us to see all concerned as they really are, warts and all. We have come face to face with the fact that politicians are not very pretty to look at just as they have had to confront the fact that their fates do really lie in our hands.

And as each of us has come to feel more involved, our sense of belonging has heightened and with it our feeling of ownership. It is your Malaysia as much as it is my Malaysia and together, it is our Malaysia. With that awareness has come the understanding that each of us is responsible for what it is that we become. This has been accompanied by a nascent evolution of attitudes and orientation.

This is the breadth and depth of what it is we achieved this year. It has not been about reformasi but rather, transformasi.

The process is however just beginning and we must continue to be vigilant. As we offer thanks for what is that was bestowed upon us this year, let us not forget that there are those who do not want change. Race politics, with its attendant religious elements, and corruption also continue to threaten us. The latter has gravely undermined us through its insidious colonizing of the wider system and the political process. Its mark is evident in every aspect of our public system, so much so that we are now held to ransom by it.

As for race politics, despite it being self-evidently divisive it sadly continues to play out in the continued politicization of race and religion at great cost. Its destructive quality is seen most clearly in the distorting of legitimate efforts to find more effective methods of affirmative action as attempts to undermine the special status of the Malays under the Constitution.

As we move forward, we must commit to taking it upon ourselves to ridding ourselves of these difficulties. It is not sufficient for us to pay lip service to ideals; we must focus and act decisively. We must develop a more rounded understanding of the sensitivities and fears involved as it only through this that we will be able to develop the necessary language to build bridges with.

The light of the new year illuminates the recently cleared footpath that may ultimately lead us to where it is we should be getting. Though the way is treacherous, our belief that we can be all that we want to be will guide us if we let it.

I believe we want it to.

(Malay Mail; 30th December 2008)

MIS

Happy New Year to all.

9 comments:

Sim said...

This is one of the better year end reflections I have read so far.

Sim Kwang Yang

Damansara said...

Dear Malik

I couldn’t agree more.

For the first time in my adult life, I sincerely felt that my one vote was of tremendous value.

Nothing can describe my joyful feeling while communicating with friends nationwide during that fateful night; exchanging results as our national media were slower than any tortoise.

Frankly, I never thought I will ever experience it in my lifetime.

I really, and seriously but quietly campaigned, for it.

I know to totally change the government was being too ambitious as the opposition was practically visionless; frankly they never planned to govern in the first place. All the PR component parties were operating along clear racial lines without any concrete national vision.

It was my first time voting against the government; for the opposition.

But sending a strong and clear message to the worst administration ever, becoming a must.

Frankly, the sight of Khairy Jamaludin is enough for me to give a vote each to both the Pas candidates in my constituency; though I did felt guilty to at least our MP who really works hard. Alhamdulillah, he won though with a big reduced majority.

Sadly to say, until today the Barisan government failed to understand the message. They continue to be arrogant. Just look at the MCA and the ongoing UMNO party election, it is a circus.

Unfortunately, the same if we were to look at the opposition.

Instead of capturing the moments given with images of honor and respect, they choose to run another circus. They are definitely not smaller clowns.

BUT you are right when you say, this road may ultimately lead us to where it is we should be getting.

At least, now, two party system is clearly visible.

Something to look forward.

AK said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. A Happy New Year to you.

Damansara said...

PS Happy New Year to you Malik

TAL, Ipoh. said...

Wise people have the proper perspective and can make sensible and sensitive decisions. Such people seems to be few and far between.I admire the wisdom in you. May GOD continue to bless you with divine wisdom and insightful understanding. Happy New Year our Shining Star MIS !

anna brella said...

Malik, hello.

It has been a real pleasure to have chanced upon your blog which I now consider to be one of the A-list blogs on Malaysia.

So I have over these past months in 2008 enjoyed tremendously reading your many interesting and well-reasoned postings here, and all of which I find are written in a very honest and diplomatic manner.

I thank you respectfully for your brilliant work here in helping to foster and promote better understanding amongst all peoples.

Have a happy and successful 2009!

donplaypuks® said...

"Any vision that emerges from a true democracy is necessarily the product of the synthesis of varied perspectives and opinions."

This is a beautifully written piece.

And you are right. The proces of real democratic change has begun. Those who expected an overnight sea change were of course bound to be disappointed.

But I see a half full glass and a silver lining behind the clouds. Remaining positive is part of the democratic process!
http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

ChengHo said...

AS long as we practice democracy the majority rule irrespective of the color of our skin . No one in the world totaly color blind . The bumiputra have the legit right in the constitution ,we just have to work around it just like in the US you have to be borned there to be the US president nothing to do with meritocracy .

bernie chow said...

Dear Malik,

I am a big fan of your blog and I would like to commend you for this excellent year-end piece. Your blog is one of the most sensible, rational and wise ones around.

I stand by what I said when I wrote to you in the early days of your blog i.e. people like you should be in politics, then perhaps we can see some semblance of good and prudent governance.

But all things considered, you are right about this being a year of the rakyat, a year where we claimed our voices. A year when we
realise how important our votes were.

All that you captured in this piece is so succint and true and we certainly do have a role to play ... to be vigilant and to take ownership and responsibility of whatever is happening in our country.

Another point that I would like to share is that we should all be patient with the new state governments. It is my experience in Selangor, that there are some positive and visible changes taking place and we should give them a chance and not place unrealistic demands on them, for after all it has only been 8 months - a very short time indeed considering that 50 years have gone past without any hopes or signs of anything changing for the better.

Thanks once again Malik for walking the talk, for always standing up and fighting for what is right. You are doing great work and do consider taking up any good offers (I am sure it will come your way some day!) of doing "national service" even though it may not mean getting into politics!

May this new year unfold many more surprises and positive changes for all of us.

Take care, best wishes to you and your family and keep up your good work.

Sincerely,
bernie chow