This is a post written by a Malaysian, for Malaysians, during the season of Malaysia’s birthday. For the world to know, the spirited national celebration should start on the August 1st till September 16th.
1. Respect Jalur Gemilang and Negaraku.
I put this as the first in this list, as respecting the two national symbols is the least and most basic for all Malaysians. Our Stripes of Glory may look similar to the States’ Star-Spangled Banner, but our flag carries much more meaningful representations of Malaysian culture and history. Here is a good read though it is meant for the Indians: Reasons to Respect the National Tricolor.
When I was teaching in high school, I can never forgive the moment when the students sang Negaraku like a solemn funeral hymn. In the weekly assembly when Negaraku accompanies the rise of Jalur Gemilang, the feeling of pride and gratitude always fill me. We Malaysians are so blessed that we may see the flag waving up high, only if we know how to appreciate that moment.
2. (At least) Speak Bahasa Malaysia.
Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language) is the national language and it is one of the two official languages (another one is English). While I cannot expect every Malaysian to speak fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia is a must – a least a rojak one will do.
A common language can minimise the misunderstanding between ethnic groups with their own mother tongue. A common language is the tool for national unity, and it is this original intention that grants its place in the Federal Constitution. However, until now, once every few days, I will meet a patient who fails to comprehend Bahasa Malaysia. It makes my staff having hard time in giving proper medical counseling, and have to resort to mother tongue in order to minimise the risk of medical error.
3. Research and learn about Malaysia.
The question is simple. Who else are obligated to learn about Malaysia if not Malaysians? With the proper command of language, Malaysians should learn from our history and get updated with current issues. With the aid of some research and common sense, we can help to curb the propagation of fake news as well. In this age of information, we should all keep reading and thinking.
My call on Malaysians is, STOP BEING IGNORANT.
4. Support Malaysian industries.
By supporting, I mean to create, to invest and to consume Malaysian. Given current economic status, supporting Malaysian industries wherever possible is a great way of generating domestic economy. Besides, it might take care of certain vulnerable target groups if we are supporting social enterprises, such as deliccia and The Picha Project.
P.S. I myself is in the process of incorporating a social enterprise.
5. Be creative and productive.
I really hate it when somebody tells me, “I have nothing to do.” I think you can deduce that I rarely stay idle and not being productive. While resting, I will keep reading and do some light handiworks (apart from sleeping of course). Stay constantly creative and productive will not only keep the economy revolving, you will learn more skills as well.
6. Skip your soda.
I get the idea for this item from the recently controversial “soda tax“. While soda tax might weigh in your wallet (if you do drink soda), why not just give it a pass after all? Malaysian dishes have tonnes of sugar and oil, skipping soda might lengthen our lives and reduce the burden on healthcare budget. Malaysia already has enough burden on Type II diabetes mellitus.
7. Stop smoking.
Malaysia has her fair share of issue with open burning and haze, she does not need you to keep burning away the money. Smokers, I will not mind if you light your cigarettes inside a plastic bag over your heads, but I do mind when you are trying to burden the healthcare system even further. You are burning taxpayers money away, which should be used for more productivity.
Malaysian smokers, here is a non-exhaustive list for non-smoking area.
8. Clean your mess.
Malaysian public places are notoriously dirty. Five years I spent in New Zealand made me feel uncomfortable once I step out from the airport. I am proud to claim that Malaysia has the worst toilets in the world, and we throw rubbish out of our windows.
Civic, people, where is your civic awareness? Oh, then the government thinks that it should be included in the curriculum.
9. Stop wasting food.
Malaysians can never part from our food culture. However, every time when celebration looms, there is always excess in food. Tonnes of food ended up in the landfill and incinerators, while plenty of people are not well-fed. Read more about food wastage.
10. Stand up for injustice.
Enough said. This is not only for Malaysians, in fact all homo sapiens should stand and speak out for injustice. However, definition of justice deserves its own article.
Well, to conclude this, I should say Selamat Hari Kebangsaan to all Malaysians, and say sorry to our British friends. Do not forget the September 16th celebration, when we officially call ourselves Malaysians.