Quit the wishy-washy themes
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 31 Aug 2012
A few weeks ago my daughter who lives in Singapore sent me the link to a Singapore National Day promo video.
It was a simple video of mostly young people telling about what they would like to see Singapore become. What their aspirations for their country are. What and how they hoped to contribute to their country’s continued success.
To an old cynical codger like me it was nothing new. Just another piece of clever propaganda by a marketing-savvy government.
When I watched the video for a second time it struck me how different the approaches were. I mean, that of ours and the Singapore government.
They seemed to have the people’s contributions at the top of the marketing media message. Sort of like “Ya! We are successful because YOU made it happen. Thank you”.
From as far back as 1984 National Day themes in Singapore have put the people first. For example, 1984 – 25 years of Nation Building, 1990 – One People, One Nation, One Singapore, 2000-2001 – Together We Make The Difference to this year’s theme “Loving Singapore. Our Home”.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not wishing or wanting to be Singaporean so don’t send me hate mail and ask me to emigrate. Or “Balik tongsan”. I am just trying to make a point.
What makes a strong, united and progressive nation? It’s the people. It’s US. Not them. Not the government. The government is merely elected by us to manage and steer the way towards a destination or goal. A goal that is set by our (the rakyat’s) aspirations.
Simple isn’t it? So how come over here in Malaysia our Merdeka Day themes almost never mention the people’s contributions? Or worse, never say anything that makes sense. Take a look.
1984 – Amanah Asas Kejayaan (Honesty Brings Success)
1990 – Kejayaan (Success)
2000-2006 Keranamu Malaysia (Because of You Malaysia)
And perhaps the lamest theme of them all. This year’s “55 Tahun Merdeka: Janji Ditepati (55 years of Independence: Promises Fulfilled).
Where are we, the rakyat Malaysia in all these wishy-washy Merdeka Day themes? Honesty Brings Success? Whose honesty are we talking about? Were we being asked to be honest? Or was it meant for them? I think we should have felt insulted had it been the former. Success? What does that mean? That we have achieved something? What? I didn’t know back in 1990. And I still don’t know what it means now. From 2000 to 2006 it was “Because Of You Malaysia”?
I think during that period the flers who coined the slogan shot themselves in the foot. When a lot of Malaysians were thinking, “What the hell is happening to our country?”, the government comes out and tells us it’s “Because of You Malaysia”. It’s our fault.
And it’s always them telling us that it is our fault. Telling us what to do, isn’t it?
This morning I read in the newspaper about events organised this year to promote patriotism. Again we are told to do something. Come out and wave some flags. Come out and attend this event we have organised for you. Do your duty as a loyal, patriotic citizen.
Hello! I think we as loyal citizens of our home country have done lots and continue to do without having to be told and be blamed when things go belly up.
I think it is the leaders who should be told by us to promote patriotism and not the other way around. Stop telling us , reminding us, convincing us that we are Malay, Chinese, Indians, Kadazan, Dusun and whatever else you try to dig out of the racism basket.
Can ah? Osso ah…can you all stop telling us how wonderful we are doing and what a wonderful life we are having when we have to tighten our belts while you go around playing Santa Claus with our money.
And I think we are really getting very tired of this “We are better than (insert countries currently in the outhouse for whatever reasons) load of bovine excrement. Europe and the USA seem to be the current favorite examples. Remember how proud we were last time when we were better than Ghana? Then it was some other African country.
And now our leaders seem to have struck the jackpot. Europe and USA. Ah see…even the orang puteh flers also not as good as us liao.
Somehow I don’t think that even the pak cik chewing on his last grain of nasi will take much comfort from that.
Today is our 55th Merdeka Day. And we are incessantly being told to do this and that. For them. Be grateful. Because the Janji has been Ditepati.
Where are we in all this? I’ll tell you where. We’re milling around their feet picking up crumbs. That’s where. And it’s our fault too.
Happy Merdeka Day.