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Fly the flag with love and respect

27 Aug 2019 / 20:13 H.

IN three days, we will be celebrating the 62nd Merdeka Day. For a nation, this marks a very early stage in its history compared to the history of the world’s civilisation.

Nevertheless, we should not take this for granted. Instead it should be the reverse like nurturing a young plant that is vulnerable to many challenges and attacks that could stunt its growth, if not its survival.

Our concern for the nation must always be there and not be limited to a certain period, what is more for just a day coinciding with the Merdeka celebration.

Hence, we must be vigilant all the time. Recently, there has been no shortage of issues that could threaten the welfare of the nation and its population if they are not nipped in the bud.

Thus, we were relieved that a planned show of force in the city over the weekend was called off. This marks a great achievement among Malaysians to keep the peace that we often tend to take for granted.

There are those who looked at this as a “defeat”‎ and a loss of self-pride. But this is relatively “small” compared to the “bigger” gains that the nation would benefit from in an exemplary way. That is, Sayangi Malaysiaku.

That said, I always thought flying the Jalur Gemilang is the least that one could do as a loyal Malaysian. The flags are cheap, of various designs and varieties to suit the situation, and take minimal effort to put up.

There can be no excuse not to even think of flying one. But no. The Jalur Gemilang has somehow made headlines for the wrong reason. Reportedly, it was made a target. It is a sad case and unjustifiable under any circumstances.

The Jalur Gemilang is a sovereign symbol and no loyal Malaysian would imagine “attacking” it. The act in question was offensive. By desecrating it – blackening the white stripes for example – at once indicates “disloyalty” because the white colour represents honesty and sincerity towards the country.

Colouring it black has the opposite meaning – dishonesty and hypocrisy. It is shameful for any citizen to behave that way towards a nation that has given so much that he or she appeared (subconsciously) ungrateful. Such a person could be likened to a walking time bomb that could “explode” at the slightest emotional upset – right or wrong.

And when they are wealthy it could be even more dangerous because today almost anything can be bought and sold when the sense of patriotism is just skin deep.

Equally alarming were reports of the Jalur Gemilang being flown “upside down”. This would not have made headlines previously but not today. It shows that the current situation is more “sensitive”– if not “suspicious”.

After all flying a flag is a no brainer. Surely one would look up to check how it is correctly done. If it happens to be upside down, the logical thing to do is to take it down and fly it the right way up. Unless, it was meant to be that way. This is another mark of “disloyalty”. And if it was done deliberately it is worse than blackening the stripes.

Last but not least, it is important to ensure that the Jalur Gemilang is not in tatters. Or its colours have run giving a very worn out look. To respect the flag, ensure that it really represents the country in its true colours.

Summarily, this time the Merdeka anniversary is even more symbolic than the previous ones. The various incidents recently, tell us that it is an unusual time, and we, the loyal citizens of Malaysia, must not let our guard down. If enough of us are vigilant, the future of the country will remain bright. So Sayangi Malaysiaku, Salam Merdeka.

With some four decades of experience in education, the writer believes that “another world is possible”. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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