THE number 62 conjures a myriad of thoughts. It is a number where many people would have been given the hand-shake from their workplace and life would perhaps be beginning on a changed note. And yet for others, the daily grind might be taking on a series of serious and aggressive twists and turns, excitement for some and predicament for others.
For me, our beloved country Malaysia comes to my mind with all its graciousness and splendour. At 62, she has lived a life of love and care for her subjects, she has been forgiving time and again and she asks no questions, only laments. We keep taking from her, never once stopping to think that she too must have desires.
With her existence and makeup at stake now and her unique character being battered and challenged copiously, she is endangered and is at threat of being distorted for the purpose she was never meant to be. I see our country teary-eyed with all the happenings around her. If only she could talk ...
She would say, come together people, for the purpose of one and the same. Live and let live, there is no you and me, there is just us and together we can make it happen and make a difference too. Unity is not a reading or researching subject, it is to be lived, experienced and cherished. She might want to remind us of lessons from nations that have been devastated for failing to see the oneness in humanity.
I hear her warning us that we are not seeing and doing things sensibly when we have allowed extraneous subjects come between us to take away the togetherness we built over the years.
If she is able to talk, she would have a tete-a-tete with the politicians to stop the wrangling and the in-fighting and to move on to bring about big changes in the country. She sorely needs to be moved into the global arena where she would strive to be the best among the best. Power and authority are corruptive, she warns and when they are in tango, they become weapons of mass destruction and Malaysia has seen much of this in the recent years.
If she is loud enough, she would call out to the policymakers of our education system to start afresh with our unity agenda. If you start pooling all the resources and get cracking, there can be a positive outcome. Take a year if you like, but not more as after a year or so, we will be busy preparing for the next elections.
I can hear her whispers and laments that perhaps the critical ministries should be spared from having politicians leading it, such as education and health. The mechanism needs to be worked out but why not? A lot of things are not right.
Very recently, a 13-year-old took his own life for not being able to cope with the stress from his studies. One can only imagine the pressure from the school and home leading to that tragic end to a life which otherwise should have a promising future.
Babies are being dumped, some cases are reported and many are not. The babies that are strong willed survive and others don’t. We are at a crossroads, we need to educate our youngsters on safe sex and not pretend that it is not happening just because religions forbid it.
Malaysia thinks the Education Ministry needs the rod more. Low-brainer decisions are being made to win the popular vote. Lately, the decision to provide food to schoolchildren seems a little out of tune. Not a bad idea, actually, but I do not think we are at a poverty level where children are not able to afford basic meals. If at all, the deserving students should be identified and food provided for just them, which has been implemented by the schools for decades.
Instead, use the money to better digitally equip the schools for the students to expand their horizon through research and to experience the power of knowledge. Computers, laptops, Wi-Fi and the likes will be appreciated much more. For every day we delay we are multiple years behind time.
She would also softly call the policymakers to stop quarrelling on statistics, whether it is 0.5% or 15%, we know where Malaysia stands in poverty and the relevant ministries should embark on a plan that reaches far and wide, including the interior of Sabah and Sarawak. Spend less on witch-hunts and more on putting things right.
I can hear her cringing in pain seeing her subjects deprived of quality healthcare. The “no-money” song has become an anthem. Long waits at government hospitals are nothing new and hospitals have started being harsh on medicines. The usual excuse is the medicines are out of stock and patients need to buy the prescribed medicines elsewhere at commercial rates.
Malaysia is tired, like a mother out of her breath having given her children an earbashing. She needs a break, let’s behave and make her happy for what goes around comes around and we love you, Malaysia.
Happy Merdeka Malaysia!