How do you intend to live your life? This is not a trick question to lure you into taking a self-improvement course, join a quick get rich Ponzi scheme that will enrich you faster than it takes to get our Justice system to deliver a verdict on those politicians who should be charged with treason, or even invite you to a spiritual retreat that will make you into a better, more caring and decent individual. This is a simple question that I want to ask of you all. How do you intend to live your life? Do you intend to live your life as a good Muslim who prays five times a day? A responsible Rakyat of Malaysia who pays his taxes honestly and diligently? Are you going to be a good father and a decent husband? Will you be that person that is held in high regard by your peers because of the way you choose to live your life in the service of others and for greater causes than your own personal ones?
If truth be told, too many of us today expect much of others but not much of themselves. Me included. I want Mahathir and Anwar to do the right thing for us. I want the wheels of justice to move with more haste and find within itself the will and the means to punish those that have caused our nation so much pain and losses. I want our elected representatives at the state and federal levels to do the things we elected them to office for. I want the Jews to stop killing the Arabs and I want the Arabs to learn to live in peace with the Jews. I want so many things of others but never expect much of myself. Not even to make that attempt to raise a finger or add my voice to the rising dissent and vigorous debate against corruption and the mismanagement of our nation by those we have elected to high office. So again I ask you all this morning….how do you intend to live your life?
Let me tell you how I live my life.
Religion and race will never decide how I will live my life. That is not because I want to smoke, drink and raise hell in the manner I choose to live my life. It is not because I want to be an atheist, a Hindu or a Jain. It is not because I want to forget my ethnicity or that I do not want to be whom I was born as. I have decided from the time that I did begin to think for myself, that these things are nobody’s business but my own. And I have since lived my life accordingly and respecting others who choose to live their life different from mine.
Now the more immediate matter of earning a living….not just to do enough to put food on the table and a decent roof over my head. No, no no…that will not be enough for many of us and of course, that will never be enough for me. I want good food on the table, a decent abode to live in, drive a car I want to drive and also I want all the other things that many of you too want to make life pleasant and comfortable for you and for those that you love….but not too much of these things to cause me too much anxiety or stress should I not be able to have then. In other words, I need to balance my wants and my needs within my means and my ability to get these things for myself in a world where almost everyone else is also striving for the same things. Do this balancing act wrong and you will have greed and avarice become part of your life. Do it right and all will be well. At 72 I think I have found the right balance of these things that matters in my life but as many of you are wont to do, I tend to lie to myself about these things. And in lying to myself I inadvertently lie to others. And this too we all do to each other with no malice intended but with a regularity that makes the world somehow a better place to live in because that little white lie does make the world a better and easier place to live in.
The problem in our world arises when what we expect others to do, we do not want to do ourselves.
I want the police to be honest but I am not totally honest with myself. I want the judges to be fair and dispense justice without fear and favor and yet there have been times when I have not been that way to others. I want politicians to do their work diligently and not be corrupt and yet there have been times in my life when I was not beyond pulling some strings to get things done faster and more to my favor. I want good governance but have there not been times when you wanted your elected representatives to bypass red tape and get you a bed in the hospital for someone ill in your family? I want race, religion, and politics to have a place in our lives but never to rule over us….but still you want to park your car anywhere you illegally can when you go for Friday prayers! You want your religious days to be holidays. You want your own kind to be Ministers and Prime Minister. Notwithstanding all this, I still want to call Malaysia home and I want to come home, work and live in Malaysia for the rest of what life I still have. BUT this I cannot do because for what I have done as a blogger in the past, I am now a person of interest to PDRM to be arrested upon entry. Neither can most of you do what you want to do in the country you also call home for various reasons – race, religion and of course, politics.
So…you and me….we are in the same conundrum. Why is this so? Is there not enough of us to make this country into what we want it to be? A country we want to call home. A country where we can earn a decent living. A country that will be fair and decent to all of us that are its Rakyat?
We are all in the same boat because we do to our nation what we do to ourselves in our own lives. We live, for the most part of our lives, a very selfish life. What matters is us and those that we love. We want what is best for us and for those that we love. Damm the rest. We have become our own worst enemy. Our country no longer comes first. Our people…other people around us are no longer our concern. Always “ME”comes first. Always “I” is what matters. No unity in diversity. We are no longer our brother/sister’s keeper. The ease with which our follies, (to think of ourselves first before others), is being exploited by politicians to rule and divide over us is the cause of our greatest failings. As Malaysians, we no longer care for each other. As Malaysians, we think of ourselves mostly as Malays, Chinese, Indians, and others. As Malaysian we are more concerned with being Muslims, Christians, and “others”. And as Malaysians, the state of our nation and politics no longer matters because you have given up on Malaysia. We are no longer Malaysians at heart. We are no longer Malaysians with a passion. We are no longer Malaysians….full stop. We now run the risks of not being Malaysians at all. Think about this, my friends. Think about what all this means. When we no longer think ourselves to be Malaysians how can there be a Malaysia?
Even if there is a Malaysia, it no longer belongs to us but to the politicians. For the politicians to do as they want with it. That is what is happening now. We have surrendered our nation to the politicians. And because you have done that, what Malaysia will become is nobody’s fault but ours.
So do not sit and think you did not have a part in the destruction of your beloved Malaysia. Do not continue to sit and do nothing while our Malaysia is brought to its knees and find itself in its death throes even as you continue with your apathy and disgust at what your Malaysia has become as you do nothing about it. For many Malaysians, doing nothing is the thing to do. I am sick of writing to remind you guys to do something about corruption. To do something about bad governance. To do something about politicians who are not honest. To do something about the things that are wrong around you. And still most of what I and many others ask other Malaysians to do, fall upon deaf ears. BUT…you guys are great at hantaming Mahathir. Hantaming Anwar Ibrahim. Let me remind you guys about a few things…it took Anwar Ibrahim and his Reformasi to start the process of change many many years ago. In 2018, It took Mahathir to make change possible after decades of corruption, arrogance and hubris under the Umno led Barisan Nasional . Think what you want of those two – Anwar and Mahathir – but do not take from them one iota of positivity that they have both injected into the minds of us all – enough positivity to start the process of Malaysians taking back Malaysians for themselves. What is now left for you all to decide is where you want to go from here. I hope not to Timbuctoo. I hope not to Shangrila. I can only hope that where Malaysia and Malaysians are going will bring a sense of maturity and hope that the future will bring good to all of us. A forlorn hope indeed in the times we are now living in but then again, ..if all we have is the audacity to hope to make the Malaysian dream come true, then that will have to do. God help us all for our leaders will certainly not!