If you did not fly the Malaysian flag outside your house, are you less patriotic? If you went to the cinema, and failed to stand to attention for Negara Ku before the start of the film, are you less patriotic?
Don’t be fooled by the authorities. Most of them are men with simple minds, who equate flag-flying with patriotism.
A true patriot stands by his country, and is prepared to defend it against an unjust government.
The true patriot should only be loyal to the government, if it deserves his respect.
The true patriot is prepared to speak up, and expose government leaders who are corrupt and who break the law.
Nation building is not about having different levels of citizenship. The term bumiputera should be expunged.
Leaders should not be afraid to acknowledge that they could be wrong. Discussion, discourse and dialogue are preferential to dictatorships. They should not shun debates nor should they send their thugs, to intimidate the Opposition and human rights activists.
If individuals, who try to earn a living are prevented from promoting their work, then this is not nation building but quite the opposite. When Zunar, the cartoonist, held an exhibition of his work, in Penang, Umno-Baru thugs took offence to his cartoons, threatened him, and wrecked his exhibition.
Persecuting someone for their beliefs is not part of nation building. Our constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, but not for the Malays. Currently, we have two sets of laws, civil and syariah and they conflict in many areas. These confusing messages do not help in nation building.
Nation building cannot be nurtured in our young, if we have different schools for different classes of people. Some schools separate students into different groups; those who are taught moral studies and others who are not, those who want to speak English and those who are reluctant to try, those who want to memorise the Koran, and those who want a more rounded education.
Some teachers stop the children of different races form mixing with one another during breaktime. Shockingly, one school used separate cups for Muslim and non-Muslim students.
Nation building does not mean that history textbooks will omit important events and make no reference to early nation builders, especially the non-Malay.
Integration cannot happen if some universities are only for one race.
Things will eventually fall apart, if we use race-based parties to fight for our rights.
We need leaders who will push for the rights of everyone, and not fight only for the rights of the members of his race. Being united means acting as one. Not only for one race, but for everyone.
Selamat Hari Merdeka! (but prepare for Merdeka Phase II)