weivern.com Bit by Bit, Putting it Together

Fifty-Five

F

To my beloved country,

I won’t have time to write this on Friday itself because I have a potluck to attend, so I’ll just do this now.

Fifty-five.

It’s been more than five decades, yet compared to your friends, you are still so young. Kind of like a teenager – beautiful yet horrible at the same time. I know, I’ve been through that phase. You’re bursting with potential, yet the spirit of rebellion and desire burns within your youth. Full of ideas, but confused at the same time – and nobody understands you no matter how hard they try.

You try to impress, you do. You invest so much in trying to bring local talents home from abroad, and at the same time inviting expatriates to set up a second home here. As long as I’ve known you, you have always tried to get your name across the globe. And I’m glad that nowadays when I tell foreigners where I’m from, they know who you are.

But are they for the right reasons?

It’s not nice to lie just to impress. We were told you’re one of the safest place to live in, and that crime rates were at a low. Yet nowadays, I find it difficult to head to shopping malls or public places alone. Even parking and crossing the street makes me nervous. There’s even a higher probability of being robbed than being run down by a vehicle! At least two people I know have already experienced snatch theft in the past couple of months.

Just couple of weeks ago a politician mentioned that we should boycott shopping malls until the management has made enough efforts to secure their buildings, simply because “the police can’t be everywhere.” I’ve always wondered though, where are the police? Instead of surprising us with random summons and photographs of our cars, what’s wrong with doing more public patrols in broad daylight as well as night time? After all, they get all the nice cars.

And what about that national bowler who got away with rape? Normally, we would all wonder, “What was that guy thinking?”. But this time, we were all more curious with what went through the judge’s mind. Bowling isn’t even in the Olympics! But really, does the judge have children of his own? A daughter or a niece? How does he go to sleep at night knowing he has set a rapist free?

Can you at least see why most of our local talents prefer to stay abroad? And more expatriates prefer our Lion City friend?

You try to do things right, I know you do. At the gem of an island that I come from, you’re the first state that denounced the use of plastic bags every single day. Then, you proclaim car-free weekends in the inner city of Georgetown. I was really proud of that. And recently you have made tremendous efforts in beautifying the rustic inner city  with amazing, artistic murals carefully scattered all over. Yet, before I had a chance to go home and locate those artwork myself, two of those murals have already been vandalized. Sometimes I do wonder what you’re trying to prove.

Was it part of a political agenda, or was it pure ignorance? But then again, what’s the difference?

Even as I write this, I try to be as diplomatic as I can. You know why? Because you made a new law recently. Section 114A tells me that I must be very careful with what I write and post on the internet. As well as what others write and post on the internet. You might be wondering, what’s that got to do with me? Why should I bother with what others write and express online? Like I said, you must be going through a very confusing time. It’s okay, it’s part of growing up.

Somedays I do get quite angry at you. And I worry about the future – mine, and even my parents. They’ve worked so hard for so many years, and they have entrusted you with so much of their savings. My mother is as young as you – and I worry if she’ll ever be able to retrieve all her savings eventually.

I try to have faith in you, I do. But why do you have to make it so hard?

How much are we putting in to invest in first-class mentality? How far have we come since the day one of the greatest man of the nation shouted “Merdeka!” three times? Someone famous once said we have first-class infrastructure, but I can’t agree to that. Look at the two biggest states of the country – the treasure trove of oil and gas, log, agriculture – they keep giving yet they are still  terribly short-changed and ignored.  It’s sad to know that there are still children who still don’t get to go to school and houses with no electricity. As a whole we’re not even as large as the state of Florida!

I should stop nagging you. I should. It’s your birthday anyway.

Sometimes you do remind me of the innocent child that you are. Your famous delicacies, people of different races who are willing to put aside their differences on that night Dato Lee Chong Wei fought hard for our country’s first gold medal in the Olympics (he didn’t make it, but we’re still very proud of him) and our unity in honking and bullying every car on the road that bears a foreign numberplate or slowing down every time we see an accident on the other side of the road. You still amuse me in a good way.

I want to work with you. I want to do my part to support you. I’m old enough to vote now, not sure if it’s enough to make a change. The yellow campaign didn’t end too well. But I’ll try anyway. Because I love you.

Did I tell you I’m attending a potluck this Friday? I’m bringing your famous Kajang satay. I think despite whatever’s going on, everybody loves a good satay.

Happy birthday, Malaysia.

I love you, and always painfully will.

Voting for the sake of you,
Vern.

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weivern

Fueled by coffee and thrives on kindness. Generally pleasant.

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