Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and colleagues, peace be with you.
My speech today will cover two main parts. One, The Hari Malaysia celebration and two, the closing of our project the #SaySomethingNice campaign.
Today September 16th is Hari Malaysia. Exactly 50 years ago in 1963 we formed Malaysia. A day that has found a larger awareness amongst the rakyat the last few years .
Our message this year calls Malaysians to go back to basics. We need to Embrace Many Colors, One Race.
We featured Ngimat Ayu the late Pemanca or Paramount Leader of the Kelabits, our brother and sister Malaysians in Bario, Sarawak in our advert featured last Friday. He passed away recently. I was lucky to have lived with him for 8 days in 2008. He named me Giak. So, I am an associate member of the Kelabit people.
Let us embrace Many Colors, One Race.
We as a nation in 1957 and later 1963 chose integration over assimilation. We decided not to be colour-blind. Yes …. we decided not to be colour-blind.
We chose to practice The Quran Chapter 30 verse 22 where it says, “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge”.
It was a bold and daring move. It is easier to choose the path of assimilation like our neighbours Indonesia and Thailand did.There all other cultures are put aside or discouraged, allowing only one culture to exist. Cultural names are exchanged with national ones. No need for negotiation, no need for empathy, no need for give and take. Take it or leave it.
Instead we chose to embrace all the colours. We created a nation with many colours but with the goal of becoming one Malaysian race. We are many colours, one race – a fine example of Unity in diversity.
It is very important that we the rakyat understand this position.
Take language, for example.
We allow and encourage every language to prosper instead of forcing one language on everyone – while at the same time promoting Bahasa Malaysia as our National Language and as a platform for Unity.
Our decision to integrate rather than assimilate is a wise one. Three thousand languages have ceased to be spoken all over the world and the number is growing.
While humanity, Malaysians included, always make a big hoo-haa about the extinction of animal species – which is good, many fail to pay attention to the demise of cultures and languages – which is bad.
This must be corrected
Malaysia is not going to be a party in this loss to humanity. We belong to a nation that cares for our cultural treasures - all cultural treasures.
We not only want to preserve, promote, and guard the main languages and cultures in our society but to also ensure smaller ones like Kelabit, Kristang, and Temuan.
They must not go extinct.
We must never allow any one of our many cultures and languages to perish – the loss of one is the loss of the whole.
Firstly, parents must pass this down to their children.
All these accusations that one group is trying to kill the language of the other via this or that school programs or syllabuses are shallow political talk.
What happens in school cannot kill a language or culture. What we do at home can.
If we do not speak our mother tongue at home to our children, we are ensuring its natural death. Let us stop blaming others and take responsibility – we take action and conquer our own failures.
The Buddha’s teaching in Dhammapada 103 says, “Though one should conquer a million men in battlefield, yet he, indeed, is the noblest victor who has conquered himself “. Pay heed!
At the same time we also want government policies not to neglect any cultural traditions. We expect businesspeople to balance profit and people. Civil society must play its part too.
This is important because our strength and beauty lie in our diversity.
As we are Many Colors, One Race.
This takes us to the second part of my speech. The closing ceremony of our #SaySomethingNice campaign.
A campaign that looks for the co-operation and involvement of individuals young and old, business organizations, civil society and the government. A total Malaysian affair.
The Tunku laid our foundation for success when he said, “Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together” This campaign is a direct practical application to Tunku’s wish. A wish that can be accepted by all regardless of race, religion or background.
For the Bible in Psalms 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”. And the Rigveda says, “Let your aims be common, and your hearts of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together”.
The Rigveda is right. Through this campaign we made new friends. Fellow Malaysians that share the same heart, the same passion and a vision for a better Malaysia.
A vision not only to unite Malaysians but also create economic value to our UNIQUE SELLING POINT – our UNITY IN DIVERSITY
We have a dream that one day, perhaps in 10 to 15 years, this time segment between HARI MERDEKA & HARI MALAYSIA will be so renowned that it will attract tourists from all over the world in droves to visit the country and witness for themselves our Unity.
Today we stand proud that we took this first step.
Let’s celebrate and be joyous. Let’s congratulate and pat each other’s back.
Let’s say thank you to all our fellow Malaysians who trust in our dreams.
The earlier Closing Gambit showed a collection of pictures of activities in our campaign this year. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We made it happen.
Special thanks to the Team at zubedy who has been spending many day and NIGHTS to make sure the project is a success.
A very very BIG thank you to our friends here at Tropicana City Mall - Andrew, Mabel, Katy and our lovely girl made to run here and there for days, Erynn.
But brother and sister Malaysians let’s not stop here. Walt Disney once said, “ You are as good as your next picture”. Let’s us not lose momentum. We must continue to move forward. Personally I have set three meetings within this month to gain more support for next year’s campaign. We must also improve our organization.
Let’s pledge for #SaySomethingNice 2014 Campaign. Let us all make next year’s campaign an even better one.
Before I end I would like to share with you some challenging experience.When we first mooted this project, I received quite a few nasty emails, facebook and direct comments. Many suggested that we were simply dreaming. Some even laughed openly – they said we were simply naïve. Simply silly.
You too may have met with such reactions. But we must practice turning the other cheek. We must answer bad with good. Hate with love. There are not many bad people, just unconscious ones. It is our job to educate and win their hearts.
We must continue our good work, no matter what others may say. We must trust God will repay good with good.
Going forward we can learn from this video.
When we #SaySomethingNice, #DoDomethingNice, or #GiveSomethingNice … it may take time to bear fruit, to show results. It may even take 30 years. But I promise you. IT WILL BE WORTH IT!!!