Monday, June 22, 2009

What Can I Do For My Country Today?

Dato' Ariff Sabri, who blogs at Sakmongkol AK47, posted this entry today: "The Dagger to our Freedom". While the conclusion of his argument does him much credit, I feel its premises do not. This is my response to him:

Dear Dato',

While I agree with the main conclusion of your argument, I beg to differ on some of its premises.

Firstly, JFK said: "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." (Video here)

We must never conflate and confuse our Country with our government. Doing so allows those to whom we delegate our collective power to claim, "L'etat c'est moi". This sort of thinking leads to corruption, cronyism & nepotism; it disempowers us and hampers our progress as a nation. UPDATE (Worse, it allows governments to claim that any opposition to them is "derhaka" & unpatriotic).

Milton Friedman's words are very true and should be taught in every Malaysian school; my gratitude to you for quoting them here. Any government is only a means to an end, they were never meant to lord over the Rakyat. Whenever a government begins to forget its rightful role, it should be swiftly reprimanded or replaced.

But our Country is much, much more than our government. Being a free person in our country is only sustainable if we respect, uphold and protect the sovereignty, democracy, freedoms, rights, unity and integrity of Malaysia and our fellow citizens. Granted, we could do this out of enlightened self interest or a sense of duty. However, I believe it is noblest, most effective & gratifying when we do it out of love. Yes, LOVE, the emotional involvement which I believe we sadly lack.

Every atom of our blood, muscle & bones, belongs to and was once the soil, water or air of Malaysia, and will return to Her some day. Those same atoms may well become part of other Malaysians; all of us are but borrowers, in debt to Ibu Pertiwi for our very substance. Is it not fair for Malaysia to expect a modest return on Her investment in us? Is it not becoming that we strive to help these atoms see a better Malaysia when they come alive again?

So, while we keep a close eye on our government with a rotan in our hand, and never let them (or anybody else) hijack our Country's name for their own purposes, let us always ask ourselves, as long as we are blessed to breathe Malaysian air, "What can I do for my country today?"

Malaysian Heart


  1. Dear Malaysian Heart,

    Love - yes, you wouldn't hurt one that you love dearly.

    Thanks for highlighting the magnanimous difference between a country and a government.

    For now, i shall live by Mr. Abraham Lincoln's words : "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him".

  2. Hi Fisha,

    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - I Corinthians 13:4-8a

    This is the kind of patriotism that I believe Malaysia needs, instead of jingoism & chauvinism,



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