Malaysia’s (N)ever Changing Future

“This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.”
– Barack Obama

I got to hand it to you, for a politician, Obama does have a way with words that I haven’t heard in a long time. Words that I don’t think many people say anymore, let alone act upon. Whatever charisma that got Barack Obama to the top would probably keep him there, but whatever change he has promised will come to America will come not from him, but from the Americans that were inspired to do something about their own lives and their own country.

In so many ways, that’s the very thing that I have always said to be lacking from my own home country – Malaysia. It isn’t enough that Malaysians stood up and voted for an opposition government because they have long lost faith in the empty promises and political hiccups of the current ruling government, no. If Malaysia truly wants to change, it would be with the constant force of it’s citizens and not merely from a single moment in time to which they can later sit back and expect change to happen.

But that’s the truth about Malaysia and it’s citizens.

We are so focused with the singular moments of change that we forget what change really is about and what it takes to get there. You cannot solve economic problems overnight. You cannot disband a racially charged socio-political culture in a day. You cannot alter everything that Malaysia was raised to be, its essence, its very identity, in a single election.

Yet almost all the Malaysians I know, from old high school mates to people I’ve only met in recent times, do not seem to want change. Malaysians want to make a difference, but are not willing to go the extra mile to get there. They are willing to make an effort to vote for a better tomorrow, but are not willing to keep making an effort to create that better tomorrow. How can any of us hope to wake up to a better tomorrow, when we are not willing to throw out the things that we hold on to yesterday?

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for change. I’m all for shaping Malaysia into a country I can call my own. For that I have always done my part in the hopes of change. Not by the voting for a party because the other one isn’t working out for all of us, but by working to change the mindset of the very people that build our country from ground up. If a nation is built upon its citizens, then through the attitudes and actions of its citizens, and not it’s merely its leaders, is a nation truly defined.

That is where I have always believed the true face of Malaysia’s change will come from. Not from the words of politicians. Not from the actions of a political party. But from you and me. From your parents, your brothers and your sisters. From your friends, your colleagues and your superiors. As long as we stop blaming other people and start admitting that the problem starts with us. As long as we constantly recognise the problems we face today and deal with the responsibility ourselves. As long as we are willing to endure the hardship that comes with change and constantly work at it.

So it goes back to the words uttered at Obama’s victory speech. Whatever victory we sought by legal means was never the change we wanted. That only opened the doors to an opportunity for us to work for that change. But at this moment, while America has renewed it’s chance to create a better future for themselves, we as Malaysians have since gone back to our old habits.

Whatever dream of a better tomorrow for Malaysia has failed for now. There is still a long way to go before we are capable of making a change that will last for generations to come. But I will do my part as I have always done. Maybe one day, you’ll realise the real part you can play as well. When that time comes, then maybe there is hope after all.

I know we can do it. I just don’t know whether I’ll live long enough to see that we can.

7 thoughts on “Malaysia’s (N)ever Changing Future

  1. Malaysia have not learn enough from the last 4 years……. they voted in the opposition and hope the opposition fix the problem, while they continue on with their lives. And when the opposition and government alike failed to do anything, they will still vote for the same bunch of people, because there is no one else out there.

    And about Obama, he might turn out to be Abdullah version 2. You might never know!!!

  2. I’m sure that Malaysia can be a better country. Let’s support our leaders so that they can improve our country. (If what they do is reasonable ^^)

  3. kljs: It’s not our place to decide what a single person can or cannot do. What matters is what we ourselves do, for ourselves and for the people around us. If it is obvious that our own elected leaders have failed to do anything, then what are we doing ourselves to make a difference?

    Horizon: Can be. Of course it can. But supporting those in charge is different from letting them do all the work which is how Malaysians treat those in charge. The excuse to not do anything because someone else can be the scapegoat is why the country will never change. You can’t make a difference when you return to the same things you came from at the end of the day.

  4. I guess the whole idea of change is repugnant because we’d get in trouble with the law if we start being different. I’m sure the ISA scares the hell out of everyone. So most people prefer to lead a normal life and only by voicing their views silently. Perhaps it’s only through sacrifice that we can bring change to our country (and gain nationwide fame too). Hopefully you know who I mean by that.

  5. P.O.D.: Sacrifice is always needed for change and it’s not just a matter of a single person, but everyone else in general. Our lifestyle, our habits, they contribute to the greater whole. If people aren’t willing to adopt the changes to their lifestyle, then it will never be a norm and nothing will ever change.

  6. We need change and we need someone like Obama.

    But unfortunately he belongs to the United States of America.
    It’s hard to be hopeful here.

  7. FH2o: That’s missing the point of the post entirely. We don’t need more people like Obama. We need more people willing to be responsible for the changes that they want in life. Not people who just want someone else to do the work for them.

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