Some of us could be wondering how Thanksgiving holiday came about in America. Well, for a start it is quite similar to our Merdeka story. After all, America too was started by a group of immigrants from Europe, Africa and later Asians.
The first wave of immigrants came in 1621 and many died the same year due to famine. Only with the help of natives (Red Indians) they survived. The natives taught & help them to grow crops in their new land and in turn the immigrants help the natives to subdue their enemies with guns which they had.
Their partnership soon grew and became a win-win situation for all. To celebrate this partnership the immigrants & natives decided to share their food among themselves and thus born the tradition of Thanksgiving Day in America today.
I guess that was their Social Contract. That in coming together for survival they forge a partnership that was formidable in years to come. Today, America has grown to become the most powerful & prosperous country in the world. And the foundation to their success was their belief of coming together even though they were very different. They knew that a New World is Possible and they made it happen!
Now, coming back to Malaysia. Around 100-150 years ago the British brought in the biggest wave of immigrants from China & India. These people came to Malaya to survive as they believe at that time this was the land of opportunity like America too.
Similar to the Thanksgiving story, some years later the Malays forge a partnership with Chinese & Indians to drive out their enemies British. Don’t you think there is an irony here? The British who brought the Chinese & Indians to work here were at last driven out by the very same people together with the natives.
Somehow, one couldn’t do without the other. We needed to work hand in hand so that Malaya could be free. And yes we did achieve independence in 1957 without any bloodshed.
And with this new found Independence our Social Contract came into being. It was inked as the Federal Constitution of Malaya. This and only this I believe is our contract.
And for the first few decades Malaysia was doing remarkably well especially economically. There were some major upheavals like the Singapore expulsion, Indonesian Confrontation and May 13 1969 but looking back this was a young & fledging country. We needed to do some re-balancing and changes and moved on.
And now 53 years later after being called a tiger economy we are on the verge of being the sick men of Asia. Literally! Our FDI and economic figures don’t seem to generate any confidence and hope in near future and for our children.
Our neighbors whom we used to import maids from (Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thai etc) are running ahead of us and trailing new grounds.
Our political masters who has been in power since the day our Constitution was inked have amended it countless of times (650 times as of 2006). Groups are questioning about this document and any discussion on certain parts of it is God forbidden. Recently, someone did say that our NEP has been bastardized. Can the same be said of our Constitution?
But, what was the original intent of the Social Contract? Was it to turn our country into dictatorship or where racism is the order of the day? What happen along the way?
Our unity is fast becoming a novelty so much so we need slogan after slogan to remind us of how things were in “Once upon a time in Malaysia”.
Frankly, I believe our success as a nation lies in the very lines of our constitution. This was the basis of our togetherness. This document was not only meant to remind every generation what Malaysia means to us but that of everyone’s right & dignity is fully protected in this land of ours.
Somehow, we are still attracting immigrants today. Look at the Indonesians, Bangladeshis, Myanmar’s, Philippines etc are still flocking to Malaysia to earn a living and maybe hoping to settle down here in future if possible. If these people can see the value of Malaysia why can’t we?
Well, a little imagination may help us. Read the constitution and understand it.
Yes, Malaysia will face many walls, setbacks, crossroads and what not but our constitution is there to guide us. It is our Bible our Koran our Baghavad Gita of this country.
If we use it wisely we can come out of this mess which we have created after all these years. We have to, we need to and we must make Malaysia Possible!
Only then we can proudly proclaim Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka with gusto!!!
p/s we are still in Merdeka season as September 16 is just around the corner!