What God Puts Together, (Um)No Man Put Asunder.
Throughout the history of Malaya to Malaysia, we have been a nation divided. And we have been divided by our Gods, our race, our diverse origins, our language but most dishearteningly, by our fear of each other. The British began this division, but it followed through with Barisan National that not only divided the country, but robbed it blind until we are now close to RM600b in debt, and starved of pride.
The division was created out of their fear – their fear that in unity, we will focus on issues that really matter, like examination of how funds and wealth should be distributed to all who are poor, misappropriation of the public’s money, scrutiny of the way politicians do their jobs and retribution for those who don’t, and building upon the union of diversity to build a brighter future for all. Fear of the other, was the security blanket of Umno Barisan National to do as they pleased, and they had to keep the fires of fear fanned at all cost.
The very existence of an Indian based, Chinese based and Malay based party screamed segregation. Malaysian Indians had to go to MIC to solve their problems, Malaysian Chinese had to go to MCA to solve their problems, while UMNO continued to ‘fight for Malay supremacy.’ It was chaos at best – a defunct, utterly racist and divisive party system that had no place in a modern world, but it was supported for 55 years, by all races who could not see beyond their race – that security blanket all too comfortable to hide under.
And it cost the nation dearly. We bled profusely from the wounds inflicted by Umno and their goondahs – MIC and MCA. We got separated from our brothers and sisters, we grew apart – we became more communal, hugged our Gods closer, warned each other of the ‘other race’ , suspicious of their motives, disdaining their cultures and their way of lives…and never feeling Malaysian, because we had to write our race and religion in every damn document issued by this damned government, even in school examination papers.
But the tide is turning now.
Suddenly, the very thing that divided us, is now uniting us again – UMNO Barisan National.
All of us, are coming together as one, to fight Malaysia’s real and only enemy – the UMNO Barisan national regime. Our eye’s aren’t blinded anymore, our hearts not afraid anymore, and we have finally managed to loosen our tongues and free our minds from the confines of race and religion.
Because of the disgust for the racist, rumour-mongering, power-crazy, corrupt-beyond-belief, and utterly destructive UMNO, we have become united in our last stand – OUR LAST STAND – to get rid of them once and for all. I see a changed landscape today – I see young Malay boys running around waving the Rocket flag, I see old Chinese ladies sewing PAS flags and pretty young Chinese girls proudly wearing PAS t-shirts, I see Indian taxi-drivers with PKR flags waving triumphantly from their old beaten taxis.
I see Malaysians of all races marching together, looking out for each other and standing up for all, in the last Bersih gathering and in every PAS, DAP or PKR ceramah I have been to these last two weeks. We have always respected each others religion, culture and language, in fact we have revelled in it, and though we were forced apart, we have slowly found our way back.
I have always believed that God is made up of billions of pieces, and every human being has a tiny little sliver of the omnipotent God in him or her, that drives us to do good for others. In every religion, we only know a portion of what God really is, because we see only the tiniest part of him, and we cannot understand the bigger, universal role He must want us to play.
I believe that it is only when we seek each other, especially those of different religious beliefs and different cultures, and embrace them with all our heart and mind and soul – those tiny little slivers, those different pieces of God comes together. It is then we are allowed to see the real, benevolent face of God. It is then, we really understand what God is, and why God exists – not merely to set down impossible rules, to punish us infinitely for trivial misdeeds, but to unite men and women all over the world to live in harmony as one.
Today in Malaysia, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus have transcended the fear of the other, by seeking each other out , and loving each other as Malaysians and not as an individual race, or an individual religion, and oh, how we have grown together in solidarity, in leaps and bounds within the last two years.
Today, I am proud of being Malaysian – I can see the strength of my country through the diversity of her people and what we can do as a nation when we work together.
Today, God has come to Malaysia because we looked for him in each and every one of us.
I leave you with the words below, which I have paraphrased from one of the greatest speeches ever, from one of the greatest civil rights leader ever, Martin Luther King Jr.
“…So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Malaysian dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up… live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Malaya the sons of former rubber tappers, and the sons of former tin miners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood with the Malays..
I have a dream that one day even Malaysia, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my two little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Malaysia, with its vicious racists, with its ruler having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Malaysia little Chinese boys and Indian girls will be able to join hands with little Malay boys and Iban girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that we march to the 5th of May with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
And if Malaysia is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of Sabah. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of Sarawak.
Let freedom ring from Kedah to Penang.
Let freedom ring from Kelantan to Terengganu.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of Perak.
But not only that, let freedom, ring from Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.
Let freedom ring from south through Johor.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Pahang and Putrajaya.
Let freedom ring,
And when this happens,and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, yellow men and brown men, Hindus and Buddhists, Muslims and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”