The Malaysian dream

— Art Harun
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 07, 2012

AUG 7 — With an overhead shot from around the baseline landing outside the court, his dream, and with that a Malaysian collective dream, ended. His opponent, dark, muscular and almost brooding, leapt in the air, turned around and ran around the court, with his arm opened wide as if he was going to take off the ground.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei gave his best. The Malaysian spectators at the venue shouted and screamed in unison. But luck wasn’t with Lee.

Nothing much separated the two players, really. It was a gladiatorial match. An epic. The best badminton match I had ever had the pleasure of watching.

There were moments during the match when I saw moves which were almost non-human in nature. Impossible speed, almost Spider-man like agility, the will and power of men possessed with an ultimate dream, an ultimate hope to win the ultimate prize.

At one point of time, I wondered how is it to feel the weight of the hope and wish of 28 million people on one’s tiny shoulder. How does one man deal with that? How does one man carry himself knowing every move of his might disappoint 28 million people? What is in his head every time he raises his racquet to serve, to smash and to return a drop shot?

I have nothing but admiration and pride for Lee and all our Olympians. For all their sacrifices, their hard work, their pains, blood, sweat and tears, dispensed in the name of national glory.

The Olympics, like any other mammoth sporting event, bring out the best and the worst in us. And the comical too.

Right after the opening ceremony, there were rumblings of how the Illuminati were at work to take over the world in Malaysian cyber-space. Clearly some of us have really fertile imaginations. Or perhaps some of us Malaysian Muslims were just showing signs of low blood sugar level during this fasting month. And so we read about the Olympic tree being a tree which, in Muslim traditions, is a tree which is sympathetic to the Jews, for example. I even received a private message on Facebook telling me that a certain prince is the manifestation of the anti-Christ. So I suppose this phenomenon is not restricted to the Muslims only.

Then there are people — politicians, of course — who don’t seem to know that there are moments when humanity takes over and politics doesn’t seem to matter. Astounding as it may be, believe it or not, there was a tweet by an opposition MP saying that Malaysia will win a gold medal in the Olympics after Pakatan Rakyat “takes over Putrajaya.” Good then. Put that in their party manifesto and ask the people to vote for them in the next GE with that promise. And while we are at it, how about telling the people that Malaysia will win the football World Cup too after Pakatan takes over whatever? Just so to complete the absurdity, tell us that the Middle-East conflict will be ended by Pakatan too please.

The positive side of this is the fact that Malaysians will sit together in unison to support the quest of our countrymen regardless of our faith, our race, breed and creed. To my mind, unity manifests itself in two forms, namely, situational unity and transcendental unity. We experience situational unity in every aspect of our daily life. The ultimate task for the government is to foster this situational harmony into a more permanent and cohesive unity.

Malaysians have always loved sports. And as far as I could remember, sports have always been the highlight of Malaysian unity. Never in any other act have Malaysians displayed so much loyalty, faith and unity than sporting events. I am old enough to remember how all of us watched with pride when our national football team played in the 1972 Munich Olympics. How we jumped in rapturous joy when James Wong scored against South Korea to send Malaysia to the 1980 Olympics. How the whole of Malaysia was transfixed when we hosted the 1975 hockey World Cup. And in recent times, Malaysians will of course fill with pride every time Datuk Nicol David or Lee win their respective tournament.

That proves that when faced with one ultimate — and common — aim and purpose, a people of diverse cultures, faiths and interests as well as of different races may set aside whatever differences they may have, whatever misgivings they may harbour against each other and unite.

Our task, in terms of trying to foster unity and harmony, is to create that ONE aim and purpose. I suppose we can begin by eliminating, or trying to eliminate, anything which threatens to divide us.

Or perhaps, we could just start by showing up at the airport to give a rousing homecoming to Lee and our Olympians. —

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 5:04 pm

    DatukLee Chong Wei, you simply dazzzled and amazed all Malaysians with your skill, speed, stamina and courage.

    WE ALL SALUTE YOU; silver, true but we are so proud of you. Lin Dan was just plain lucky on that day; he pipped you on luck. Let’s see you pip him in skills come Rio De Janeiro, 2016.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 5:30 pm

    For an international game of such high standard, even a copper medal would mean a lot to us Malaysians, let alone silver medals. Well done, Chong Wei.

  3. #3 by Loh on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 8:43 pm

    Mahathir’s words

    ///1. Many have asked me why we cannot do without race-based politics in Malaysia.
    2. The short answer is that we all want to remember and be recognised according to our racial origins, the countries of our ancestors came from, the languages we speak, the cultures we belong to.///–Mamakthir

    These are all excuses for the people who somehow are classified in a group which form the majority in the country, and they are able to take advantage of such majority to remain in power for the past five decades and counting.

    The question one should address is whether the persons who wanted to remember their ancestors and culture has done anything against the interest of the nation, and also whether such recognition has caused them to shirk responsibility to the country? The answer is the negative. Mamakthir should give a better answer as to why he considers it necessary to force others to give up their ancestry just because he himself has out of selfish motive denied knowledge of his ancestry. The people of Calicut, Kerela, India remember well that they welcomed proud son known as Mahathir Mohamad to Calicut. If he had willingly given up his ancestry and forgotten about it why did he go back to Calicut? Now that he has claimed that he is 100% Malay, he is jealous that other non-Malays still have the self-respect to call them the description of the race which their ancestors carry down to them.

    Modern governments are elected to serve the people, not to divide the people so that they can be sure to return to power, and enrich themselves. It is a gangster-like government which imposes on the minority race among the citizens to discard their culture and their racial origins, to show the majority community that their superiority position in the country should continue by returning the party to power.

    ///3. We really don’t want to say we are just Malaysians and nothing else.///–Mamakthir

    Mamakthir only speaks for himself. He is of course eager to say that he is Malay else he was afraid that he would lose the support of Malays who knew that he is Indian, or the son of an Indian father.

    ///4. If it is pointed out to us that in many countries where people of different racial origins live, there is no racial politics, no identification of the citizens with the countries of their origin; we will say that we are different. You cannot compare them with us. Yet on most other issues we compare ourselves with them.///–Mamakthir

    That is typical of Mamakthir displaying his practice of double-standards. He accepts only what suits him to win an argument, and reject those that is against him. He thinks that might is right.

    ///5. But are we so different from them. There are actually a lot of people of foreign origins in Malaysia who seem to have forgotten their origins. These are the people of Indian, Arab, Indonesian and even Turkish and European origins who are accepted as indigenous people by all of us. They have been so accepted because they identified themselves fully with the indigenous people. They speak the language of the indigenous people habitually, practice the customs and traditions of the people they have been assimilated into and incidentally they are Muslim.///–Mamakthir

    There are people who choose to pretend that he has forgotten his origin, just like Mamakthir writing in his “Doctor in the house’ saying that he did not know from where his father came in India. Yet he went back to Calicut, Kerela, India with banners displaying words which read as ‘welcome home our son’. Has Mamakthir truly forgotten his origin or is he just lying? Ask the people of Malaysia, do all Malaysians accept Mamakthir as indigenous people. I say no.

    There must be a process of accepting people who are different from them as one of them. Just because one speaks Malays habitually does not make him Malay, just like one speaks English habitually is not an Englishman. Whether or not one adopts the language and culture of indigenous persons is not of concern to other persons. It is the fault of the reigning government which allows citizens utilizing loopholes in the constitution to seize opportunities reserved for the qualified beneficiaries to the provisions of the constitution.

    Malays are Muslims but not the other way round. Else there would be 1.2 billion Malays in the world.

    ///6. According to the Federal Constitution these people are Malays and are therefore indigenous and not foreign in origin.///–Mamakthir

    Article 160 of the constitution describes in a round about way what Malay is. When it is stated that Malay is one which practices Malay culture, then Malay has to be those who has a local origin where people know them by sight. The constitution does not recognize any person as indigenous, save for Sabah and Sarawak. Malays are not indigenous people according to the constitution.

    ///7. There is a row in Sabah because of the number of people who have been made citizens. Some of those people had been expatriated although many returned illegally.

    8. But most of these people qualify to be citizens. They have been staying in Malaysia (Sabah) for decades. They and their children speak Malay, the national language.///–Mamakhir

    The patron of Project M now says that having been in the country for years, illegal immigrants are now entitled to be Malaysians. These immigrants should not have been allowed into the country in the first place. That shows how one person has caused trouble to the country. The people in Sabah do not agree with him.

    ///9. On the basis of length of stay and mastering of the national language, they qualify to be citizens of this country. And so the acquired citizenship.///–Mamakthir

    The persons who allowed mass immigration should be charged in court for malfeasance. The length of stay of a potential permanent resident should be calculated based on the status of entry stamped on the passport. A person without a proper birth certificate is an illegal resident.

    ///10. By comparison we have many citizens who cannot speak the national language who were accepted as citizens. And we are still giving citizenship to foreigners who wish to be Malaysians on condition they have been living in this country for 10 out of the last 12 years, speak the national language and take the oath of allegiance to the country. So why cannot the migrants to Sabah who have all these qualifications be accepted as citizens? The objections for them being accepted seem to be political.///–Mamakthir

    The qualifications for citizenship are clearly stated in the constitution, and it is not for any person to question the status of Malaysians based on any other criteria, much less on the fluency of the language the citizen commands. A person who has proper travel document and who has been accepted into the country with the relevant visa might be eligible to apply for citizenship. A person who has entered the country illegally forfeits his right to apply for such certificate. Mamakthir allowed Muslims into the country so that they could be made UMNO members to influence election results. That is cheating, politically.

    It is for the security of the nation that illegal should be asked to leave. Mamakthir has the nerve to suggest that the persons who Mamakthir allowed into Sabah under project M are made citizens. People in Sabah and Sarawak should know how to change the federal government else Mamakthir’s suggestion might become fact.

    ///11. And so the racial factor crops up again. There was a time in the distant past when parties based on ideology contested in elections. They were all rejected in favour of race-based parties.///–Mamakthir

    The cunning politicians divide the country by race and make racist policies to garner votes from the majority community. That race-based politics has destroyed this country is still denied by the person who developed institutionalized racism in the country.

    ///12. If we don’t want our politics to be race-based, then we must forget our racial origins, speak the national language as our mother tongue and swear allegiance only to this country. We can retain our religion however.///–Mamakthir

    Nowhere in the constitution says that people should give up their origins to be equal before the law. Mamakthir does not hide his racial opportunist view. How arrogant this person is!

    ///13. Maybe one day this will happen. But for the present our politics will be race-based despite our protestations that we are not. We must not even say we are multi-racial as this implies consciousness of our racial differences.///–Mamakthir

    The BN government since Mamakthir days has developed racist policies to send non-Malays emigrating and accepting in their place illegal immigrants in Sabah. Mamakthir bares it all now.

  4. #4 by drngsc on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 9:02 pm

    There is no doubt that LCW played his best. He tried hard, played hard, and tried to win. BUT, he was not good enough. He failed and lost to a better player. We should reward what he has done, for his hard work, discipline and dedication. BUT we should not overdo it. We should not treat him like a champion, because he is not. Treat him like a runner-up.
    BECAUSE, we want to make a new Malaysia of winners, NOT losers. We have too many losers around. It is time to be a nation of winners. He needs to be rewarded for what he has achieved, BUT let us not over do it. HE LOST. We want a nation of winners. We need a new Malaysia.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming. First to H Raya, then to Bersih 4.0, then to GE 13, then to Putrajaya. Failure is not an option. We must win. Runner-up is not good enough.

    Change we must. Change we can. Change we will.

    • #5 by ChinNA on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 9:22 pm

      Is it that you implied that LCW is a loser? If yes, then I disagree with you. He is not a loser just because he did not get gold.

  5. #6 by ChinNA on Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 9:25 pm

    drngsc :
    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming. First to H Raya, then to Bersih 4.0, then to GE 13, then to Putrajaya. Failure is not an option. We must win. Runner-up is not good enough.

    Right on! In this race, runner-up is not good enough. But it is different in the Olympics.

  6. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 7:13 am

    Most of us, who will never grace the Olympic will also never feel the atmosphere. We must learn to appreciate the sacrifice, the sweat and the pain that come with the achievement of just being there to take part. To be able to real the final stage of struggling for the top prize is the ultimate glory of the Game. Without doubt LCW did his best and again luck just wasn’t on his side; even the Chinese fans acknowledged this fact. Between them they are just like Ali-Fraser in boxing, they have brought about an expectation in badminton which will only widen the appeal of this game to a wider world stage. From this angle, we can thank LCW-LD for doing this great service to the game!

  7. #8 by Loh on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 7:24 am

    ///1. Many have asked me why we cannot do without race-based politics in Malaysia.
    2. The short answer is that we all want to remember and be recognised according to our racial origins, the countries of our ancestors came from, the languages we speak, the cultures we belong to.///–Mamakthir

    It cannot be denied that Malaya gained independence through negotiation with the British with Malaya represented by the Alliance party comprising UMNO, MCA and MIC. The representatives of the three political parties agreed to the terms of association as documented in the constitution of Malaya, and later Malaysia.

    There is nothing in that document to demand that citizens of Malaysia give up recognition of their roots to be full-fledged citizens of the country. There was no requirement that citizens should learn the national language to remain citizens. There was no mention that political parties in the country should be race-based.

    Article 153 of Malayan constitution was included to assist Malays who were considered needing assistance. The spirit of the constitution obviously meant to assist only those who were originally residents of the country at independence and their issues. It is not meant to assist people who some how meet the description for the people the constitution intended to help. Indeed the government should have documented those who needed and qualified for assistance rather than including people as beneficiaries of Article 153 simply because they call themselves Malay. Clearly Article 153 should not be extended to people who choose to claim that they have forgotten their roots, such as Mamakthir. These constitutional ‘Malay’ not only deprive true Malays of their share of assistance available, they are burdens to those who have to support Article 153-induced programmes.

    It was out of the need to impress upon the British that there were racial harmony in the country that the political parties representing Malaya were seen to be representing the various major races in Malaya. It is clear therefore that Mamakthir’s claim of indigenous-ness is his own imagination. It is unfortunate that race-based parties continue such structure which allowed Mamakhtir to manipulate the fall of Tunku.

  8. #9 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 7:48 am

    People anywhere are hardwired to differentiate, feel comfortable of their own kind and suspicious of those outside their group. Our ruling politicians know that they always count on xenophobic fears of one group against other in terms of losing power/control and with it opportunities to wealth. For over 50 years this divide and rule learnt from colonial masters has worked because human nature, hardwired to differentiate, helps and makes easy this strategy of playing race and religion card. Tribalism is powerful primordial instinct. To unite a racially and culturally heterogeneous nation one needs either a common threat (like attack from another country or as in the little Red Dot’s case the influx of immigrants competing with locals or jobs and amenities, perceived detracting than adding to wealth or creature comforts of locals) or a common cause like Lee Chong Wei representing the nation in international competitive sports against others. Here there’s just not enough of such occasions as compared to the divisive forces raging over race/religion that are sustained/exploited by politicians & their supporters to the hilt for political mileage esp in an election year. For example to counteract UMNO’s communal style, the Opposition too has to count on parochialism/tribalism, whether Sabahans or Sarawakians to break BN’s Fixed Deposit status. National themes differ not only between BN &PR controlled states but also within the 4 PR controlled states. That’s state of Malaysian Unity. Correctly Art Harum calls unity a Malaysian Dream – for dream it is and likely to be for a very long time to come.

  9. #10 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 8:24 am

    We face great difficulties because even the basic constitution at birth of nation, which speaks of upholding civil liberties and fundamental rights including equality, contains many elements favouring one group over the others – which therefore provides the perfect pretext/context/excuses for ruling govt’s entrenchment of race/religious specific policies and extremists or even fascists to push for their agenda. Values such as democracy equality civil and human rights are given only lip service and in relation to policies are at best but hypocritical anchorings that belie the selective nature of their (official or unofficial) application. Under such conditions how could unity (realistically) be so easily forged, common interest of all communities in sports & food notwithstanding? Common antipathy against corruption/wastage and abuse of power is a rallying point (as least for the Opposition) and may go a distance but whether it will go sufficient far to triumph over the powerful basic instincts of tribalism/Xenophobia along race & religious lines that have entrenched itself over last 1/2 century (and which is counted upon by the ruling coalition to win in the GE) remains to be seen from the results of the coming GE.

  10. #11 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 8:46 am

    The greatest malaysian dream fell just points short. But given the fantastic effort expanded by chong wei, that two missing points will soon be erased of all significance. To all intent and purposes, he is the champion – our champion. His dedication to the game and his determination to win for the nation are there for all to witness. We have no doubt he did well. He did not dissapoint us.

    How very unlike umno!

  11. #12 by monsterball on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 10:17 am

    Focus on the real Malaysian dream…to vote and change the government.
    People Power is not a dream right now.
    Know how powerful you are.
    Let the politicians argue and entertaining us.
    We vote for change not that we love PR more…but because a PR government not tried out yet.
    55 years under UMNO is far too long.
    That’s the real Malaysian dream.

  12. #13 by megaman on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 10:24 am

    Winning is not everything …

    It is the journey that justifies the end.

    If Dato Lee had to resort to what the disqualified female doubles players did, I’d rather he lost.

    He lost in the finals with grace after putting in all he had against a formidable opponent.

    Nothing to be ashamed but everything to be proud of.

    A true Olympian! And definitely a true Malaysian.

  13. #14 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 12:58 pm

    I don’t know why Tun Dr Mahathir (TDM) think the latest of what he said in the shadow of the government setting up an RCI on Sabah immigrants (see TheMalaysianInsider’s report of 8th Aug [“As RCI on illegals looms, Dr M defends Sabah population spike”] is of any service to BN in the imminent election. I don’t think Malays will necessarily be happy with the sharing of privileges amongst these constitutional bumis as one recalls that Special privileges have always been justified (rightly or wrongly) on the historical basis of helping and giving advantage to the indigenous, in part as trade off against liberalising cirtizenship for the then immigrant population. The present immigrants are not even indigenous Malays, so on what basis are they accepted to share the privileges? Is it a Malaysian dream to increase our population by accepting more “Indian, Arab, Indonesian and even Turkish and European origins” just because they constitutionally qualify so and proceeding on the dubious assumption that they’re easier (culturally) to be accepted as bumi??? East Malaysians are definitely parochial enough to be repulsed by what TDM said. Otherwise why should Najib seek to have a RCI to appease demands to enquire this issue? What TDM said would serve Pakatan’s interest more than BN’s (in the ‘fixed deposit’ states) if PR plays up what TDM said, with the coming GE in mind.

  14. #15 by lcy on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 4:21 pm

    I have been watching the game since 1990s and definitely, LCW is the best ever single player in Malaysia badminton and one of the best in the world, and of course he has done his best in the Olympic final. We should’t ask anything more from him.
    Second, the overall performance of sports quite in parallel with the deployment of one country and we should admit that we are quite far behind. Thanks to badminton and a few other events that made us to Olympic and won us a medal. Should’t we focus on how to move forward to improve the overall performance in sports and ultimately as a developed nation?? If all Malaysian understand what we actually need in order to move to a stronger position, no other things can distract us to realize it included dirty tricks from politicians…..we as a nation need to move forward!
    *Without any bias, I think this quite suit us: “Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa”….

  15. #16 by Loh on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 5:15 pm

    Najib said that he would announce the terms of reference for a RCI to investigate on the entry of a million foreigners into Sabah, over the past two decades. That announcement proves that it was wrong to have allowed foreigners into Sabah, who had not been admitted as workers with the appropriate visa. Prior to Najib’s announcement, Mamakthir declared that he considered those foreigners who had entered Sabah [illegally] years ago are now entitled to be citizens of Malaysia. Mamakthir even alluded that these instant Sabahans are more worthy citizens than non-Muslim Malaysians in the country. In declaring what he did one would surmise that Mamakthir planned it years ago in allowing foreigners into the country, and he was waiting for the required duration to declare that he supports illegals who entered into Sabah as Malaysian citizens. Mahathir has failed in his duty as the Prime Minister to prevent foreigners violate the immigration regulations in Sabah. He should be charged for the offence.

    USA is the land of immigrants and it still follows the tradition of admitting migrants, through appropriate procedures. USA presidential candidates debate about the merit of evicting these illegals or allow them to remain as permanent residents; none offers them citizenship. Yet Mamakthir argues that these illegals should be made citizens, and that they should have a higher status than other Malaysians just because they would soon forget their origins. Mamakthir is a traitor to this nation as he sides with the illegals against the indigenous residents of Sabah.

    Now that Mamakthir has announce that he support Sabah illegals to be potential UMNO-class Malays, would N
    ajib still proceed with announcing the RCI. Mamakthir has almost admitted that he knew and allowed foreigners to become Sabahans, and it that is proven correct, what would the government do to Mamakthir? Is Najib going to give him an award for increasing the population in the country?

  16. #17 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 - 11:47 pm

    Mr badminton hero did talk about his successor. Someone should tell him to prepare more than one successor. Like a shadow cabinet. Obviously Malaysian Olympians are like needles in a haystack. Actually the issue of pendatangs as in illegals like the Indons, the Banglas and what have you, are easy to find. Government departments have all sorts of records which can help the immigration department to do its’ job. Thing is who is doing to get the job done. Contradictions are seen everywhere. On one hand, the illegals are being caught. On another, the illegals are left on their own. It is like a game and if it is a game, you wonder if it is credible and trustworthy.

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