For those of you who have not been here, well, this not too tiny nor too big country is a diverse country with many races living together. Now, how different can that be to say a multi cultural city, right?
The difference here would be - the races living here in Malaysia still very much retain their own identity. A quick example, an American born Chinese may look Chinese in more ways than 1, but their outlook and perception is usually like any average white/ black American.
However, in Malaysia, a Malaysian born Chinese is very much Chinese inside and outside, practicing their local traditions and cultures like the Lion Dance to the Chinese New Year, Moon Cake Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival etc. Our Chinatowns are not just a Chinatown, but in many cases is part of the town itself! (so is the Little India, Malay bazaar etc).
What's more - even the Chinese New Year is declared a public holiday - yes a holiday for all races. Now, this is one big difference comparing Malaysia with any other multi cultural city (apart from say, neighbour Singapore). This is in many ways a virtue to us (eg for tourism - we've just got so many things to see & do!).
But it's this diversity that also affects the country in many ways. Even after 50 years of independence, there are still political tensions of the many race based political parties.
This, plus so many other issues related to this progressive country makes many of the people in the nation just sigh & 'give up' at many times...
But a dreamer in me says, things can work for Malaysia - if only we dare to dream. Here are somethings which I think the public wants (though they may not necessarily believe it will work)... some of these I believe is in line with the 1 Malaysia/ One Malaysia (Satu Malaysia!) concept:
1. No more political parties based on race (and I mean NO more).
2. Each race is given equal opportunities in all aspects - from education, healthcare, housing, etc (we are 'one' in all true sense).
3. Malaysia to be 1st World Country by 2020 - and later to be a respected 1st World Country.
4. KL to be the most live-able city in the world - in terms of costs, quality of life, and many others.
5. All leaders elected/ selected will perform in accordance to world's standards and with a vision of Malaysia first, and own gains last (or non existence).
6. Malaysia has its own world class products in the global arena - branding Malaysia at the same time.
7. Each race treats each other with equal respect (and lots of it).
8. Malaysians to come in as national first (ie Malaysian) before anything else. In fact, race shouldn't be even asked/ questioned.
If you are Malaysian and has read passed this point (and not say it's just impossible), then here's a few more which I hope and think can come true, if we work on them:
1. All races study together, where from young, they are nurtured to learn of each other's culture, traditions, and to respect one another (they can still learn their own cultures/ religions, etc, but they are studying under 1 roof, with lots of interaction).
2. Malaysia to retain its unique diverse identity, but at the same time to assimilate under one language (eg English in USA, Japanese in Japan, Mandarin in China... or even Thai in Thailand, Indonesian in Indonesia). In fact, more cross cultural exchange of languages is better! (eg. other races listening to Malay pop, other races listening to Mando pop, Hindi songs, etc).
3. Malaysian media is one of the many hot-spots in the world - similar to that of Hollywood, Bollywood, Korea, Taiwan (music). It could be our music, our talents, our programs, or even our animation/ comic.
4. Other nations to look up to Malaysia - and we Malaysians can stand proud with our very own achievements (and give ourselves a pat on our back, in all true sense).
Whether we can - or not, it all really depends on we ourselves. The leaders play a big role, but so do we as people (and frankly, let's not just depend on them).
Honestly, if the rest of the world can, and if we apply the principles of The Secret, then 'yes, we can' - too! Or to put it in our own terms
"Malaysia Can One Lah!"