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Happy New Year: Home is Where The Heart Is

By January 01, 2014 , , , , ,

Happy New Year to all! Hope your new year's eve was special and filled with merriment. Mine was filled with food and company, sheltered from the harsh weather and damage of war or the terror of politicians with biased interest. For that, I am truly grateful.

While my brain is still a little fuzzy and woozy from last night's food and company, I cannot help but notice that back in my homeland, many were not enjoying the transition into a new year.

Amidst displays of fireworks and a sea of "Happy New Year!" messages on Facebook was a newslink that caught my attention:

Back in my homeland at the iconic Independence Square, which was also a key new year's eve festive site, there was a massive rally against the government's announcement of price hike. As a result, celebrations and the new year's eve concert were halted. In Malaysia, the mainstream media is controlled by the ruling government and the screenshot above was a Facebook post from the so-called "independent" media. Both news outlet have provided different versions of accounts, with the independent media outlet even calling the price hikes "austerity measures".

As a Malaysian living abroad, I hold very fond memories of my home country and it breaks my heart to see Malaysians and its government stand so divided. There has been so many times where I have contemplated on packing my bags and return home. If Australia, a foreign country, its people and its authorities with their blond hair and blue eyes can treat me like one of their own and help me out when I am in need, surely I can contribute more to the economy of my own country. 

Yet, I am so disheartened after reading what happened in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. There is no doubt that the government has said and done silly things - but which government hasn't? Price increase and austerity measures are happening on a global scale, so are protests against those measures.  But, if other countries can show some kindness and compassion in times like this, why couldn't the law enforcers, the event organisers and the protestors in Kuala Lumpur put down their defences and stand on the same team to rein in the new year? Afterall, it is the lawmakers and the politicians who are at blame for their policies. 

We Are On The Same Team...

Moreover, it is time for the people to be more vigilant and analyse what we read on the newspaper. Mainstream or independent, the media has always been an outlet for those in power to brainwash, terrorise and spread their propaganda... government or opposition. Perhaps it is also time to compare Malaysia to other countries and realise that we are not the only ones

I am not a red-blooded patriot, but I do remember my home country as a peaceful nation, a perfect balance of culture and cosmopolitan. While Bosnia and Middle East were at war; while Japan and Taiwan suffered the wrath of nature, I was always grateful that Malaysia was untouchable by mother nature's fury and our lawmakers were keeping us safe. I am proud that I received a balanced education, leading me to be able to converse and write fluently in three languages, English and Mandarin being two of them - hence opening the doors to many international opportunities. 

So, to read what happened in the news was heartbreaking for me, and I worry for what's to come. With the government touting 2014 as "Visit Malaysia Year", I fear that more news as such (and security/ safety issues) may lose us millions of tourism dollars, putting the national economy in further deficit. This may add to the list of excuses  reasons that the government may use to propose another tax hike. 

For what its worth, may the new year make all world leaders and head of nations a little more wiser, a little less selfish, for the sake of us all.  

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