Can't imagine some Malaysians want Chong Wei to lose
LAT. Vanggey Restaurant. Lee Chong Wei. Ola Bola.
The Prime Minister is right. They are icons of unity for Malaysia.
We salute Lat for bringing tasteful cartoons to us - sketches that excite not incite - that remind us of our differences, but that within that diversity, we are sharing many hilarious things together.
Vanggey is one of the best-known nasi kandar restaurants in Ipoh.
Malays, Chinese, Indians and others are queuing there.
Who can fault Lee for trying his best to win the first Olympic gold for us?
He failed. But he has been the reason why we are cheering in unison these last many years. We learn from him that tenacity and dedication matter.
And Ola Bola, the feel-good movie about young footballers of various races trying to make their country proud.
There are many other icons of unity out there.
There are many images of moments that will be etched forever in our consciousness.
Those are about people - showing the spirit of muhibbah (co-existence) and perpaduan (unity).
We celebrated our 59th anniversary as a nation last Wednesday. As we near six decades of independence, there is a need for a lot of soul-searching, unity-wise.
The route to the next 59 years will be more challenging.
The world has changed beyond recognition in the last 59 years. Our society has evolved so much.
We need to address race relations in our creative works too. There have been very few novels, dramas or films based on multi-racial Malaysia.
Perhaps we shy away from the subject for fear of repercussions.
Lat has tackled race relations in his art. The late Yasmin Ahmad proved that such films can be made. Chiu Keng Guan has done that with Ola Bola. Creative works transcend race.
Recently, I presented a keynote address at Universiti Putra Malaysia's Malaysian International Conference on Languages, Literature and Cultures.
I took a tedious route to understand race relations in the country from the post-modernist perspective.
It is a journey into an unknown territory, full of surprises and horrors, littered with statements by "hate-triots" and downright racists, from all sides of the racial and political divide.
I cannot imagine having senior politicians talking about "Cina Boleh" when Lee was captivating the nation with his ferocious display of sportsmanship.
I thought it was "Malaysia Boleh".
I find it disgusting that a few supposedly wanted Lee to lose so that the government is deprived of the credit.
The cyber world is definitely not helping. There is simply too much hatred out there.
I find the recent cover of Time magazine interesting: "Why we're losing the Internet to the culture of hate." Joel Stein laments the tyranny of the mob in the cyber realm.
We are using the Internet as a weapon of mass destruction, which is a pity, for it promises a totally new world.
We are not spared - neither our leaders, nor even ordinary people.
We believe what we read and help forward materials that even we find distasteful.
The truth is that all is not well on the unity front. We will self-destruct as a nation if we don't manage it well.
In my paper, I praised the Indonesians for their show of patriotism every time they celebrate their independence.
Perhaps they understand the need for negara bangsa (nation state) better than us.
Instead, our people even debate the need to respect the national anthem played in cinemas. Or the theme of every independence day celebration.
And we are championing our own causes instead of those of the nation's.
We are one.
Don't ever forget that!
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
The writer was a journalist, editor
and, for some years, chairman
of a media company.