For the love of Malaysia
As Malaysia celebrates its National Day and Malaysia Day, the government attempts to ramp up the patriotic feeling by ordering cinemas to play the Negaraku and two short clips before each movie screening from Aug 30 to Sept 3, and again on Sept 16.
Not only that, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek wanted movie-goers to also stand up when watching the film clip about the Lahad Datu invasion, as a mark of respect to the nation’s armed forces.
The ministry also contemplated the need for legislation to make it mandatory for all premises to fly the Jalur Gemilang throughout August.
Does playing the national anthem or standing up for the anthem mark a patriotic nation? Does hoisting the Jalur Gemilang whether on one’s car, balcony or rooftop signify just how much love one has for the nation? Who defines patriotism?
Patriotism or loyalty to one’s nation is really about love: love for one’s country. And love, like faith, cannot be imposed from the top. Nor is there just one expression of love or faith. We all know that we have countless ways of demonstrating love or faith. That’s what makes humanity so resilient and interesting.
And love isn’t something that the law can compel, just as faith in God cannot be impelled through external practices, cultural norms and state-prescribed definitions of which faith a citizen must belong to.
And if patriotism, like love and faith, must necessarily be borne of free will and emerge from an individual without any duress or compulsion, what then is our government up to? Why does the BN feel that it needs to and can determine whether citizens should feel patriotic and how they should express that patriotism?
Read more on page 42 of The Heat.
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