MALAYSIA is 53 today, still young with much time to go until maturity as a nation sets in.
We have been through racial tension, economic instability and social upheaval that would have made an indelible dent on most nations.
But we are unlike nations across the board with a special cord that binds us together like no other.
The nation remained intact, its people displaying a remarkable resilience against a backdrop of uncertainity involving an unbelievable gamut of ethnicities brought together by providence.
A growing maturity of sorts has set in
over time, drawing us into its warm embrance over the years as we became used to one another.
It has not always been a national conversation in harmony with agreement often, and occasional disagreement.
Just as in 1957 when independence from the British was won with a merging of opinions from the principal races, 1963 gave birth to a larger nation with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.
This saw opposing views being exchanged, debated and accepted in full, if not in part.
When Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and the founding fathers of Malaya obtained independence from the British, they did not envisage the creation of a larger nation embracing an island state down south and two others across the South China Sea.
But a nation was born that day with diversity as its theme and unity as its objective. We fought adverse external opinion and won the day.
It goes without saying that the naysayers have always been there, never giving in to the larger good but battling good sense and practicality for realisation of their obvious illusions.
They are not about to give in either with new additions to their ranks in future that will confuse the landscape further.
They may come in various hues and creeds but all with nefarious intent.
But despite all these complications, we have not done too badly over the past which we have put behind us for a glorious future.
We seem to have an uncanny ability to coalesce after national mishaps that would eviscerated other lands with similar composition.
We have had to adjust to accommodate one another in the realisation that there are no winners and no losers in this game of Malaysia’s survival.
The people from the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak have come out of their relative infirmities stronger, joining forces with like-minded folk to keep the flag flying.
The truth of the matter is this: the people of this great land have come too far to give up in the face of adversity.
There is too much at stake here after decades of fighting the odds to keep our nose above water.
But survive we have with a show of determination aimed at solidifying the base on which Tunku and his cohorts
built this nation — of freedom, equality
We have all — Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazan and Iban and other Malaysians — come to the common realisation that this is our home and there is nowhere else to go.
The continuing dialogue aimed at nation-building will take a concerted effort from all including an increasingly voluble Sabah and Sarawak which are adding their input to the national conversation.
This is part of the process of buttressing our nation so that the underpinnings of the nation are not disassembled by those seeking to do the polity no good.
And it is in this truth that we seek to grow into an even stronger nation that will not buckle under stress applied from outside or inside.
Selamat Hari Malaysia semua.
BALAN, associate editor in charge of content development, feels there is great hope for this nation of diversity. But every man, woman and child has to pull together to make Malaysia a success story. Here’s to many years more.