Sin Chew Daily
Jumping into action is better than keeping your feelings buried inside you. If you love someone, just tell him (or her). The same goes with patriotism. Despite the different targets and emotions, that feeling of love still needs to be outwardly expressed.
The ministry of communications and multimedia recently launched the "Ekspresi Negaraku" campaign in conjunction with our 60th anniversary of independence. More than 10,000 people, including the prime minister, cabinet ministers and national athletes came together to manifest their patriotism.
Such a patriotism campaign is never a novelty in this country!
The ruling that requires cinema goers to stand up when Negaraku is played before a show starts has sparked widespread controversy among the people. So has the proposal to demand businesses to hang Jalur Gemilang as a means of manifesting patriotism.
It looks like loving the country is a very much more complicated matter than loving someone. If you love another person, that is wholly a private matter between you and him (or her). But, loving the country, unfortunately, falls into the public domain. Whether you love or do not love the country, how you love and how much you love will all subject you to public scrutiny and restrictions.
While it is not easy to announce to the world you don't love someone, that could still be done if you are fully determined and unperturbed by shyness. But, who has the guts to openly declare that he doesn't love his country?
Patriotism has almost become an inborn obligation and responsibility of modern-day citizens, the undebatable "politically correct" attitude. The question is: not everyone loudly proclaiming his love for the nation does so from the bottom of his heart, and not all the actions motivated by a patriotic passion is for the good of the country.
We don't have to outright reject or criticize the various patriotic campaigns the government has organized over the years. Indeed, patriotism does require some sort of platform to have it shown, just like you may want a dozen of red roses, a candlelight dinner, or a diamond ring to show how much you care.
The real argument lies with the question whether all these activities (hanging of flags, chanting patriotic slogans) aside, patriotism is put into broader execution in our day-to-day life.
As the politicians champion the cause of patriotism, are they also fulfilling their obligations dutifully for the good of the nation? How will our political parties choose when the country's development clashes with their own interests? Or when their personal interests collide with the country's?
Well, all our politicians, government officials and private citizens claim they love this country, but why don't we see the achievements that befit such a generous outpour of love? This we may explain in either of the following two ways: that their feelings are feigned, or that they love the wrong way.
We will soon usher in our 60th Merdeka celebration. This beloved country of ours needs a little more love from all of us. Patriotism is a lot more than just holding events, shouting slogans and hanging flags. More importantly we need to show our love for this country with practical actions to bring about greater prosperity for all.
By now you should realize that patriotism is never as simple as ABC!