Friday, June 24, 2011

Citizenship and Patriotism

Many questions have been raised about how we fail to display patriotism inspite the fact that we are citizens of our country. Why do we lack the exuberance or spontaneity? Is the underlying reason due to the dampening role of the government instead?

Wikipedia explains that "patriotism is a devotion to one's country. In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and peoples, patriotism is a devotion to one's country for no other reason than being a citizen of that country." Note the keyword 'country'.

In THIS website, Theodore Roosevelt was credited as having said,

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiently or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else." Again, note the same keyword 'country'.

Another website HERE suggested that "Love for one's ancestry, culture or homeland is the root meaning of patriotism. Derived from the Greek kputrios ("of one's fathers") or patris (one's fatherland") the Oxford English Dictionary defines a patriot as "one who disinterestedly or self-sacrificingly exerts himself to promote the well-being of his country." A patriot is "one who maintains and defends his country's freedom or rights." Same emphasis on 'country or homeland' although ancestry and culture are associated as well.

In THIS commentary from theStar written almost 4 years ago the author wrote,

"It has been wonderful to reminisce on our past glories in foreign policies, novel development plans to eradicate poverty, achievements in science and technology and in sports.

But it is more important for Malaysians and those entrusted with managing the country to contemplate its future, based on what we have evolved into today.

Beneath the fluttering flags, how pretty is the landscape? We can't continue to bury our heads in the sand when the country is tainted with corruption and financial scandals, and its education system can’t meet the demands of the current global competition for human capital.

Neither can we pretend that crime is not threatening to get out of control, and ethnic posturing and religious tensions are mounting.

Patriotism is not just about waving the flag and pledging allegiance to King, country and the Rukunegara. Those who truly care for the nation must be concerned about what is happening today, and do the right thing to make it a better place to live in tomorrow.
" Once more patriotism is about nation, never government.

That was during the tenure of Tun Ahmad Badawi as our prime minister. Six months later he led the government to its worst defeat in 51 years. You could feel the despair and disenchantment with the government for letting down the citizens. We aspire to be a great nation, and were willing to work hard to bring prosperity to the country. Unfortunately the leadership was unable to stir the passion and drive the best to make us young tigers ready to take on the world. It wasn't for the lack of patriotic spirit. Malaysia is heaven on earth, so why would her citizens want to leave? If not for real fear that the government of the day had failed its given mandate? Remember, the commentary was written in a paper owned by MCA, a coalition partner of the government.

Can we fault many Malaysians for hiding their patriotism? There is little to rejoice when there is little to expect. Four years on, nothing changed but had in fact deteriorated. You are excused if you think you read the above from yesterday's paper.

We are proud to be Malaysians. Wherever we travel out of the country, we proudly declare we are from Malaysia, not Singapore, not Hong Kong, not Taiwan, not Japan, not China. If we have contributed to our national wealth we are patriotic for we did not depend on welfare. If we have created employments, brought in foreign exchange, we are patriotic.

Patriotism is unrelated to love for the government. Government change but the country remains faithful to all who toil to prosper it. Patriotism is therefore all about love for the country that gave us beautiful memories of our growing years, that provided the warmth in which we established our families, received our education, made friends and discover how very lucky and blessed we are to have so much natural goodness and spared from natural calamities faced by our neighbors.

No one have a right to question anyone's patriotism unless he carry out acts to destroy his country, such as grow terrorism and sow hatred among her citizens. Patriots are good and constructive citizens whose productivity benefits the whole nation.

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