How apt that Deputy Prime Minister’s new My-Malaysia website, bearing the tag line ‘Muhyiddin Yassin for Malaysia’ is now “not available!”
Seen from one level, a national leader should be thinking of the nation first. Maybe that was the reason he set up his now defunct website as ‘Muhyiddin untuk Malaysia‘ in the first place.
At another level, this debate about whether we are Malaysians first or Malay/Chinese/Indian/Kadazan/Iban/Orang Asli etc first as a test of patriotism is a bit shallow.
If we want to go down that path, where do we place our religious identity? Are we Malaysians first or Muslims/Christians/Buddhists/Hindus/Sikhs first or Malays/Chinese/Indians etc first?
But how did our ancestors identify themselves before the existence of the nation-state? They couldn’t have been Malaysians first as there was no ‘Malaysia’ before 1963.
What about familial identity? Am I a son or a brother first? Is a woman a daughter, a mother, a sister or a wife first? Few would even think of asking such a question.
Or do we identify ourselves by our occupation, as many do? Am I a writer first or an activist or just a good-for-nothing?
It is so easy to pin labels on people – and on ourselves. Such labels are often a mask. The truth – about ourselves, of self awareness, about God and the divine – lies deeper within. Often we struggle to peel off the layers to discover our true selves.
Yet, we are all human beings belonging to the same human family. If you believe in a God, then you could say we are all part of Creation. Even if you don’t, you have to admit we are all inter-connected in so many different ways and share a common bond and heritage as part of the human family.
As human beings, we have a body and a soul, but our individual identity is more complex.
What makes us who we are is a combination of so many factors, including the environment we were brought up in.
Paradoxically, the great spiritual traditions teach us that the Self and the Ego often stand in the way of true enlightenment.
Central to this identity of ours are the values we cherish.
Do we believe in Truth, Love, Justice, Compassion and Solidarity first – or is it always Me (and the group I identify with) First so that I couldn’t care less about the interests of those around Me?
That, to me, is the real question we should be asking ourselves. What do you think?