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Swakian youths sing praise of nations cultural diversity, economic prospects

0 month ago, 16-Sep-2023

Alezxandria Kapple

KUCHING (Sept 16): Malaysia Day stands as a significant date in the hearts of Malaysians, a day etched in history that unites the diverse tapestry of the vibrant nation.

It’s a day of celebration, reflection, and a reminder of the collective strength that defines the nation.

As Malaysia Day approaches, The Borneo Post reached out to capture the voices of the nation’s youth, whose perspectives and aspirations are integral to the evolving narrative of Malaysia.

These comprised of several young individuals from various backgrounds, each with their unique experience and personal views; in seeking to understand what Malaysia means to each one of them and what it truly feels like to be Malaysian.

Freelance event organiser, Alezxandria Kapple, 26, contributes her travels around Malaysia for the deep personal bond she feels for the nation.

“Being born and raised in Kuching, Sarawak, my bond with Malaysia runs deep. Journeys to destinations like Malacca and Selangor, as well as explorations around the wondrous landscapes of Sarawak, have consistently left me in awe.

“Each state holds a unique history, captivating tourists and leaving them eager to explore more, and each visit granted me the privilege of immersing myself in the unique culture and vibrant history,” she said.

The most meaningful things about Malaysian culture, she said, was the beautiful tradition of gathering during cultural festivals.

“The joy of visiting our loved ones and spending quality time is truly heart-warming. It’s during these times we get to catch up and share stories.

“Beyond that, it’s the genuine love and warmth that people have for one another that truly sets Malaysia apart the spirit of harmony and unity is what makes Malaysia one of the most special and inclusive countries in the world,” she said.

Electrician technician, Mitch Harris Sylvester, 26, believes Malaysia’s multicultural society truly benefits the people.

Mitch Harris Sylvester

“Living in a multicultural society has its benefits, such as the exchange of cultural ideas, values and habits. This enhances the quality of life for everyone.

“Having a diverse culture paradoxically increases awareness of ones identity while fostering an understanding of differences and similarities among individuals from various backgrounds,” he said.

He added Malaysians have a duty to preserve its natural resources for future generations.

“What makes Malaysia so special to me is the rich biodiversity. There are plenty of plants and a variety of animals, including rare species. Malaysia’s lush and well-preserved natural landscape is perfect for a wide range of eco-adventures, with rainforests such as Taman Negara.

“We, as Malaysians, must protect our resources. Not only does it contribute greatly to the economy through the tourism industry, these resources can also be used in products such as food and cosmetics,” he said.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old general manager, Kim Tan, says her bond to Malaysia is an ongoing process where she has to ‘balance the rage and hope’.

Kim Tan

“I am learning to deepen my roots into the society I want to build here.

“However, I can’t deny what I really enjoy about Malaysia is the food. We have the privilege of enjoying household recipes from different racial subgroups and communities from various geographical locations.

“This provides a glimpse of warm reception of what true Malaysian hospitality represents,” she said.

Tan said the country’s melting pot of diversity can be harnessed for its strength instead of division.

“I am blessed to be able to break bread with people of different backgrounds with mutual reciprocity of respect where neither of us tries to impose ideologies on one another.

“Instead, we take it as an opportunity to learn and understand each culture better,” she said.

On another note, 20-year-old student Delvin Yeong Solomon believes Malaysia’s multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural society makes the nation unique.

He said despite the differences, people are able to live together as one big family.

Delvin Yeong Solomon

“Being half Dayak myself, I am fascinated with the Dayak culture, especially (what is practised) at the longhouses where all the families and community live under one big roof.

“Everyone lives in harmony, works together and tolerates one another. This culture should not be obsolete, but continued for generations and be set as a great example of unity for other Malaysians,” he said

Yeong added what makes Malaysia special is the nation’s commitment to develop itself by going above and beyond.

“Malaysia has good and strong diplomatic ties with surrounding countries like Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.

“This goes to show that Malaysia is willing and committed to develop itself by going beyond waters. It’s also due to this, we are free from conflicts,” he said.

In terms of food, he said he takes pleasure indulging in dishes from the diverse Malaysian culture, especially those with a blend of cultural influences.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old retailer, Mohd Ariff, said Malaysia’s diverse society and tolerance is a unique trait that is rare in any parts of the world.

Mohd Ariff

“The unity and multicultural society is the core of Malaysia. You can go anywhere in the world, but you’ll hardly find societies that can tolerate each other’s cultures as we do here in Malaysia.

“Despite our differences, regardless of race or religion, we celebrate each other and that’s what makes us different from other countries,” said Ariff.

Malaysia is also able to produce so many talents in every sector, despite the nation being a ‘young’ country, he added.

When asked about the future of Malaysia and what it means to them, the five shared similar views on Malaysia’s potential to be one of the region’s strongest economies.

“Looking ahead, I believe Malaysia’s future on the global stage holds immense promise. Its economic progress and strategic position gives it a unique edge.

“As the nation advances, it has the potential to become a beacon of innovation and trade, as well as an example of cultural harmony.

“This means a nation that embraces diversity, promotes understanding, and leads by example in sustainable practices. It’s about envisioning a future where Malaysia’s contributions extend beyond borders, fostering a more compassionate and connected world,” said Alezxandria.

Meanwhile, Mitch envisions Malaysia achieving sustainable growth, with fair and equitable distribution, across income groups, ethnicities, regions and supply chains through its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

As for Tan, she sees a great foresight to what the nation can achieve if the people can consciously work together in uniting and collaborating with one another.

Yeong, on the other hand, sees Malaysia being a dominant player in Southeast Asia within the next 10 to 20 years.

“I believe Malaysia will compete alongside major players such as Singapore and Brunei in the future. The more I see Malaysia succeed, the more I feel proud to be Malaysian,” he said.

Ariff, however, said that Malaysia needs to step up by providing the necessary channels for its young talents to prosper.

“As a developing country, Malaysia has highly talented resources. However, these skills often cannot be utilised within the country due to Malaysia’s lack of facilities.

“It is truly regrettable when Malaysia has all these experts, but their talents cannot be channelled towards the progress of the nation. It’s disheartening to see capable individuals contributing to other countries instead of their own.

“Therefore, it is my hope that in the future, Malaysia will provide necessary channels and facilities so talented and capable individuals will thrive here in their own homeland,” said Ariff.

As we celebrate Malaysia Day, let us carry forth the wisdom of these young voices, cherishing the shared heritage that binds us all.

Together, as Malaysians, we forge ahead into the future, guided by the ideals of unity, progress, and the unbreakable bond that defines us.