Like? Share it with your friends.
Malaysia My Home
Audio Version: Malaysia My Home
By Valentina Alyssa Hendricks
Despite its flaws, Malaysia is a country that is truly blessed by God. In conjunction with our upcoming Malaysia Day, young writer Valentina shares her thoughts and hopes as a next-generation Christian citizen of this nation.
Have you ever thought about what it’s like to live in a multiracial country? At first glance, you might think it wouldn’t work out well. It can be challenging and tough. At certain instances, people are discriminated against for the colour of their skin, getting called names, and going through all kinds of problems. However, the positive outweighs the negatives and despite all that, we are all united to get through those challenges that we face together. For instance, people are accepting of cultures that are different from theirs and they respect it as well. Living in a multiracial country such as Malaysia educates us on many things that can help us grow as individuals. It also deepens our understanding and tolerance towards cultures that are alien to us.
Religion is thoroughly integrated in Malaysia, wherein other religions besides Islam (our nation’s official religion) can be practised freely. Being a part of the Christian community gives all of us different experiences through the church. The Christian community provides opportunities to form bonds and prevents us from focusing on materialistic acquirements, rather than balancing all the other essences of life. As humans we have a deeply rooted need to interact with other people to form unbreakable bonds and friendships over time.
If you are a practising Christian, you may remember the vague but present memories of going to Sunday school from your early childhood. While your younger self may not have realised it, the interactions between you and your fellow friends-in-arms have actually made you a part of who you are now and developed a sense of comradery and understanding of each other that will last a lifetime. It is through simple acts of worship like this that made us into one big family of God. Apart from that, the after-mass (or after-worship) gatherings that we have furthermore builds stronger communities among Christians in Malaysia.
As a Christian growing up in Malaysia, I exist as a part of the diverse community. I am proud of my identity as a Christian. My Christian identity distinguishes me from other Malaysians. Being able to identify myself as a Malaysian Christian makes me incredibly proud and sure of myself. Me being a Christian is an integral component that contributes to my individuality as a whole. As of the current moment, I am incredibly proud of my character and attitude. Being able to wake up every day knowing I have done my absolute best makes me happy.
Needless to say, education is the root of development of a country. Streamlining the school syllabuses would be a great stepping stone towards the growth of our country. Education gives students more exposure to new theories and ideas, thus making them work towards an invention or innovation. This will then contribute to the economic growth of a country. For example, my current syllabus in school is a whole new syllabus compared to the previous batch and my brother’s syllabus is totally different compared to mine as well. So, it can get hard for me to get reference books at the beginning of the year as it’s the first batch of a new syllabus and it’s even harder to assist my brother in his studies when he needs help. Due to this, it limits a student’s efforts to further improve and guide others.
Moreover, subjects like life skills should also be included in our education so that it would come in handy for students to handle their daily chores better. We need to learn about how to survive and to be more independent. That way, we would not be so clueless as to what to do when we face difficult situations in our lives when we are alone. At the very least, for those who are lacking or poor at subjects in school, they can always rely on life skills to make a living or come up in life, without feeling like all hope is lost.
Apart from that, the government can have students attend classes after schooling hours which focuses more on the creative area such as sewing, baking, cooking and gardening. Students may discover new interests or discover hidden talents attend attending these classes. Take this situation for instance; imagine yourself going to a sewing class because you want to take interest in something new. Somewhere along the line, you start to develop a genuine interest for the said class and eventually it becomes a hobby.
Not only does this truly benefit you in the long run by a number of ways such as saving money and passing on the said skill, this can also be used as a healthy coping mechanism and an outlet to generate more income when academics seem to fail you. From sewing small pouches to repairing an old set of jeans you like, the possibilities are endless when you truly enjoy doing something. And let us say you don’t have the interest in the said course but you’re good at it. This can be used as an opportunity to teach others instead, which will give everyone a share of the cake.
It is no secret that not everyone is academically inclined as quite a big portion of us are more on the creative side. Some fields in this category require a huge interest and a wild imagination otherwise you won’t go very far. Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people on earth at this moment was notorious for his creations such as Amazon and so on. Not only was he a genius, it was his creativity that allowed him to come up with such mind-boggling ideas.
However, in this world today, the ugly reality is that people who aren’t academically inclined are seen as lazy or even lacking in knowledge, which is a misconception that should be dealt with immediately. This can lead to the deterioration of the said individuals, whom their creativity is just as necessary as the brilliance of those who are academically inclined. We must not let society determine what is beneficial to the world and what isn’t whenever it doesn’t necessarily fall into the stereotype of “intelligence”. The government and schools also play a huge part in educating us fellow youngsters in having an open mind and accepting the reality we do not realise.
The topic “mental health” is always considered a dark topic; a dark and heavy one. Although, there are so many issues regarding mental health being brought to light, support groups, forums, resources, videos; the real question is that “is it sufficient?“, “does it come off approachable and comfortable enough for the youth?” Most people give importance to any physical ailments but completely ignore the health of their minds. Any issues or complications with your mind manifests physically, trying to convey a message to you. However, it is almost always misunderstood, even to this day. What could be more excruciating than not understanding your own mind and body?
In my humble opinion, nothing good ever comes easy. The only thing to do is to change for the better, in hopes that our youth today will continue to strive at being better individuals from now onwards. As a Christian citizen in this prospering country, I feel that the responsibility is ours to educate our fellow peers about the importance of respecting each other regardless of their religion, race, and skin colour. However, our voices would not be heard unless we spread our message even further, so with that, every teenager and adolescent should take up the responsibility to raise awareness towards this issue.
No matter what, every citizen wants to do something for their country and it is a fact that we cannot change our country in just one day or can eradicate wrong things alone. It needs a coordinated effort from all citizens of this nation. There are things we can do together like empowering vulnerable sections of society such as elderly citizens, women, disabled persons, and children, etc so that they can live with dignity and pride in this country. Furthermore, we can also work together to preserve our rich heritage. Cultural heritage and traditions serve to link us with our ancestors, which is valuable and should not be lost. It is our duty to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
About the Writer
Valentina enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music, particularly worship songs. She worships at St. Theresa’s Church in Masai, Johor. She shares, “I believe that the Christian faith helps to bring people together and look out for each other no matter our race.”