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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Flag and Patriotism

Every year in August, there are bound to be people highlighting why are other people, their friends, their neighbours or even their families for not flying the Jalur Gemilang.

And every year, the excuses given are similar, that Malaysians are getting generally less patriotic as the years gone by.
The act of flying the Jalur Gemilang, or lack of it is often being used to label the patriotism level of the many races we find in Malaysia.

Yet, the act of flying the Jalur Gemilang is getting ambivalent to myself.

From File Photo

No, it is not due to political reasons, where many Malaysians mistaken the act of patriotism is to love the leaders of political parties of their leaning.  In fact, there are more political party flags being flown in Malaysia rather than Malaysian flags.

And no, it is not because I feel a distance between this land that I call home and myself.

But rather, am I worthy of the Flag?
I remember the days in my secondary school, where I was the Flag Bearer.

It was a self-appointed duty. 

Every other kid rather not be the Flag Bearer, as they had difficulty timing the Flag and the National Anthem.  But I didn't. 

Not that I don't have a problem raising the flag, but after a few attempts, it became easy to me.

Raising the Flag also meant I had to be the one to lower the Flag.  And this was diligently done during my school days.

I can remember, reverently placing the Flag on my right shoulder, as I slowly pulled the strings so the Flag can slowly rise and flutter in the wind.

I remember, standing on the field on foreign ground, saluting the Flag.

Malaysian flag in Melbourne

I remember, making sure that the Flag lay rest on my right shoulder before I untie the Flag.

I still remember, and I still ask myself, am I worthy to carry this Flag?

When I reached the home of L/Cpl Azrul, the Flag was fluttering proudly.  He I know is worthy of the Flag.

Flag just outside L/Cpl Azrul's home

At the National Monument, as the Flag fluttered proudly, I know these people are worthy of the Flag.

National Monument - They who are worthy of the Flag

So do I still question the people who choose not to fly the Flag?  These days, I don't.  I rather they not fly the Flag because they do not do justice to the Flag. 

Torn, faded, flown upside down, and left on the ground are some of the situations that I've seen.  Left on the ground.

I remember even had to scold a man for using the Flag as cloth for his butt to sit on.
Many of us are not worthy to fly the Flag. 
Some see the Flag as an opportunity to gain money only.

A friend even related to a group which I am subscribed to, that his friend who was never patriotic, took it to try to get him to buy mini-Flags from him.

Let's not forget all the flags with the wrong design. Flags with stars with incorrect number of points, flags starting with white stripe instead of red stripes, blue portion of the flag starts from 6th or 7th stripes instead of 8th stripe onward.
This flag flown outside a government office sported the wrong design, white - red stripes instead of red - white stripes.

Upside down flag

So when the Indonesian contingent made noise about their national flag, Sang Saka Merah Putih was printed upside down, I can understand their fury.

Mistake made in SEA Games souvenir book

Though I must point out, they did the same mistakes previously.  But at any case, two wrongs do not make one right.

So there you have it.  Please do not blame  them for not flying the Flag.  They are not worthy of it.

And for those who shared the hashtag #shameonyou, do you even know which is the correct Malaysian flag?

And for those who do, and defended the Flag, you are worthy to fly the Flag.

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