Wei is no ordinary shipper. He heads China's state-owned Ocean Shipping (Group) Co, which has the largest bulk cargo fleet in the world and which is rated third in the world for container cargo.
For Wei, it was an eye-opener. Although
he has visited Malaysia before, the side
visits this time and his experience in
eating durians provided him a lasting
impression of the country.
Like other Malaysians who are good at
playing the gracious host, Dr Ling
invited Wei to several functions which
he opened, giving Wei a glimpse of his
That wasn't all. Wei also had the
privilege of seeing the pre-National Day celebrations.
Many of the things which Wei enjoyed are things that some of us have taken for granted.
There are Malaysians who no longer see
and appreciate the good things we
There is so much bias among some, that
there is no longer anything good about the country.
Even the simple act of participating in a National Day celebration is perceived to be supportive of the Government.
By right, there shouldn't be any
question of political affiliations.
PAS, for example, has criticised the
residents of Bangsar for organising a street carnival last week to celebrate National Day.
In the latest edition of its party
organ, Harakah, PAS equated the
carnival to some kind of wild party
involving liquor and the seedier
side of life.
Those who of us who were at the
carnival, including Datuk Seri Dr
Mahathir Mohamad, know for a fact
that that was not the case.
But Malaysians outside Kuala Lumpur, who
merely read Harakah and believe
everything it publishes, may come to wrong conclusions.
What was conveniently left out by the
newsletter was that the carnival organisers had set up stores promoting healthy living such as hill climbing, mountain biking and scuba diving. There were also nasyid and
traditional Malay performances.
The parade featured school brass bands
and medallists of the SEA Games. But
that was not reported by Harakah.
More than that, what Harakah failed to see
was how such a carnival successfully broke down the walls of ethnicity.
The event proved that Kuala Lumpur and
the rest of the country, given a chance, can truly be a melting pot for the different cultures and
ways of life of the different races.
While ethnic identity is still somewhat
important to Malaysians, events such as
the Bangsar carnival reflect that tolerance and acceptance of each other's
differences is the essence in being able
to live peacefully together.
Supporters of PAS may no longer have
good things to say about Malaysia but there are many from neighbouring countries who would risk their lives to make the desperate
All they want is to live and work hard
and to enjoy the standard of living
which Malaysians enjoy.
That many of us can afford to own houses
and cars and go on occasional holiday trips shows that our standard of living has gone up. The cost of living has been manageable.
Many foreigners make their trips here to
work because they believe in what Malaysia
can offer just like many of our forefathers.
Like them, we just want to eke out a
living, take our family out and be able
to pay our bills on time. That's not too
much to ask.
There's nothing shameful in asking for political stability and economic
prosperity. These are human rights and
Dissenting views, conflicts and demands
for change are not wrong. But the
greatest fear is that there are many who
want to go beyond that to change our entire system and lives all together.
This has resulted in some fear among the
people because drastic changes will
always bring uncertainties.
PAS, for example, wants to impose on us its rigid and orthodox standard of living.
For Malaysians, the question is: are we,
living in a multi-ethnic and
multi-religious society, ready for
Malaysians should not be made to feel
guilty if they just want to have a good
time on National Day and other
And as our Prime Minister pointed out to Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat in their teleconferencing on the eve of National Day,
dikir barat should be enjoyed by all and
Those of us who cherish a liberal
lifestyle must never compromise
on our principles of maintaining a
In wanting to maintain that, Malaysians should realise that it is not an effort to undermine anyone's religious
We must be allowed to pursue the faith
we believe in and at the same time learn
to appreciate the religion of others without any fear of compulsion.