This is going up a day late, but it's just because I spent last night watching Lara Croft at the Starlight Cinema, which probably ranks as one of the least patriotic things to do on the nation's birthday. In fact, about the only things I did that were Merdeka-like were to watch a bit of the parade on TV, to hang around KLCC awhile and, when conversation laged a little, to pose the question What does being patriotic mean?
My monologue always begins thus: What does it mean to be patriotic? Is it when you wave a flag? Is it when you sing the national anthem? Is it when you follow your leaders and obey the law?
And then we get to this point: Is it possible for two people to have completely opposite opinions and do completely different things and yet both be patriotic? Is it possible to break the law and be patriotic? Is there an absolute?
The answer is obviously Yes, Yes and No. Being patriotic, like most things in life, is a spectrum with no real absolute, which is what makes it so difficult. It's not easy. It's not straight-forward. Why on Earth do people make it out as if it is?
Just to try and raise debate and some hackles, here are ways to break the law and yet be patriotic:
- Pirate software. Or rather, pirate foreign software. Why should we let money leave the country and lower our GDP when we can get this stuff for free? It seems that Malaysia is the fourth most competitive nation (with a population greater than 20 million). I say our 68% piracy rate is responsible for this. Go ahead, be patriotic and visit Sungai Wang.
- Throw a Merdeka party. Invite all your friends and dance the night away! Better still, find a public place large enough, like the local padang. Never mind that it'll probably contravenes the Police Act because it's a gathering of more than three people (more than five, and we can refer to the Penal Code as well). Party on, dudes!
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