“A nation is not just some inorganic, impersonal concept or mere political vocabulary. It is from the original Greek, ethnos, commonly translated as ‘peoples’. So, ‘Kerana mu, Malaysia’ (a worthy previous theme for National Day celebration), in fact should be taken to mean ‘because of you, Malaysians’ or ‘for you, Malaysians’. The emphasis is on the people, rather than the symbolic flag or name of a nation.
Symbols are surely not nearly as important as what they symbolise.
We fuss over and are meticulous about symbols – that they be understandably treated with much reverence and respect – but neglect and do not show the same reverence and respect for the people that a national flag and name represent. To love a nation and respect its flag is to love and respect its people. Mere homage and reverence toward the symbols are no comfort to the people of the nation.
Frequently, the powers that be seek to rally citizens around the national flag but flagrantly ride slip-shod over these same people. What good does it do?
The people are the nation. The nation is its people. Its people as a whole must thrive, and be cared for.”
(from A PEOPLE’S POLITICS, 2013, SIRD)