WESLEY Methodist School Kuala Lumpur (International) recently organised a Patriotic Day event in the school hall to instil the spirit of patriotism and unity in its students.
The event was attended by 1Malaysia Foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, the school’s students, teachers and members of the media.
The celebration included performances by the students such as a sketch on Malaysian current and former leaders, choral speaking presentations, cultural dances, songs and dikir barat.
One performance saw the students donning traditional outfits of various races, which showcased Malaysia's unique and diverse cultures.
Lee described patriotism as a sense of natural pride in one’s country that drives people to work hard for the development of the nation, protection of its heritage and culture as well as safeguard the country from being destroyed by external or internal forces.
“Patriotism equates to the lifetime dedication and sacrifice for the nation, not just momentarily,” said Lee in his speech.
He added that patriotism can be instilled in students through awareness, education and knowledge and the education system should be tailored to inculcate a sense of pride and belonging to the nation.
“Only through a sense of belonging, Malaysia’s younger generation can be moulded into responsible and mature citizens as well as leaders of the country in the future,” he added.
He also said that the younger generation must be made aware of the importance of unity, social cohesion and reconciliation as it was the cornerstone of the nation’s success and development.
“As future leaders, it is imperative that they forge closer relations despite differences in race, culture and religion.
“Fostering unity should begin in the schools where efforts can be made to instil the values of inter-racial harmony, unity and peace,” he said.
Lee also highlighted the educators’ role in enhancing racial integration and unity among the students.
“They must be the prime movers of educational transformation, not only to teach and impart knowledge and skills but also to unite students of different races through activities in line with the aspiration of a united Malaysia.
“Teachers need to use creativity and skills to get students to participate in activities that enhance racial integration and unity as well as encourage them to understand and have mutual respect for each other,” he said.
Student Yap Xiao Thong, 14, believed that as a Malaysian, it was important to love one another without prejudice in order to maintain peace and harmony.
Another student, Sharif Lew Yu Chen, 16, described patriotism as the feeling of love for the country.
“Today’s Patriotic Day celebration made us aware of the different cultures and religions which make us appreciate Malaysia.” he added.
“The youth should know that the older generations have done a lot for the country and they should appreciate that.
"All schools should encourage their students to participate in events like this,” said 16-year-old Sivarajan Sivakumar.
Milzie Tham Xuan Xi, 16, believed that participating in national events such as Merdeka Day or school programmes was important to learn about the country and that Malaysians must stay united for the sake of the country.
Meanwhile, Erwan Toh Edward Iskandar, 16, said he could see the unity and patriotism among different races when all Malaysians sang the national anthem loudly and proudly and when everyone came together to support national athletes such as Datuk Lee Chong Wei at international competitions.
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