Defining qualities of a patriot


(Standalone)flag flown in national secondary school SMK Muara Tuang to celebrate independence day threshold. - SYAQUERA RAWING / The Star

I REFER to the Bernama report on Aug 5, “KL folks are unpatriotic, Tengku Adnan says”.

Speaking after the launch of a function, Jom Bantu Rakyat (Let’s help the people) Cheerful Community Carnival, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor expressed disappointment over the lackadaisical attitude of Kuala Lumpur residents in not flying the national flag as a show of love for the nation ahead of the National Day celebrations.

To the minister, those who do not fly the national flag are not patriotic but I beg to differ as I measure patriotism in many other ways.

Let me start with our national flag. It should be flown proudly on flag poles (pic) and not as ornamental pieces draped on government buildings or over fences.

Miniature ones should not be stuck on vehicles as they could break loose and get run over by passing traffic.

Many people belt out the Negaraku with pride and gusto but those who are corrupt are anything but patriotic, and likewise those who park indiscriminately to join flag-raising ceremonies.

Patriotism is beyond superficial feelings. If fanatical support for club or state teams qualifies as patriotism, then football fans could easily qualify as among the most patriotic.

Ultranationalists and supremacists are not patriots as they are only interested in putting others down. They not only cause harm to others but also contribute nothing to the nation.

On the other hand, true patriots are those who study or work hard, are efficient and productive, contribute to the economy and pay taxes, and are law-abiding and courteous on the road and wherever they go.

They contribute to society with their money, time or talent in va­­rious degrees and are careful not to pollute the earth or cause environmental damage. Those who truly believe in God do not segregate people by race.

Great patriots are recognised not just by their own citizens but by nationalities everywhere. Our greatest patriots emerged in times of crisis during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960, and during the early years of indepen­dence and formation of Malaysia.

Many of our unsung heroes were Special Branch officers working undercover, their mission so secret that their families did not even know. They certainly did not wear patriotism on their sleeve.

YS CHAN

Kuala Lumpur

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