I USED to take part in the Merdeka Day parades and celebrations when I was in school and later while I was serving in the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The feeling of pride and patriotism was evident on the faces of the rakyat during these events.
I feel sad that over the last few years, I seem to have lost these feelings. Merdeka Day has lost its significance as far as I am concerned and I cannot help but ask myself why.
As an ex-serviceman who played a part in the fight against the communists, I should be proud that this country is independent and free from external influences. This country is abundant with natural resources and free of the calamities of nature.
At one time, our education system produced high-quality human resources and we were moving steadily to become a high-income, developed country. The people of different races lived in harmony and were tolerant of one another.
What went wrong? How did we end up in the present state? Instead of marching towards becoming a developed nation, we are moving backwards so much so we are losing out to neighbouring countries that used to be way behind us and were once considered third world countries.
Our education system is in such a sorry state that our graduates are finding it difficult to get employed because of the negative perception of the quality of our universities.
The people are becoming more and more intolerant and divided. Racial integration among the younger generation is almost non-existent.
Our economy seems to be going downhill too. How can a country with an abundance of natural resources end up like this?
Our ringgit is losing value compared to other currencies and its purchasing power has shrunk considerably.
Considering all the negatives above, it is no wonder I am feeling blue this Merdeka Day.
CAPT (R) OO KWAN HUAT