It’s Malaysia Day! On this day of national unity and diversity, and this very significant year, we celebrate the very best of what Malaysia represents.
But what do parents wish for when it comes to Malaysia’s future? We ask some mothers and fathers about their hopes and dreams.
Tricia Yeoh :
I hope for a Malaysia in which parents (especially mums) can choose both to work and care for their families if they so desire, and receive the necessary recognition, value and accommodation by their employers to make sure that they can.
I hope for a Malaysia in which my daughter can go to a government school as I did, and receive high quality education while mingling with children of all backgrounds.
I hope for a Malaysia in which my child will grow up free to be who she chooses to be, without any systemic discrimination.
Daphne Iking :
I pray new Malaysia will be committed in ending child marriages and making quality education and basic medical needs accessible to all children, regardless if they are Malaysians or refugees.
I would like there to be harsher punishment for sexual grooming and child rape. My hope is for a brigher future for our children.
Malaysia Day will eternally remain a special day for me because, quite simply, my firstborn son was born on that day. To feel an overwhelming sense of patriotism and national identity for my boy would be an understatement. It would be fun for him to know that his birthday will always be a public holiday as long as he stays in Malaysia.
But staying in Malaysia throughout his life isn’t necessarily a predestined future. As the world grows smaller, our boundaries become less of a barrier than the lines drawn on a map. My hopes for him is to be a globalised individual – one who is not constrained or defined by his nationality and yet, bring his Malaysianness to the world. Oh, the places he will go.
My hopes for Malaysia Day is that he grows as we, as country, continue to grow – with eternal hope and steadfast ideals. I remember giving him his first flag when he was nearly three, and he loved waving it around. This lasted for months. May he carry that flag for his many years ahead.
I hope for a strong and stable Malaysia for my children. One that is peaceful, fair and with many opportunities. As much as I hope for a more modern society, I also hope for one that will continue to preserve its multi-cultural traditions and heritage so that our children can truly appreciate our colourful past.
Dessy Barnaby :
It has been 12 years since I first call Malaysia home. My hope for this country is to see more effort put into action for the betterment of its children; its extremely diverse, uniquely well-versed, multi-talented, mostly multi-linguistic children. (Mine are no exception)
As parents, we hope to have more well-kept and safe communal parks. A place for our children to have more outdoor activities, to play and be children; a place for parents and family to set up picnics and have a nice morning brunch or playdates; a place for many adults to simply lie down and unfold a book to read the afternoon away.
Happy Birthday Malaysia, better-cared children will make a better future. Happy Malaysia Day!
Azura Rahman :
I wish for a Malaysia for my children that is more inclusive. Where people of different backgrounds, abilities, cultures, political affiliations can come together and work things out. I wish for a Malaysia for them that is even better than mine.
Desiree Hersham Kaur :
I hope for a more inclusive Malaysia – regardless of race, religion, abilities and sexuality. The change starts with us. As a mother to a child with autism, I hope for a country that embraces the fact that he is different. And in turn, I hope, when my son is old enough to understand, that he will be proud to be Malaysian!
Lina Esa :
I wish for a more progressive, open-minded and safe (physically safe, and safe to express oneself) Malaysia for the future and for the younger generation. While there are amazing organisations and initiatives for early learning, they do cost a lot more. So it would reshape our future if every child had access to the same opportunities.
Better childcare and a public school framework that is not restricted entirely to academic performance would set the wheels in motion. This takes cues from countries with wildly successful outcomes and fulfilled families. This can only translate to happier workers and a healthier economy.
I think sex education is a must within this firmament, as well as freedoms for people to express themselves. I think certain laws that are too arcane also hinder us from moving forward, so they should be looked at. I also wish for a more fluid public transport system — does that sound weird? But it’s only because the most advanced countries have them in place, as it facilitates a better life and living environment.
Ever since I moved back to Malaysia over a decade and a half ago, I’ve heard the term “Malaysia Boleh”, but more often than not it’s peppered with a smirk or even outright disdain. Boleh je speed because there will be no consequences or you can always, you know, give the authorities some ‘duit kopi‘. Boleh je segregate based on race because “that’s the way it’s always been and maintains the harmony”. Boleh je allow men to marry children because of their “religious beliefs and because their families allow it”. Boleh je have billions change hands in the name of donations…you get where this is going. That being said, we’ve recently experienced a renewed bout of optimism (to some extent) after the most recent elections, and what I hope for Malaysia is for the ‘boleh’ to truly harness empowerment.
Empowerment to learn: constant self-improvement and knowledge-seeking. Empowerment to be accountable: no more lawlessness and consequences for your actions. Empowerment for humanity: to stand up for human rights, regardless of race, sex, orientation or creed. And all this to be instilled within our children from the start, building a culture that is not lackadaisical and instead something to be proud of. Malaysia is already culturally rich but at times it feels lost. Let’s get back on track. Boleh je…
Ayuni Ayatillah :
I hope Malaysia progresses to become a family-centric society that believes in the holistic nurturing of our young ones, a society that supports parents’ efforts. The role of parents are of the utmost importance in bringing up a generation that is more compassionate, diverse, inclusive, responsible and patriotic.
Let’s celebrate and support the role of every mother and father in making Malaysia a safe and happy place for our children to call home.
Amanda Sura :
As a new parent, I hope that with a new Malaysia, people continue to have hope for a better future. That Malaysians will continue to fight and work hard for what they want to achieve and change. Let deams be made a reality for many. I yearn to see a Malaysia that values unity and respect amongst its people, with leaders who accept challenges without losing their empathy and steadfastness.
Our country is going through a period of change, which presents both opportunities and risks.
I hope the spirit of nationhood that we have seen this year will translate into meaningful change over the long term that will strengthen our institutions and mature our politics, so that our children live in a country where every citizen has a voice, access to a fair justice system and opportunities to achieve their full potential.
Sarah Sabaratnam :
My hope for Malaysia and Malaysians is that we will all learn to dream and take ownership of our nation and its future. We need to take a leaf out of the likes of people like young Heidy Quah who founded Refuge for Refugees or John-son Oei who founded Epic Homes or Tengku Zatasha Idris who started a #sayno2plastic social media campaign that changed attitudes towards single use plastics. Like them, we need to think, “How can I contribute to my community, to the needy and to the gaps I see around me?”
Rather than just criticise or complain, I hope we will think about volunteering, or pironeering or contributing resources towards making Malaysia the country of our dreams. It’s time to be vested and invested, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. The time for apathy and thinking only about ourselves has passed. A new dawn has risen in Malaysia. I hope we will be proactive and arise with it.
Do you have something to say as well? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram!
Happy Malaysia Day! May all our dreams and hopes for our country come true. x