Oprah Winfrey once famously said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” We cherish milestones because they represent continuity and growth. We commemorate special occasions with our loved ones to create new memories; with friends to forge stronger bridges amongst one another. A celebratory moment is not just a cause for a party, but rather, an opportunity of coming together as a community, society or a country despite our differences.
No other day in the year has so great a capacity to make us feel Malaysian like Malaysia Day. But this year was extra special. A new history was unravelled, a profound pride rekindled, and a greater country transformed. “This is our second independence,” Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir said in a stirring call to national unity and patriotism during his National Day speech. Patriotism is a demonstration of our devotion to our identity, culture and values that bind us as a nation — and the world bore witness to this defining moment when Malaysians made a change at the ballot box earlier this year.
As our country heads towards the path of renewal, we asked six accomplished individuals their most definitive moment of being a citizen of this blessed nation.
Datuk Kenneth Chen
Deputy Property Director of MKH Berhad
“When the majority of Malaysians made their voices heard in the hope of a positive change! That was no magic, and so is the long journey ahead that we must embark on together. Perhaps, one way of making it a little easier – through the abilities each individual possess – is to remember what being a Malaysian is. We must understand and value the cultural differences that gave us our identity, as well as the contributions each and every Malaysians have to make for both harmonious living and advancements.”
Director, Group Strategy and Operations of Mah Sing Group Berhad
“Being a Malaysian allows me to embrace cultural diversity and inclusivity since young. My defining moment as a Malaysian is the exposure to different sets of culture, languages, cuisine and races as it shapes me to become the person I am today. I believe this has the rakyat the ability to adapt, accept and develop empathy towards one another no matter where we are in the world. We are also bounded by our shared interest for delicious local food, dreams and aspirations for the country!”
Dato’ Chevy Beh
Founder of BookDoc
“To see Malaysians put away their differences — be it colour, background, language, religion, political beliefs — and move forward together for the benefit of the country as a whole. The more united we are, the tougher we stand.”
Dato’ Sri Daniel Chiang
Group Executive Director, Bonia Corporation Berhad
“No matter where I travel to, my favourite destination is still Malaysia because this is home. Malaysia is breathtaking, colourful and lush. It’s hopeful, and it’s ours!”
Director of Wei-Ling Gallery
“I think it goes without saying that May 9 was a defining moment for most Malaysians out there. From a personal point of view though, I have never felt prouder as a Malaysian than when Tun Dr Siti Hasmah launched our recent Teh Tarik with The Flag exhibition at the National Art Gallery. It was a seminal exhibition by 13 prominent Malaysian artists — a group effort by Malaysians, for Malaysians. I have never felt more patriotic in my entire life than I do now and I will do anything and whatever it takes to Malaysia great again.”
Yong Yoon Li
Executive director of Royal Selangor
“Returning to Malaysia after a long time in the UK, including a stint as a Formula One design engineer. Life was good but Malaysia is my home. I want to help with continuing the family legacy to build on our heritage in design and craftsmanship.”
THE Glenlivet remains the benchmark that all other Speyside single malts are measured against. It’s the definitive whisky that brings us together. And it must be said, we take great pride in setting that standard. To quote Captain Bill Smith Grant, “If we can’t make good whisky, then we shouldn’t make any whisky”. We’ll raise a glass to that.