Car­ry­ing tra­di­tion into the fu­ture

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Malaysia Day -

ON THIS day 54 years ago, the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya, North Bor­neo (now Sabah), Sarawak and Sin­ga­pore came to­gether to form Malaysia. It was more than just the merg­ing of four en­ti­ties as it also was a melt­ing pot of cul­tures that fur­ther en­hanced an al­ready cul­tur­ally di­verse coun­try.

Af­ter Sin­ga­pore went its own way in 1965, Sabah, Sarawak and penin­su­lar Malaysia con­tin­ued mov­ing for­ward, mak­ing great strides eco­nom­i­cally un­til to­day, where we stand at the cusp of de­vel­oped na­tion sta­tus.

It is great to know that our cul­tural her­itage has been — to a large ex­tent — pre­served along­side the coun­try’s eco­nomic progress.

But un­de­ni­ably, some prac­tices have fallen through the cracks, so con­certed ef­forts must be made to pre­serve im­por­tant cus­toms and tra­di­tional arts for the fu­ture.

Whether it bean an­cient dance form, a unique tra­di­tional dish or a long-for­got­ten cul­tural rite, there are peo­ple who still re­mem­ber and who are try­ing to bring th­ese prac­tices into the present, cel­e­brat­ing and em­brac­ing them while try­ing to main­tain their rel­e­vance.

Th­ese hid­den gems of our cul- tu­ral her­itage should not be al­lowed to stag­nate or be for­got­ten. In­stead, we must use it to our ad­van­tage and pro­mote it as our gift to the world.

Cer­tain tra­di­tional fab­rics, such as songket and Sarawak’s pua kumbu, have al­ready bridged the di­vide, be­ing pre­served not only as her­itage but are also be­ing mar­keted to an in­creas­ingly ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence glob­ally.

As our econ­omy di­ver­si­fies, the ser­vices sec­tor has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant and tourism is a big draw, with ar­rivals ex­pected to con­tinue to grow. This is one av­enue where Malaysia’s cul­tural her­itage can help, as it pro­vides an added at­trac­tion to vis­i­tors.

Be­yond the eco­nomic ben­e­fits, keep­ing Malaysia’s cul­tural roots alive also means we main­tain our sta­tus as a melt­ing pot of cul­tures and races, where our unity is cel­e­brated in di­ver­sity.

Re­mem­ber­ing and shar­ing our roots do not make us any less Malaysian. In­stead, do­ing so gives us a shared un­der­stand­ing and re­spect for each other so that we may con­tinue to grow as a coun­try.

Happy Malaysia Day to all read­ers of The Star!

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