Cher­ish our di­ver­sity in or­der to truly ap­pre­ci­ate it

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Malaysia Day -

What does Malaysia Day mean to you?

When I was younger, I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand why my par­ents and el­ders were push­ing for Malaysia Day to be ac­knowl­edged. Yes we have our Na­tional Day and that is great, but Sabah and Sarawak be­came part of the Fed­er­a­tion in 1963. This is a very im­por­tant mile­stone and that’s why I think it’s very im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge and recog­nise it.

How will you be ob­serv­ing Malaysia Day? For both Merdeka and Malaysia Day, I get my chil­dren, who are of mixed parent­age, to don their tra­di­tional cos­tumes. We might not go out but would have tra­di­tional mu­sic at home. I speak to them in Dusun, my na­tive lan­guage, whether they un­der­stand it or not.

I think it’s im­por­tant be­cause a lot of us, es­pe­cially those who have left our home­towns to look for the bright lights, have for­get­ten our mother tongues. It’s im­por­tant for them to learn so that if we go home, they will be able to un­der­stand it.

My chil­dren can’t re­ply in Dusun so they usu­ally re­ply in English or Malay. Ini­tially, it was dif­fi­cult for them to grasp the lan­guage, and that is why I con­tinue to speak it to them. Even my hus­band has picked up the lingo.

Do you think it is im­por­tant to re­mind peo­ple about the sig­nif­i­cance of Malaysia Day?

Yes! It is part of our his­tory and it’s a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment when we came to­gether and com­mit­ted our­selves to this coun­try we now know as Malaysia.

What do you think should be done to pro­mote Malaysia Day fur­ther?

It has to be an on­go­ing project. Hav­ing plat­forms that pro­mote Bor­neo are good but there should be other av­enues that shouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be eth­nic-based. It has to be an ef­fort that shows we are all Malaysia, in­stead of just show­cas­ing Sabah and Sarawak on Malaysia Day.

What would you like to say to fel­low Malaysians on this day? In or­der for you to truly love Malaysia, you re­ally need to be pas­sion­ately in­volved in know­ing about ev­ery­one. I think when you are able to cel­e­brate the dif­fer­ences and ap­pre­ci­ate our beau­ti­ful cul­tures, it makes for a bet­ter coun­try. To truly ap­pre­ci­ate the di­ver­sity that we have, we should cher­ish it.

Daphne Ik­ing, seen here in a tra­di­tional Kadazan­dusun out­fit, weighs in on what it means to be Malaysian and the im­por­tance of Malaysia Day.

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