This is not the end, it has only just begun.

My grandfather came to Malaysia many years ago with the British Army. It was called Malaya then and we were still under Communist rule. We were a beautiful country at the time, worth protecting and worth fighting for, and he like many of his colleagues, did exactly that. His story however had a sweeter ending. Not only did he grow fond of this new land, he also fell in love, head over heels, truly, madly, deeply. My grandmother, a local girl accepted his proposal and hand in marriage and he decided to make Malaysia his new home. He brought up his kids and worked his way up to lead a simple, yet full and contented life.

My grandfather passed away many years ago, but his warmth and smile still fills the room when we gaze upon his portrait. Till today I wonder, what it would have been like to uproot his entire life and move to a new land, a new home with a new family. What made him truly believe that Malaysia was the land that was right for him and more importantly, his family ?

As I sit here, wondering about him, his sacrifice and the sacrifice of many others who serve as ancestors to my closest of friends, my colleagues and even the average person on the street, my heart carries a weight so heavy, it makes typing every next word a struggle. The Malaysia today has morphed into something most of us did not expect to see or experience ever in our lives but here we are.

We now live in a time where the people our ancestors entrusted to guard this very way of life, that champions freedom, and love, and equality, and justice not only for the land but for one another, seek to manipulatively destroy it in order to preserve the thrones of power they have so comfortably settled in. We live in a time where our leaders are allowed to boldly proclaim that citizens of this nation are not to question or debate their decisions but instead leave the land if they choose to disagree. We live in a time where we are divided based on skin color and social status, by the Gods we pray to and by the causes we support.

The Malaysia we live today is not the Malaysia my grandfather fought for and fell in love with. The Malaysia today is not the same nation that our ancestors uprooted their lives to come over and make their new home. It is not the Malaysia they worked hard to build up by introducing commerce and trade, by tapping the rubber trees and laying down the railway tracks and roads. Instead, the Malaysia today reeks of the stench of corruption and greed, of lies and fallacies, of false prophets and idol leaders, all of which are not in it for the nation nor are they in it for the people. Instead, they serve only themselves, their self-interests and desires. They are driven by non-other than sheer selfishness, and have been completely seduced by the sweet wine of power and wealth.

In light of this situation, many of the people I hold close to my heart have decided to hang up their mantle, give up their hopes and dreams and plan to leave the land we all hold so dearly, Our Malaysia. The demographic varies from the educated, to the rich, from the old to the young and what I can’t fathom for the life of me is, WHY after all these years have they decided to actually listen to the Government ? Why have we decided that it makes sense to listen to those with lesser intellect and obey their silly and witless commands ? Have we fallen so far from the tree our ancestors planted ?

While there are many reasons you can throw out in support of migration, let me take this opportunity to instead offer a counter thought and in the process hope that I somehow light that flame of hope and love that our ancestors so valiantly defended with their lives.

This is a time, perhaps the most important of times, when Malaysia, the land, the country, needs you the most. Each and every one of you. Malaysia is at the cusp of a new rebirth. We are now like the ashes of a Great Phoenix and while we represented power and hope once upon a time, our current state of demise does not. And yet, like a Phoenix, we know that all it needs is for us to believe in it, to look upon it with hope and passion before it can rise up again to its former shining glory. A beacon of light for every element surrounding it. The Malaysia today is in need of that very same thing. It needs us to give it the very same emotions and passion and vision and purpose that our ancestors gave the land a long time ago.

What does this means for you and me in practical terms ? We need to look at every rascist, pro-nationalist-divisive statements as mere simple-minded tactics in an attempt to regain the power they lost. We the people have spoken after many, many years of remaining silent and for the first time in their lives, our fallible leaders have been shaken to the core. They have finally understood that the people will not stand for their atrocities and inadequacies any longer.

This is the one and only reason why they have been working so hard to shift the balance of power back their way by swaying the minds of the weak and then the poor and then the liberals through race and religion and a somewhat twisted nationalist agenda, and then the rest of us won’t matter much longer.

To ensure we the people are able to restore justice and order to the realm, we must now rise up and contribute our skills, and capabilities, our experiences and views to those who are championing it. This does not mean you have to choose a political side or party, this does not mean you will need to spend every waking hour or every dime you have pursuing this new purpose, but instead start small. Skip a TV Show episode or two in a week and contribute those two extra hours towards furthering the cause you support. Help the NGOs and communities that are aiming for change, true change. You will be surprised how many of them could use the help of a copywriter, or a translator, an accountant or a secretary or even someone to just run downstairs and buy them some food while they work all through the night.

I’ve been there and so have some of my closest friends and family. Your help is needed, no, its required with urgency. We can’t change overnight, but we can definitely do it by continuously chipping away at the problem areas bit by bit. So instead of choosing the door out, choose to pick up a challenge instead. Do something different in your life for once and answer a calling. At the very least, if all else fails, you’ll have a great story to share with your grandchildren. Something that will last through the sands of time to ensure you keep their fire burning and their passion glowing for this land we all call home.