The essence of freedom


The most important freedom of all is the freedom to defend freedom.

frredom“When the Japanese invaded Malaya, I was at a barber shop getting my moustache trimmed. All of a sudden we heard this loud explosion. Boom! Everything in the barber shop fell off the shelf. The barber himself was so shocked that he lost control of his hand and accidentally shaved one side of my moustache. We looked at the street and saw people running for their lives. We did not know what was going on, but we decided to run as well. My barber ran with his bag of scissors while I ran with half a moustache on my face.”

That was the story I grew up listening to. My grandpa always had wonderful tales to tell every time he visited. We used to spend hours sitting at the playground, coffee shops, street pavements and in trishaws while he told stories I could never find in any book today.

Grandpa told me how grandma got sick of eating tapioca for weeks when they were hiding from the Japanese. He told me how he was forced to become a translator for them; I still have no idea how grandpa learned the Japanese language in the first place. And he told me about sneaking under the table every time the Japanese forced him to drink liquor. Apparently it was impolite to decline invitations to drink.

My grandpa was an ordinary chap. In the mornings he would make a living with his old typewriter and his tiny table and chair strategically placed, sometimes outside the courthouse and sometimes outside the oath commission. In the afternoons he accepted invitations to recite prayers and verses from the Holy Book around the neighbourhood for minimal donations.

Money was always tight. But he was lucky he had grandma. She was an entrepreneur. Every morning there would be long queues from the street up to her kitchen where she sold tosai, idli, paratha and apam for breakfast. With whatever they made, grandpa and grandma raised seven kids.

My grandpa is no longer with me today. But his memories live in me through his stories. He did not carry any weapon. He didn’t kill anyone, but he fought for the independence of our nation in his own way. He survived through the Japanese invasion and British rule, he lived to witness his motherland gain independence, and he gave the gift of freedom and peace to his children and grandchildren.

I still remember his advices.
“Always trust in yourself. Always be strong. Always have faith. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always speak up when you disagree. Never let anyone step on you. Always be courageous. Always be happy. Always smile. Always remember that I love you.”

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my grandpa. With so many things going wrong in our country, I am glad that he is not around to witness them. It would surely break his heart to see our nation leap from the hands of the foreign invaders into the hands of our own kind.

Reading a recent post by Aspan Alias on his blog, I truly understand his frustration.

Big brother

Aspan wrote about Malaysia and Malaysians being under invasion still. First it was the Portuguese, then the Dutch, the British, the Japanese, then again the British. He said the independence we enjoyed in 1957 lasted only until the early eighties. Today, according to him, we are invaded once more, not by a foreign power but by a big brother.

Our freedom is limited by the new system and set of laws. Our rights are being flushed down the drain. Our mouth is being stuffed with annual compensations. Our guts are being tormented by fear. We have now become a nation living in a glass box. We’re always being watched. Everything we do, everything we say, everything we think is under watch.

We are deprived of our fundamental rights. But that is not the issue here. The real issue is that we are allowing those rights to be taken away. We could have been helpless during the occupation of the foreigners for some 446 years. But today, we are allowing ourselves to be invaded. Why?

Today we allow people without morals to brainwash us without consideration of right and wrong simply because they have the power to do so. We speak of corruption, power abuse and hypocrisy, but we sell our dignity for RM900. Is that the value of our liberty?

The most important freedom of all is the freedom to defend freedom. But sadly we have allowed ourselves to be invaded because we fear the consequences. In other words, we are sacrificing our freedom to be free.

The truth is that no freedom can be enjoyed to its fullest if we are fearful of what may happen. If our freedom and our rights count as nothing in the face of the threats, then our society deserves to be invaded.

The essence of freedom is not to be able to do whatever one wants. It is to be able to do what’s right, even when it is unpopular or illegal.

We owe it not only to ourselves and to our descendants who must deal with the consequences of whatever we do or fail to do, but we also owe it to those who struggled with the foreign invaders and with their own conscience to pass down this wonderful land to us.

I owe it to my grandpa. I will not allow his gift to be squandered. I will not allow my freedom to be ripped away. I will stand tall and demand what’s rightfully mine.

How about you? Will you hold my hand and stand with me?

 

Source Article from http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2015/02/07/the-essence-of-freedom/
The essence of freedom
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2015/02/07/the-essence-of-freedom/
http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/rss?p=japanese%20language
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results



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