By JERRY FRANCIS
This time of the year has always been the season for “goodwill and well wishes.” It is also the time for us to reflect on our roles and contribution towards the people and the nation. Some would even make New Year’s Resolutions and break them in a matter of days.
And, the rallying call in the country now is for 1Malaysia, which is undoubtedly the desire of all Malaysians irrespective of race and religion. But, how can each of us, including those in the corridors of power, play a meaningful part to achieve the goal of a 1Malaysia?
As residents of a small city such as Ipoh, we can set a good example to the nation by caring for all, including the poor and needy and the under-privileged. It may be argued that this is not enough to attain 1Malaysia, but at least caring for each other is the main ingredient.
We must not be responsible for turning Ipoh into a concrete jungle just like many major cities where the rat race has created a society so materialistic, it has lost its sense of caring. In such a society, crime can be committed openly or against a next door neighbour, yet no one would bother. Many a time, people realise the need for a caring society only after they themselves become victims of crime. Certainly this must not be the case in a Malaysian city, at least not Ipoh.
Malaysians have been quick to respond to appeals for funds, especially in cases like urgent hole-in-the-heart operations, the treatment of rare diseases or plastic surgery to correct disfigurement, and as well victims of natural disasters in the country and abroad.
Newspapers have often reported on cases of those in need of medicine, food, clothing and financial assistance. It is very heartening to note that in every case the response has been very good. As a result, several children and adults have undergone successful treatment which would not have been possible without the generosity of the readers, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous. The only satisfaction these generous donors get is in reading or hearing about the successful treatment, like a toddler born with a defect heart being given a new lease of life.
Members of charitable organisations have not failed to visit old folk homes, orphanages and hospitals during festivals and just need any excuse to show the unfortunate they are not being ignored. Others, such as the Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah – an Ipoh- based foundation for the disabled, and humanitarian organisation Mercy Malaysia which has sent medical teams and essential aid to disaster hit areas abroad.
This clearly shows that the call for a 1Malaysia can really work when we operate from the heart. Malaysians, irrespective of race and religion, and even political affiliation are quick to response to the plight of others.
However, there appears to be a trend among the young generation to adopt an indifferent attitude towards what is happening in their neighbourhood, especially where crime is concerned. This is probably because they are too busy pursuing their own interests to care about others.
Many residents seem to be turning a blind eye to offences in their areas, particularly in exclusive and middle-class residential housing estates. They don’t even want to get to know their next-door neighbours.
There have been a number of cases in which neighbours ignored alarm sounds and did not bother to call the police. How can the police maintain peace and security if the people do not co-operate by giving information of crime being committed in their areas?
Residents must not just leave it to the police to fight crime. They must show their civic-consciousness by co-operating with the police. An indifferent attitude to instances of crime in their midst will only encourage the criminals to be bold and strike whenever and wherever they like.
Who knows, one day those who show indifference will themselves become victims.