It is sad but the definition of nationalism in Malaysia has clearly been twisted to the point where it cannot really be called nationalism at all. You see, in Malaysia, being a 'patriot' according to the eyes of the majority of society is to have blind obedience and loyalty to the government. Acts like criticizing Najib's Budget 2013 policy or the Sultan are considered as seditious(hasutan) acts. While everyone knows the fact that PROTON produces mediocre versions of Mitsubishis(Satria Neo and Arena excepted), most of these so-called patriots would still parrot about how 'good' they are just because they're made in Malaysia. If one were to criticize the way PROTON and Perodua implements plagiarism into their marketing strategies and their lack of quality, he would be marked as an immoral, unpatriotic person. In some cases, if a Malaysian were to buy a Japanese or European import, he would also be labelled as 'unpatriotic'. If things were to become any worse, attending rallies like BERSIH and Himpunan Hijau are also considered as seditious acts. Even supporting government policies and loving the Prime Minister is associated with nationalism. Seriously, the list is just filled with these ridiculous things.
Now, with all of this talk about blind obedience and loyalty to the government, you would expect Malaysians to be willing to contribute to society in any way they can but the reality is that they're not. On September, a private high school in Tawau organised a 'gotong-royong' event throughout the entire Fajar district which involved the entire school. A few days later, a survey was conducted among the F4 and F5 students who were asked if any of them would wake up early on a Saturday morning to do this kind of activity voluntarily. Out of approximately 50 students, only 2 raised their hands. The Chinese are also known to complain about the present regime and it's policies a lot but most of them don't even vote at all. While it is true that there are plenty of Chinese who are voting for PR and BN parties, the fact remains that these people are the minority.
Then, you have the people who simply do not care at all. These people are no different than the rural Malays who are easily contented with whatever they have. All they care about is being able to afford 3 meals, marry, have sex, get some kids, attend funerals, weddings, parties, maybe a car, maybe a television, that's it. The only difference is that they care more for luxuries. Other than that, they really could care less about everything around them despite the fact that they like to gossip about their neighbours and colleagues and to top it off, there's a lot of talk about 1Malaysia and yet nobody is actually striving towards it. The Chinese continue to remain snobbish, rude and exploitive especially when it comes to financial matters. The Malays on the other hand, continue to remain ignorant and even mix 'protecting Malay rights' with patriotism.
Sad to say, common nationalism in Malaysia has clearly transformed into something that cannot be defined as 'loving one's own country' anymore. The Malaysian people are living in denial, a false hope for better changes while sticking to the status quo. No matter how many statistics you show these people, they will remain stubborn on their views and will even go as far as to call real nationalists 'proud, arrogant people which the nation does not need' when they themselves contribute very little(if any at all) to the nation's infrastructure. The mainstream media and education system has certainly succeeded in brainwashing them to such an extent where common nationalism has actually turned into blind obedience and submission to the powers-that-be. In fact, through the manipulation of these two aspects of our daily life, the BN regime has successfully maintained the feudalist mindset of the typical Malaysian and this can be seen clearly in the lack of private education institutions throughout the entire country along with the fact that the majority of the population, regardless of race, depends on the government to such an extent that the entire country is at the government body's mercy and usually, nobody questions what they do at all. We shall now analyze these 2 aspects and later, analyze how these 2 work in tandem in the process of brainwashing generations of Malaysians.
According to the Malaysian History textbooks, May 13 is supposedly a racial riot where the Chinese and Malays ran amok as a result of slanders from DAP, PAS and PAP. However, the released official documents and Mahathir's The Malay Dilemma along with the testimonies from witnesses that are still alive suggests that the Malays were the ones running amok. True, DAP and PAP did try to denounce the Malays' special position in Malaysia itself under the 'Malaysian Malaysia' slogan. However, the Alliance's role of instigating the racial riot(Let's instill more hate against the non-Malays among the Malays!) was not mentioned at all. Fast forward to the Malaysia we know today and you will see the May 13 card being played by the BN(previously Alliance) regime in order to perpetrate more fear and hatred among the rural Malays against the opposition parties and it doesn't stop there. Because of historical events that have affected the Malay race, the BN regime can also be seen using words like communist, ungrateful Malays, uncivilized, irrational, selfish and even dogs when describing the opposition parties especially when it comes to racial issues and people actually believe in that crap because the mainstream media apparently 'reports the facts', or so they say. Well, they certainly do report the facts but at the same time, most of the reports are biased and some are even filled with pure BS and the recent 'Opposition victory will result in another May 13' statements are good examples of that. In fact, a lot of people(Chinese included) will happily blab about how Communism is bad and why Malaysia should never become a Republic without understanding the differences between Communism, Socialism and Capitalism or the concepts of Confederacies and Republics. Why? Because the newspapers and textbooks 'provides us facts'. Or so they think...
Obeying the law has also recently come to my attention as a form of so-called patriotism. A friend of mine who studies in a government told me that his teacher was preaching to his class about how 'uncivilized' and 'unpatriotic' the BERSIH 3.0 participants were and how they should have obeyed the law and not question SPRM's integrity and legitimacy at all. Why? Because they are the government and they are apparently 'the ones we owe our nation's fruits to'. Joy of joys. Oppression is even implemented in schools? I'm not too surprised to be honest, especially when most schools make it clear in their rulebooks that no student is allowed to be part of any organization or student body without the special permission of MOOhideen himself, let alone voice out his opinion and any student who is caught doing so will be expelled without question and even the law(refer to Education Instituions(Discipline) Act) sanctions this oppressive act. This act is also encouraged in P. Moral under the Democratic Moral Values section. According to Kebebasan Bersuara(Freedom of Speech), an individual has every right to voice out his opinion as long as it is in accordance to the norms of the Malaysian society, Malaysian law and the Constitution. Just how much more autocratic can you get?
With all of this BS, you'd think that no one is stupid enough to buy the crap the government feeds them but the fact is, a lot of people still do. Voters or not, you still have a whole bunch of people who actually believe that the BN regime is doing the right thing, that Najib cares about the 'rakyat' and even idiots who would parrot about 1Malaysia and Wawasan 2020 when they know absolutely NOTHING about the details at all. And I'm not just referring to the 'longhouse folk' in Sarawak and the rural Malays. I'm referring to the Chinese, the Indians and the urban natives of Borneo too. Sad to say, the Alliance party has succeeded in brainwashing the Malaysian people to become narrow-minded through the education system and the laws that discourage private entrepreneurship and education. We might claim that our education system is one of the most advanced in South East Asia but the results shown by the average Malaysian suggests otherwise. In fact, the average Malaysian student in primary education will most likely have gone to tuition before simply because the official education system is mediocre. To make things worse, most of the tuition centers in Malaysia constitute an entirely different education system to the point where it clearly shows that the Malaysian education system is in shambles! In fact, in 2011, a study conducted by The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement shows that Malaysia's Form 2 students' performance in Science and Mathematics is beyond average. A shocking turnout when Malaysia had a track record of academic success and even got themselves in the the top 10 list(Mathematics) in 2003. The following is a table of Malaysian results in TIMSS 1999-2011. Note that the 1995 results were not included as Malaysia did not participate in the survey back then.
With the huge gap between the results in 2003 and 2007, you'd think that people would realise the truth by now but noooooooo. You still have idiots who have the balls to claim that Malaysia's education standards are increasing because the percentage of passes in SPM and PMR are increasing. Oh, and not too long ago, MOOhideen even boasted that Malaysia had one of the best education systems in the world. Sorry, Mr. DPM. That statement has been nullified by the results and the fact that most young Malaysians are uncivilized as hell and know nothing at all. Just look at the amount of kids trashtalking while playing DotA and even some of the adults who lived through the MCE-era(Which was mind you, of ridiculously higher standard) days are guilty of uncivilized arguing too! Our schools have clearly failed to train the Malaysian youths properly!
So, patriotism? Nationalism? I think that is non-existent in Malaysia to be very honest. In fact, unless by some miracle, the Malaysian people can wake up in time, this will remain so in the years to come whether PR wins the upcoming general election or not. The desire to question our leaders for the sake of the nation and it's people, let alone one's own self simply isn't there. What the commoners would call nationalism cannot be defined as true nationalism at all. Rather, it is better to call it false nationalism.