I spent a large part of yesterday and today reading Sibu newspapers and various articles on line. And I have chosen this one as the best one I have read for a long long time. There is so much wisdom in it and he touches on an important basic issue - that of the human race. He definitely has a strong message for all of us.
2008 has just left us behind. A retrospect into the year that just passed gives us a lot of sighs and wistful thinking, which in essence are unable to depict the mixed bag of feelings we had over what we experienced during the past one year.
Ushering in the year 2009, we come to the profound realisation, through the retrospect into the tortuouos footprints trailing behind our shadows, that the past one year has been so extraordinary, yet so commonplace.
In the international community, 2008 had a fair deal of disasters, agony, retrogression, unrests and bloodiness to haunt our memories. Natural and human-induced catastrophes keep afflicting on the world and humanity. The rapid changes in international politics almost smothered the civilised society's desires for peace. The global economic crisis that struck with a domino effect added yet another dose of desolation and bleakness for 2008.
All these unfortunate incidents have sunken humanity, which has all the while claimed superiority over other living creatures, into unprecedented predicament.
Nevertheless, mishaps, from the massive quakes in China, to the civil turbulence in Thailand, the terror attacks on India, and the financial meltdown in the West, were absolutely not curses spelled upon certain countries or peoples, but a rigorous test for the entire civilisation. Such daunting encounters have made us all the more treasure and endear peace.
In the face of hardships, we must be even more inspired to stay alert and sensitive, and contemplate things in greater depths and breadths. We must never allow singular and simplified mentality to overwhelm the necessity for diversified values.
We must not allow our perplexity and anxiety to blur our vision and focus. We must revitalise the erstwhile open, accommodating and flexible way of thinking and doing things. We must strive to gain back the many pellucid, kind-intentioned values. A progressive society must not deviate from the course of our innate values and nature.
Human mentality must not be inundated with too many artful designs and slyness. Excessive self-importance is a form of hostility and disregard, even a harm, to other people. As such, richer knowledge, more rational and diversified mental preparations are all meant to align us to counter the increasingly serious disruption of social order.
Great Chinese scholar Liang Qichao said, "Agony and afflictions are the supreme school to shape our characters."
The heinous calamities in China and Myanmar have inspired humanity to help one another, transcending all geographical, ethnic and religious divides. The generous offerings from Sin Chew Daily readers to help the disaster victims or impoverished rural school children have touched the hearts of many, and have opened our eyes to the positive aspect of life.
The March 8 general elections almost tipped the country's political balance in existence since the dawn of our nationhood half a century ago. Malaysians' political awareness has been enhanced, reflecting a new yearning and realisation towards politics.
This phenomenon also served as a reminder to our politicians that they must enhance their politicking attitude and spirit in tandem with the changing times, act with dignity and integrity in order to convince the public of their credentials.
In this multiracial, multicultural and multireligious country of ours, we must learn to be humble, respectful and caring as we strive to establish a truly harmonious society. Government officials must serve the public with sincerity and be incorrupt; politicians must act justly and selflessly, and avoid triggering sensitive issues or fanning up ethnic emotions. It would not be a problem for all the three major races, who have lived under the same roof for over half a century here, to live in solidarity and cooperation.
Moreover, human beings could all be traced back to the same origin; so could their religions. We are but the passersby in time. We are all citizens of this planet.
We should not divide ourselves along the lines of wisdom or strength, but should work together for the well-being and happiness of the entire human race.
The transmigration and settlement of human beings should not be construed by some politicians as the foundation for any claim of superiority. Instead, the continuous progress and prosperity of a race lies entirely with its own initiatives, efforts as well as an equitable social mechanism.
As an institution that strives to preserve the Chinese culture, we deeply understand that culture is the cornerstone of a people, and if a community loses its culture, its spirit will also disintegrate.
The realistic environment that lies before our eyes has prompted us to always bear in mind the tortuousness of our path while looking forward towards a brighter future.
Journalism is a career of conscience. Although we come under all sorts of restrictions policywise, these will in no way prevent our dutiful media workers from fearlessly playing their roles.
The tougher the objective environment, and the greater the pressure from the authorities, the more courageously will our media workers be adhered to their postings.
We hope our journalists will perpetuate our cultural legends, and act collectively as a supervisory force to the administration while exposing the lies of irresponsible politicians, as we position ourselves as a newspaper with profundity and conscience that will expose all the irregularities and inspire the public, leading them ahead as we pursue the dreams of a stronger and wealthier nation.
TAN SRI TIONG HIEW KING
Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad
(Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)