I read this opinion in a letter written by Suren, from Malacca in The Sun dated 20th September 2011 and would like to borrow and share it.
It started of with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi ....
"Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking"
Unity as the word says means oneness. But unity or being united means more than what many perceive. It can be divided into two :
- Agreeing and coming together for a common identity or agenda
- Patronising a common goal/agenda/ideology totally even by sacrificing the self interest/ideology/importance/gains for the common goal.
Now the first part is not much of a trouble. Freezing the condition at this point and calling it unity would be an act of hypocrisy because at this state one can't say that the state of togetherness is unity but rather a surface of common togetherness.
For example a group of individuals from different backgrounds like a restaurant and visit the place without fail - this state is called "togetherness on a common ground". Unity is far more than the feeling of togetherness.
Now the second part is best described with the analogy in place where the outlet is threatened with demolition. When the same group of individuals put aside differences, disputes, personal comfort and time, and all other attachments and come to the rescue of the outlet then unity is in action.
When the second scenario takes place in defence of the nation or dealing with a national issue despite people's differences and personal importance then the nation is worthy to be called united.
It's a difficult task to stand united when clear cut differences are present. This is best described by an analogy of a salad bowl with different types of vegetables. The combination makes up one dish called salad but each vegetable maintains its qualities despite sharing the bowl with other types of vegetables. The different items sacrifice their individuality when named a salad; a tomato in a salad is still a tomato but we call it a salad after it is put in the salad bowl. Thus the tomato has lost its individuality by being assimilated in a larger group. This is the type of unity practised by Malaysia.
The United States and Indonesia subscribe to the melting pot concept where all differences are eliminated by boiling it down to a single substance, the nation. This can be described as induced assimilation which does not permit varied identities.
We as Malaysians should always be thankful for the "salad bowl" model of unity practised here as it allows every one to maintain their culture, values, norms and faith in peace and freedom. The key to sustain and maintain peace and harmony is tolerance, mutual respect and understanding, the salad bowl will always remain a wonderful dish and pleasant to the eye of the world.
Happy Malaysia Day, Malaysia.
Agreeing to the "Salad Bowl" model, what we Malaysian should further look at actually is the dressing. If you like Italian, Thousand Island or what ever that suits your taste bud, it is well and fine. However, should it be otherwise that we shall eat less or stop eating.
Lets imagine that the political party or their respective grouping or coalition as the dressing in this big "Salad Bowl" call Malaysia, and small "Salad Bowl" call all the 13 states. It taste good for some, and bitter for others.
Accept it, respect it, but one thing is for sure comes the next election GR13, be sure you vote the dressing that suits you best. That is if you had already register, if not please do so immediately or else you forfeit your right and you yourself is to be blame.
By the way ... this video clip is a must ... think and enjoy.