It may have been close to five decades since 13 May 1969, but this tragedy continues to stir up conversation among our fellow Malaysians. It’s a time in history that will forever etch in our books and memories.
Triggered by the 1969 Malaysian General Election where the ruling Alliance Party was hit by the surprising victory of the Opposition Party, the aftermath led to a string of racial riots and killings before the declaration of national emergency. As we remember the longest day in Malaysian history, here are the things we learned from the tragedy of 13 May 1969.
1. Let us remember that togetherness keep us united
The piece of the puzzle that unites any multiracial or multi-cultural country is unity. Flip any news channels and you would see the way countries were torn by wars, coups, or riots around the world. Never allow our differences to tear us apart, instead use it as a reason to bridge the divide.
2. No one gets a trophy for igniting negativity
In life, no one gets a trophy from fighting, bickering, or arguing with others and it’s true. Igniting the flame of negativity will further divide anyone from truly understanding or respecting their foe or friends. A 13th-century poet Rumi once said, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder’.
3. History must be remembered and not forgotten
Philosopher George Santayana once said ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’. This quote rings true to all of us. Remembering the tragedy that occurred and respecting the lives that are lost are enough to remind us all that we wouldn’t want the same incident to happen today.
4. Voice your rights but respect one another
Living in a democratic country gives us the opportunity to voice our rights and opportunities. However, we must remember that not everyone will agree with your views or perspective on social, economic, or political standings. We may disagree on many things, but always give ample room for respect to flourish wherever we stand.