Malaysia is a beautiful country filled with people from diverse cultures. We have an amazing landscape that promises exciting adventures, and mouthwatering food on top of that.
However, there are issues that still need to be addressed.
Firstly, our proficiency in the English language needs to be worked on. While the Malay language will always be most important, there is a need for more people to be fluent in English and who can speak the language comfortably. The reason why I feel this needs to be addressed is because this is a global language that is widely used in such areas as business and science. Students who go abroad for their studies will likely need to rely more on English during their time overseas. Those who relocate to other countries will also reflect badly on Malaysia if they are unable to converse well in English.
It is vital too for our country’s tourism industry that we are able to communicate effectively in English so that what we want to convey to the foreigners in our midst will not be misunderstood, and help to ensure that their stay here will not end up unnecessarily stressful for them.
Secondly, I have noticed that the spirit of volunteerism isn’t common or widespread these days. I am not saying that there isn’t any, but that there are still too few people who have shown any interest in it. Teenagers in countries like Australia, Britain or the USA can be found taking a gap year to volunteer and indulge in an activity outside their comfort zone. However, this is not commonly done in Malaysia, it is even almost unheard of. We need to encourage more youths to volunteer and support them when they do because volunteering teaches them selflessness, when one devotes time to someone or something without expecting anything in return.
Thirdly, despite our government trying its best to eliminate racism, I have to admit that it’s still a prominent demon lurking among us. I come from a Punjabi background and it is very irritating for someone like me to constantly be called a Bengali because the fact is, Bengal and Punjab are two distinctly different places. Although this is not deliberately done, the ignorance shown by some people of different cultures makes it feel like another form of racism. Because of ignorance, people will make assumptions that lead to confusion. We must strive to learn more about the different cultures that exist in this country and show respect by understanding them, and not simply allow ignorance to fuel our prejudices.
Creating a better Malaysia requires a constant effort to be made by everyone. It is only by working together, that we can achieve greater heights together.
By Bhavina Kaur, 17, Selangor
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