Wow. It happened. It actually happened.
Malaysians – we changed the government!
I can’t even begin to talk about how I’m feeling right now. Proud, hopeful, joyous – these words don’t seem to do justice to how all of us feel being a part of Malaysia’s history.
I’m sure the coming months will be filled with experts’ analysis of what happened and where we go from here. However, here at IRL, I’d like to take a moment to talk about something else.
These are four inspiring lessons from GE-14 that could be applied in our own lives.
Things can change
Honestly, none of us saw this coming. We voted with hope, but most of us didn’t actually think things would change. Everything pointed to a loss.
I remember sitting at a pub with friends, watching the results trickle in. They refused to be optimistic.
“Are you serious? Is this actually happening?”
“Najib is going to pull something at the 11th hour, I just know it.”
Even when Pakatan took a dominating lead, still, they refused to believe it. After all, you’re talking about someone who has the resources of a government. Experts predicted that BN would win. The (ex) government manipulated the electoral boundaries to suit their favour. They even passed laws designed to silence the opposition.
Against all of that, really, what chance did we have?
And yet, here we are.
If there’s anything to take from this, is that things can change. Even if it seems hopeless from the beginning.
Whether it’s a man who’s used millions of dollars to try and rig an election or the personal challenges in our own lives, please remember – nothing is permanent.
I know some of us have it hard. Maybe you’re struggling with depression. Maybe you’re broke. Maybe you’re in an unhealthy relationship you don’t think you can get out of.
It’s overwhelming, and you might be tempted to give up and surrender. It’s easy to think that this is your life from now on and that nothing will ever change.
But take it from GE-14 – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you (or 28 million Malaysians) can’t see it at first.
So don’t stop trying to be happy. Don’t be weighed down by limiting beliefs. Stop living only up to what you think you can achieve with your life because honestly, you have no idea what you’re capable of.
You need to keep doing your best. Every single day.
Eventually, things will change for the better.
Which brings me to my next point…
What you do matters
Many of us believed nothing would change, but we went out to vote anyway – and that made all the difference.
See, what we do matters. Even if we think it’s small or inconsequential, our actions have a bigger impact than we think.
GE-14 would not have gone the way it did if someone hadn’t leaked documents related to the 1MDB scandal. Malaysians wouldn’t have been as unified or confident if someone didn’t organise the Bersih rallies.
Hell, even Najib would probably have done better if he hadn’t sacked his then deputy prime minister.
But most of all, GE-14 wouldn’t have happened if all of us hadn’t braved the traffic, distance, and hassle of going out to vote. Despite the most negative signs, all of us stood up and said,
“This is where I draw the line.”
And Malaysians, you did. Look at what we’ve achieved.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this just applies to the election. Even in your own personal lives, what you do matters. Nothing is inconsequential.
Whether you choose to wake up and go to the gym, or whether you choose to binge on junk food – everything affects you and the things around you.
I read this interesting quote which really changed my perspective a while back. I’m paraphrasing, but it said something along the lines of,
“In time travel stories we’re always afraid of what the protagonist might change when he/she goes back in time and does something different. But we never stop to think how what we’re doing right now will change something big in our future.”
So start small. Want to lose weight? Start cutting out sugary drinks. Want a better job? Start browsing job entries online. Want to change the government? Start voting for better representation.
Everything you do, regardless of how small, can completely change your future.
We’re more alike than we think
For years the (ex) government has been demonising other races. Chinese are out to overtake the government, and the Malays are out for Chinese blood. Meanwhile, the Indians are being sidelined and oppressed.
Everything was race-based. Even GE-13 was attributed to a ‘Chinese tsunami’.
But then, GE-14 happened, and it was an ‘everything-tsunami’.
The bottom line is, people just got sick and tired of bad government. We’ve had enough of corruption and the toll it took on us.
Other races aren’t the demon. Corrupt politicians are.
Yes, you could argue that we had a common enemy. But the way I see it, it’s not just that – we’re also united by common goals.
Regardless of what race we are, or what our beliefs we have, we all want the same thing. We want our work to be compensated fairly. We want good education and opportunities for our children. We want to be able to provide for our families without having to work two jobs just to get by.
GE-14 marks the end of race-based politics. It showed us that we can achieve our goals together, without having to oppress other Malaysians.
We’ve been focusing on our differences for so long, that for a while, it was all that mattered.
But now we realise there are bigger things at stake. GE-14 showed us that it’s possible to set differences aside and work towards a bigger goal.
What your race is and what you believe in doesn’t matter – if we work together, we can build a better Malaysia.
It’s never too late to do something great
For the first time, I can honestly hashtag #RespectmyPM without being sarcastic. Regardless of his history, you just can’t deny that our current Prime Minister has done – and is still doing – great things.
Even at the age of 92.
At an age where most people are kicking back and enjoying their golden years, this man decided to stand in and fulfill his duty to his country.
We know it’s no easy feat. We’re still celebrating in the afterglow of having a new government, but for him, it’s just the beginning. He’s got so much work ahead of him.
Isn’t that just so damn inspiring?
If anything, it tells us that life begins whenever you want it to. It’s never too late to set your mind to achieve your goals. Age really is just a number.
This applies to us all too.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve done before, how far we think we’ve come, or even how old we are. For as long as you’re still alive, you can contribute something great to the world.
After all, what better time to bring out that greatness within you for our new and improved Malaysia?
What are your hopes for the country? Let us know in the comments below!