Reconnecting values to celebrate our diversity

By Asohan Satkunasingham

I have decided to pen this article for two special reasons. Firstly, to mark the celebration of World Values Day which is celebrated on 21 October 2021, a campaign that is gaining worldwide momentum each year since it was introduced six years ago. Second, the theme for this year’s celebration is “reconnecting”, which well encapsulates our colourful diversity. As we reconnect with our respective values within our diverse ethnic backgrounds, we will start to connect in strength for a united Malaysia.

On this World Values Day, let us as Malaysians take this opportunity to reconnect with each other in the original spirit of Muhibah and celebrate our diversity. Let us rise from race-based to value-based actions by embracing our Rukun Negara, which helps to shape strong and lasting unity between us in Malaysia. Coincidentally, our coat of arms (Jata Negara) explicitly states Unity for Strength (Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu) which gives credence to our unique value proposition in unity.

Our NGO Persatuan Usahasama Perkembangan Ukhuwah or PUPUK has been diligently pursuing the introduction of national values to address our national interest. These national values are guided by Rukun Negara to transcend the direction of our political, social, environment and economic interest. The suggested national values is modelled around the word “Muhibah” itself.

On this World Values Day, let us reconnect with our aspiration of our Rukun Negara and pledge to uphold democracy as our way of life by practicing the true spirit of “Muhibah” as follows:

Mindfulness: Having our ability to be fully present and aware of where we are, what we are doing and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. By reconnecting to be mindful, we will increase our presence of mind to respect and accept each other for greater bonding.

Unity in diversity: This will support our cooperation and coexistence between fellow citizens to build a sense of oneness despite differences and barriers in ethnicities, languages and religion. By reconnecting with our rich cultural traditions, we will achieve greater national unity.

Hard work: Nothing substitutes hard work. Nation building is all about working hard for everything worthwhile we intend to achieve on the soil of this land. When we reconnect with intense focus and demonstrate our fullest ability, we embark on the journey of value creation for shared prosperity in building a just society.

Integrity: We must live by wholeness in our character in doing the right thing in a reliable way with an unwavering moral compass to uphold the principle of integrity. Let us reconnect with our hearts and become good ancestors with upright morality to model the way for our next generation.

Behave with “budi”: This is our actual way in the past, where we have displayed gracious, polite, good-natured and calm behaviour. We further reflect such budi through the modesty of our attire, body language and demeanour. Hence, let us reconnect again to ensure our budi becomes contagious to see us as Malaysians with good conduct and behaviour.

Attitude of pride and shame: We earn the sense of worth (maruah) by showing respect (hormat) and contributing to the growth of our country by living as fine examples. We must not condone ourself and others from doing anything contrary to bring shame (malu) upon our reputation, influence, dignity and honour. This will reconnect us to the principle of good behaviour and morality.

Humanity: Lastly, we must have the natural ability to show love, compassion and live harmoniously under brotherhood citizenry (Ukhuwah) with our fellow citizens. We must take proactive steps to preserve nature, respect and not discriminate against the rights of others and to accept our own values and cherish the right to life. When we reconnect with humanity, we thrive as a progressive society.

Hence, in commemorating with this year’s World Values Day, let us work in living with the spirit of Muhibah that will help us reconnect with the aspirations and principles enshrined in our Rukun Negara to rally in solidarity with “Negaraku”.

(Asohan Satkunasingham is an author, progressive human resources practitioner, high impact corporate teacher and Chairman of Persatuan Usahasama Perkembangan Ukhuwah (PUPUK)


Asohan Satkunasingham


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