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11:51am 25/12/2021
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Could our civilization simply be a mirage?

By Ang Lai Soon

Is Homo sapiens learning the hard way just as vulnerable as other species? No different from any other species, many of which have almost been driven to extinction?

It appears to many that through self induced climate change we are sowing the seeds of our own self extinction.

This mustn’t not be. And should never be.

I am cautiously optimistic that we could overcome this, the worst time in memory.

It is imperative that Homo sapiens must change. Change for the better, and act in a responsible and rational manner so that we could celebrate Christmas, Hari Raya, Gawai Dayak, Deepavali, Chinese New Year and many other festivities the way we used to, and the way we want it to be: freedom from all restrictions.

At this moment my thoughts and prayers are with the people in the Peninsular states who have lost their loved ones, properties and livelihoods in the massive floods due to human factors and climate change.

It is heartening to note that people from all walks of life are lending a hand to the flood victims. It is hoped that constructive steps will be taken to prevent such annual disaster from happening again.

We are forever grateful to the medical personnel and other frontliners like those in the police, fire and rescue, immigration, armed forces, volunteers, mass media, staff of pharmacies, eateries, messengers, cleaners and dust men for risking their lives to keep us safe.

At this time of the year, one of the many thoughts that spring to my mind is simple. That is: peace and goodwill to all irrespective of who we are, where we pray, who our parents are, where we live or where we come from.

We are basically all members of the same human race, and are all born with two hands, two legs, one head, one mouth, one nose, one pair of eyes, two ears and so on and so forth.

All being created equal, we should not be any different!

That we are born black, brown, yellow or white is merely an accident of birth. It is absolutely beyond our control. We are all in a huge human family!

We should give a helping hand to those who need help. We should protect those who are weak, not to exploit. We should be fair and just to all.

And above all, we must be united and live harmoniously together to build this relatively new nation.

Our future is within our control, but we must realize that happiness is the key to success.

We have the choice. I know Malaysians can make the right choice, having seen the countries that are in a permanent state of turmoil, chaos and violence like those in other continents, even in so-called first world countries.

We are living in a rather difficult, troubled, and sometimes unreasonable world. A world with monumental uncertainties. A world going through incredible changes, some for the better, while others leave much to be desired.

A world riven by competing ideologies, different belief systems, ethnic identity, and the lesser noble attributes of Homo sapiens such as intolerance, jealousy and the desire to own more than what we actually need.

The question is how one can possibly even think of peace and goodwill to all men, especially when there is so little peace and goodwill reflected in the barrage of world news to which the world media subjects us.

And goodwill can scarcely be uppermost in the minds of those who are being affected by the scourge of a pandemic and unprecedented global depression that seems to be looming ever closer every day, losing their lives, homes or their jobs.

Count our blessings! We are quite blessed, living in a relatively peaceful country.

Ultimately for civilization to be a reality rather than a mirage, we must practice peace and goodwill to all men. There is simply no other alternative.

Merry Christmas to all wherever you may be.

(Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon is Sarawak social activist, philanthropist, founder of St John’s Ambulance Sarawak.)

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