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Merdeka Unplugged (3)

Communication Breakdown.

That was a Led Zepelin hit from their self titled 1969 debut album. It’s also something that crops up every now and then when the topic “relationships” come up. Ouch!

An old (and recently happily re-connected) friend explained how she feels that in the large scheme of things, we seem to have forgotten to talk to one another.  However, I was also reminded there’s also the problem with mere “talking” – when it remains one dimensional;  people love to “talk” but don’t really “communicate”.

Just for the record, “talking” here refers to “communicating”.

We all have our own opinions on just about anything.  But, when problems crop up, we don’t really sit down and talk things through our differences. Instead, we sulk, get hurt, blow things out of proportion, criticize and whack each other, and generally don’t give a hoot to what the OTHER person thinks and feels while believing that we are almost always right.

Tellingly, this malaise happens across all segments of society – it’s very common between husbands and wives(!), parents and children, among siblings and friends; between communities and states, organizations and religious bodies – indeed all along the watchtower and everywhere in between.

Take the Merdeka 2012 (Malaysian Independence Day) celebrations that run from mid August – 16 September for example. I couldn’t have experienced a more tired, cliched, underhanded, overblown and divided national day celebration that happened on that eve and the actual day itself.

On one hand we had the government running its own supposedly inclusive celebrations complete with its theme and song and “invited guests only” at one stadium, while assorted groups of citizens initiated their own versions of commemorating Merdeka day elsewhere. The media, depending on which side of the divide they were on, got out all their usual trumpeting with unrestrained gutso.

Did we miss the forest for the trees? Was there any attempt to dialogue beforehand? If no, why not? If yes, how did all these “varying celebrations” crop up? This was not another political affair. This was supposedly the commemoration of our liberation from the colonial powers. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

On a smaller scale though, there were a few noble souls voicing moderation and respect for one another; there was at least one initiative to “say something nice” this Merdeka. I’d like to think it worked.

Really, “Have we forgotten to talk to one another?”

On a lighter note, a reminder from 1979:

Famous last words:

“When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.” – (Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Dairy Queen)