Last updated Friday, August 22, 2014 11:51am

AUG 27 — There are actually many ways to celebrate National Day and the way of celebration is not necessarily guided by political correctness.

There was a saying in the past claiming that not flying the Jalur Gemilang meant not being patriotic and it was a bit over to direct the accusation against the Chinese community, causing the Chinese to be the target of condemnation.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that the government was studying the need to introduce a law to make it compulsory for the business community to fly the Jalur Gemilang throughout the month of Merdeka.

It seems like our ministers are more accustomed to thinking straight. If they make a law to make it compulsory to fly the Jalur Gemilang, would they make it compulsory for the business community to paint the Jalur Gemilang on the outer walls of their shops next time?

Making laws to compel and limit people’s movements and simply politicising patriotism-related issues do not suit the atmosphere of the new era.

What is patriotism?

It is an act of patriotism when the people defend the territory during an outbreak of war. It is an act of patriotism when businessmen struggle to improve the national economy and contribute in national development. It is an act of patriotism when people make outstanding performance abroad and glorify the country. It is also an act of patriotism when civil servants serve the people honestly and thriftily.

The word patriotism seems abstract but it can actually be reflected in everyone’s words and deeds.

Government officials are patriotic when they serve the people properly and avoid corruption and power abuse, even if they do not fly the Jalur Gemilang. Meanwhile, officials who choose Honda cars for their better functionality and safety features to replace the outdated Proton as their official cars so that their safety is ensured could not be described as being unpatriotic.

Therefore, flying the Jalur Gemilang is indeed an act of patriotism but those who are not flying it should not be concluded as being unpatriotic.

Making laws to force the people to love the country is equally inappropriate as making laws to force people to visit their parents in China. Chinese citizens take it as an insult. And it is inappropriate to force the people to express their love to the country with laws.

Filial piety is a family’s moral core while patriotism is the core value of a country. Good family education and good examples shown by the elders would naturally nurture filial children.

Similarly, well-managed national education would cultivate strong citizen consciousness and fair policies would enhance the sense of belonging. Naturally, patriotic sentiments would be reflected.

In addition to playing the national anthem in cinemas before the screening of films in conjunction with the 56th National Day, there are actually many better ways to celebrate the country’s independence. — mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.