This year is one of those rare occasions where National Day and Hari Raya Aidiladha is celebrated back to back with each other. Despite its differences in religion and nationalism, the philosophies behind each celebration bear much correlation with each other.
While achieving independence has been a fundamental victory for us as a nation, the ideals of sacrifice has been enshrined through the Quran such as of the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail which related symbolically to the hardship faced by our forefathers in bringing us the freedom we have enjoyed for the past six decades.
As citizens of Malaysia, we all have our responsibilities towards the development of our nation. Each generation, however, will have its own challenges which require sacrifice to bring us all to a higher level of independence compared to those who went before us, thus paving the way for even higher heights.
As a result of the efforts of previous generations of Malaysians, we now live in a country with an economy that is envy of the region.
From a generation that came out a times where ethnic diversity was an issue, each generation thereafter has progressed our nation to a point where opportunities for high value employment and business are aplenty.
Sure, there are problems and new issues to address. However, the key difference has been our drive to work on our problems in a peaceful and civilised manner.
This has indeed heightened our meaning of independence.
Today, our fight for independence is no longer from colonisation, but for the freedom from reliance on others to excel at the global stage.
To be an advanced nation, aspiring automotive nations like Malaysia need skilled workforce that is capable of independent technology development, which in turn will bring even more high value businesses and jobs to our shores and help us achieve our high income nations.
Independence also means having the foresight to understand future trends. Better still, be at the forefront of technological advancement, trade and investment, and set those trends for others.
This is of course easily said, but is a huge task to realise.
Nothing is impossible. We were told half a century ago that getting where we are today was impossible. What made us as independent as we are today? The answer is – sacrifice.
Modern times no longer need sacrifice of life like the stories of the Holy Book. However, as our lives become much more fulfilled with technology, the more we need to sacrifice in order to achieve the progress levels we desire.
Automation has transformed our duties and chores, leaving us more space to relax and neglect thinking about the future and focus on the superficial things that are a product of our increased purchasing power.
It sometimes polarises our thinking, leaving us unwilling to move beyond our preconceived notions and norms, suppressing our capacities in creativity, innovation and abilities to learn.
Modern sacrifice is the ability to shed our complacencies by sacrificing our play time to make way for meaningful activities that develop us not just as individuals, but progressive societies and nations.
This week, let us remember the struggles of our Prophets and forefathers. We would not have come this far if not for their grit, wisdom and sacrifice.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.