IT’S Olympic season and it’s been hard to ignore the many exciting events that are being televised almost round the clock.
The high point for all Malaysians so far was the silver medal won by our super lady divers, Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandelela Rinong Pamg.
Armchair critics though most of us are, the sight of athletes living out the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”) does something to the soul.
It’s a reminder to us that there are values worth pursuing – whether it’s excellence in sports or in other fields.
It helps us to dust off our disappointment in so many things that ail our nation of late, and to refocus on performing to the best of our ability.
If any of our athletes had been dejected by the state of affairs in the country, they did not allow it to get in the way of their sporting goals.
Likewise, I believe every ordinary citizen of Malaysia has a part to play to move the nation forward.
We may not regain past glory for years to come, but we can each focus on the mission we have been called to, however small, and to do it to the best of our ability. And I believe we’ll get there.
Furthermore, we need to remind ourselves that on this long journey, winning does not always involve glittering medals or applause from the crowds.
Sometimes victory comes quietly and without fanfare, like when the homeless are fed. Or unemployed youth are given a chance by caring corporations.
Or when a stand is made by professionals in their field to see things through colour-blind lenses. And we are able to unite as true Malaysians.
Yes, the Olympics reminds us that there is honour and glory worth fighting for. How much more worthy is the fight for unity among all communities in our beloved nation.
I believe there are enough of us who love Malaysia to stand up and make a difference – to counter the divisive cries of bigots and racists.
As you read this, thousands of Anak-Anak Malaysia are taking a walk in the heart of Kuala Lumpur early this morning.
They walk to highlight the country’s diversity and promote unity among Malaysians.
It is a timely event as we prepare for both Merdeka Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
I also rejoice with fellow Malaysians that our Nicol David has been named by British newspaper The Telegraph as one of the 20 greatest athletes in the world.
“Not many athletes can claim to have enjoyed the sort of dominance Nicol David has had in the world of squash,” the Telegraph said.
“The 32-year-old Malaysian was world number one for a record 109 months until September last year, and has won three gold medals at World Games, two Commonwealth golds, and a remarkable eight World Open titles.”
It is sad that despite her efforts, squash has yet to make it as an Olympic sport. Otherwise an Olympic gold medal could also be in her list of achievements.
But even so, Nicol can be proud that she has sown the seeds to bring this game onto the world sports stage.
Which brings me to the point that in our life pursuits, we can aim to be sowers so that those who come after us can reap the benefits of our efforts.
Our quest may involve big, life-changing projects, or it may simply be to do our best in whatever task we have been given – as good parents raising kind, upright children, or a loving spouse building a strong marriage, or filial children caring for aged parents.
Those who set and achieve such goals certainly deserve medals. Not at the Olympic Games, but in the marathon of life.