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WORLD GRATITUDE DAY: Be happy for all the things that bring joy to our daily existence, writes Aziz Shariff
YES, there is such a thing as a day of gratitude, and in conjunction with that all-honourable gesture from the heart is the World Gratitude Day, which falls on Sept 21 every year.
By the time this article goes to print, that auspicious day will be over, but that must not stop us from delving into its significance to all humankind.
World Gratitude Day was started in 1977 by the United Nations' Meditation Group to celebrate a better life and to be grateful for all the things that bring joy to our daily existence.
Whenever we face challenges, the normal reaction would either be to be angry or worried, and we easily forget to understand why such a situation happens. We don't realise that it is, in fact, an opportunity for us to grow and learn.
The idea is for us to embrace challenges and be grateful, knowing that things are going our way, although the silver lining still escapes our spiritual radar.
Be grateful? What's in it for me, one may ask. Actually, it is such a mentality that can help transform us to discard our obsession with complaints, and to be a more motivated and positive character.
Here, in Malaysia, we have come of age. We have gone through almost untold trials and tribulations, from cowering under the dark shadows of imperialistic masters, to stand up against violent political ideologies, culminating in the coveted crown of independence in 1957.
Following that auspicious day of Aug 31, 1957, we have persevered and attained a higher level of existence with the formation of Malaysia.
That much we have achieved. So much we have dedicated to our struggle to create a better Malaysia.
World Gratitude Day is a time for us to be thankful -- to say thanks that we can still wake up each morning and see the sun rise in a land we manage ourselves, without having to exist under the shadow of another.
There are so many things to be thankful for, but on top of everything else in Malaysia now, it is an endorsement of things we now enjoy in peace and harmony.
No, being grateful on this day does not mean it is something personal only to the government of the day or even the prime minister, although looking deeper, we will see that it is that very government leading the country for the past 55 years that has made us what we are -- and that is, indeed, a reality.
If some among us choose to deny reality by bringing up trivialities and harp on the need for perfection, knowing that as mortals perfection can never be achieved, we will forever relegate ourselves to the backburner of development and opportunities for further growth.
The only way is to stop awhile and reflect on the good things we have. It is this reflection that should culminate in a heartfelt shower of thanks for our well-being.
Some laughed and mocked when the idea for societal thank you and gratefulness was mooted.
In their stubborn and strait-jacketed mindset, it is but a move fraught with greedy political undertones, to be resisted and ridiculed at all costs.
Should we be among those who feel that way, it is time we woke up and took a reality check.
We need to ask ourselves why we need to fight what is proven to be good. Why waste our energy on agitation and resistance to established order when we can do more things positively to help bring about excellence in Malaysia?
Gratefulness is the hallmark of greatness in a person. It is this quality that forms the thrust and basis for the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry coming out with colourful programmes that warm the heart.
And it is with this in mind that we call on all responsible Malay-sians to look back at our past and the prospects of a better future with whole-hearted gratefulness.
This can be done. The panacea is to stop a while, especially on this noble checkpoint we call World Gratitude Day, to say thank you for everything that's nice.
You can dance, you can pray, you can meditate and you can smile sincerely at everyone and say thank you.
I am grateful.
Aziz Shariff is media officer at the minister’s office at the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry