Universal Children’s Day is observed on 20 November and this year, the theme is Inclusion, For Every Child. We ask Malaysia’s children to share their thoughts on what makes Malaysia welcoming for everyone and what they can do to get there.
Malaysia’s Department of Statistics reported a population of 9.13 million children nationwide in 2021, with Selangor, Sabah, and Johor recording the highest numbers. Experts, lawmakers, and analysts continue to discuss children’s well-being, even as technology accelerates exposure to social, economic, and political issues related to them.
We asked several Malaysian children this question: What does a ‘Malaysia for everyone’ mean to you, and how can you play your part in building a Malaysia you’d like to see? Their responses were surprising, and it just goes to show that out of the mouths of babes come refreshing and creative ideas for a better Malaysia!
“Keep the environment clean and not pollute the air” – Brigitte, 9
Malaysia is my home. This country has made me feel safe and at peace, although the whole world seems not to be at peace. I can make it nicer by keeping the environment clean and not polluting the air, which can cause human beings to get sick.
In addition, I can make it more welcoming by clearing the trash by the roadside and filling up the holes in the road. I can make it good with fresh air to make Malaysia beautiful so that it is known as a clean country that helps poor people feel good and safe.
“Malaysia to me is family because I am from here” – Timothy, 12
It’s the place I have grown up in. I can make Malaysia a more welcoming place by fixing broken and old roads, voting (when I am of age) for the right government to make better laws, not taking taxpayers’ money, having more tourist destinations and increasing the value of the ringgit [by helping to build a healthier economy]. Malaysia to me is family, because I am from here.
“[A country where] we would fellowship with every race” – Rui Hao, 12
The Malaysia dream that I have is one where the country is peaceful and clean. I hope Malaysia will become a great tourist destination because there are a lot of beautiful places to visit. Malaysia would look and be great when everyone cooperates with each other, when there is no racism and when we would fellowship with every race. I could make my dream come true one day by voting for an honest, humble government.
“Stop racism and drawing policies on race lines” – Bernice, 15
Honestly, Malaysia is just where I’ve grown up and I’m not very proud of my country at the moment. To make Malaysia a better place, the government should hear our voices and stop corruption. Our leaders should focus more on citizens’ needs by learning from other countries (ideas, lifestyle and environment). We should stop racism and drawing policies on race lines because Malaysia was supposed to be multi-ethnic since our independence.
“I hope for a Malaysia that has enough for everyone” – Seth, 9
I see children on the street with no school to go to, no house and no food to eat. We can do our part by looking out for them, giving them food and sharing stuff with them.
Our children are wiser than we think
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul tells his spiritual son Timothy, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Malaysia’s children have great ideas for a brighter, better Malaysia.
As we observe our 15th General Election and Children’s Day this weekend, let us not despise young Malaysians’ thoughts, opinions and prayers. Let us not despise their youth.
May we pray for a future where these ideas are brought to life, built up and sustained by a generation of courage and hope.
Cover Image: Pexels