Sunday, 28 April 2013

Growing trees with deep roots, rightways to Malaysian election


To make things happen for the betterment of our society, we should look into long-term goals instead of short-term achievements. It’s like planting a tree in your garden with a seedling. The tree planted the right way will take time to grow, but its roots will run deep and strong, providing shade for the generations to come. 

ONE of the experiments I remember to this day from primary school is the one where we placed green peas on cotton wool in a container and created a number of conditions to observe how plants grow.

The container kept under the most ideal conditions – enough water and exposure to sunlight – had the little bean sprouts shooting up in a matter of days.

I was more amazed at the fact that a little seed could transform into a seedling right before my very eyes.

In my innocence, I even suggested to my father that we should plant a durian seed in our garden and wait for the tree to grow so we do not have to buy durians anymore.

Of course, as we all know, in life, many things do not just happen overnight.

As a dear friend from Ipoh puts it, “the people who labour, whether sowing, planting or tending, rarely get to see the fruits of their own labour.”

All too often, others will be the beneficiaries, just as we too benefit from the labour of others.

Another dear friend, probably one of the longest surviving leukaemia patients in the country, has subjected herself to many clinical trials, both in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

She is told, at the very beginning, that there are no guarantees, but she takes everything in stride in the belief that even if the drug does not work for her now, it may work for others in the future once the shortcomings are put right.

What about us in our daily lives? Don’t you agree that we are sometimes just too impatient with wanting instant results even when we know that we are asking for the impossible?

I believe that the only constant in life is change, but what do we do to make change happen?

I know of many people who quietly labour to make changes, one step at a time, even when they have to go through the despair of wondering if all the hard work put in will ever bear fruit.

They are not the people who are vocal, and are able to articulate their viewpoints through a wide variety of platforms. Instead they are too busy just getting the work done.

The advocates for the disabled, for example, have many battles to fight. I know they cringe in despair each time a step forward is followed by two steps backwards.

But those who stay on are the ones who believe that it is good enough to be faithful to one’s own conscience and convictions, and eventually things do happen. They do not march to the applause of men, but are guided by doing what is right.

Sometimes, I think our politicians have much to learn about long-term goals as compared to short-term achievements. I have been to a number of ceramah already and I do wonder if those seeking to be elected truly understand what the future is really all about.

How do they see this nation of ours move forward? How do they help us become better people, so that together, we become a better nation?

No doubt, those who eventually come to power have the means to make certain things happen for the betterment of our society.

But it is the people themselves who truly make the difference. Our involvement goes beyond the vote. It must be translated into day-to-day action, oftentimes by being sensitive to the needs of others more than our own.

It’s like planting a tree in your garden with a seedling that you can pick up from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong rather than just buying a ready tree to place in the garden.

The tree planted the right way will take time to grow, but its roots will run deep and strong. The instant tree will give you instant gratification but it will be the first to collapse in a thunderstorm. But the tree that you gently nurture will surely provide shade for the generations to come.

Sunday Starters
By SOO EWE JIN
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (ewejin@thestar.com.my) is waiting to join his friend at his durian orchard, a labour of love that is bearing fruit after many years.

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