The Meaning of Cahaya
All excuses ran out once we discovered the truth from within the Ministry of Education.
We have a simple goal: to turn on the lights. Not a few lights, but millions of lights. In every student, in every school, and in every education department, we are turning on the lights of 1) justice without fear and 2) education with hope.
If both these lights are on, our children learn without fear. It is the presence—or absence—of these lights that establish Malaysia's foundation either as a nation safe under daylight or a nation paralyzed under darkness.
In our daily news diet, we all now realize Malaysia failed at the very outset of the legend: some children, the seeds of Malaysia-to be, were taught darkness before they ever felt the light. This darkness began at the corners of society, the children of the poor and weak and marginalized, but was left unchecked and so darkness constructed a deep, dark undercurrent to spread. More and more turned-dark caretakers and oversight systems realized, "In fact, we will not be held responsible for our failures to act. In the dark, the laws are powerless to save the children, but strong enough to always protect us."
Our "trusted" school caretakers
Some "trusted" caretakers not only neglected the two lights of education and justice, but then even took advantage of the very darkness they created by abusing and neglecting Malaysian children. They pray to the darkness because the darkness is their only protector. Worst yet, our oversight systems stood silent and still, unwilling to admit what future Malaysia they had wrought because of their failures to act.
Inside some schools, meant to be our bulwark lighthouses of hope against the world's storms of darkness, we learned of sexual, emotional and physical abuse, corrupted “public” servant teachers and school administrators, extreme negligence, and psychopathic abuses of power. Each abuse is throbbing and growing, veiled in a caretaker-designed, self-perpetuating dark culture of silence and fear.
Today we are all witnesses and thus characters in this unfathomable Malaysian (his)story of egregious negligence and abuse against our children in our schools under our government in our lifetimes. Our ancestors tremble in fear that they no longer can save Malaysia, while our unborn descendants sway powerless as a sea of fresh victims, pockets of cahaya destined—by our failures—to rupture and fail. Year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day.
What have we done?
This reflection by failure now docks at Malaysia's shores. And it will dock again and again and again until we are brave enough to turn the lights on, once and for all. Because "What we are now is what we have done. What we will be is what we do now."
Where we are headed
We can reshape the narrative of Malaysian history if we turn on the lights. If we are brave enough to suffer the temporary discomfort of reality, then we unlock our most powerful ability: to construct the bright future of our, our ancestors', and our descendants' dreams. A Malaysia with the lights turned on, a Malaysia safe under its daylight, a shining Malaysian beacon for other nations still clouded under darkness.
Still, we could walk away and love darkness' embrace once again. We then continue as a cautionary tale to the world, a masterclass of how easily and how quickly a nation's corruptible systems failed and paralyzed their painful truths. This window of opportunity to be "the generation who turned on the lights—the generation that wrote the next chapter of a brighter Malaysia" sits at the most powerful and yet only suitable place: our feet.
One might ask: so if we turned on the lights, what would we see? What might happen? Likewise, what of a prolonged darkness if we kept the lights off? All nations age, but progressive maturity is a choice. Will Malaysia's next path be a highway of hope lit bright by education and justice? Or a dark, cyclical trail, where every route is littered with shards of shattered, once hopeful, pockets of our children's cahaya?
Do not yield to the darkness without glimpsing the future the darkness denies: read these yet-unreal headlines with the hope we make them real because we chose the path of light, “the path less traveled by and that had made all the difference.”
Paedophile teacher & negligent school administrators immediately dismissed
Dozens of rural children saved as independent Ombudsman exposes a decades-long MOE & police bribery scandal
Child marriage, a forgotten practice
How education with hope vaccinated Malaysia’s most vulnerable children
Malaysia’s youngest generation hailed as most ethical and hopeful
Highest number of Malaysian universities built in rural areas in one year
Rural students' exams and resiliency skyrocket in Malaysia after negligent school officers dismissed
Ombudsman begins search for clean JPN & PPD heads
Malaysia crowned human rights leader of Asia
How Malaysians stood up for their children, justice, and the rule of law
Ministry of Education issues apology, settlements to abused students, families
Fiercely independent Public Ombudsman publishes scathing judgement on Malaysia's culture of silence
These headlines are our future if we turn on the lights.
Let us return to the legend, present-day. What is stopping us now? We expect two mindsets, both infected with fear, that will refuse to turn on the lights and fight for darkness: one mindset fears our failure and the other fears our success.
To those who fear us
To those who fear our failure, who fear another painful loss: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that something else is more important." To these hearts weary with learned helplessness, some will cry in pained fear, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” And we reply, “So do we. And so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
To those who fear our success, fearful of the light exposing their hidden hands to block justice: we recognize those with small hearts and loud voices, almost always the very beneficiaries of the darkness, may claim turning on the lights is “ill-advised” or “impossible” in Malaysia. But realize, Malaysians and Malaysia, hopeless victims are the deepest desire and the last safe refuge for those who want to keep the lights off.
Against those who will try—and fail—to prolong this age of darkness: our Campaign rises to conquer untruth with truth and stake our lives on the right side of history—the bright side.
The Campaign is embarking on a journey of a hundred lifetimes and you are respectfully invited. Together, we will turn on the radiant light of education with hope and the vibrant light of justice without fear for every Malaysian child. You deserve a nation under daylight. As do we all.
Join our Campaign on the bright side of history.