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We really need to excel in team sports at the global level. One month of watching the FIFA World Cup 2014 hosted by Brasil has further convinced me that Malaysians need to work on developing this kind of sports to promote unity among the people and put our nation on a firmer footing in inter-ethnic relation.

German fans celebrate as Germany wins the FIFA World Cup 2014 final football match Germany vs Argentina played in Brazil during an outdoor viewing at the Olympic stadium in Munich, southern Germany on July 13, 2014. Germany won 1-0. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHECHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

German fans , in their thousands 6000 miles away, celebrate as Germany wins the FIFA World Cup 2014 final football match Germany vs Argentina played in Brazil during an outdoor viewing at the Olympic stadium in Munich, southern Germany on July 13, 2014. Germany won 1-0. AFP PHOTO

Look at the the faces of those individual country’s supporters, the outpouring of emotion in varying degrees is palpable. The country’s sense of pride hinge on the achievement of its team. They come in droves, they congregate in public places and they share the same dream: to see their country globally acknowledged as the champion. For some even going into the group of 16 and the quarter finals is something to be proud of.

This kind of sports is definitely good for Malaysia with its various ethnic groups. Imagine a Malay embracing a Chinese on the field and an Indian joining in the embrace in celebration of a goal! And all of us Chinese, Indian, Malay, Kadazan, Bajau, Dayak and so on,would break out in joy,  punching in the air with tears in our eyes and screaming at the top of our voices for that goal! This spontaneous sharing of emotion may well represent the greatest sign of our expression as Malaysians.

I remember in the old days when the multi-ethnic composition of our football team was the order of the day. It was a tremendous feeling when we qualified to go to the Moscow Olympics in 1979 (but did not go following American boycott of the games) and when our football was in its heyday: we were better than the Koreans and Japanese. Well those two have quantum leaped and we are stuck in the mud.

Somewhere along the line, we just stopped going in that direction of excellence in team sports and the various ethnic groups became more introverted and keep to themselves. Our sports became ethnic-based. Look at badminton and check out football. Who do you see? There is less mixing of the races for sure.

Malaysian politicians, please stop talking and do something in this area of unity through team sports. You can see for yourselves how such games encourage genuine camaraderie and why not promote it? Instead some politicians seem to ignore the current trend in this country which appears to be towards racial divergence.

I remember what President Obama said on his recent visit to Malaysia: this country cannot be great unless it engages all races. Wise words indeed, if only uttered by our politicians!

The current trend is also worrying as religion and practices are used to alienate others and people are becoming bolder in accusing others of being disloyal and parasitic and referring to their immigrant roots. These bigots have nothing but destructiveness in their sick mind.

Let’s teach our young people the universal values of togetherness and unity will come about naturally irrespective of race and religion. And there would be no need to form such a movement as NEGARA KU to counteract the negative impact created by certain interest groups in advancing their dangerous agenda.

Let’s emulate the FIFA World Cup’s  team spirit for a meaningful co-existence.

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