Within the ACG community, our independence day is a footnote when compared to Hatsune Miku’s birthday (which falls on the same date) and this virtual entity seems to play a bigger role in the lives of the ACG community more so than their own country. However, while many of Malaysia’s ACG fans were sleeping in on the morning of the 31st of August, I was at the stadium roaring at the top of my lungs for my country.
One of the things I love most is seeing people get together. Whether it is for reunion dinners, sharing stories over a cup of coffee, helping each other in difficult times, gathering for a cool event (Cosplay Commuter 2018 drops on 15th September 2018, mark it on your calendar!) or any other reason, there is nothing like the feeling of seeing people being united. It might be farfetched for me to say that the ACG community in Malaysia is united wholeheartedly, but slowly we are seeing more collaborations and creative notions surface.
Much like Malaysia, our ACG community has undergone many trying situations. We have sexual predators, hate specialists, rumourmongers and more, but one thing unique about our community is that we all recover quickly from the incidents that fuel discord amongst us. Just like Malaysia. Before the revolutionary change that happened during 9th of May this year, Malaysia had undergone a tremendous test of its very fabric, one that was ready to shatter its very foundation. Malaysians everywhere found it difficult to even offer a smile in those trying times.
While others may gloom over this bout of hopelessness, I did not. Our nation as a whole underwent an unendurable pain and I grieved – but I did not give in to despair. And the reason why I did not despair is because I had hope that we, as a nation, would pull through this nightmare entwined in corruption and hate. While this despair is no dream, but in the aftermath of it all, the recovery of this nation will be a dream realized.
“Malaysia had undergone a tremendous test of its very fabric, one that was ready to shatter its very foundation.”
Prior to 9th of May 2018, my deepest concerns were the divisive racist rhetoric of contested politics and the corrosive impact of corruption in the judiciary. I am a firm believer of the institutional integrity and the ethnic diversity of our nation, which is was threatened by the deterioration of governance and sharply polarized communal tendencies. Intolerance was steadily rising and there was no solid guiding beacon, which allowed for xenophobic right wing politicians to replace the narrative of renewal and reform with racism and bigotry. I always viewed Malaysia as a civilized nation of polite moderation, one that lacks the venom and vitriol to emasculate its enemies, purely because Malaysia believes in hopes, ideals and dreams.
The hopes and ideals that seemed like a distant memory yesterday is effectively becoming a dream realized today. Despite the unravelling of multiple devious schemes by the previous government which places the rakyat at the forefront of financial burden, our people are still able to smile through the impending hardship we and our next generation are about to bear. We are happier facing the truth and paying the toll of adversity if it means for better future for everyone.
I view the ACG community in the same light, being partitioned by sections and fandoms that only appeal to a select few, very much like the dangerous erosion of ethnic and religious harmony that was imminent in the Malaysia of old.
I hope that one day these colonial confection of polarized pluralism will just be whispers of a bygone era, replaced by the vigour of oneness and the spirit of being a family. All the blockades that has been previously erected will be gone soon and the talk of the dream will manifest in reality. The dream where people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. And that dream is not too far off.
A nation free of fear. A nation led by courage.
A dream realized.