ONE of the many successes of Malaysian society, is that we all celebrate in some way the many New Years and festivals of our different ethnic and religious groups.
At these times, we all stand together as one people, easing and over-riding the inevitable differences that arise, in stark contrast to the destructive force of differences that can be unleashed by disunity and discord as seen elsewhere in this rather tumultuous and troubled world today.
This ‘standing together’ we need to cherish and continuously seek to strengthen for the common good, accepting that the common good is paramount , and it needs to be the driving force for all of us at all times.
May I suggest that one of our Lunar New Year resolutions should be to try to always work for the common good, casting aside any personal prejudices and preferences we may have.
Like everyone, I believe that the celebration of the dawn of Spring is the time to have a brief look at the past year to think about what we should try to achieve in the coming year .
For myself as the founder and head of St John Ambulance Sarawak , the most important is the CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) campaign, a simple common good that can save lives.
Thousands of people were trained in CPR during the recent campaigns and I have personally suggested that the Federal government should consider making the teaching of CPR to be a compulsory subject in our institutions of learning .
My proposal was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education as its Deputy Minister Datuk Datuk Chong Sin Woon said his ministry would study my proposal on how CPR could be incorporated into the existing syllabus.
He said his ministry was always open to ideas to enhance the country’s education system.
Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women and Family Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah agreed with CPR being a necessary skill and that it could be incorporated as a component under the Physical and Health Education subject.
It is my hope and prayer that all will give their fullest support to both the Federal and State governments so that the proposal can be implemented in the shortest possible time to save more lives.
But why include this in a New Year Message?
My answer is simple. Raising public knowledge and interest and awareness in saving lives is a common good in which we all have a fundamental role to play as responsible citizens.
Thinking about this, would not a New Year resolution to be equipped with the knowledge of CPR to save lives of people, who might even be the same people they love, be worthwhile considering when ushering in the New Year?
I would also suggest that a common good would be to have at least one person in every home trained in CPR , which is really part of First Aid , and that it is our individual and collective responsibility to try to achieve this throughout the country.
Surely a New Year is the time to set this out as a clear objective by everyone of us, individually and collectively, to bring this about. And place this amongst our priorities for the Lunar Year that starts on Friday.
May you all have a happy, healthy, fruitful and fulfilling year.
May God bless this country always.