1MALAYSIA: Gotong-royong the way to go
2009/10/09 - NST
DELREN TERRENCE DOUGLAS, Selangor Youth Information Bureau, Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia
LAST Saturday, Malaysians of all walks of life, from the very young to the very old, irrespective of race, took part in a gotong-royong at Bukit Gasing which was organised by Friends of Gasing Hill and Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya.
The event, which was to plant 350 trees, was directed by PJ councillor Derek Fernandez.
The gotong-royong was undertaken after a forest fire in early May wiped out certain parts of the forest.
What I cherished most about the tree-planting event was that it was done voluntarily by Saturday morning joggers and trekkers out for their weekly excursion.
Everyone chipped in to carry a plant or two from the gathering point into the forest.
The event brought a sense of oneness, camaraderie and smiles between strangers all out to do a common good.
There was also a mother with her two young sons between the ages of 4 and 6 who not only took time to explain to them the reason for the tree-planting but also got both boys to carry a small plant each into the forest.
Those who took part in the event would have also felt a sense of pride at being Malaysian. It gave the volunteers a break from the nitty-gritty of daily life, and from politics that forces us to choose sides.
More such gotong-royong should take place to bring Malaysians together. If anyone wants to know what 1Malaysia is all about, then last Saturday was it.
The Federal Government should emulate Friends of Gasing Hill and MBPJ.
They not only managed to bring the people to come together but also taught them to love nature and help the rehabilitation of the forest.
Politics or affiliation to any political party was not mentioned, thus bringing people from both sides of the political divide together in the gotong-royong.
Syabas indeed to the organisers.
To those who missed last Saturday's event, there will be another round of tree-planting gotong-royong tomorrow at the entrance of the Gasing Hill jungle trail.
What better way to exercise and sweat it out while doing a good deed at the same time.