PETALING JAYA, Aug 30 — Former badminton champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei called on Malaysians today to “spread love, not hate” as the country’s different ethnicities face a daily barrage of invective messages testing national unity and harmony.
The former Olympian reminded citizens to stand strong as Malaysians and not allow themselves to be divided over “petty issues like Dong Zong or khat”.
“Malaysians lepak sekali, mamak sekali, look after one another tak kira kaum. We cheer for our country Malaysia.
“Don’t let petty issues like Dong Zong or Khat tear us apart.
“Malaysians are much much bigger than these. Tunjukkan kita jauh lagi teguh dari semua nonsense ini. Spread love not hate!” he wrote in a mixture of English and Malay on his Facebook page ahead of Merdeka celebrations tomorrow.
The 36-year-old father of two said that he wanted his sons and grandchildren in Malaysia to have friends of all ethnicities and be able to mingle freely without apprehension or anxiety.
“I want them to feel safe in Malaysia. I want them to fight for the flag, like how I did in the last decade,” said Lee who retired as a national athlete in June after winning medals for the country in three different Olympic Games and other international tournaments over the years.
Lee also gave an example of Malaysia’s multiracial success in the 1992 Thomas Cup where the late Datuk Punch Gunalan was the team manager, while Datuk Razif Sidek was the captain, Rashid Sidek was the most talented, Foo Kok Keong was the fighter and Soo Beng Kiang delivered the winning smash.
“It was a beautiful Malaysia, multiracial. Don’t kill it,” he said.
Lee, a three-time Olympic silver medallist, also remembered when he met China’s Lin Dan during the 2006 Malaysian Open finals.
He said he had felt dejected after he trailed in at 13-20 points with an almost impossible seven match point deficit against Lin Dan.
“I was tired and dejected. I looked up to the crowd. Their vociferous support never wavered,” said Lee on the support from Malaysians consisting of Malay, Indians and Chinese in the stadium at that time.
Lee said he knew he could not give up at that time as all Malaysians hoped for him to win.
“I knew I couldn’t give up. The whole Malaysia prayed for me to win. A Malaysia consisting of kawan, ah ne and Heng Dai.
“A colourful Malaysia. A Malaysia where I eat roti canai for breakfast, nasi lemak for lunch and char koey tiao for dinner.
“We Malaysians are better than these, my friends,” he said in his post.
Earlier, Lee expressed his disappointment on the current state of social media, causing him to not frequent it.
He said this was due to friends and fans shooting vulgarities at each other over very petty issues.
“It is not the Malaysia I fought for,” penned a clearly frustrated Lee.