Rummaging through some old boxes, the veteran opposition politician Lim Kit Siang came across an editorial which he wrote for his Form Three class magazine Light (Vol 2, November 1957) in Batu Pahat High School.
During the past few years, the spirit of Malayan nationalism was aroused to such an extent that Malaya was granted Independence and a new nation was born.
This grand and memorable achievement of Independence was only made possible through the united efforts of the various communities in the country.
Now Malaya has become a young nation and she is taking her rightful place and her part of responsibility in this strife-full world. She must accept and overcome all challenges and, one day, be counted among the greatest of the great. However, the great men of today who hold the steering-wheel of the country cannot be with us always.
We, the youths of today, are the leaders of tomorrow, who will take the helm and navigate the Ship of State to Utopia or Doom. We must now prepare ourselves to ‘serve to lead’. Let us not while away our time in meaningless pastimes and waste away precious moments. Say not that time is abundant, for,
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though strong and brave,
Still, like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
The role of youth in Independent Malaya is now more pressing and difficult for the inexperienced shoulders of the youth of this generation. We will be the first true independent shoulders to bear this responsibility. Let us then work with greater zeal and will, that our standard be not flying at half-mast, so that the whole world may say that the youths of Malaya, our youths, have not been wasted.
However, to accomplish this in this new nation with a cosmopolitan population, we must bear in mind that co-operation between the different races is of paramount importance. It is only in the classrooms, where we are all working on a common basis, that we are imbued with the spirit of tolerance, co-operation and loyalty. Nowhere else is it tested more firmly, and, so let us ‘live and let live’ in friendly fraternity and harmony.
“Looking back, I have largely lived by the spirit of this schoolboy editorial 54 years ago,” muses Kit Siang on the occasion of his 70th birthday.