If you’re at a sporting event in which Malaysia is represented, don’t be surprised if you hear the cries of “Malaysia Boleh!” from a section of the crowd.
The phenomenal growth of Malaysia under the leadership of its fourth prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has brought about a patriotic sense of achievement amongst its people.
The Government led the way – by building high (Petronas Twin Towers), long (Penang Bridge) and big (KL International Airport) – to show that Malaysians can excel in whatever they put their minds to, and this, in no small way, has produced a society that tries to outdo itself (sometimes at ridiculous levels, if truth be told) in the endeavours it pursues.
Embodying this spirit is the slogan “Malaysia Boleh!” which loosely translated means “Malaysia Can Do It!” How this slogan came to be the “battle cry” of a nation is rather sketchy but the general belief is that it was the slogan used by a health beverage in its marketing campaign in the 80s.
It caught on and soon cries of Malaysia Boleh! were heard, first only at sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and Thomas Cup Finals, then later everywhere else as it was embraced wholeheartedly by the people as a means to push themselves to endure and accept challenges, to set targets, to excel.
The Malaysia Boleh! spirit has since produced many achievers and achievements, and has shown that it can unite Malaysians irrespective of colour, creed, culture or class. Perhaps it is exactly what Malaysia needs most now to forge ahead to achieve its ideals as a nation.