Often we hear
Our people lament
What has happened
To this country
It was never like this
When we were young

We hear the voices of hatred
That seek to divide
Ring out loud
The voices of love
That seek to unite
Remain but whispers …

When race and religion
Are played up by the irresponsible
When differences are emphasized
And similarities ignored

And in their ignorance
They cry
It is us against the other
For that other and I are not one
We are separate … as we are different

To them I say … listen
And look around you now
The young speak with one voice
The voice of love
When the other
Has become brother
And we have become one

Listen and you will hear
The voices of love
Grow louder and louder
The middle ground reclaimed
How … you may wonder

Those who speak the language of hate
And seek to divide a nation united
Watch as their voices are drowned
In the symphony … of unity

Listen …
To the voices of a nation awakening
Where the winds of change are blowing
The unity of its people blossoming

Thank you Sharifah Zohra
For a glimpse
Of the myopic Malaysian
Incapable of differentiating
A patriot and an anarchist
Not understanding
That respect begets respect
Nor responding
With coherence

Thank you Sharifah Zohra
For giving Malaysia the chance
To learn from you
The values of respect … of humility …
To not speak as you have spoken &
To not act as you have acted
For in your words & actions
We have learnt
What we should not say or do …

Thank you Sharifah Zohra
For your magnanimity
In forgiving the one
Whom you have wronged
And whose forgiveness you must seek

Thank you Bawani
For the courage
To stand up for free education
To stand alone
And yet stand your ground
To speak up in a hostile environment
To be the Malaysian
We aspire to be

Thank you to the students in the hall
Who applauded when applause was far from due
For you show us who, not just you, but we, as a society, can be
Compliant & uncritical
While many speak unforgivingly of these young Malaysians
I wonder …
If a similar situation had occurred when we were present
Would our reactions have been any different …

Thank you to the organisers
But for your wise decision
And immaculate selection
This day would never have been

Thank you to the ones who recorded and shared this event
For you have played an important part
In the making of history

Thank you to the beautiful Malaysians
For coming together as one
Who saw not gender, race, religion
Even political affiliation
Or that she was simply a student
But seeing her as one of us
Asking not for herself
But for our children
Why they should not be given
Free education

To those who ask
Is this a fleeting moment
Or a proud new chapter
In the history of our nation

I say
Listen …