"If" - You Are A Malaysian

A poem about adversity and the quality of being humane in a world of decreasing compassion

Michael Joseph FarrellyMichael Joseph Farrelly
If - You Are A Malaysian - a poem by Michael Joseph Farrelly

"If" - You Are A Malaysian

A poem by Michael Joseph Farrelly

If can keep your cool when those who surround you
Play the race card and blame it all on you
If you can hold your nerve when all accuse you
But still welcome their opinion too

If you can wait without claiming preference
Or be slandered without retribution
Accepting your haters, no thoughts of vengeance
Keeping humble, despite great temptation

If you're ambitious, yet still dream patiently
Think great thoughts, but not let them control you
If you can treat victory or tragedy
With the same calmness and composure too

If you can accept your well meant spoken truth
Be wrenched by weasels to test your resolve
Or see your life's work destroyed by minds uncouth
Yet start again without grudge, you absolve

If you can reach the top without the ego
And avoid the trap of success spawned pride
If you can ignore envy and all its woe
And face the world with your mind opened wide

If you can face down both avarice and greed
And see them for the selfish things they be
If you can think of others and do good deed
And see wrath as madness so let it be

If you can speak softly with humble discourse
If you can talk with Datuks, paupers too
If friend or foe cannot your mind enforce
But your duty done, with no payment due

If you can fill your time, always help and guide
With worthwhile cause, wearing the smile you've won
You're a child of the earth, fill your heart with pride
What's more my child, you're a Malaysian

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"If" - My Inspiration

I wrote this poem thinking about my adopted country Malaysia, a country that I have grown to passionately love, a people that have welcomed me with genuine warmth and friendly faces at every turn, and a country that still, after 15 years, makes me feel happy to be alive.

And yes (before you ask), it is a poem inspired by the Rudyard Kipling classic poem "If" written in 1895