America lost a great statesman this week when Senator Ted Kennedy died. As the news poured in from the international media over the past few days, I was struck by what can be learned from this man’s life. I had the pleasure of meeting Kennedy some time ago. I still remember well how warm and hospitable he was to me. I appreciated the gesture he made to acquaint myself to the Senate as he showed me around the vicinity. I reaffirmed my views then, that it was obvious that this dignified gentleman had a passion for politics in the very best sense. He wanted to make people’s lives better. This is a big loss to the American people and especially to his family members and close circle of friends but we should look to his legacy to inspire us to build a brighter future.
Over his nearly five decades in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy became one of America’s most important and influential politicians. He had a passion for listening to a wide variety of voices, building consensus across many different political interests, and writing legislation that made sense to the American people. Some of these issues are not easy for any country to resolve, but as Senator Kennedy’s life has shown, sometimes we must accept the challenge of moving mountains if we are to move ourselves as a people.
Remembering Senator Kennedy and what he stood for has renewed my own sense of idealism that together we can make Malaysia a better country for future generations. On the eve of our independence anniversary, Malaysians face our national challenges as we forge a new direction for our country. We must all own our national destiny and feel that we have a stake in our country’s future. We must adopt the true spirit of personal responsibility and commitment to change Malaysia for the better.