With Malaysia Day closely approaching, many buildings and establishments have already started displaying the Jalur Gemilang in anticipation for the special event. For some, that is the best showcase of their patriotism. But what if there are better ways to truly show your appreciation and love for Malaysia? What if there was a way to give back to the country and its people? Even in small ways. You may think that a family's act of charity may not make that much of a difference, but a small act of sacrifice can change lives. After all, even a small pebble can make big ripples. Here are some good ways to give back to the country as a family. Educate Yourself There are so many injustices that go unseen in our country. Behind all the colourful parades and glamorous concerts are homeless people, disabled beggars and impoverished citizens. Shallow displays of national pride may look good on camera, but they don't really make the country a better place. There is still racism, bigotry, division and unrest. So, if you want to give back, educate yourself so you can make good choices for the country when it's time for you to vote. This way, you can choose leaders who actually have the dignity and wisdom to improve our lives. Learn all you can as well about the plight of the oppressed; The Orang Asli, the ethnic groups of Sabah and Sarawak, the disabled community, etc. This will tell you how you can help. Support Local Businesses Going to a supermarket chain half an hour away may be a fun weekend routine for the family. But there are plenty of nearby grocers and small businesses who could really use your help. They may not have the most variety, but they can often be cheaper and have fewer pesticides. Chances are there's one near you. If not a shop, then a stall that opens every weekend at your nearest fresh market or pasar tani (day market) that sell locally grown vegetables, fruits and even animal products. Besides, shopping closer to home means you contribute less to local pollution. And we all need to reduce our carbon footprint. Volunteer at a Local Shelter Shelters are places where they accommodate the needy and impoverished. There are often facilities, toilets, sleeping cots, clothes and even food. Some shelters are always in need of helping hands, especially for giving out food, replacing bed covers, cleaning toilets and other menial tasks. There are many shelters in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Some of them do not accept volunteers though so remember to do your research. One of the best ways to give back to the community is to take care of those in need. Get to Know Your Local Frontliners Frontline workers are the cogs in the wheel that keep our country running. They are an invaluable asset during calamity and emergency events. Particularly in this recent COVID-19 pandemic. They are usually the first to experience the brunt of the crisis, and often on a personal level. Many have also given their lives to the cause. If you are able to contact your local frontliners, you can ask if you can donate food or other necessities. Some will refuse purely due to tight regulations, but others are more than happy to receive your gifts. If you have law enforcement, medical officers or other frontliners in your family, do help lessen their burden. They may also act as a gateway for you to reward other frontliners. Join a Gotong-Royong Local community clean-ups are such a good way to foster communal harmony and camaraderie. Nothing brings people together like working together towards a common cause. Even if it's just cleaning up litter at the local park. But people rarely do gotong-royong anymore, unless it's for special occasions. If none are being done in your area, you can always organise one. Make sure it's on the weekend. Some places do require you to apply for a permit, so make sure to do your research. Community clean-ups are a great time for you to ask around about any concerns and worries that your neighbours may have. Things that oftentimes needs reporting and fixing from your local civil servant. Additionally, your kids may also get to meet kids their age and make new friends. Donate What most people tend to think of when we say 'give back to the country' includes enlisting for the military or joining law enforcement. You can do those, of course, but there are other ways to show your love for your country too\u2014not only as an individual but as a family. And going for donation drives is such a good way to do that. Donations can come in many forms, not only in clothes and money. Blood, for instance, is in such high demands these days. If your kids are old enough, and they're not afraid of needles, you can take them to a blood drive. Your material positions may only go to a few people, but your blood will continue to help dozens of generations down the line. Give Back to the Country Being patriotic does not have to be a grand gesture that everyone can see. Oftentimes the private acts of altruism mean far more than performative public displays. There's a fine line between being patriotic and nationalistic, after all. You may not be able to change the country overnight, but baby steps are giant leaps. These suggestions may merely involve your local community, but sometimes these places hold the most potential to be ground zero for positive transformation. You can start with your own little corner in the world\u2014after all, change starts where your heart is nearest. And there is no place closer to us than the place we call home. Malaysia boleh! From all of us here at Motherhood, we wish you and yours a happy Malaysia Day! Mummies, don\u2019t miss out on your chance to get limited Motherhood.com.my vouchers today by casting your Motherhood Choice Awards 2022 votes\u00a0here! 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