A foreign Queen who taught me to love my country – Vinod Sekhar

A foreign Queen who taught me to love my country – Vinod Sekhar

How Queen Elizabeth left an impression on a young Malaysian boy

I FOUND out last night like many others that the beloved Queen of England Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had passed away.

I immediately shared my deepest condolences to my friends in the United Kingdom. And as I thought about it, I personally started feeling the loss.

I grew up watching her. Admiring her. She was a comforting and moral constant in a very chaotic and uncomfortable world.

I find my heart aching with this loss. She may not have been my Queen, but I, like so many others educated in the UK, considered her part of our lives, part of our growth – again a much-needed constant.

I had the privilege of meeting her twice, once with just a bow and a handshake but another much later in a truly memorable conversation.

Filled with warmth, wit, and knowledge. She was certainly a leader that we desperately hoped our own in Malaysia would be inspired by and follow in action and heart.

Be they royal or commoner.

My father knew her and had met her a number of times, and showed her how to tap a rubber tree. He would tell me she was the definition of national duty and service.

I was too young to remember much of anything. But I remember how highly dad thought of her, including her dignity and the way she treated all those around her. She paid attention to everything anyone meeting her had to say.

Not just as a show, but a real desire to understand and learn.

So very different from most of the leadership we in Malaysia often face.

My personal experience only strengthened what my father had shared with me. She had this ability to make you feel understood, warm, and welcome.

She asked me why I moved from being a student of science to business. I said luck, but more because I believed I could make a bigger impact as a businessman.

She pointed out that scientists invented the things that businessmen can invest in.

She hoped I had made the right decision.

I told her that actually, my passion was the arts and theatre. But my father would have none of it.

She laughed and said: “Well, I think we can all be grateful you became a business leader then.”

It’s her amazing warmth and empathy that struck me. Despite the few times I met her and the briefness of the conversation – today I found myself tearing. That was her impact. She made you feel your voice was important and should be heard.

I guess everyone has a different impression of her in real life. I for one will forever be grateful I knew, and be grateful I received the warmth she so willingly shared.

She is one of few people that has taught me that love of my country and people override whatever I feel about transitional politics and politicians.

Dedication and service – that’s the lesson. A foreign queen showed me how important it is to do that for my country.

Datuk (Dr) Vinod Sekhar is Chairman and Chief Executive of PETRA Group.

He is the son of the late Tan Sri B.C. Sekhar, who was Chairman of the Malaysian Rubber Research Development Board and the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM).

source – – The Vibes


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