Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!
31 August was our Independence Day. Unlike some other countries, our independence was granted through negotiation, no blood, no tears and no shit in pants, it was a business trip made by some of our forefathers to Britain. You may bark your brain out Merdeka! Merdeka Merdeka till you pea your pants or you can just take the date as one of the many dates that you have to observe and remember, like birthdays or anniversaries. Up to you!
Proud to be Malaysian? Yeah, I am proud to be a Malaysian, just as proud as Singaporean being a Singaporean, Peruvian being a Peruvian and Timbaktuan being a Timbaktuan (..Mali?), no more no less. Not that I’m being unpatriotic or anything, but proud to be a citizen of your motherland is nothing unique.
The Independence Day celebration is always one big festival in Malaysia (I mean BIG – the preparation must have started a day after the prior year celebration – that’s how big and grand the celebration is every year). Concerts, dances, fireworks, parades and other you-name-it big ‘money-down-the-drain’ events are held year in and year out.
As the celebration going grander and bigger every year, I started to ponder how it is getting more and more superficial. Forget the younger generation who’d probably think this is just another public holiday (just like the manner we observe Hari Pahlawan, hari apa tu??), I am not sure whether people really know what they’re celebrating here. Is this a celebration of a country being freed by the British colonial rule or a celebration of one’s independence in life??
Fact is we have had our celebration of independence when the British granted Malaysia an autonomy status to self-govern. That was in 1957. So, subsequent annual celebrations shall be in the spirit of commemorating individual liberty in life. It’s a celebration of our life freedom!
Look at ourselves. Not unless we are truly independent in all aspects of life with a genuine feel of being independent, we can forget parading and sweating in a stupid futuristic costume under the sun chanting merdeka merdeka merdeka!