Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

(Reproducing a post I wrote on 31 August 2010…)

People are shouting ‘Merdeka!’ and enjoying the public holiday. Another day off from work. While I sit at home and watch the celebrations on TV, I can’t help feeling somewhat peeved that the announcers and the people being interviewed on TV keep repeating that Malaysia is celebrating her 53rd year of independence.

Fifty-three years? Hellooo? Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, just forty-seven years ago. Unless you, my dear reader, have also forgotten how to count, know this: what the country is celebrating with shouts of ‘Merdeka!’ is the independence of Malaya from British rule on 31 August 1957. Fifty-three years ago.

Sabah, the ‘Land Below the Wind’, was given self-rule by the British on 31 August 1963, forty-seven years ago. And exactly 16 days later, on 16 September 1963, Sabah, together with Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya united to form Malaysia. I was at the celebration parade at the Town Padang on that day. I heard the proclamation of independence read by Donald Stephens who became Sabah’s first CM. Tun Abdul Razak, the deputy PM was there. But the Tunku, the PM of Malaya was busy elsewhere.

For 46 years, no importance was placed on the anniversary of the formation of Malaysia. Only Sabah celebrated this day without fail… as Malaysia Day and also the birthday of the TYT. I am told that even the date is not recorded in students’ textbooks. It is as though some people want to mislead the younger generations into thinking that Sabah joined Malaysia, a nation that was already in existence. Wrong!

Now, suddenly someone at the federal level woke up/wised up and has called for a celebration on 16 September starting this year (2010). Better late than never, you say? I smell a rat. Sorry.

Moral: If you tell the truth from the beginning, you don't have to resort to creating lies to support the first lie or omission.

I have a list of wishes for our country:

1. I wish for exemplary leaders; leaders we can be proud of and for whom we’d go that extra mile.
2. I wish for Malaysians to look beyond their fellow Malaysians’ races and religions and know that we are all for peace, health and prosperity.
3. I wish for people to be kinder, more generous and more charitable to one another.
4. I wish that Malaysians will not follow each other blindly especially when passing on opinions or information that might not be true. In situations where the blind lead the blind, ‘they all fall into the ditch together’.
5. I wish that the day will dawn when we’d fill a form that requires just our nationality instead of the options: Malay… Indian… Chinese… Others. (I am not ‘Others’ and so are countless like me in Sabah, Sarawak; and the Peranakans, Orang Asli, etc of Malaya.)
6. I wish that the government takes care of our destitute before helping the poor in distant countries.

God bless Malaysia.

What are your wishes for our country?

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