We are all Malaysians no matter what our creed, colour or culture
It has been 59 long years since our country achieved independence from foreign rule & administration. Today, Malaysia is still a relatively peaceful and somewhat ideal country to call home compared to our more progressive counterparts. Malaysia has always been a melting pot of racial and ethnic diversity – various communities comprising Malays, Chineses, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Dayaks, Dusuns, and many others live and work together as one Malaysia. It is the often the wish of all Malaysians to be bestowed with equal rights regardless of race or religion for education, employment opportunities and equitable distribution of wealth. As our nation continues to grow and develop, there will only be more hurdles to encounter and challenges to overcome. Whatever the issues plaguing the nation, we have never lost sight or track of who we are and what we represent. Our unique hospitality and open tolerance to others have become a hallmark of our identity. Our spirit of unity will never falter or subside if we continue to choose the path of moderation. May our beloved nation develop and prosper from strength to strength towards building a better and brighter future. But what does celebrating Merdeka and being a Malaysian really mean to us all?
In commemorating Merdeka Day, what better way than to serenade our national holiday with the sweet sounds of our beloved anthem, ‘Negaraku’? Indeed, the rich history of the Nusantara region is once again testament to the creativity of our ancestors. Incidentally, this iconic tune was believed to have been adapted from a Hawaiian song entitled ‘Mamula Moon’ which shared some startling similarities to ‘Negaraku’. More surprisingly, local historians and researchers had discovered that another song, ‘Terang Bulan’ which originated from Indonesia, is the actual inspiration for ‘Negaraku’ itself. Whether it is the lagoon music of ‘Mamula Moon’ or the haunting melody of ‘Terang Bulan’, the rendition of our sacred national anthem will not make us any less Malaysian than we already are. ‘Negaraku’ is played on grand events and momentous occasions – such as during gala events, public speeches, award ceremonies and concert extravaganzas. The truth is, does merely singing along the anthem instill patriotism lacking amongst Malaysians? Regaining, reigniting and revitalizing our so-called “lost patriotism” remains an essence of rebranding the lost spirit of what it is to be truly Malaysian!
The iconic Malaysian flag symbolizes our national identity as well as our national sovereignty. ‘Jalur Gemilang’, our national flag is being put on public display in all forms, shapes and sizes to usher in our upcoming independence day. Merdeka is truly the best time to promote and propagate the unbridled spirit of patriotism among Malaysian citizens. Ad columns, posters, buntings, banners and billboards are often adorned with the unmistakable red & white stripes of ‘Jalur Gemilang’. Even miniature flags are being distributed by government agencies and corporate sectors to the masses to encourage the general population to participate in the festive spirit of Merdeka. Evoking a genuine sense of loyalty, as well as devout and undivided patriotism among Malaysians, Merdeka is also a time of reflection and introspection, as we look back upon what our forefathers have accomplished thus far. Malaysia is reputably one of a handful of nations worldwide renowned for its racial harmony and religious tolerance. Flying the national flag is also one of the simplest ways for people to exhibit their patriotism & passion for the country.
Initially conceived as a brainchild of former premier Tun Mahathir Mohammad as a clarion call of action to Malaysian citizens to reach for greater heights and to achieve excellence in our daily endeavours, this iconic catchphrase is now seen in almost all facets of society and Malaysian life. Be it in national expositions, sports tournaments, social gatherings, cultural festivities and various other events, the intrinsic ‘feel-good’ factor of shouting slogans to trump up one’s self-esteem and personal motivation truly uplifts our spirit of patriotism towards our one-and-only Malaysia. As Malaysians, we should also feel proud and stand tall with the rest of the world. Continue to reap the fruits of success with chants of Malaysia Boleh!
National Day celebrations come in a plethora of forms, styles and fashion. In Malaysia, we often bear witness to colourful parades and flotillas; society and association walkabouts; artiste performances and concerts; numerous traders hawking goods & merchandise to eager & willing participants, as well as a myriad of fun-filled activities that spruce up the ambience or atmosphere for a once-a-year eventful occasion. Understanding and appreciating the real reason behind Merdeka, as well as forging unity and harmony among the various races, have become the pillar of strength that portrays and symbolizes our sovereign pride. Tunku Abdul Rahman, who single-handedly gained our national independence back in 1957, believed that August 31st marks a historic moment for nationwide celebration of all Malaysians irrespective of race or religion. As citizens of a united nation, we also pay tribute to our fallen heroes who helped shape Malaysia these past 59 years. Remembering the evergreen glory and noble sacrifices of our former leaders and past heroes, and what they did for our country – as well as the blood, sweat and tears shed by our great forefathers. This is the day which we reminiscent our history to seek and embrace the underlying spirit, and to discover the true meaning of Merdeka!
Malaysia’s Vision 2020
As a country of 30 million people, we stand united in solidarity in overcoming all adversity as we strive to attain developed nation status by the year 2020. Another brainchild of our brilliant and magnanimous former prime minister Tun Mahathir himself, Wawasan 2020 is one man’s vision and hope of seeing Malaysia become a fully-developed industrialized nation by 2020. With all the global political turmoil, socioeconomic unrest and constant conflicts occurring all over/across the world, it is undoubtedly a sigh of relief that Malaysia continues to enjoy its national independence year after year without fail. We as Malaysians should be utterly grateful to be able to coexist in peace and harmony. To be thankful to be living today in continued safety, security and stability is another reason to share, celebrate and acknowledge our continual livelihood and existence. We all live under a common roof and shared space of a tiny little nation we proudly call our home. And we all have the opportunity and responsibility to protect our everlasting independence. So let us all celebrate our unique diversity and continue to uphold our national unity. Happy Merdeka Day 2016! – HFM