Another holiday? Another day to see the national parade? Another day where everywhere in KL would be jam-packed? People would be filling up the megamall to enjoy the not-so-cold-air-conditioned?
What more is this year, MERDEKA 31st Aug 2012 falls on a Friday! Which means a long weekend ahead! Taking the opportunity to balik kampung/go on a vacation/etc?
We are the second generation who had gained MERDEKA from our forefathers. I never knew how it felt before we gained INDEPENDENCE. I heard stories from my grandma during the WW2 - she had to hide for safety. Adding to that, she had asthma so she had to find Chinese tradition medicine. So, she swallowed pinky (small little baby mice) to keep her healthy. Her struggles during the days before we gained INDEPENDENCE.
But, have we lost the sense what MERDEKA is all about?
Maybe MERDEKA brings a more important meaning to the ones that had been involved in it.
This year, MERDEKA resonated something different in me. I have been pondering on the thought 'what is MERDEKA all about?'. I came to a point I want to re-look, re-read and re-discover for myself the HISTORY again. So, I googled MERDEKA. I read the words in this website. The names - Tok Janggut, Mat Kilau, Usman Awang (these were the only names I could remembered). Memories of names was all I had.
Their oppositions first began in guerrilla warfare which were instigated by former members of the Malacca Sultanate (1511) and Johor Sultanate, Raja Haji (1782), Dol Said (1831), Datuk Maharaja Lela, Datuk Sagor (1875), Datuk Bahaman, Mat Kilau (1891), Tok Janggut (1914), Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong (1928), Datu Mat Salleh (1894), Sharif Mashahor (1860), Rentap (1853) and others.
Another form of resistance by the Malays in the pursuit of independence in the early 1900s were initiated by religious groups such as Syed Syeikh al-Hadi, Syeikh Tahir Jalaluddin, Hizbul Muslimin movement, Gunung Semanggol religious centre, followed by Syeikh Abdullah Fahim, a religious teacher in Kepala Batas in the 1930s as well as Malay teachers particularly from Sultan Idris Training College.
The struggle that follows took a new form through the pen and ink. Who comprises of Malay novelists, story writers, poets and reporters particularly from Utusan Melayu that gave much exposure regarding the fight for freedom from colonialists. Among its pioneers were Zainal Abidin Ahmad (Za’ba), A. Rahim Kajai, Ibrahim Yaakob, Ishak Haji Mohamad, Ahmad Boestamam, Usman Awang, Shahnon Ahmad and many more with some becoming fugitives from the British as well as thrown in jail. Indeed when we track over the roots of the fight for independence, it is apparent that it was path with sweat, blood and tears. (http://www.malaysiamerdeka.gov.my/v2/en/history)
I wondered what had happened to the soldiers who fought for the Independence - The tugu negara. Faceless armies and nameless heroes who had went forward to fight for this nation, I never get to hear their story how it was for them to be at the front line. But, they gave this nation a VICTORY!
Do we cherished the VICTORY?
Today, the definition of being patriotic have taken another road. We no longer need to pick up heavy machinery and fight for this country. Now, we view patriotic as someone who will take a chance for this country and staying back rather than going abroad for better opportunities. Someone who have a vision that this country will change for the better, though there are still disappointments and heartaches.
Reading Yee Bee Yin story really had stirred something in me. Click her for her story (http://www.yeobeeyin.com/2012/06/entering-into-politics-story-behind.html). She hopes for a better country. She hopes for a better education. She hopes to see a united nation.
I have the same hope as her. I hope for a country that is filled with people who is willing to speak out and stand up for what is true. I hope to see a society who sees embraces different cultures and yet live together harmoniously not just physically but mentally.
Without vision, men perish.
But, what can I do for my country Malaysia? I am not like Yee Bee Yin who had taken the role as a politician for this country. I know I can be an advocator to speak out for the voiceless, to pray for this nation, to be a friend to another Malaysian regardless of our colours, to stop making racist jokes and etc.
Actions and words whether big or small still creates an impact.
May God help Malaysia. May God bless Malaysia.
I am only here for a little while. But, I know for sure that God had placed me in this country for a reason. I pray I'll be a patriotic person from the inside out, understanding for myself what it means to be a Malaysian.
Will you join me in having a vision for this country and doing what counts for this country?
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia!