Erti KasihPosted: August 29, 2008
Maklumlah that two days from now, is our 51st Merdeka.
I remember when I was in Form 4, I participated in the Merdeka celebrations, as part of the school. We played the kompang, sang patriotic songs, and wore the baju kurung, tudung, and the boys wore the baju melayu (I forgot if they wore the songkok as well…) in the colours of our national flag (we sat in the flag formation). It was a whole month’s worth of training with the kompang and to get our timing right. That translates into one whole month of sitting in the middle of the padang, wearing long sleeved t-shirts and trackbottoms, playing the kompang and singing till our voices went course. And of course, by the 1st of September, no one could tell if we were Malay, Chinese or Indians by the colour of our skin anymore. We were all truly sun-tanned.
That was the first time, I have to say, that I watched the Merdeka Day parade. From the beginning till the end.
Today as I think about it, I wonder what it is that we really celebrate every year on the 31st of August. It is our Independence Day. Hari Merdeka.
Sure, Hari Merdeka is a day to be happy about, because we are no longer colonised. Most people are happy because they get an extra day of holiday.
But Merdeka is also a day of contemplation. It is a day we use to reflect on ourselves, and what we have done in the past year(s) to improve ourselves as a nation. It is something like the new year resolutions and reflections that we as individuals do on New Year’s Day.
Hari Merdeka is supposed to be a day when we reflect on our past, when we honour our forefathers who fought hard battles to give us the independence we have today. It is also a day where we review the country we are in now, and ask what we can do better in order to provide a better future for the next generation.
Haris asked this question in one of his posts:
Until these men [the Hindraf 5] and more than 70 others are freed from Kamunting [under the ISA], can we in all good conscience find a reason to celebrate Merdeka this 31st August?
I leave you to think about it.
And I also leave you here with a short video documentary that my friend produced for her assignment in college. It touched my heart, and with Hari Merdeka and Hari Raya coming up soon, I hope it will touch yours too.
*ps: Watch for the part where he goes “Saya tak mau bilang dia kawan, sebab saya mau angkat dia saudara”.
**If you can’t see the YouTube thing here, please do click on the link HERE to go to the YouTube page.