Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy 54th Merdeka Day!

One of my most well-loved students updated his status on Facebook with this statement:

home is & will always be where the heart is, HAPPY 54TH BIRTHDAY MALAYSIA!!! ♥ - Chee Kin

Being a newly qualified pilot for a low-cost carrier in our neighbouring island country, he has always had a strong connection to home, further fuelled by his studies and training overseas. Now that he is officially allowed to fly his own planeful of passengers around the world, I am assuming that his urge to have roti canai and Milo ais at any time of the day will grow. Hm, or pan mee from that stall in front of the Sri Kembangan high school.

On a more personal note, I have not really been a big fan of Merdeka-related activities, other than the public holiday that it gave. If you consider watching the annual Merdeka parade on the black box in the living room one of them, then that would be the only thing I do in the Merdeka spirit.

I know I have mentioned this before elsewhere but I am going to say it again here. I think that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Only after leaving the country have I found the Merdeka spirit growing inside of me. Being away from all the festivities in Malaysia has made me miss 'being Malaysian'.

We are no less Malaysian anywhere we go but we are most Malaysian when we are in Malaysia. We adapt to the context that we are in, redefining who we are from the way we present ourselves, the type of English that we use and the way we dress, to list a few.

The recent Bersih 2.0 rally that took place around the world a few months ago has helped in building this 'extra strong' feeling of love for the country. The power of the Internet - remember the powerful message that was sent out by the photo of Aunty Bersih, Aunty Annie Ooi? For the want of a better government for the love for the country.

Also, thank goodness for the Internet, I get to watch all those tear-jerking, tug-at-the-heartstrings TV adverts on YouTube. Like these ones by Astro, Primeworks Studios and Petronas:

Haha, I would not be surprised if my colleagues, lecturers and students who walk past my office while I watch these would wonder why I smile to myself while staring into my flatscreen. I must look rather silly!

In full Malaysian pride, I wish my dearest tanahair a very
54th Merdeka Day!

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