ON Merdeka morning, on a whim, we abandoned watching the parade on TV and headed for Kuantan.
We were welcomed by breezy beaches with the sun beaming down on happy families. How perfect was that after weeks of rain in KL?
The next day, we got up early for bouldering and a long walk to the cove at the north end of Teluk Chempedak.
The walk was not as thrilling as the day before — and not because of overcast skies. Where people had sat the previous evening was the rubbish they had left behind. Stacks and stacks and stacks of it.
Instead of beachcombing for colourful shells or interesting driftwood, we were looking at cigarette butts in their hundreds, burst balloons (even the prophylactic variety), disposable diapers, styrofoam food containers, plastic forks and spoons, water bottles, food wrappers, and the now-empty plastic bags that had carried it all there.
Rather than getting angry and depressed as I did, Sek San said he’d make something beautiful out of it all.
And he did. A Malaysian Merdeka mandala.
This is where we stand after 51 years of independence — a filthy, unthinking, careless nation.