Categorised | 6 Words

Merdeka

(Pic by ~ezs @ Flickr)

THIS year, Merdeka falls on a Monday. Obligatory flags have been going up on most streetlamp posts and in most public spaces. Yet the number of cars sporting miniature Jalur Gemilang is notably sparse. It seems reasonable to believe that the fanfare surrounding Malaya’s 52nd independence anniversary will be muted.

What has happened to the citizenry’s display of patriotism?

An obvious factor is the commencement of Ramadan, which will render most Malaysians, an estimated 60% or more of the population comprising Malay Muslims, sluggish. Or the international economic downturn, which has rendered our collective pockets slim. It doesn’t help that there’s an influenza pandemic out there, too.

Maybe it’s because it has been more than a year of political uncertainty. Since the landmark 2008 general election, we’ve seen the Barisan Nasional (BN)-engineered takeover of Perak, the constant stream of by-elections, and problems and infighting in Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-governed states. All these have undoubtedly caused consternation.

And then there’s the perennial issue of race, a colonial construct designed to ease governance through communal divide-and-rule. One need only look at Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin‘s accusation of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a race traitor, to see how much traction race-based rhetoric still has.

There is also that nagging feeling that Malaysia does not care for the welfare of all its citizens in equal measure. One doesn’t even have to look at the long mismanagement of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Just consider the lack of action with regards to the Penan task force report.

Maybe our lack of enthusiasm stems from a suspicion that Malaysian independence is not all that it is cut out to be — being, as it is, a deal struck between Malaya’s elite right and the British.

Between May and August 1947, the multiethnic and left-leaning Putera-AMCJA negotiated particulars of the “People’s Constitutional Proposals for Malaya“. They recommended, among other things, equal citizenship rights, a “conference of races” to block discriminatory legislation, and swift independence.

The proposals were ignored by the British administration. They instead adopted the less-progressive Revised Constitutional Proposals for the Malayan Federation, which was formulated jointly with the Malay Rulers and Umno.

The rejection of the so-called People’s Constitution resulted in the All-Malaya Hartal on 20 Oct 1947, a peninsula-wide strike modelled after Indian strategies of non-violent protest. Notably, this part of our history is missing from our school curriculum.

The British reacted to the hartal with the declaration of the Emergency. What does it mean when colonial-style legislation, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinances — used to detain the Malayan left at the outset of the Emergency — still remains intact today?

And why does Merdeka receive so much attention while Malaysia Day receives so little? Especially since the latter commemorates, on 16 Sept, the actual date Malaysia — Sabah and Sarawak included — came into being?

These are just some of the issues The Nut Graph finds itself mulling over, in the lead-up to Merdeka. We’d like to know what independence means to our readers. Is it everything, nothing, or a middling somewhere-in-between? What about Malaysia is most important to you? What are your hopes and worries, as independence day swings around? Tell us in six words.

Tunku Abdul Rahman declares Malaya's independence (Public domain)

Cindy Tham:

Step 1: Merdeka from colonial rule.

Next step: Remove relics of colonialism.

ISA, Section 377, divide and rule …

Deborah Loh:

Selective historical interpretation can spoil Merdeka.

I feel most patriotic when overseas.

At home watching parades on TV.

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Why did Britain deal with Tunku?

But colonial laws are still intact.

Colonial divide-and-rule is still officially practised!

Merdeka negara tetapi tidak merdeka minda.

What role did wasiat raja-raja play?

Still considered “pendatang” despite our independence.

Nick Choo:

Freedom from oppression and … oh, wait.

52 years young and already deteriorating.

Image of a Malaysian flag

(Pic by Chris2K / sxc.hu)


Independence Day: when the aliens attacked.

Country. Hell. Handbasket. Connect dots. Merdeka!

Shanon Shah:

Malaya: founded as a secular state.

Kemerdekaan siapa? Rakyat atau parti politik?

Kisah tanahair sentiasa berkembang. Hayatilah sepenuhnya.

Politik? Merdeka. Institusi? Merdeka. Minda bagaimana?

Let’s focus on Malaysia Day, too.

Unity in diversity — theory or practice?

Erasing and forgetting the left’s contributions.

Zedeck Siew:

Long weekend! Want to go holiday?


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19 Responses to “Merdeka”

  1. siew eng says:

    Sidai bendera kat luar condo je.

    Stringing up Jalur Gemilang around condos.

    Superficial celebrations propping up flagging patriotism.

  2. Robert Tori says:

    Colourful fireworks wonder, 1BlackM’sia race ponder.

  3. terri says:

    ARISE! Dear Malaysians, arrest the rot!

  4. Ritchie says:

    Merdeka became replacement history and ketuan-ism.

  5. James says:

    Malaysia flooded with countless pendatang haram.

    Pendatang haram jahat PDRM look away.

  6. oster says:

    External enemy will unite us all.

    So let’s blame the Brits together.

    Britain really caused all our problems.

    Red-scared Brits favoured single right-wing party.

    Political competition stunted, political dynamism hindered.

  7. Leaky R says:

    Correct! Correct! Correct!… Denial! Denial! Denial!

  8. Jason Sim says:

    Patriotic just because it’s a holiday!

    What Merdeka? Still the same lah!

  9. Eskay says:

    Spare me, slogans make me sick.

    Merdeka! Is it really for me?

  10. lucia says:

    52 years of Umno rule! Enough!

    52 years but still a baby.

    Can Umno ever drop racial issues?

    Independent from what and what independence?

  11. Sivin Kit says:

    Black Malaysia or Better Malaysia? Decide!

  12. tintinto says:

    Celebrate what? Celebrate corruption and racism?

  13. Rajesh Taluar says:

    Muhibbah. Merdeka. Stale, milked-to-the-max 52-year-old jokes.

  14. reza says:

    Jalur Gemilang kaum berbilang negara kecundang.

    Thank God takde jam this year.

    Merdeka? Celebrate? I’d rather be celibate.

    I love Malaysia. You deserve better.

    Try September sixteenth nineteen sixty three.

    Wisdom with age would be nice.

  15. lkl says:

    Witness dies unnaturally, suspect walks free.

    Sacred animal harmed in temple demo.

    1Malaysia but two Perak can also?

    52 years ago, where is Malaysia?

    Look around, there’s Sabah and Sarawak.

    Flags should be raised 16 September.

  16. Rajesh Taluar says:

    My Merdeka wish: acceptance, not tolerance.

  17. Anonymous Coward says:

    Di sini, patriotisme hanya pada nama.

    Pabila rakyat mula bersuara, dipanggil pengkhianat.

    Mengibarkan bendera tak bermaksud cintakan negara.

    Memastikan mereka yang mempunyai kuasa bertugas.

  18. tears for malaysia says:

    Free to Live. Free to Worship.

    Don’t pray near me, my ‘friend’.

    ‘Get lost.’ ‘Come let’s have coffee.’

    I’m your friend, please bow down.

    Temple? No way! Kopi together anyone?

  19. muhammad says:

    National Day should be 16th September.

    Merdeka from Umno/BN is true Merdeka.

    Divide and rule – go to hell!

    British left, BN ruled, same thing.


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