Tanggal 31. Bulan lapan, lima puluh tujuh.
There goes Sudirman, his voice reverberating on the radio around this time of the year again, immortalising the historic event of the country in spirited verses. Even if Malaysians have varied musical interests, this song will surely be one of the iconic songs that we have memorised word-for-word, or can hum to at the very least.
August usually brings with it an array of joyous activities to celebrate Malaysia’s National Day, one of which is Merdeka parade traditionally held across cities in Malaysia. This year however, in keeping with the new norm where social distancing is necessary, Malaysians who look forward to take part in the parade this year will have to content themselves with other forms of celebration.
On July 28, the Honourable Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has officiated the national level launch of the 2020 National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign to raise the spirit of togetherness amongst Malaysians. This year, “Malaysia Prihatin” was chosen as the theme, to reflect the sincerity and Malaysian hospitality especially to portray our very own people who stepped up in the face of adversity in these troubled times.
As we usher in Merdeka month this August, other than flying our national flag proudly and blasting back-to-back patriotic songs from our “Lagu-lagu Patriotik” playlist, let’s celebrate by walking down memory lane and see what our historic structures look like then and now.
This was where the iconic “Merdeka” was cried out seven times in succession by Tunku Abdul Rahman, formally declaring the independence of the then Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957. The image above was taken during the first celebration of Independence Day in 1957. The stadium is still used today to hold sporting events with the capacity to fit 25,000 spectators.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building & Merdeka Square
Sultan Abdul Samad Building was built as early as the late-nineteenth century which was used as the government offices of the British colonial administration. It faces the Merdeka Square, so named after the historic event. On the night of 30 August 1957, the building became a monumental site as it witnessed the lowering of the British Union Jack. The flag of the Federation of Malaya was then hoisted, marking the dawn of a new era.
Today, Sultan Abdul Samad houses a number of government ministries and is one of the prominent landmarks in Kuala Lumpur. The red brick building frequently graces many postcards and has become a favourite amongst photographers and architecture enthusiasts.
Many of you are probably aware of the dark times our nation had gone through. Tugu Negara or the National Monument had been erected to honour the nation’s soldiers and those who died, fighting for the nation, especially during the Japanese occupation and the Malayan Emergency that happened within the period of 1948 until 1960. The sculpture depicts a group of brave soldiers fighting heroically, one of them proudly holding the national flag. Did you know that it was once bombed in 1975? Believed to be the work of communists, the monument suffered some damage and was then restored and unveiled in 1977, which looks like what we see today. Towering high at 15 metre, it is now the tallest freestanding bronze sculpture grouping in the world!
Looking at the photos of our national heritage and reminiscing about the times our forefathers fought for the independence that we enjoy today, I can’t help but feel blessed and grateful.
Although coming together physically can bring a sense of camaraderie amongst Malaysians as we celebrate our national unity, just because we can’t all be together physically doesn’t mean the celebration can’t be as joyful in spirit! After all, abiding by the SOPs and playing our part as caring Malaysians, serve as our testimony that we are truly Malaysians, as we care for one another. If we don’t care for our own, who else will? #kitajagakita
Tell us, how are you celebrating Merdeka this year?