The two most important dates in the history of Malaysia are 31st August 1957 and 16th September 1963. 31st August is commonly known as Malaysia Independence Day, though that is not quite the case. 57 years ago on this date, the Federation of Malaya (now known as West Malaysia) was independent of British colony. However, independence came a little later for East Malaysia; Sabah and Sarawak actual independence days fall on 31st August 1963 and 22nd July 1963 respectively. Interesting, isn’t it? On 16th September 1963, Malaysia was formed when the Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and for a very brief moment, Singapore. This is known as Malaysia Day.
I am a Malaysian, but I’m also a Sarawakian. Born and raised in Miri, I didn’t remember seeing, let alone participating in any parades except the ones in the television. I remember that there were many mini Malaysian flags hanging on the car top when I was younger, but it was hardly the case anymore. And when I was old enough to understand, I realised that I never really felt the patriotism fires in the hearts of Sarawakians during this period. Moving from the East Malaysia to the West Malaysia can be eye-opening. And this was one of the moments where I truly felt a huge difference. The patriotic spirits are all around as I see the preparation for the national parade; I felt my spirits lifted as I passed by Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square) on my way to work. I would sometimes stretch my head upwards to see the Malaysia flag hang proudly to replace the Union flag.
A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I decided to see a part of Kuala Lumpur through the eyes of a tourist. You guess it right, Dataran Merdeka, or Merdeka Square.
Construction and erection of the chairs were going on full speed in preparation for the National Parade. Even so, tourists still flooded the place, snapping away.
Malaysian flags wave proudly on the flag poles, beautifying the square.The four colours symbolise unity (blue), royalty (yellow), bravery (red) and purity (white).
Malaysia first prime minister’s name, Tunku Abdul Rahman, came with an interesting fact. His last name RAHMAN spells out one of the initials of the six prime ministers of Malaysia, in chronological order. The first, Tunku Abdul RAHMAN (1st) followed by Tunku ABDUL Razak (2nd), Tun HUSSIEN Onn (3rd), Tun Dr MAHATHIR (4th), Tun ABDULLAH (5th) and the current Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad NAJIB (6th). See the coincidence?
“A leader is only as strong as his followers. “
This building was one of the many buildings that belonged to this club, and had been used for social events for more than 100 years!
Interestingly enough, this is a mini replica and was temporarily moved to Dataran Merdeka for National Day. The actual monument is as wide as 48,562 square metre!
If you were sharp-eyed, you may have noticed the picture of the Victoria Fountain was taken on a different day. The Queen Victoria Fountain was brought in from England and assembled in Kuala Lumpur and was one of the few thoroughly English designs around the Merdeka square. Beautiful, isn’t it?
As a Malaysian, I love free stuffs. Admission to the KL City Gallery was free, and the highlight of the tour was definitely the spectacular city model. The different districts of mini Kuala Lumpur lit up during the 5-minute commentary. The part that brought a smile to my face was seeing the tourists enjoying ever moment of their time in Malaysia. Isn’t that what matter most? Happiness. 🙂 Happy 57th Independence Day, Malaysia.