happy birthday, malaysia.

monday monday. where do i begin to describe monday? merdeka day. you know, i remember a time when merdeka was a big deal. we’d all have flags stuck on our cars – flags that would fly right off the holder on the highways – ya, i remember that too. and people would dangle flags from the balconies of their houses – these flags would be there long after merdeka and would start fading before the house owners would take some of them down. ya, i remember those days.

and maybe it is the economy, or maybe it is the flu, or maybe it is just me, but things don’t feel so semangat this year.

i joined the crew of the merdeka train party to inject some merdeka cheer in the celebration. and for a brief, but importantly very real moment, i did feel the surge of malaysian spirit in the patriotically vandalised trains.

and i can tell you the precise moment too. we were singing chan mali chan. and no matter who you were, everyone knew the words. and there was an explosion of pride. and random people came together. and there was this aunty and her friend who glowed with such happiness and cheered us on. and we laughed. and we sang tanggal 31. and negaraku. and happy birthday malaysia. and just for good measure, selamat hari jadi malaysia.

and yes for that exact moment, i can tell you with complete conviction that we were proud to be right there, on that very train, singing those very songs our forefathers taught us, on this day, in this country, for this very reason.

there was an after party buka puasa thing after the train party. i will not elaborate on it. it was not what i expected and i found myself as a ghost as my former self. only more cynical. i have been there. the glam of things. and i have done that. all the bling. and now i don’t need it anymore. the socialite crowd. the kiss kiss hug hug. i’d like to think that i’ve merdeka-ed from all than that.

driving home later, saya anak malaysia came on the radio. i rolled down my window and blasted the music. i have been around the world (promo: click on my sidebar categories, please). but i am always happy to come home.


5 thoughts on “happy birthday, malaysia.

  1. che-cheh:
    i know what you mean! i remember a time when i was a magazine photographer for the perarakan hari merdeka with all the marching and colourful floats and kids in the middle of the field doing different human formations… sigh…

    happy merdeka day to you too :)

    i’m all up for it. bila you coming back to kl?

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