Malaysia Day For The Malaysian In Me

The whirring sound of the helicopters woke me up at 7:20am, causing me to jump with a start to get dressed for the Malaysia Day parade at Merdeka Square. Made it to park underground at Dayabumi complex & surfaced right where the action was! The marchers & costumed paraders were standing in line with their respective props, mostly the national flag or what we call, Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Splendour), to mark our Independence Day (31st August 1957 – from British colonisation) & Malaysia Day (16 September 1963 – the joining of Sabah & Sarawak with Peninsula Malaysia) with a combined celebration today due to the 31st being Hari Raya for the Muslims.

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Beautiful girls decked in colourful dresses & traditional costumes were all smiles when I extended my camera to them. Even the marchers who were at ease, managed to have fun. It amused me to see senior officials looking stern & stoic as they are put together with the rest of the people in costumes. Navigating through the costumed marchers just as the parade was beginning was quite an experience. I had to get ahead to watch the parade at the Square where the Sultan Abdul Samad Building sits. Uniformed personnel were on duty to manage the crowd & just as soon as I had found a comfortable spot to stake out, I sat on the ground in anticipation of the band of marchers to stride pass.

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Marchers shouting 1Malaysia!

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Prototype cars were on display!

The entire square was filled with people who wanted to be a part of the celebration & the sound system provided by the Ministry of Information did not disappoint. The camera crew put in place with cameras mounted on cranes provided live coverage on several giant screens on the Selangor Padang (field). Upbeat patriotic songs accompanied the marchers & musical bands from various units put on their best while they synchronously trooped to the middle of the square. The rhythm of the parade had set the mood for me, at least, being my first Independence Day celebration since I was born. The meaning of being the 5th generation of Nyonyas here in Kuala Lumpur has caused me to value my country & her nation. And just last night, Najib, our Prime Minister, had announced the abolishment of ISA (Internal Security Act) which allows anyone to be detained without trial, the repeal of the Printing Presses Act amongst others, much to the delight of those who had been fighting for these causes. Only when it is tabled in Parliament can we begin yet another celebration but until then, all it brings is just hope that the act would be followed through.

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Serious marchers & mainly uniformed personnel.

Nevertheless, I was glad. I wished Chien was still alive for me to tell him stories of my journey. Since I got back from Penang, I hadn’t stopped once to grieve. I want to write a tribute to him & accord him more than just a blogpost in my endless rantings & pitches. As my best friend, he deserves a page as he had written chapters in my life before he passed away on the 24th August 2011. I am still dealing with this loss & I’m sure his parents feel it most. Today, is a day I have been waiting for to celebrate being a Malaysian & Chien would have been happy to see me dedicate this day to be a part of history since Sept 16 was declared as a holiday in 2009. He had always been supportive of my ventures despite the mis-adventures I sometimes get into.

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Floats of sorts that whizzed pass!

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Our national hero, badminton world champion, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei!

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The musical band marches by….

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The shiny reflection of band members on a trombone.

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The trumpeteers about to blow!

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Traditional & tribal costumes from natives around Malaysia were dancing in the parade!

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And a true native dressed in bark!
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His head gear was made out of Argus Pheasant’s feathers!!!

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Clowning around….

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What was he folding???

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A balloon flower for this girl!

The field was abuzzed with dancers in colour-coordinated costumes & the inclined scaffold of steps for the human display at the edge of the Selangor Padang was truly a sight. They held pom-poms, danced & flipped their shirts to reveal different colours for the unison display. They waved their flags with fervour to infect the already happy crowd to celebrate the day. Though those of us on the ground had to be cordoned off from the street parade, I still felt a big part of the celebrations due to the music that reverberated the atmosphere. Having fun is an understatement. Flags & a special publication called Semarak Merdeka were distributed to the public while private companies gave out hand fans & reverse osmosis bottled water. The weather held up with blue skies after a bout of rain & haze in the last one week. It was almost perfect. Clowns were getting paid for twisting balloons to entertain little kids & everyone got to the street to take photos with the costumed dancers afterwards. Today marked the first celebration for West Malaysians to acknowledge Sept 16. The sun shone brightly, the weather held up. I live to see the day we recognise Malaysia as it became one with the Eastern states on this fateful day in history. Happy Malaysia Day, you!

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