Friday, August 30, 2013

Merdeka Day Eve : 1988

Twenty five years ago, just about now, we were busy getting dressed in our old-style ‘baju kurungs’, ‘baju kedahs’, ‘kain batik’ as sarungs and also as head coverings. The boys were in their ‘baju melayu’ and ‘songkok’, with ‘sarung pelikat’ as ‘samping’, some wearing it like sash across their chest, just like the villagers of the old days. The reenactment of the ‘Merdeka’ countdown parade, the main event of the week long ‘Minggu Kemerdekaan’ celebration will be a first for many of us. Many has already made banners with 'MERDEKA' painted with paints swiped from ‘Seni Reka’ Dept. using bedsheets (which aren't usually used as bed covering by the boys anyway). 

Come 10pm, we assembled at the car park opposite ‘Segitiga Shaari’. Some are excited of what's to come, head already buzzing with stories of those who fought for our country's independence, fighting spirit burning our youthful blood. And then there's some who were dragging their feet down from the dorms, a few were even seen being chased down by the wardens, loathing the idea being taken away from their TV time.

11:30pm we took our place down the road in the village of ‘Pondok Upeh’, then started our march toward the college, with chants and shouts of 'Merdeka' waking the sleepy village in the middle of Balik Pulau. At that time it feels like we were really marching arm in arm toward ‘Padang Kelab Selangor’ to join our brothers and sisters, the ‘Merdeka’ warriors. I remember a friend, one those that were ‘forced’ to join the parade, he was among the loudest, raising the banner the highest.

The clock strikes 12, with ‘Negaraku’ playing on the cassette player, we sang along as we never sang before while the Union Jack was brought down to symbolically mark the end of the British Empire rules on our land. And gloriously our very own, flag of ‘Persekutuan Tanah Melayu’ was proudly raised. The flag fluttering magnificently in the cool midnight breeze reminding us that we are the people of an independent nation, Malaysia.

As we slowly headed back to supper and then to our waiting books and beds, heart and mind burning with new resolve, to do our best in whatever we do, to bring pride to those that has fallen before us in order for us to be where we where then. Most of all, we understand now the responsibility that’s on our shoulder as the chosen ones. I hope none of us has forgotten any of the spirit we had that night.

‘Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka!’ 
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