United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Once a year, the word MERDEKA! fills the air, it echoes in the hearts of many.

Some may debate over what independence truly means but that’s not what we’re doing here.

We just want to celebrate this joyous moment in history.

So, what do you love most about our Independence Day ? 🇲🇾

Danial Nasir :

The unity.

Frankly, I’ve been surrounded by malays my whole life. All throughout school since I went to SMKA.

However, I’ll usually join any merdeka celebrations in August and gather together with the multiracial people of Malaysia.

This bond as a Malaysian, those feelings of talking with people from other races and becoming their friends…it’s a very good feeling to be Malaysian.

I know not everyone feels this way because it might not seem like a big deal but to me, it is. I value these friendships because it shows how harmonious we are ; it proves that unity makes us Malaysians a family.

On top of that, what I love most about merdeka celebrations is when my parents tell stories about my great grandparents prior to 1957 – how they struggled to fight the communists etc.

It just makes me even more grateful for this life I have today.

 

Fahmi Ismail :

I’ll be frank, merdeka has only been just another day to me these past few years.
However, the question didn’t specify how I celebrated it in the past!

A little over 10 years ago, 10-year-old me would scour the house for little Malaysian flags and, together with my brother, start thinking of ways on how we could pimp our bicycles with it. We attached it everywhere we could (even on the wheels, stupidly). We’d do this until we ran out of cellotape. There weren’t any judges for it but I daresay my bike always looked cooler than his. We would then sabotage each other’s bikes because that’s what brothers do.

After a good day’s work, we would run back inside and chill in front of the TV watching merdeka advertisements instead of the real TV programmes on show. I remember those moments because I was always amazed at how much value they could pack in a 10-minute advertisement.

Then, even before the clock would strike 6.00pm, we’d be on our bikes, racing each other to the park – our faces full of glee. In those moments where the wind rushed past our horrible haircuts and our scrawny little bodies fighting to be the faster cyclist, I felt like nothing could take us down.

As we jumped off our bikes next to the sakura tree atop the highest hill, we’d watch as Kevin, Wilfred, Kamarul, Yang An, Alex, Ilyas, and Shawn make their way toward us in bikes plastered with Malaysia flags. We would tease each other, saying things like, “Your bike really ugly weh” or “This one Malaysian flag or USA flag?” and the occasional, “Weh, I need cellotape.”

Soon enough, we’d ride off into the sunset. In a blur of reds, blues, whites, and yellows. I imagined the neighbours watching us proudly, waving their flags in unison to ours as we would shout:
“Merdeka!”
And the occasional, “Weh, I need cellotape!”

Sometimes I do wish I could turn back time and be there in those moments. We never knew what merdeka meant back then. Maybe we were too young to understand it. All I knew back then was that I could run around Bandar Utama with my friends without a care in the world.

I guess that’s what merdeka meant to me. To be together with your fellow neighbours. That’s what I loved the most about celebrating merdeka.

 

Ariff Arzmi :

What I love most about Merdeka, aside from it being a public holiday, is that everyone in the whole country gets to unite and celebrate on this special day. Everyone puts their differences aside and we remind ourselves how we’re all Malaysian, no matter our skin colour, race and whatever other differences. It is one of the most joyous days where all of us are able to share and celebrate together.

 

Amalia Yusri :

Celebrating our Independence Day means celebrating the freedom in a peaceful country of Malaysia. Of course everyone knows this. What we need to do is to uphold harmony and unity because they’re included in all cultures/religions. After all, tolerance is a key factor to sustain a peaceful country.

 

In that case, what about a moderate Malaysia – can it ensure unity, harmony and tolerance ?

Fazrul Amin :

Well obviously, everyone comes from diverse backgrounds, personalities, thinking styles, hobbies, interests etc. We are all different, especially in Malaysia as it’s made up of many races.

That’s not a real issue though. The issue is how we deal with those differences. How do we deal with the conflicts of individual or communal interest?

In comes the concept of moderation. It is a highly fundamental principle to create balance where people can tolerate and accept each other.

If this principle is taken away, then extremism will come as a perspective, as the way people look at things and how they achieve life objectives. People will be more self-centered rather than tolerant towards others.

There’s a verse in Al-Quran addressed to Prophet Muhammad SAW about this :

And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.

Surah Luqman 31:19

Which means, a moderate person should have a refinement of character and reasonableness of mind when engaging with other men.

In all matters the middle-most is the best choice.

Hadith narrated by Ibn´ Abbas

In addition, moderation also means that we shouldn’t feel like we’re constantly in our comfort zones. We must not feel like we’re always doing the right thing. That’s not moderate at all.

Sometimes we have to face challenges and hardships to achieve something better in life. That’s how we improve.

Throw moderation to the winds and the greatest pleasure brings the greatest pains.

Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher

Conclusively, moderation is the key to a balanced and just personality thus creating tranquility, harmony as well as a peaceful community filled with tolerance.

 

Edited by Alya Jasmine.

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