It wasn't a typo when I captioned as Malaya instead of Malaysia. Malaya achieved her independence from the British this day 55 years ago. At that time Malaysia was non-existent. She came into being 6 years and 16 days later when Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined in but 2 years later Singapore was expelled for not 'fitting the agreement'. In hindsight Singaporeans might have felt it was rightfully fated as otherwise she may become just as what Sabah and Sarawak is today.
So what's in a birthday? It is celebrated because there is a reason to, and that has to do with positive changes from year to year. We seldom celebrate birthdays when we're sick but in some culture they do as they believe a happy spirit help ward off illness and misfortune. So is there a reason for Malaysians to celebrate this special day? We do, not so much that we became a nation but because we've made it this far without much bloodshed and have actually grown. But we have a poor index or report card on many scores that make us ashamed of when compared with other nations of similar or younger status. Major setbacks are a more disunited nation where people seems to show more distrust and a less tolerant society in terms of religion, education and culture. Other setbacks are letting greed and corruption take control of our government which ought to be setting better examples to the masses, and a general feeling that we're overrun by foreigners and that our homes have become unsafe. And for the majority a dispair that they are losing control of their lives with an inability to plan a secured future for themselves and their families due to high cost of living and high healthcare costs.
So for many Malaysians distracted by these issues there is a general mood of not wanting to celebrate any birthdays, especially today. Most homes don't raise flags to commemorate this day. It has nothing to do with a lack of love for the country they were born in but with not having a reason. Many ask the question, what for and what is there to be happy about? And it is true. Birthdays are celebrated when we are well and not sick. But if we think like some societies that we must celebrate away evil with rejoicing and noisiness then let's celebrate today when we became one nation. For whatever mistakes made, whatever wrong directions we took, whatever faults we committed against one another, let us say sorry and ask for forgiveness, if not for our sake, at least for the sake of our children and theirs. Malaysia is too nice and good a country to be wasted on mismanagement. And if we need a change we should. May we have a happier reason to celebrate our independence this time next year.
Happy Merdeka Malaya (Malaysia)!