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What Does National Day Mean To You? Here’s What Malaysians Across Different Generations Said

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Source: Expat Go & 123RF

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Disclaimer: This piece reflects the writer’s opinion and compiled opinions of others on the subject matter. It does not reflect the opinions or beliefs of WORLD OF BUZZ.

It’s the 64th National Day of Malaysia and I can’t help but feel rather nostalgic and a little lost. When I was younger, Hari Kebangsaan was not just a public holiday but was filled with celebrations in school that most of us would never forget. It felt great to be Malaysian. But is that feeling still there?

With everything that has been going on the past few months, sometimes it’s hard to feel a sense of patriotism. But I love my country and I’m sure many others would feel the same as I do right now. As a Gen Y or Millennial, to me, Merdeka or National Day doesn’t only mean a country that constantly develops, but also the people in it who move further together towards betterment regardless of the differences in age and race. But that’s just me.

1377674264 Thousands Rehearse For Malaysia 56Th Independence Day Celebrations 2520373

What about others? I’m sure every generation has their own experience and thoughts about what National Day and Malaysia means to them. Here is what I found out:

Gen X

  • May, 40 – Malaysia’s Independence Day symbolized the victory of the unity of different races, different religions, and different customs. Thus, every year on this day, it will remind me of hard it was for some of us back then, and looking at how some of us manage to keep our differences aside and unite as one, makes me feel thankful and lucky.
  • Vanitha, 55 – I miss how WE were back then and I feel nothing will bring that back. Regardless,  I put a flag up every year. When my children ask me why do I even bother, my reply is simple, “There is nothing wrong with this country. The people who run it might be wrong but the country is much more.” So I still hold on to that hope.
  • Yati, 62 – I was born into an era where the unity between different races was as solid as a rock. I certainly miss those times when my friends of different races and me got together and played around as back then, simplicity was pure happiness. To me, Independence Day, especially for my generation, is the day for us to reflect on the tough days we had to endure back then before we have a better life now. While the unity may not be as strong as in previous times, I am certainly hopeful that one day, we can be just like the good old times.
    AA, 66 – Being a retired policeman myself, I have worked with people of different races throughout my 40 years of service for the country. Differences and flaws in opinions were inevitable, there may be some fights, even, but that never break the bond and trust between us because our ancestors that lived during the colonial era have shown us that survival is possible despite the differences, even in tough times. So, Independence Day isn’t just about walking down memory lane for me, but also a reminder to the youngsters that they should never give up easily.

Merdeka And Patriotism 1

 

Gen Y (Millennials)

  • Liyana, 34 – I see freedom on Independence Day. For me, Independence Day is all about remembering how our ancestors suffered during the colonization era, as well as celebrating the victory of our country being free from colonization.
  • Amanda, 38 – Public holiday shouldn’t be the main focus of Independence Day, but to remember how far we have come should be prioritized. I remembered studying history and picturing how tough life was back then, so I am glad and thankful that we are no longer under outside control, and I hope everyone in the present can unite under any circumstances to protect and love our country.
  • Shuhairy, 38 – To me, Independence Day is one of the many reminders that we are now free from outside powers and colonization. Not only that, but this memorable day also serves the purpose for us to always remember the efforts and sacrifices made by our ancestors in the past, all done just for the sake of our generation to enjoy the freedom that we are currently having.

 

Malaysians During National Day


Gen Z

  • Veisha, 23 – This year’s Independence Day feels a little bleak & sad with the current economic & political situation in Malaysia, Covid cases & the death toll at an all-time high. We can’t go out and will need to celebrate from home to be safe. The pandemic fatigue has really had a negative effect on the mental health of so many and even though restrictions have eased, it’s still not safe to go out. Still, during one of the toughest times we face as a country, it’s amazing to see the Rakyat work together through the white flag movement supporting those who are struggling and just trying to stay positive for one another. It’s amazing to see the unity in the people and I think that’s one of the things that gives our country much hope for a better & brighter future, and I hope it remains forever!
  • Khugesh, 21 – Personally, Independence Day is a day for us to especially appreciate the sacrifices of our forefathers. Thanks to them, we get to enjoy the freedom that we have the luxury to experience in this beautiful country today. As a growing youth, I get to enjoy living in a multiracial country with the amazing food available almost everywhere, and most importantly I get to go out freely without the need to worry about being attacked. Sadly, however, the political games in Malaysia and the judgment towards the younger generations, as well as the equality issues are some of the solid reasons why we are still struggling with the same problems. As a growing youth in this beloved country, I really hope in the near future, we can transform and shift into a country that is racism-free where, regardless of the races and religions, the same privileges are given. In the meantime, it is also equally important for me that the voices of the younger generations will be heard. We LAWAN at times because we love our country and I believe Malaysians would love to see the nation as the land of unity, by giving the best to those around them, despite the differences in the background.

Lawan Protest

 

  • Deevika, 20 – Independence Day means catching up with the marching band through the small screen in the morning. Watching the band march through Dataran Merdeka with our Jalur Gemilang gives me a huge sense of belonging is what I feel throughout this iconic day. Like I belong to this country and when they sing the national anthem, I usually stand up and sing along because that is the least I can do for this country regardless of the circumstances that we’re in. My respect and love will always remain because this is where I was born and where my blood spills. Despite so, I really hope the country changes the political games.  There is still the ‘jungle rule’ in politics where the strong one wins while the weak ones are trampled. It should be changed. The rakyat is tired.
  • Rain, 23 – Independence Day means a lot to me. It is the day where the Chinese, Malay, and Indians gather to witness this historical day and it is also the day where people from all races unite as Malaysians. But now, it breaks my heart to see that that isn’t always the case anymore. Ironically, Malaysians are once again isolated into the Malays, Chinese, and Indians. It’s rare to spot patriotic cars anymore where the drivers proudly display the Jalur Gemilang on their vehicles. But my spirit as a Malaysian remains intact and strong, as I wish the country will constantly develop and stay harmonious. Let us forget the differences and imperfections between us, and instil the spirit of nationalism and patriotism in ourselves. I wish nothing but for our country to return and recover, as well as successfully exiting from the consequences of this Covid-19 pandemic. Last but not least, I really hope every rakyat that has been affected by the pandemic will be given attention and helped where needed.

Regardless of who is leading the country, we cannot deny that it is time for a change by offering equality where everyone’s voices are heard and taken into consideration. While remembering the sacrifices made by our ancestors is a must, we have to always remember how far we have come, and only by putting our differences aside, we can unite and perhaps even become a solid example for the other countries to follow.

Happy Independence Day, Malaysia! 

 

Also read: We asked Malaysian Youths Their Honest Opinion On Syed Saddiq’s New Party MUDA

Pjimage 2020 09 17T172430.367

Source: Gair Rhydd
Source: Aliran
Source: Astro Awani
Source: Aliran


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