National Day celebrations came early for me this year.
As I headed into the Shah Alam Stadium on August 26 to watch for the very first time, a football match played live in a stadium.
It was the epic Malaysia versus Indonesia Men’s Semifinal Football KL 2017 Sea Games event.
The euphoria at the stadium.
The bright sturdy lights, the over 80,000 people thumping their way in.
They came as one single entity – as Malaysians and Malaysians only.
In the true spirit of sportsmanship and in the true spirit of KL 2017.
They bore the Jalur Gemilang, the yellow T-shirts, yellow muffler, all bearing the words “Malaysia” and “Harimau Malaya”.
The spirit of 1 Malaysia was in the air – more than I have ever felt before, even when covering the Merdeka Day parade a few times, years ago.
Unity under 1 flag, 1 anthem
It is because we, as a nation wanted to win.
We wanted to show our might despite being the “younger brother”.
And to be able to win, we needed strength, we needed to be on one side and that side is the Malaysian side.
Under the auspices of Jalur Gemilang and the NegaraKu.
Unity is the fabric of society which, if not harnessed and protected, can be easily shattered.
But once attained, can be the strongest bond that binds everyone together to dream that impossible dream.
And that dream came true on the night of August 26 when Malaysia in the eleventh minute, scored the winning goal, securing a place in the finals of the Men’s Football event.
Re-enactment of August 31, 1957
August 26 was also a significant date for all of Malaysia.
The first rehearsal for the National Day 2017 celebrations kicked off at Dataran Merdeka in the earlier part of the day to ensure the smooth flow of the event on August 31.
According to news reports, the rehearsal mirrored the joy and patriotic spirit among the participants at Dataran Merdeka.
As many as 11,500 participants are involved in the celebration which has the theme ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’, reflecting the multi-cultural and racial mix of the people.
This year, Dataran Merdeka is being given a makeover and the day’s performances will also depict the colonial era of the British and Japanese emergency period.
Other significant events that will be reflected upon include the announcement of the date for independence, pre-independence and the Independence Day as well as the declaration of Malaysia Day.
There would also be performances about the era of the second to sixth Malaysian Prime Ministers, showing the successes and development of the nation from the time it gained independence until today.
55,000 Jalur Gemilang distributed
KL City Hall had also distributed 55,000 Jalur Gemilang to government agencies, private sector, and the public to boost the patriotic mood among the public.
Imagine how much sweeter it would be if everyone came together out of their own accord to fly the Jalur Gemilang, sing and cheer patriotic songs and versus like they did at the stadium.
It would be a TRUE show of support and patriotism like never before.
All in the spirit of Merdeka and the struggle for independence – without which we would not be able to be where we are today.
To stand together and compete as a nation be it in sports or business internationally.
We owe our present and future to our past, to our forefathers.
So let us come together on this day in history and celebrate 60 years of freedom, pride and joy.
Let us be TRUE Malaysians, in our minds and most importantly, in our hearts.
Selamat Hari Kebangsaan ke 60!
Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!
Info obtained from:
By Anne Edwards
(Writer was a Journalist at The Star and Broadcaster at various TV stations including TV3, RTM, NTV7, Astro. She was the Head of Production, News, Current Affairs & Programs at Bernama TV from 2009 – 2012. Prior to that in 2008, she joined Bernama TV as Executive Producer, Host & Anchor)