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Monday September 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 16, 2013 MYT 8:59:40 AM
by kathleen a. michael
SEPT 16 is not just another public holiday but has great significance as it marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of Malaysia. It is the day when Sabah and Sarawak were united with Malaya to form Malaysia.
The day also reminds us of how, despite our diverse races, cultures and traditions, we have managed to live together in peace and harmony.
To find out young Malaysians views, StarMetro gathered five performing and visual artists to talk about Malaysia Day, what it means to them and how they express it artistically.
Mohd Efendi Damit, 21, from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, admitted that he didn’t know much about Malaysia Day celebrations.
“I never knew we celebrated it,” he said, adding that as students, they had all learnt about the formation of Malaysia but Malaysia Day simply was not highlighted as much as National Day on Aug 31.
The Universiti Malaya student also felt that Sabah and Sarawak should be highlighted more.
“It will be good if the two states are promoted more,” he said.
He cited documentaries, commercials and advertisements as a way to educate people about the states.
On his perception about Malaysia, he said three things that came to mind were achievement, colourful and peaceful.
“We, as Malaysians, have achieved a lot together. We are colourful due to our differences and despite our differences, we have managed to live together.”
Some of the works of this aspiring artist reflect his view of Malaysia.
“To reflect on the beauty of cultures in Sabah, I drew a picture of a Kadazandusun woman, showcasing her beauty,” he said, referring to a piece he had submitted for the upcoming Karya Pilihan Tahunan Negeri Sabah 2013 competition.
Mohd Efendi also recommended that people in the peninsula visit Kota Kinabalu.
“You can dine by the sea at the waterfront in Warisan Square, which is a seafood paradise in the Sabah capital,” he said.
Prakash Daniel, 31, also feels there must be more emphasis on Malaysia Day.
The social media executive is also a stand-up comedian.
“Malaysia Day is a reminder of the formation of Malaysia. Many do not know much about this day,” he said.
“Maybe people should start
making documentaries about the formation of Malaysia and advertise more on Sabah and Sarawak to educate those in the rest of the country.”
For his stage act, he often uses the Malaysian lifestyle as material for his jokes and it is his way of creating a bond.
Zaireen J. Redza Piyadasa, or better known as J. Redza, is a photographer, dancer and artist and her take on Malaysia Day is simple.
For her, it highlights the beauty of the diversity among Malaysians.”
For Redza, 33, living in a multi-cultural and multi-racial country is not complicated.
“It is actually very simple, we just have to respect each other’s differences, the way we want others to respect us,” she said.
Redza, who is of Malay-Sri Lankan-Portuguese parentage, shared a photograph she took that reflects how she feels about Malaysians.
“The photo is called ‘Courage’ and it tells people to have courage, to stand up for their truth and the truth of others,” she said.
For Malaysia Day, she is working on the “M50 Selamat Hari Malaysia” project that started on Aug 27 and runs until Sept 17, undertaken by Balai Seni Visual Negara.
Divya Nair, 21, meanwhile, is a student of the Sutra Dance Theatre.
For her, Malaysia Day reminds her how comfortable Malaysians are living together, despite their varied backgrounds.
The young dancer of Chinese and Indian parentage has performed a dance called the River Sutra, celebrating Malaysia’s cultural diversity that make the national identity through song and dance.
The dance explores classical Indian dances such as bharatanatyam and odissi, Malay and Javanese cultural dances.
“Songs in Tamil, Telugu, Javanese and Malay such as Getaran Jiwa and Lagenda were used to show how different songs and dances can flow together,” she said.
For Penang-born singer Bihzhu, Malaysia Day is slowly gaining
“It is usually a low-key affair but this year, many activities have been lined up for the celebration,” she said.
Though this is the fourth year of Malaysia Day is being celebrated, the singer said many in the peninsula still do not know much about people in Sabah and Sarawak.
“I have had encounters with people who think Kuching is in Sabah,” said Bihzhu, 30.
In her opinion, the first step to bringing Malaysians together is to change their mindsets.
“We have to stop dividing ourselves by saying ‘us’ (Peninsular Malaysia) and ‘them’ (Sabah and Sarawak),” she said, adding that though Malaysians have their differences, we are one.
The way she feels about differences bringing Malaysians together is reflected in her song, The Heart Way.
The third verse of her song, “It don’t matter if you’re teh si or susu tarik, it doesn’t matter if you’re kopi O or cafe au lait, at the end of the day, we are really all the same, so let’s do life, the heart way.”
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Family & Community, malaysia day 2013, 50th anniversary, visual artists, performing artists, merdeka day, bihzhu, divya nair, prakash daniel, j.redza
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