CELEBRATING Merdeka should not just be about waving the Jalur Gemilang. Malaysians should apply the values and spirit of unity to symbolise the historical efforts of various parties to gain independence.
This was the sentiments ex-pressed by several young Malay-sians StarMetro spoke to, who
plan to mark the occasion in their own way.
Grace Tan Sin Yin and Lian Chee Sim, both 26, will be marking Malaysia’s 56th birthday by doing volunteer work.
Tan and Lian, who volunteer with the non-profit Lifeline Organisation, will be among 13 volunteers accompanying 20 children from Rumah Victory Children and Youth Home to the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) for a fun day out.
“Lifeline has been serving the home for many years,” said Tan, who has been volunteering at the organisation since 2010.
“Every year, we set a different theme — this year’s is “pursue your dream”.
Most people would just relax on their day off but Tan is proud to celebrate Merdeka in a useful manner.
Lian, who usually celebrates National Day by “hanging out” at the mall with friends and family, is looking forward to spending the day volunteering.
“It will be special and meaningful celebrating Merdeka with the children on a field trip. I am excited,” she said, admitting that she liked to go to malls to shop during Merdeka sales while enjoying the patriotic decorations.
“I like the decorations in the mall as it is beautiful and different every year,” said Lian.
She added that it had been a tradition for the family to watch the National Day parade every year when she was younger.
For exercise enthusiasts Tania Wee, 26, and her sister Cherrie, 22, Malaysia’s 56th birthday will be a sweaty affair.
The sisters, who enjoy celebrating major holidays in Malaysia by going on hikes or being outdoors, will be marking the
occasion by joining the KPAC Trail Relay Run 2013 in Klang.
They will be running in a team of four, where each member will complete a distance of 3.5km.
The sisters, who celebrated New Year’s Eve by hiking Bukit Gasing, and Chinese New Year and Hari Raya at Bukit Tabur, said there was no better way to mark National Day.
“I cannot think of a better way to spend Merdeka than with friends and other people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Tania.
An avid baker, Cherrie explained that she decided to commemorate Merdeka by putting mini Malaysian flags on her cupcakes.
Ahmad Aazim Ahmad Fuad, 22, a student at Limkokwing University, is represent ing his institution at the National Day parade at Dataran Merdeka today.
Ahmad Aazim, who is participating for the second time at the annual parade, said he was going to be a flag-bearer this year.
Last year, he was in the choir and sang “IM4U,” among other songs.
“Participating in the National Day parade is fun,” he said.
Ahmad Aazim and his university mates had to leave their hostel in Cyberjaya at 4.45am to reach Dataran Merdeka at 7am for rehearsals, practising five hours a day.
However, he confesses it is a little difficult to full grasp the true meaning of Merdeka.
“Being young, I not know the difficulties encountered by our forefathers to gain independence for the nation,” he said, although he enjoys the high-spirited environment at the parade.
Another flag-bearer, Muhammad Khairul Imam Kassim, 20, a student of KFCH International College, has also caught the Merdeka spirit through his participation.
“I like the semangat tinggi (high spirits) during the event,” said Khairul.
“After the parade, I will hang the flag in my room,” he said, adding that his family usually displayed the Jalur Gemilang at home during Merdeka month.
Dancing her way into the celebrations is Iffah Izzati Yazid, 18.
Izzati, a former cheerleader from Penang, had a friend who was involved with the organising of the parade. When the opportunity to participate came up, she jumped at the chance.
To Izzati, Aug 31 not only marks Malaysia’s independence. The day has a deeper meaning.
“Merdeka celebrations are an opportunity to show the spirit of Malaysians to bring transformation to the country.”