Fisherman Mohd Merdeka Ismail from Penaga, in Kepala Batas was born on Aug 31,1957 - Merdeka day. But he used to be ashamed of this because the children at school often teased him about his name.
However, it wasn't too long before he realised how special his name was. At the coffee shop at Kampung Simpang Tiga in Penaga, Mohd Merdeka gets free food and drinks throughout the month of August: all he has to do is say his own name three times! It's the month of Merdeka, after all.
"At first I thought the coffee shop owner was only joking but after I said Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka, he asked me to order anything, on the house, ” he said recently.
Mohd Merdeka admits that this isn't the only good thing that has happened to him because of his name. He was invited into Istana Negara by the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, during the nationwide gathering of "Anak-Anak Merdeka". This was back in 2007.
"Many people don’t know that my name has turned me into a celebrity among the villagers and I was also invited to Merdeka-eve celebrations several times, ” recalled the father of one.
He said his name reflects his love Malaysia, adding that his only hope for the country is for continued peace and harmony among its people.
Mohd Merdeka added that his daughter, Izzatul Nabila, 24, also used to be ashamed of her father’s name as her school friends considered it weird, but after so many years, she has become proud of it.
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