DESPITE the searing hot weather, the mood was jubilant at Eco Ardence Sales Gallery in Setia Alam, Shah Alam, as participants converged for the #AnakAnak Malaysia Walk 2019.
There was exuberance in the air as differently-abled people from all walks of life gathered to show their patriotism and unity with gusto.
The event which started in 2015 as a simple idea to unite Malaysians, has since attracted thousands of participants who come together to embrace Malaysia’s uniqueness while celebrating National Day and Malaysia Day.
This year’s #AnakAnak Malaysia Walk was even more special as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah graced the event and later flagged off the 5.5km walk.
Hails of “Daulat Tuanku” filled the air just before participants headed off, while many who came in traditional attire also sang patriotic songs while waving the Jalur Gemilang to enhance the carnival-like atmosphere.
Local entertainer and host Jiggee Jon, who was emcee for the event, had the crowd going with a fun warm-up session and jokes.
As the walkers took off, one of the highlights were heart-shaped cut-outs placed along the route that provided photo opportunity while inspiring patriotism.
Also providing entertainment for the walkers was St. John’s Institution Kuala Lumpur’s Pipes and Drums band which put on a bagpipe performance.
For wheelchair-bound Jet Low, 20, from Klang, who underwent brain surgery two years ago to remove a tumour, his disability did not hamper him from taking part in the event.
“It is my first time joining #AnakAnak Malaysia. Before this, I was very aloof and did not come out in public.
“I like outdoor activities so events such as this gives me confidence to be out and about, ” he said.
His mother Daisy Kho, 52, who pushed her son’s wheelchair throughout the walk, said this was a great opportunity for her son to avoid being homebound.
“He has improved tremendously and this event made us come together with family and friends, ” she said.
Another wheelchair-bound participant, Goh Kuan Then, 33, from welfare centre Dual Blessings Bhd, said being physically disabled did not stop him from joining walking events such as #AnakAnak Malaysia.
“My friends who are hearing impaired have also joined the walk to show our unity, ” he said.
The participants had their refreshments provided by 100Plus as they came to the halfway mark.
The crew of Massimo under The Italian Baker Sdn Bhd also provided 7,000 cream rolls and buns.
And what walking or running event would be complete without the ubiquitous green Milo van? The line to get the refreshing thirst quencher stretched around the area as Milo served up 5,000 cups to participants after they completed the walk.
Meanwhile, figure skater Julian Yee, who also joined the walk, said he was glad to be able to do something patriotic on National Day.
“Usually, I will just be at home watching the National Day celebrations on television, so being part of this has been fun and really exciting, ” Yee said, adding that walking in the hot weather was however a challenge.
Joining him was National Cancer Society of Malaysia youth ambassador Dr Choo Mei Szem who was clearly excited to be part of the walk along with other Malaysians.
“Being here makes me swell with pride and I am happy to do this for a good cause, ” she said.
Entrepreneur and shoe designer Christy Ng was also seen among the crowd walking proudly as a Malaysian.
“I am incredibly happy to celebrate Merdeka today with everyone else and feel blessed to be a Malaysian.
“Being a citizen of Malaysia is a privilege in many ways. We enjoy stability and for entrepreneurs like me, there is good economic growth, ” she said.
DRB-Hicom Bhd group strategic communications head Mahmood Abdul Razak beamed with pride as he looked over the multicultural crowd that surrounded him at the starting line of the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2019.
“Every year, this event never fails to show that Malaysians are united and you can see every race here, and some of them are in traditional wear in this hot weather.
“For the sake of national unity, they will go all out and show what Malaysia is and I am very proud to be a part of this event, where Malaysians come together to walk for the nation. DRB-Hicom is giving out a Proton car to a lucky winner, which is something we are very proud of, ” he said.
Besides being one of the major sponsors of the event, Panasonic Malaysia marketing innovation department general manager Chew Keng Heng and his family were also among the crowd.
“For the first time, the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk is being held in the evening and it is one of the biggest events for our National Day celebrations.
“While walking, I can see people of different races and ages coming together and I feel proud of the new Malaysia, ” he said.
#AnakAnak Malaysia Walk 2019
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