MERDEKA is a fitting time to ignite patriotism and children have their own way of showing their pride and love for the country.
In the case of six-year-old Alis Khaled, her painting of the Jalur Gemilang is a way of expressing her love for Malaysia.
The girl had voiced her intention of painting the Jalur Gemilang to commemorate National Day but her architect father Khaled Ahmad thought it was just the fleeting interest of a child.
“I didn’t think much of it but she was determined after being inspired by videos she saw online on paintings of the national flag,” said Khaled.
Her brother Anas, 26, was happy to indulge his kid sister and soon bought materials worth about RM400 including seven litres each of red and blue paint.
With the art supplies prepared, Alis worked on her mega project — painting on a sheet measuring 12m long and a metre-wide.
In the end, she used up more than half the paint from both containers to complete the project.
It was certainly no ordinary task for a child her age.
“Alis was focused and it was all her own idea,” said Anas, also an architect.
“We just assisted her by purchasing additional tools and encouraged her.
“Initially, she wanted to use colour pencils but we advised her against using them as it would take a long time and her hands might hurt.
“My sister then agreed to use premium outdoor watercolour paint,” he added.
While many children her age have short attention spans, Alis, the only girl in a family of four boys, spent almost 10 hours daily painting the flag in the living room of her house.
Her proud father said his daughter persevered and would stay awake until 1am to paint the flag, which she finally completed after spending more than 100 hours over two weeks.
He said Alis’ focus on wanting to paint the Jalur Gemilang both surprised and touched him.
“She has a sense of pride and loyalty for her country and so do I.
“Malaysia is still the best country in the world to live in.
“The people here are generally kind, we still live in harmony and this is remarkable compared to so many other countries.
“The food here is cheap and delicious,” said Khaled, whose job had taken him to many other international destinations.
With the flag completed, Alis dreams of presenting her masterpiece to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Not bad for a child who sees the bigger picture.