KOTA TINGGI: Although it happened 48 years ago, what he felt when the country gained independence is something that 76-year-old grandpa Aris Jaafar can never forget.
“We heard Tunku Abdul Rahman over the radio making the declaration and I can’t tell you what the feeling was like. It was incredible,” said Aris, who was 28 at the time.
Recalling the hard times before Independence, he said: “We never felt safe. I remember my father and I never worked too far away from home.
“It’s a pity my father never got to see Malaysia becoming independent. I’m sure he would have liked the taste of freedom,” he said during the Merdeka Veterans Assembly here yesterday.
Chinese Chamber of Commerce secretary Yong Moi Hong, 60, also remembered how hard her parents had to work to put food on the table.
“Back then, people divided themselves as Chinese from China or Indians from India.
“Now, I’m happy to say that I am Malaysian and that we are all living together harmoniously,” she said.
Businessman V. Vadivalu, 63, related how he had to juggle between school and helping his parents tap rubber.
“But look at us now. Malaysia is a developing country free from famine, war and epidemics,” he said.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who graced the function, said Malaysia had come a long way thanks to our Bapa Kemerdekaan – Tunku Abdul Rahman.