GEORGE TOWN: Officers from Penang Special Affairs Department were surprised to find mixed reactions from patrons in several Penang cinemas when the national anthem, Negaraku, was played before the screening of movies here.
Department official Mohd Noor Suhaili Jamali said a survey done in 26 cinema halls in the state on Wednesday, found some of the patrons did not stand up when the national anthem was played.
"When the Negaraku was playing on the silver screen, some of them stood up after their friend stood up, some got up but did not sing at all, while some just sat through and crunched on their popcorn.
"This was the feedback that department received based on the movies screened in those cinemas on Wednesday between the first screening at 11.45am and the last screening at midnight," he told some 200 students during a Spirit of Patriotism Among Generation Y cultural lecture programme at Auditorium P. Ramlee here Thursday.
He said there were a total of about 400 and 500 cinema patrons in those cinema halls at that time.
He said it was the first of a five-day period that the cinemas in the country had agreed to play the Negarakutogether with a short documentary about the country's independence before the screening of movies to further promote the spirit of patriotism in the run-up to National Day celebrations.
Mohd Noor Suhaili said comparatively, in Thailand, the citizens there were used to having their national anthem played in cinemas before a movie started.
In Thailand, he said, the citizens would sing their National anthem with pride even in shopping malls and railway stations when the national anthem is usually played at 6pm.
"We should not politicise the National anthem, but instead learn to understand and appreciate it.
"The value of patriotism does not see whether you are Malay, Chinese or Indian.
"We should stand up and proudly sing the Negaraku. We are all Malaysians and there is nothing to be ashamed of singing our national anthem," he said.
Mohd Noor Suhaili added that being patriotic did not merely mean flying the Jalur Gemilang during the National Day period or the wearing of national costumes, but it should come from the heart with honesty, sincerity and loyalty.