PETALING JAYA: The iconic image of our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman shouting "Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!" is more than a photograph or a soundbite.
It is living history. The birth of a nation that is still growing. A nation that is both a minor miracle and a lost opportunity. A nation that survived bloody guerilla wars (the Emergency), hostile neighbours (the Confrontation) and terrifying racial riots (May 13) in its infancy to become a thriving yet dysfunctional entity.
As we celebrate 56 years of the collective blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors and our peers, it seems that a simple love of this land and of each other is what is needed. And surely no one person exemplified that more than our first Prime Minister.
"No matter what we are, we are all Malaysians," our founding father once said. And it was his steely determination and commitment to an inclusive Malaysia that has helped steer our course ever since that momentous moment on August 31, 1957.