SHAH ALAM: It’s their birthday and they will walk if they want to.
And that is precisely what Nurul Izzatul Afifah Aziz, 28, Nurul Hayati Rumlan, 36, and Wan Mas Merah Wan Chik, 48, did to mark their Sept 2 birthdate.
They became part of the 3.8km #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk to show their appreciation for a peaceful nation and to maintain good personal health.
Nurul Izzatul, a senior executive administrator with an airline, said she walked with her five colleagues and wanted her birthday to be remembered with a patriotic walk.
Nurul Hayati, a university researcher, said she wanted her husband and children to be part of the walk.
“Family time is important. Walking with thousands of people is also inspiring. It will encourage my children to love the outdoors, and appreciate the green environment,” she said.
Wan Mas Merah, who works for a financial institution, said she loved participating in walks or runs.
“Life is good when you have health. I am happy, some close friends are with me in this walk and it is a wonderful moment etched in my heart,” she added.
“Joining a walk on my birthday is so fulfilling. I hope to continue similar walks for many years to come.”
As for Tan Cheong Sin, he remains an outdoor person even at 80. The avid walker took part in the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk for the first time yesterday.
“I love this walk. People of all races walking in support of Malaysia, it is beautiful,” he said.
Tan said he prefers to spend his time outside, walking at the parks close to his home in Petaling Jaya and taking part in community walks.
Asked whether he kept to a special diet that gave him a lean physique, he said “no”.
“I enjoy all types of food but eat in moderation. I do take some Chinese herbs as a tonic for energy,” said the father of eight children and 14 grandchildren.
Another participant, Jaswant Singh, 79, a former Klang KTM Berhad station master, said: “I participated in the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk in 2016 held in Kuala Lumpur. It was a wonderful event. So, this time I am back again. I want to mingle with like-minded people who want to see this nation prosper.”
The father of five children and seven grandchildren is no couch potato.
The septuagenarian is known among athletes, as he is a frequent volunteer at the SEA Games.
Volunteering, Jaswant said, is in his blood.
“Even today at #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk, it is my contribution to the nation,” he said.
Besides Tan and Jaswant, there were nine other walkers in their late 70s who enjoyed the morning views of the new development of Eco Ardence landscape that is taking shape.
Young families came with their babies and toddlers in tow, complete with carriers and strollers.
Ezatul Akma Kamal, 33, was with her husband and three children aged between six months and six years.
“It is a good day out for us as a family. I knew about this walk and that this place is beautifully landscaped. So my husband and I decided to join as a family and it is also a treat for my eldest child whose birthday was on Aug 31.
“It is nice to see the people coming together for a walk. It makes me proud to be a Malaysian,” she said.
Some participants also made the effort to dress up such as those from Sabah and Sarawak.
Angelynna Lovelyn Lawrence, 22, who is a Bidayuh, and her sister attracted much attention for wearing the Iban and Bidayuh attire.
However, she said that many people mistakenly thought she was wearing a Thai traditional costume and greeted her in Thai.
“They greeted me with a sawadikap. People are confused as the Iban women costume is similar to the Thai costume.
“This walk is a good way to learn about the traditions of the east. That is why I wore the Iban costume, while my sister wore the Bidayuh costume,” she said.
The Kayan people, an indigenous tribe in Borneo, made their presence felt too.
The women wore intricately designed beaded necklaces and sequinned costumes.
Lydia Wan, 41, who was with her friends and family, said they took the opportunity to showcase their handicrafts.
“Kayan are famous for beading works. My mother made these neck pieces and clothes that I am wearing now,” she said.
As for Woweham Sindeh, 30, he is a Kadazandusun who came in his traditional costume that he rarely wore in the peninsula.
“I prefer to identify myself as a Malaysian, so I was a little shy to wear my traditional attire. But I feel good wearing it now as I can see people appreciating different traditions,” he said.
Four youths came as fairies, wearing a pink tutu and wings.
The idea was mooted by the only male in the group, architect Wilson Leong.
“I thought it would be interesting to dress up as fairies to make this day memorable. We bought our costumes at a do-it-yourself shop,” said Leong, 26.