Students proud to be Malaysians, minus the parades

Beauty of Malaysia: Johanawi with 2018’s Miss Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Hosiani Keewon during the 2018 National Day parade at Marina Court, Kota Kinabalu.

GEORGE TOWN: As Malaysia Day draws nearer, Sabahan student Johanawi Mohd Taha will be creating a video clip on the country’s history, diverse culture and food, and share it with family and friends.

“As we’re not allowed to gather to celebrate the event, this is the best way to mark the day.

“Apart from food and historical buildings, we are truly blessed with wonderful people.

“Unity of the people, and racial and religious harmony is of paramount importance.

“This Malaysia Day, I will be making a short video on our rich culture, the people and the food.

“The essence of being united as one nation can be captured and shared with family and friends through videos,” said the 22-year-old.

The part-time video creator said he found himself missing the days when he could gather to commemorate the National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations in public spaces.

“For example, I used to watch the National Day parade with my family and friends during pre-pandemic times and people from all races would gather in the heart of Kota Kinabalu to celebrate the occasion together.

“Every year, everyone would look forward to watching the marching band with the army and locals dressed in ethnic attire,” he said.

For another Sabahan, Dayangku Nur Sarah Pg Mohd Salleh, Sept 16 is a constant reminder to herself that she lives in a country with multiracial people, who have different beliefs but are still able to sit down at the same table and live peacefully.

“Malaysia will always be my home, my sacred place.

“Malaysia is where my heart belongs and despite the current situation where the pandemic and politics make the headlines, I am grateful that we can still live with ease of mind.

“Everyone is also very friendly and helpful, so I am beyond blessed to be a Malaysian,” said the 22-year-old student.

Animation student Lai Li Kee, 23, who was born in Sarawak, said she remembered the time when her aunt and uncle would tell stories about how Sarawak joined in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“That day, I taught my little niece and nephew to draw their own ideas for Malaysia Day using a tablet.

“They had so much fun exploring the colours of the Dayak attire.

“I also miss ayam pansuh, lemang, rendang and chicken curry that my relatives from Indonesia would bring during our open house gatherings on Malaysia Day,” said Lai, who is of Indonesian Dayak and Chinese heritage.

Another student, R. Veniysha, 22, said she and her classmates had the chance to perform during the state-level Malaysia Day celebration in 2013.

“We were ecstatic to perform before government officials and a huge crowd of people.

“I look forward to better days so that we can gather for such celebrations again,” said the Penangite.

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