Saturday, 1 September 2012

So yesterday was our Independence Day. I didn't do anything fun, I just partied the night before.

But while I enjoyed myself at the party, I actually did not like the whole idea of organising a 'Merdeka party'.

Why? Because it marks the day our country gained independence, not a friend's birthday. I actually have some pet peeves about important days like this.

Organising 'Merdeka' parties
I understand if you're organising a party because you wanted to take advantage of the public holiday, but I don't see the need to have an independence day-themed party. If I force myself to, I can see the value in organising one such event overseas since it caters to overseas Malaysians and the artistes performing were Malaysians, but at the same time I'm a little iffy about this. I mean, at the end of the day, there is no other objective other than partying- it's not like people there are going to feel awfully nationalistic and proud of our country.

My biggest pet peeve of the night was the singing of Negaraku. Not only was it played in a nightclub which is definitely inappropriate to have a national anthem played, the person singing it didn't even sing it in its entirety. Think of the recently concluded Olympics. Think of the pride of athletes when they sing their national anthem at prize giving ceremonies. Now switch to it being sung in a nightclub.

Randomly wishing others 'Happy Merdeka'
This I find utterly annoying. While it is a celebration of independence and freedom from our colonial masters, the term 'Happy Merdeka' sounds to me like something you would say during a festive season, like 'Selamat Hari Raya' or 'Happy Chinese New Year'. I guess this is something that happens to all Malaysians- we see holidays as just holidays because of how many we have. But there are very different holidays. There are sombre ones, religious ones, cultural ones, and nationalistic ones. Merdeka comes in the last one- it's a commemorative day. In other countries who actually fought wars for it they also commemorate their fallen soldiers. We don't need to do that, but still, I think that there should be more to this day than just wishing people 'Happy Merdeka'. You might not understand this since it's hard to put in words, but it just annoys me to no end.

I know that it's hard to think of a better term, but isn't 'Merdeka' reason enough to be happy?

Trashtalking and politicking
Reading about the political news on this day is truly pathetic- it seems that our politicians cannot even agree on how to commemorate this special day that is supposed to be for all Malaysians regardless of political beliefs. They can't seem to take a day off, stop talking about each other (and themselves) and instead talk about why they are happy for their country, can they? Like I said- pathetic.

So there you go. What I don't like about Merdeka celebrations. Don't get me wrong, I love our country despite our shortcomings, but I also think that of all days, this should be one where we could agree on something and actually be proud and happy about it.
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