Things To Do Over the Merdeka Weekend – August 2020

Monday (31 Aug) marks the 63rd Hari Kebangsaan or National Day, which commemorates the Federation of Malaya’s independence from British colonial rule. This year’s theme, aptly dubbed  ‘Malaysia Prihatin‘ (Malaysia Cares), is a tribute to our front liners who have worked tirelessly during this difficult time, and is also timely to foster a sense of community which is now even more important than ever. While celebrations will be much more subdued this year, there are still plenty of things that you can do to get into the patriotic spirit:

WATCH A PARADE… KINDA 

Sabah Malaysia Hari-Merdeka-2013-Parade-081
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons

In light of the pandemic, the usual National Day parades and processions have been cancelled. BUT. You can still watch a pre-recorded version on TV. The contingents will march separately, and the footage will be stitched together to create the programme, with the aid of augmented reality and CGI. Now that’s a historic first! Pro: You won’t have to wake up super early to try and get a good spot at Dataran Putrajaya.

PARTICIPATE IN PATRIOTIC-THEMED ACTIVITIES / COMPETITIONS

No parade? No problem! The gov is organising a bunch of programmes with a national theme, including photography and public speaking contests, as well as colouring and drawing contests for kids. Submit your applications here.

VISIT HISTORIC LANDMARKS

Tugu Negara - National Monument

Photo via Flickr / Naz Amir

Since it’s a long weekend, this is the perfect time for some Cuti-Cuti Malaysia (whilst adhering to social distancing norms!) If you’re in KL, you can go on a historic trail and visit some of the city’s prominent landmarks, such as Tugu Negara (dedicated to the sacrifice of our armed forces), the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (formerly the offices of the British colonial administration) and Dataran Merdeka, where Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed our independence. There’s also the Petronas Twin Towers – which stand tall as a proud reminder of our country’s achievements.

JOIN A VIRTUAL RUN

pexels-tirachard-kumtanom-601177

There are a couple of virtual runs you can participate in, complete with medal and T-shirt. The only difference is that you’ll be running on your own, and measuring the distance based on the number of steps on your pacer. Heck, you can even ‘run’ 10 kilometres indoors! Another upside is that you’ll be able to pick your own route. Wear a Malaysian flag bandana for good measure.

GO ON A FOODIE TRIP

Image via needpix

Malaysians and food are inseparable  – and what better way to pay tribute to the national past time (eating) than by tucking into scrumptious local fare? Start off with some Nasi Lemak and Teh Tarik at Village Park, then perhaps Curry Noodles or Kuih Bakul at the Pudu ICC FoodCourt. For tea time, go cafe hopping around KL (I recommend Merchant’s Lane), and finish off your gastronomic adventure with dinner at the popular Jalan Alor. Some restaurants and cafes are offering special Merdeka-themed menus, such as MyBurgerLab with their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger, or Knowhere Bangsar’s Cita Rasa Gemilang, featuring 13 specially crafted dishes to represent the different states in Malaysia (Pizza Tempeh teratai, anyone?)

SUPPORT THE LOCAL ARTS SCENE 

Mass gatherings aren’t allowed, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut out entertainment completely. Show your support for local artists and performers by attending small-scale events. The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) in Sentul has reopened its doors, and they’re kicking things off with a series of cabaret shows over the Merdeka weekend. Love shopping? Get cool goods from local entrepreneurs and small businesses at The Linc KL’s pop-up market, which is happening from August 29 to 31.

 

So. Have you made plans ? 🙂

Malaysia: A New Beginning

Yesterday, Malaysians from all walks of life came out in droves for a purpose – to vote for the future of our country. After the last general elections, which was rife with allegations of cheating, the people had wisened up against tactics employed by unscrupulous parties.

This time, we would do all in our power to ensure that our voices were heard.

Many businesses were closed as people traveled back to their respective hometowns – something I had not seen as much in the last GE. Many of my friends volunteered to be PACA (polling and counting agents). Braving the sun and heat, people lined up at polling stations to cast their ballots – the highest voter turn out yet.

Of course, ‘they’ did everything in their power to hold on to the reins. Oversea ballots arrivied late or did not arrive at all. Re delineation exercises and gerrymandering, and in some cases, open bribery. During the counting process last night, there were numerous reports of KTM (Ketua Tempat Mengundi) refusing to sign forms to officially announce the results. Malaysians waited in bated breath until 4AM, glued to their screens.

But the people were not having it. They have spoken.

As of 10 May 2018, after more than six decades in power since Malaysia gained independence as a sovereign nation, the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition has finally fallen. The corruption, kleptocracy and nepotism that have caused the people to suffer and the country to be in debt, has finally been put to a stop.

We can’t say it will not happen with a new government, but this is the first step to change. And I am so proud of my fellow Malaysians for staying calm and collected, but firm, in our desire for fair elections. The last time this happened in the 1960s, they silenced us with force, and wrested power back into their hands. Not anymore.

Today, we made our voices heard without bloodshed. Today, I’ve never been prouder to be Malaysian.