Malaysians say on Merdeka

 |Aug 31, 2016
The first Agong of an independent Federation of Malaya, Tuanku Abdul Rahman reigned from 1957 to 1960.
The first Agong of an independent Federation of Malaya, Tuanku Abdul Rahman reigned from 1957 to 1960.

As Malaysia celebrates its 59th Independence Day on Wednesday August 31, 2016, Malaysians have their say on their spirit of Merdeka.

Malaysians from various ethnicities shared their thoughts, hopes, dreams and memories of Independence Day with Malaysia Outlook.


Waraporn Charunin Lai Hwa
Waraporn Charunin

Waraporn Charunin Lai Hwa, student, 24, from Kedah: 
“To achieve independence means a lot to a country.  In other words we have our own authority to rule our own homeland thus avoiding others to take advantage of us. However I would say that we had only been freed from physical colonization, yet mentally we were still being colonised. Look at how we dressed and how k-pop wave has been viral among us, it somehow stain our glorious independence moments!”

Ahmad Nur Azhar Ahmad Aziz, policeman, 24, from Penang:
“Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! The sound of our founding father’s voice echoed in Merdeka Stadium. Aug 31 means we are now an independent nation after years of colonisation. All the races are united and each of them played their roles to achieve independence. Let’s hold hands together and pray for a bright future to be upon us. Happy Independence Day, Malaysia!”

Keith Kumar Subramaniam, manager, 39, from Penang:
“I was aboard for many years and it was only when I returned to Malaysia for good that I realised being born a Malaysian is indeed a gift. We have a beautiful country with friendly people from all walks of life, multi-cultural ethnicity, living together as one nation. We respect one another’s religion with its cultural diversity, a vast variety of cuisine, lovely beaches, coolest mountains, sky scraping buildings, heritage sites. The warmest hospitality one can’t find anywhere else but only in Malaysia, our land, and tanahair yang tercinta.  Selamat Menyambut Hari Merdeka!”

Serene Liew Huey-Ern, executive, 25, from Penang:
“Our national day is not just a memorial of the brave and a celebration of independence but also a reminder to us all that we are sharing a home with beautiful people of all races. So, let’s embrace all differences and built a better nation together. Merdeka!”

Christopher Chan Chee Keong, manager, 50, from Penang:
“I have seen the Malaysian technology evolution & people mindset transformed radically over the last five decades. Subdued children of the past have evolved into patriotic youths. Educated and grown-up in unity through this multi-racial and multi-cultural society and environment, I am eagerly looking towards a government of continuous integrity for a better tomorrow.”

Kee Hui Zhen, student, 24, from Penang:
“Merdeka is the perfect time for us Malaysians to contemplate. First, recalling the moment of victory in gaining independence. Secondly, expressing gratitude and loyalty, to think of how blessed we are to live in this motherland. Thirdly, we should think, as the people, what can we contribute, for a better future? Always be proud to be a Malaysian and on top of everything, stay united.”


Nurhannah Mohd Azman, lady runner, 25, from Penang:
“It is so amazing to see people open up to each other and embrace the different cultures that we have here in Malaysia. For example, rojak! There so many things in it and so weird, yet that deliciousness of rojak will make you say “ho lio!” That is unity of Malaysia, we embrace the differences. Happy 59th Merdeka!”

Chan Tiek Woh, bank manager, 50, from Penang: 
“Malaysia may not be the perfect country but this is definitely a perfect place I proudly call ‘tanahair ku’. I made it good here and owed it to this beloved country.  It is my Merdeka wish that all races can come together and be united by the common love for Malaysia.”

Nazri Mohd Noor, student, 24, from Penang:
“Merdeka has always been a part that makes us, Malaysian. Despite the hurdle that we, Malaysian had to overcome, we managed to maintain our independence throughout the years. I believe in a better world and future. My hope for our beloved country is that we continue to grow as one and achieve solidarity throughout the upcoming years. I dream of a nation where colours are the only thing that troubles us, while painting a house.”

Muhamad Azim Md Nor Azman, 21, Student, Penang
Muhamad Azim

Muhamad Azim Md Nor Azman, student, 21, from Penang:
“If people ask me whether you believe in super powers? Superhuman? My answer is a definite – Yes! My reason? Simple. I live in Malaysia. The troops that sacrificed their lives for people they barely knew. That’s something. That is love. For their country, family and freedom. They are the real superhuman. #tributetothelegends Happy Merdeka Day!

Elini Odzlan, teacher, 28, from Penang:
“As a teacher, I always adore how my students connect with each other within the four walls of the classroom.  It can be as simple as sharing notes with friends of other races, or helping me to translate words that are difficult to understand by non-native speakers. We adults should learn from our students that respect and helping others is crucial in making difference to our lives. Let’s invest this love of unity for the future youth of this great nation. This faith of Merdeka is best followed by example – A path to unity through diversity.”


Mohamad Fadly Mohd Zain, engineer, 28, from Penang:
“Finally the day arrives. As he gathers everyone in one stadium and raised his arm declaring, Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!!! The stadium rumbles with voice of Merdeka. Independence was declared and we should appreciate what we have today. This is our beloved homeland called Malaysia. Thank you, Malaysia. Sehati Sejiwa.”

Nashita Aleeisha Lim Abdullah, general manager, 40, from Penang:
“Independence – does not come cheap and overnight. Independence is awarded to us because we strived for it. We strive to be trusted, respected and acknowledged. Let us come together – women, men, the old and the young. Let us continue this daily strive for independence in our everyday life. Happy 59th Merdeka to all Malaysians.”

Bella Lim Yi Yu, student, 20, Penang:
“Happy Birthday Malaysia! Thank you for giving me a wonderful home, the chance to live under the same roof with other races, being able to understand and speak different languages, celebrate different culture festivals and taste different foods. I couldn’t imagine my life without anyone of these above. I am so proud and eager to tell everyone around the world how special is my country. But nice moments doesn’t last forever, you are sick Malaysia. You are so ill right now and it makes me really heartache to see all the sickness inside you. I wake up every day to read negative updates about you, the currency is dropping, people are suffering, the poor get poorer, turnover rate is getting higher, education system getting worst. Why Malaysia? Why? I am really worried. Please make a change. It’s not only for you but also us Malaysians, for our future. Be strong Malaysia. Have faith Malaysians. I love you tanahair ku, always and forever.”

Joan Lew Phooi Yin, designer, 38, from Penang:
“From young my dad always tells me that Malaysia is the safest place to stay which is very true. We also have the best example of cultural of multi ethnicity Malay, Chinese and Indian, in the world where we all live in peace together. Freedom in the mind, faith in the words, pride in our souls, let’s salute the nation on this auspicious day.”

Sukhveer Kaur
Sukhveer Kaur

Sukhveer Kaur, motivational speaker, 50, from Penang:
“Proud Malaysian and life is beautiful here in Malaysia. We have so much here in Malaysia let us share with our other friends who are less fortunate. For me Malaysians are friendly, love doing charity and have empathy to others and that is Merdeka.”

Alisa Azlan, executive, 23, from Penang:
“Having been born 35 years after Malaysia gained her independence, I have had the simple but often undervalued pleasure of living in a free country my entire life. I have grown up to appreciate what Merdeka truly means, and I hope my generation has grown together with me. Merdeka!”

Joanna Marie Gough, 27, from Perak: 
“I can’t comment about Merdeka anymore. It used to be so easy growing up. I can’t comment anymore because – I can’t remember how or what it means to celebrate “Merdeka”.  On my Facebook, it’s all about leaving the country and going for a holiday for the long weekend. That’s Merdeka, to me. Getting away, long enough to refresh and start anew.”

Cindy Chan Wei Sean, teacher, 37, Perak:
“During my school days, when I hear patriotic songs on TV after news, or watch the Petronas advertisement by Yasmin Ahmad about harmony in showing how we Malaysian gather together to celebrate Merdeka, I feel a sense of national pride. Every year on Aug 31, I will make sure I wake up early in the morning just to watch the live telecast of the National Day parade. Now that I am older, I don’t feel that excitement anymore but I still love my country because I am Malaysian.”

Eliz Grace Tan Lee Lee, company director, 46, from Kuala Lumpur:
“Merdeka is when we, the people, are set free from having the fear of losing our identity in this nation, where people from all races, ethnic groups, having different religions and language background, are proud to call ourselves Malaysians.”

From Left - Nur Rasyiqah Johan 13, Nur Malikah Johan, 8 and Nur Batrisyia Johan, 9 (1)
From Left – Nur Rasyiqah, Nur Malikah and Nur Batrisyia Johan

The Johan Siblings – Nur Rasyiqah, 13, Nur Malikah, 8, and Nur Batrisyia, 9, – pupils, from Kuala Lumpur:
“Our national day is just round the corner. My sisters and I are of mixed Indian and Malay blood. We study in Chinese school since we were four years old. We are children of Merdeka as we are united with all our multi-racial friends and teachers. It is fun to learn about other races and languages. We are proud to be Malaysians!”

Humairah Lokman, fresh graduate, 23, from Negeri Sembilan:
“This is my thought on independence in the form of a free verse poem –
What we often forget,
He lives across the road,
Flags of nation jutting out,
Along the fence of his house,
Whom rarely comes home,
But within him, lies his loyalty,
Reminds us, once again,
That you and I,
Breathing in the freedom,
No bombs or bullets,
Raining over us,
This, we tend to forget.”

Penny Tan.
Penny Tan.

Penny Tan Wei Wei, manager, 43, from Johor:
“Without our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s sacrifices and hard work, we would not be celebrating Merdeka Day today. May Tunku’s foundational sacrifices not be in vain – may truth, justice and righteousness prevail in our beloved nation, Malaysia!”

Rina Petronella Rajim, student, 24, from Sabah:
“To live freely without anything or anyone controlling us, being able to make our own choice, free to do the things that we love to do, get our voice heard and most importantly to be happy in a harmony environment where everyone respects each other regardless of  languages, religions, ethnics or statuses. For me, that is Merdeka.”

Rona Clarenie, student, 23, from Kinabalu, Sabah:
“Merdeka is a celebration that remarks as an independent day for Malaysia. However, personally to me, Merdeka is being human to each other, and standing up for your right to be here, doing things you love and passionate about without restraint, being Merdeka is making a choice to change yourself and your society for the better.”

Crowd at Merdeka Stadium during the proclamation of Merdeka on Aug 31, 1957.
Crowd at Merdeka Stadium during the proclamation of Merdeka on Aug 31, 1957.


Doris Lim is a Malaysia Outlook contributor with a keen eye for details developed form her background in architecture and design. Her affable personality and passion to celebrate life is captured in her stories of the community. Doris’ love for all things beautiful and quirky is tempered by her love for writing, photography, food, art and travel.