50th Merdeka anniversary – “Feel good” euphoria absent; instead a stifling “feel worse” sentiment among Malaysians

50th Merdeka Anniversary Message

Unlike previous years, on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, I am issuing a message on the day itself instead of the usual practice of on its eve.

Just one or even two months ago, no one would have predicted or expected that Malaysians would be troubled by many national issues of import come August 31 when the nation celebrates its Merdeka golden jubilee — whether about the Merdeka “social contract” on the fundamental cornerstone of Malaysian nation-building; racial and religious polarization; the independence and integrity of national institutions like the Cabinet, Parliament, Judiciary, Police, Anti-Corruption Agency, Election Commission, the public service; plunge in educational standards and international competitiveness; decline in quality of life with unchecked rise in crime; increasing intolerance towards dissent, press and internet freedom; or a host of other major concerns..

With the 50th Merdeka anniversary, the “feel good” euphoria in Malaysia should be even more effusive than in 2004 which gave Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the unprecedented landslide general election victory, sweeping over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, a feat which had eluded all the four previous Prime Ministers.

In actual fact, the “feel good” euphoria is singularly absent in the country on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary. Instead of the “feel good” euphoria, there is the “feel worse” sentiment among the people which is even more prevalent and acute than at any time during previous Mahathir administration.

Malaysians have both chalked up successes and achievements as well as experienced failures and setbacks in our 50 years of nationhood.

We are right to be proud of our successes but we must be prepared to address our failures of half-a-century of nation-building.

If our 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations is one-sided, focusing only on the success story while ignoring completely our failures, we are not doing ourselves and future generations any service — for we are only continuing to wallow in the pond of denial refusing to learn from the mistakes which history can teach us, condemning future generations to repeat the same grave errors.

The 50th Merdeka anniversary should be an occasion for a national introspection of the formula of our successes and the reasons for our under-performances so that Malaysia can fully achieve its optimum national and international potentials, based on our human and natural resources.

If this is not done, then the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations would have failed to achieve its true and full purpose and meaning.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 1:36 pm

    Is this true or just make-believe?
    it was a Christian king of Ethiopia who gave shelter to the first Muslims in 615 A.D. after they were thrown out of Saudi Arabia as heretics — as a result, in the Koran, Mohammed tells all Muslims that they must respect and protect Ethiopia…

  2. #2 by malaysia born on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 1:38 pm

    Normally every year on 30th August, my family and I would gather round this small hill near my house and almost the whole neighborhood would come out and wait patiently for the fireworks to begin at midnight.

    However, last night (or should i say, this morning), we couldn’t bother to make the effort to get up and out for the fireworks display. Why should I? With all the latest scandals, what is there to celebrate? It pains me even more knowing that the fireworks that i see exploding on KL night-line has benefited someone pockets illegally. Don’t blame me for feeling that way, i mean, after all where is the accountability in the appropriation of those fireworks? I doesn’t want to feel stupid admiring and applauding something that was acquired illegally and ‘supporting’ the whole circus.

    Entertainment for my family at midnight on 30th August was having a light supper and talking about my wife work and my children friends and school matters. Now that’s something transparent and makes one feel good.

  3. #3 by bystander on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 1:48 pm

    What is there to celebrate? I dont have NEP and my children do not have places in univ and scholarships although I pay just as much taxes. Still our children do not have future. Where is the level playing field? What independence are we talking about? We cannot celebrate when we non malays are living in apartheid.

  4. #4 by Joetan on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 2:08 pm

    To be honest, we non-bumis dont really feel a sense of belonging in this bolehland. Even though, I was born after the independence and can be classified as a third generation since my grandfather landed in this country I dont really feel I belong to this country. How can I feel patriotic when I have this feelings in me. Each and everytime, the politician especially those from UMNO drum this feeling into me ever since I was small. They always reminded the non bumis that we are actually the sons of the immigrants from China and India. They told us that we can get out of this country if we are not happy with the discriminating policies. They especially the politicians threaten to kill us if we protest and criticise their discriminating policies. The recent keris waving in the last UMNO assembly is one of the fine examples besides words like mandi darah and so on and so forth. I have a friend who even go insane due to frustration because he cannot enter the local university due to the quota and also his family cannot afford to send him for overseas education due to their financial problem. Frankly speaaking, most of my non bumis friends also share this feelings. I am saying this from the bottom of my heart.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 2:17 pm

    Some say that we have to consider ourselves lucky. We get to have CNY and Deepavali holidays, whereas Australia doesn’t have such holidays. We have Chinese and Tamil schools – many other countries don’t have such schools.

    They can wave their keris, but we can’t wave our fists. They can question the social contract, but we are seditious if we question the social contract. They can break the law, and be absolved of all blame, but if we have to face the full might of the OSA, the ISA, if we even suggest we have documents to prove our case. They can make police reports and force the police to question us straightaway, but when we make police reports, they go into a black hole. They steal, they plunder, but when we complain, they tell us to stop whingeing.

    This is Bolehland – 50 years old, and counting.

  6. #6 by lakshy on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 2:51 pm

    Stayed at home and went to bed early. Woke up this morning, read the papers, and went out for lunch, with all of us dressed in yellow.

    Except for the fact that its a holiday, its nothing special.

    However, I noticed there were few flags up, not like in previous years, Although the roads were quiet, the shopping complexes were jam packed. It’s shopping time for most people with various offers.

    So thats what turning 50 is all about!

  7. #7 by voice on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:04 pm

    Many people are not aware of the truth, being blindfolded for years, and I have that experience not long ago, before this year, I liked the government and BN, and I did’t know why I hate DAP and other parties, now, after some truths exposed in the Internet, I did a self research and observe what the government really doing, I felt that over the years I was being fooled, the government never respect the people, the religion and the country, but they are using them as “tools” for their own good, I don’t want to be labelled as “non-bumiputra” or “non-muslim” anymore, even as “bumiputra” or anything else, but as the CITIZEN, with no difference among all the citizens, is that possible?
    Frankly, there’s not really many people aware of the serious matter, even if just 50% of the people aware of it, that’s not enough, that’s not unity.
    I don’t know is the general election really functioning, but I just registered myself as voter, as just reaching the age, I pray that with the vote we can solve the problems.
    People are expecting a better infrastructure in their area when general election arrive, with the promises given by the candidate, but it is just showing how immature the people are, by just looking on the “surface”.
    So now the country is celebrating, 50 years, hope there is more people discover the truth, of the dark ages, and end it, as soon as possible.

  8. #8 by raven77 on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:16 pm

    Merdeka…what merdeka…..I am mourning for beaten up Indon labourers, referees and …….Princess Diana

  9. #9 by St0rmFury on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:23 pm

    Not many people wearing yellow at the parade this morning. I was tempted to ask a few of them if they are wearing it to show their loyalty to the king, but I believe it’s just a coincidence they are wearing it. I bet most of the people there don’t even read blogs like malaysia-today. I’m hoping the celebration tonight at the stadium will be different.

  10. #10 by Justicewanted on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:33 pm

    The only people who are happy with the Merdeka Celebration are the UMNOputras that make big money through the preparation of the celebration.

    Has anyone of wonder how many hundred millions are spent on the day?

  11. #11 by takazawa on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 3:33 pm

    Ladies and gentlemen, I just received this link from a friend. Check it out. It’s gonna blow your mind to pieces!


  12. #12 by negarawan on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 4:09 pm

    There is no “merdeka” for the country until corruption is eradicated. How many more years are we going to let UMNO, MCA, and MIC plunder and destroy our country? Vote wisely in the next GE….

  13. #13 by smeagroo on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 4:33 pm

    MErdeka celebration was a syok sendiri for UMNO and konco2. Time to get PR projects too in guise of patriotism.

    I was somehow suprprise and impressed though with our PM.

    He was wide awake at 11pm in Putrajaya and gv along speech without falling asleep. I presumed he went back at abt 2am? THen woke up again and proceeded to Merdeka Square very early in the morning to witness the Merdeka Procession. KUDOS!!! I think this will be once a year affair for him.

    On the other hand, I almost fell asleep listening to his speech. Yawnnnnn!

  14. #14 by negarawan on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 4:37 pm

    “We must take care of our unity and we must be ready to destroy any threat which may affect our unity,” Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told tens of thousands of Malaysians who had turned out in the capital’s main square to see the fireworks.

    I think what he really meant was: “We must take care of our personal wealth and we must be ready to destroy any threat which may affect our personal wealth”

    I ask AAB to provide evidences of how he has enhanced the unity of the various races and religion in Malaysia.

  15. #15 by Justicewanted on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 5:39 pm

    Extract from Malaysia-Today

    Title: Merdeka! But beware the new power….

    After 50 years, opposition parties and civil society groups don’t seem to have much of a part to play in them ain official Merdeka celebrations. I don’t see any of the key opposition politicians around.

    Link here: http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/index.php?itemid=7719

  16. #16 by maya on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 5:54 pm

    hi uncle Lim,
    Just wanted to say, with all due respects, i think it is partly the opposition’s fault that he had 90% victory in 2004, as Mahathir was painted in such a bad picture, that everybody thought this guy was the Messiah/ Saviour. Now, of course, people know otherwise. Anyways, after many years, am actually working today and am on call to boot!! And yes, i wore yellow to work too, being miles away from my motherland does not stop me from showing my solidarity to my fellow malaysians. God bless our country and Daulat Tuanku!
    PS: we are going to a Malaysian chinese restaurant for dinner to celebrate and talk about the Malaysia that my husband and i knew when we were children as opposed to the Malaysia my children know now.

  17. #17 by kurangajah on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 6:56 pm

    I believe Hishamuddin’s kris waving at the last UMNO Assembly was the catalyst that caused much discomfort and uneasiness among the Chinese. Things just got worse after that as we saw that Badawi and Najib appeared nonchalant over his demeanor and others who egged him on to use it.
    Malaysia can enjoy much progress, peace and harmony only if many of these leaders stopped their uncouth behaviour in order to score personal points. I ask that they look at the big picture rather than continually attacking the minority races. At the end of the day, what can they gain by creating a shaky and unstable lot of people who shudder at every rumour of an impending riot? Do they hate us so much as to threaten us with stripping us of our citizenship and putting us behind bars? Why can’t we exist together as fellow Malaysians.
    I buy Durians and Longkong from the Malays, and many of them are well-mannered and honest. No problem. But I am disappointed with the behaviour of many of our leaders.
    We love our country and genuinely want to contribute to its economy and well being. Many of us are (figuratively) standing on the edge of the cliff. Does it benefit them by pushing us down into the ocean, and in the process frighten off all investors? Does it?
    Every one can learn from the Raja Muda of Perak. He has set the tone on how a responsible leader should conduct himself, and he is a man who talks his walk and walks his talk. I therefore urge our leaders to emulate him. Long live our Agong and Sultans.

  18. #18 by AsIseeit on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 9:55 pm

    I didn’t have much a mood to celebrate Merdeka Day.
    Why? As a West Malaysian, I feel that it is wrong to celebrate Merdeka Day, because it has nothing to do with Malaysia, but very much to Malaya. We should stop celebrating Merdeka Day but rather celebrate Malaysia Day on 16 September each year!

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 11:07 pm

    “With the 50th Merdeka anniversary, the “feel good” euphoria in Malaysia..” Kit

    The “feel good” euphoria should be replaced by “feel puke” euphoria. That makes more sense.

  20. #20 by alphoti on Friday, 31 August 2007 - 11:53 pm

    I empathise with most non bumi Malaysian feeling in every year Merdeka Day. I for one used to feel this way. The reason is that we feel that we do not belong to Malaysia. Some felt as 2nd, 3rd or ……class citizen.

    I agree with Kurangajah’s view that Hishamuddin’s kris waving has made matter worse. It really hurt the feelings of non bumi. When his grandfather fight for independence, he did not even use kris but brain. Why he need kris against fellow Malaysian? But to give you (especially Chinese) some confort, I believe the kris is not actually for the Chinese. It’s actually for the PM’s notorious S-I-L. Hisham, being the son of former PM is enjoy political advantage & priviledge just like Najib all the while but suddenly come the present PM S-I-L (a big threat). To get Malay support, he is making use of Chinese (as always for other politicians too). Just come to think more seriously, where do our leaders get their money? Kill all the Chinese, where to get money next time?

    Now, coming back to Merdeka Day celebration. I think its time for all non bumi to change our mindset. Do not look down on ourselves. MALAYSIA BELONGS TO ALL OF US. WE HAVE OUR RIGHTS. ALL OF US SHOULD HAVE A COPY OF OUR CONSTITUTION & KNOW OUR RIGHTS & FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS. Most of us are born after independence & so are the so-called bumis. I called upon all Malaysian (bumi or non bumi) to respect each other & live as MALAYSIAN.

    YES! I cannot agree more with ASIseeit. Malaysia was born on 16/9/1963. Malaya, Singapore, Sabah & Sarawak formed Malaysia on that day although Singapore left later. We are 44 years old. We Sarawakian ( & Sabahan) looks stupid when we tell the world that we gained independence in 1963 & we are celebrating 50 years of indepence. Poor Math?

    HAPPY 45TH MALAYSIA DAY ON 16/9/2007!

  21. #21 by k1980 on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 12:35 am

    Boy oh boy, doesn’t this sound quite familiar?
    Former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi and his family looted the country of more than $2.5 billion, according to a new report that exposes a web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen used to funnel money to nearly 30 countries, including Australia. The secret report by international risk consultancy Kroll alleges the assets accumulated included multi-million-dollar properties in London, New York and South Africa, a 10,000ha ranch in Australia and bank accounts containing many hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The extent of the corruption was reported yesterday in Britain’s Guardian newspaper which said the allegations, if correct, would put Mr Moi on a par with Africa’s other great kleptocrats, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Nigeria’s Sani Abacha.

    Included in the report, commissioned by the Kenyan Government but never acted upon, were allegations that:
    * Mr Moi’s sons, Philip and Gideon, a businessman and an MP, were worth $942 million and $1.4 billion respectively; ..
    * A total of $9.8 million was used to buy a home in Surrey and almost $5 million to buy a flat in Knightsbridge.

  22. #22 by karaoke singer on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 12:59 am

    I watched part of the celebrations on the t.v. The patriotic songs are so very catchy and one can sing along without much difficulty. The music did bring out the spirit of love for Malaysia. I am sure visitors and invited guests enjoyed the celebrations. I even imagine Namewee being in the crowd singing along and videoing the whole event and using it for his next blog. I agree with you. All those are just superficial design to hide the ugliness within, the things that are not going well and the secrets which would cause a massive heart attack and instant death. I notice that history was brought out and reminder after reminder given by Tunku Abdul Rahman. How is Malaysia’s legacy passed on ? Do we know the new faces who receive power from the old faces ? People like KJ never appeared in the political scene before until his father in law becomes the P.M. How certain can we be of people like him knowing the right path to take for Malaysia ? Or somehow it is the working of the old faces. The old faces manipulating the newcomers so that they will cause the country to run according to what is already planned a long long long time ago. Will Malaysia finally become a moderate to extreme Islamic state ? The process of desensitization. Giving you bit by bit and in the long run you come to accept everything. Another 50 years from now when we are long gone, how will Merdeka be celebrated then ?

  23. #23 by izrafeil on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 1:17 am

    Personally I do not see any difference in approach for the yearly celebration of NORTH KOREA and MALAYSIA KU KU KU. what the heck ameno people doing in the perbarisan, didnt the gomen asked the opposition party to forgoe their differences just this one and wtf why the gomen still allow ameno members in the PERbarisan?!

  24. #24 by art-upon-mu on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 2:54 am

    What will we be celebrating come 31 Aug 2008?

    Will the next GE be over by then and will we still have a happy AAB as PM leading the BN to another landslide victory?

  25. #25 by lakshy on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 5:01 am

    victory,,,,,,,,,,,but perhaps not as big as the last one

  26. #26 by sybreon on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 5:55 am

    Personally, I think that we should all celebrate Merdeka, regardless of which political party is running the show. Celebrate it for our country, not the present government. Remind ourselves that we need to fight for freedom, then and now.

    Look up the meaning of the word in the DBP dictionary, and realise that we are not yet merdeka.

  27. #27 by Godfather on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 7:28 am

    After 50 years, our elected representatives have forgotten the meaning of the word “shame”.

  28. #28 by Godfather on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 7:55 am

    After 50 years, we have yet to learn to control ourselves, our raw emotions. If you read the comments posted on some Malay blogs regarding the rumoured rape of a Malay woman by an Indian guy in Pasir Gudang, and the crude call to arms, you will realise that we have regressed as a nation.

  29. #29 by k1980 on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 8:52 am

    Thank God he has only one daughter. Can’t imagine what would happen if there are more sons-in-laws waiting in the wings….

  30. #30 by cabby mabok on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 9:20 am

    I found a Merdeka song with a lot of Delima for the Malays.


    Not sure if they have found the answer!

  31. #31 by shameful on Saturday, 1 September 2007 - 3:07 pm

    Dear all Malaysian of all races. If you love this country with greater prosperiety by year 2020, please vote for a true political party that can create us a BANGSA MALAYSIA identity regardless of what races and background are you from. Hope that DAP can put in more effort to get more Malay votes in this upcoming election. Only by doing so, we can have a brand new government with more transparency and fairness in its policies and no corruption to everybody. BN has not been doing a good job to reunite all races to come as one to form BANGSA MALAYSIA for the last 50 years. So it is time for us to seek for changes. If we will still relunctant to change, we will be left out in the globalization world.

  32. #32 by greatstuff on Sunday, 2 September 2007 - 4:30 pm

    The basis of the country’s problem with respect to achievement of true mulri-cutluralism is undoubtedly the creeping Islamisation over the past 25 years. It has resulted in polarised ethnic diversity, and done more damage to the objectives the nation’s founding Fathers sought to create. If some bright fellow in the ruling UMNO league can’t be found to take the lead and begin to repair all the squandered opportunities, the nation will just continue to drift along in a more confused and sad character than has been engineered so far.

  33. #33 by undergrad2 on Monday, 3 September 2007 - 11:31 am

    OK lah…why not we kill the captain and take over the ship?

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