Friday, August 31, 2007

Not So Golden 50th Merdeka

So it's the nation's Golden Jubilee. Why is it then that I don't feel there's much to treasure about this monumental occasion? Maybe it is just how things had panned out through the years, especially the past few months leading to this day that made me feel this way. Maybe it's just me. I don't know, you tell me.

Google Doodle for Malaysia Merdeka 2007

I was in the nation's capital earlier this month. As I stepped down from the bus, I was expecting to see practically every nook and corner of the town decorated nicely for the nation's 50th year of independence. Instead, I hardly saw a Jalur Gemilang that was specifically put up for this very purpose.

Here I was standing in the nation's capital, in the month of Merdeka, on its 50th year of independence and it felt no different than say the month of October of 2000. Needless to say, I was utterly disappointed. In contrast, when I was in Singapore a few years ago when they were only celebrating their 40th year of independence, every lamp post reminded you that Singapore was reaching its 40th year of nationhood. Buildings and every part of town were filled with notices and banners declaring proudly their achievements for the last 40 years. Mind you, this is only for their 40th anniversary celebrations. Kinda makes you wonder what it would be like for their Golden Jubilee.

Don't get me wrong, I've always scorned wasteful public expenditures but if given only one chance to allow the Government to lavishly spend on one major event, I'm sure Malaysians wouldn't mind it to be this one. It is by the way also Visit Malaysia 2007 and let's not forget how Government officials kept harping at us to fly the Jalur Gemilang at home, on our cars and every place imaginably possible (and impossible) but when it came to the nation's capital, they don't seem to be doing enough themselves.

So I don't fly the Malaysian flag at my house or on my car. I didn't run around the neighbourhood or Upper Penang Road in my Jalur Gemilang undies shouting Merdeka at the top of my lungs while waving a huge Malaysian flag (that would have functioned better as a parachute) when the clock struck 12 last night. I just sat quietly at Segafredo sipping my lemon tea and reflected on the years I've spent in this country for the past twenty odd years.

Does that make me any less patriotic than those who dangerously cover every area of their vehicles (including their windscreens) with flags? Does the increased resistance and drag caused by the insane amount of tiny flags on their cars and increased fuel consumption (meaning higher subsidy borne by the Government) make them more Malaysian than I am? Maybe these guys here deserve to be more Malaysian than me. I just love their chicken-shit, cover-my-whole-face, I-have-a-small-prick way of intimidating others, don't you?

Am I not grateful for anything for this 50th Merdeka? Sure I have things to be "thankful" for. Thank you for always making me feel like a second-class citizen although I'm a true blue Malaysian. Thank you for threatening to strip off my citizenship at every opportunity possible as if it is nothing more than toilet paper. Thank you for asking me to go back to my "motherland" China when in fact my motherland is Malaysia, the place I was born and raised all my life and so were my parents.

Do you not speak out only if you truly care about something? Why is it then that whenever we speak out about the things we are unhappy about our nation, we are intimidated to the world's end? Are we less worthy that we can't even speak out our grievances regarding our beloved country?

So this year, there will be no Negaraku played on my blog like previously. Instead, I choose Namewee's Negarakuku. To me, the national anthem belongs to all Malaysians and to me, Negarakuku only exemplifies that. It may be rough around the edges and a little in-your-face but it truly speaks what Malaysians try so hard to say without having a plethora of intimidating laws thrown at them.

This Golden Jubilee could have been worth so much more. Let's hope the following jubilees will have more meaning than this one. Happy 50th Merdeka Malaysians. To me, it's just another holiday and why shouldn't I feel that way? I've always been made to feel like I'm not a citizen of Malaysia, no?

1 comment:

  1. On or around the Golden Merdeka celebrations, we were told of another mega monstrosity to be built right on our golden island.

    Knowing the dismal track record of previous 'megas' in the country I hope the following bit of information will be spread far and wide. Because soon we will be landed with the mother of all mega monstrosities which if come to pass will make Penang a hell to be in during its construction and a blot on the beautiful island for eternity.

    Dear Penangite,


    We have been bombarded daily with a relentless campaign in the press to show us how wonderful the PGCC project is going to be. We have been told about the performing arts centre, the convention centre, the 2 iconic towers, the green space, the non-carbon emissions, the proposed 'chinese expat' school, the building of 2 new flyovers and a tunnel, even the non cutting of Scotland Road trees - every possible objection has been carefully pre-empted and every NGO who might object has been approached and invited for a 'private briefing'. A PR company from KL, FOX Communications, has been employed to 'deal with all of us'. Foreign Mat Salleh architects have been 'impressing' us with their fame and their c.v.'s. Main press figures from leading newspapers are now on the board of Abad Naluri, thus the biased reports. A press conference called by 6 prominent NGOs*, held on 15th September and attended by all major newspapers, where the above plans were revealed, has been met with an almost total news black-out until now.

    It appears we have been misled. Each statement made so far has carefully avoided letting Penang people know that in addition to the TWO TOWERS and the 'green forest', what is actually being proposed is a 'forest' of 37 (Yes, THIRTY SEVEN) HIGH RISE TOWER BLOCKS, each more than 40 STORIES HIGH, planned for the site. Also being planned are 6,933 residential units and 13,000,000 sq feet of commercial space.


    1.How did Open Recreational Space become Development land in the Structure Plan?

    2.How did land granted by the State for recreation, at virtually no cost in the 1930's now be the source of a RM25 billion project for a private developer?

    3. Should the State not be given the first right of refusal if the Turf Club wishes to move?

    4.How does the developer get a density of nearly 30 units to an acre when surrounding land in the Jesselton area is zoned for 6 units to an acre?

    5. How can a project be launched by the PM when it has not yet been approved by the local authorities?

    6. How can we Penang people be told that our traffic problems will be solved when we will be stuck in jams, for YEARS, while the flyovers and tunnel are being built at Scotland Road and Batu Gantong?

    7. How can this project be launched BEFORE PORR is completed when their own traffic consultants have said that, only with the PORR, can the traffic dispersal system work.

    8. Where is the detailed EIA required for a project of this gigantic size? And how did the preliminary EIA get approved so quickly?

    9. Does Penang NEED a project like this when we currently already have more than 1,000,000 sq ft of empty commercial space?

    10.Can’t low-rise residential homes & much needed green parks be an alternative?

    11.Do Penang people WANT a colossal K.L. planned project like this which will change our island beyond anything that we know and love?


    Almost 20 years ago, Penang people said an emphatic NO to our hills being destroyed by massive re-development. We claimed our rights as the ordinary man-on-the-street, as citizens, as voters and most of all, as PENANGITES. Is this project actually being foisted on Penang by MONEY, by POWER and by CONNECTIONS?

    Already many of us lament what Penang has become with the traffic, the pollution and the over-development seemingly approved for the above reasons.

    To all of us who love Penang and who have contributed to her well-being, the PCGG is the ultimate assault on her very sanity and that of her citizens. SPEAK UP to voice your concerns.

    PGCC Campaign September 2007
    Penang Heritage Trust
    17th September 2007

    'Please send out to all your friends and anyone who loves Penang'