|A at the National Merdeka celebrations, Pulau Pinang|
1957: as a young child then, I cannot remember much of this historic year for the country, when the Federation of Malaya gained independence from the colonial rulers. I guess living far away (in Alor Star, Kedah) from where the action was made a difference. Nevertheless the resounding Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! was a familiar sound come every 31st August.
While living in Pulau Pinang, in the 1980's, we sometimes ran into living history in the form of none other than our 'Father of Independence', Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. Usually it would be at the local Cold Storage store in FIMA, and he would always be accompanied by this big, burly bodyguard. B and A were very young then, but when informed, they did realise the significance of this great statesman. To this day they still scold me for us not taking pictures with the Tunku!
I have never been to any of the Merdeka parades in Kuala Lumpur, but I have watched some of them live as a couch potato (as I am doing right now). Except for once, when the celebrations came to Pulau Pinang. It was conveniently held in the Universiti Sains Malaysia main padang (field) almost next door to where we lived in Gelugor. So we were there to join in the celebrations.
Looking back, I realise that my father Ba never failed to fly the flag every Merdeka day. In fact I still have a vintage flag of Malaya of his that was previously strung on a pole in front of our houses (in Alor Star and Gemas). Now let me go locate where my new flag is ...