What’s in a flag? Plenty!

A flag, bearing a five-pointed star and several stripes short of the Jalur Gemilang, was projected during the opening ceremony of an age-group basketball stadium at the Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) Stadium recently.

And it got the whole nation riled up.

The organisers were lambasted for their ignorance while police waded into the matter as MABA made a public apology.

Typically, some turned it political as MABA president Datuk Lua Choon Hann is an MCA man. And there were those who spewed racially charged insults.

It was a stupid act. Period. Nothing racial, nothing political, just plain stupidity.

An over decade-old taekwondo competition, the CK Classic International Open Taekwondo Championship, was dragged into the episode as its logo also consists of a five-pointed star.

The organisers insisted this was done on purpose as the five points “was to show the event is hosted in Selangor and represents participants from five continents”, but will change the logo for its 14th edition next year “to appease the many”.

For the record, the Selangor flag has a five-pointed star as do the Johor, Terengganu and Melaka flags.

It is indeed mind-boggling how the contractor, responsible for projecting the graphics of the flag during the basketball meet, found it.

A Google search for ‘Malaysia flag’, ‘Jalur Gemilang’ or ‘bendera Malaysia’ will result in the correct flag – with its 14-pointed star and 14 red and white stripes.

This is where content, regardless of form, is often overlooked or regarded as petty, until a major boo-boo takes place.

A similar episode happened at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur when the Poland flag was mistaken for the Indonesian flag in the souvenir book.

Even the Brunei flag was wrongly reflected at the National Aquatic Centre during the regional meet.

One would have thought we would have learnt from such scenarios but alas, the same mistake was repeated, this time with our flag.

Ignorance is not bliss, especially when it comes to the pride of the nation and its people.

The Jalur Gemilang is more than just a symbol. It is to remind us of the core values that built this nation – the red and white are about courage and purity; the blue symbolises unity while the yellow signifies the royal institution.

The crescent represents Islam while the 14-pointed star represents the 13 states and the federal territories.

In typical fashion, the matter will likely be forgotten.

Like how the organisers of the 2017 KL SEA Games have forgotten to make their accounts public and the Education Ministry seems to have forgotten a fresh tender for internet providers for schools nationwide needs to be called before the 2020 school session begins in January.

It’s best if we take a step back and appreciate the true definition of the Jalur Gemilang.

Perhaps we will then be more mindful of what we fly, and always remember the colours of strength, unity, purity and the royal institution that makes us Malaysian.