Let’s be colour-blind this Merdeka season

Malaysian flag graffiti

It is time to forget about politics for once, and embrace our love of Malaysia as we count down to Merdeka this coming Thursday, and the equally important Malaysia Day two weeks later.

The country has never been so divided, with Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) facing off with Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the recent state polls in Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, and Kelantan.

As mentioned in last week’s Diary, there is so much hate going around that even WhatsApp groups are divided, with some members leaving due to the incessant messages that start from early in the morning, until bedtime.

Even this year’s Merdeka theme – ‘Malaysia Madani: Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan’ (Malaysia Madani: The Commitment to Unity Fulfils Hope) – did not sit well with the opposition.

Many believe there is a lack of excitement in celebrating the day Malaya obtained its independence from Britain on Aug 31, 1957.

Some say it is because of the theme, but Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong told Twentywo13 earlier this week that we do not need a Merdeka theme to feel patriotic.

Teo also pointed out that a simple ‘Selamat Hari Merdeka/Malaysia’ message, sans themes or slogans, would also reduce wastage as we do not need to print new buntings, posters, T-shirts, and other paraphernalia, each year.

He added: “If there is (a need for) a slogan, it should unite the nation and not have any political undertones.”

How true that is. If you look at the United States of America, its Independence Day celebrations are simply known as that, or the 4th of July. No politically-driven slogans or logos in sight.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) deputy president, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, said any Merdeka theme or logo should focus on the country and the celebration itself, and be apolitical.

Unlike some hardliners in Perikatan Nasional, Ahmad Faizal is willing to be the bigger man, saying that while he is against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s policies, as a fellow Malaysian, he would willingly celebrate Merdeka alongside him.

Now, that is certainly good to hear. Hopefully, more politicians will have the same mindset.

FESTIVAL MERAKYATKAN SENI BUDAYA MAH MERI

If you want to know more about the Mah Meri culture, visit the Selangor Culture and Arts corporate communications’ Facebook page to get details about an upcoming festival for this Orang Asli tribe.

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS

MYReaders is looking for 20 volunteer tutors to read one-to-one weekly and in person with 20 children at Pusat Kerja dan Latihan Lembah Pantai.

The group hopes to start its first reading session on Sept 9. Each session begins at 10.30am and lasts for 90 minutes.

Those interested can register WhatsApp 016-2846012 or email lyderiany@myreaders.org.my

HEALTH SCREENING CAMPAIGN

CMC Seremban will organise a blood donation, a blood test, and a health screening campaign on Thursday, Aug 31, from 9am-1pm at the Seremban Methodist Church.

Besides the blood donation, the activity on that day includes free eye examinations, Chinese medicine osteopathy and free consultations by medical doctors.

There will be HPV DNA screenings for married women under 65 and mammogram tests and consultations for women aged 40 to 70.

APPLE PIE LASAGNA

It is uncommon that a dish will get everyone talking, but this Apple Pie Lasagna recipe is just that. It is a creative mashup of American and Italian comfort desserts.

It is not just your typical lasagna, nor is it your classic apple pie. This inventive dish combines cream cheese, crumbled cookies, and a sweet, spiced apple filling. It is a must-try dessert.

ORANG KITA

With Merdeka just days away, we end this week’s Diary with an unusual patriotic number by Azmyl Yunor, which he released on Sept 16, 2022 – Malaysia Day.

Azmyl said ‘Orang Kita’ (our people) is about identity politics – “a powerful currency wielded by those in power for their benefit, to sway the masses”.

He said if you stripped away all the layers of race, gender, and religion – institutions that highlight and perpetuate our differences – we are all humans.

That was why he added the ‘Aku manusia’ (I am a human being) refrain in the song.

Until next week, stay safe and Selamat Hari Merdeka.

https://youtu.be/F1JbpH1V2HA?si=5GgDPnH6hnc0b5zf

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