Friday, August 24, 2007

Countdown to 50th Merdeka Anniversary.

7 days to 50th M.A. Look at the buildings, shophouses, the homes and the motor vehicles that crammed the roads in KL and elswhere in Malaysia. Overall, there are so very, very few Jalur Gemilang that you can see gracing the buildings and the homes with the obvious paradox: the smaller the building or house the more likely that it'll fly the flags. More interestingly you can see a small house flying a huge flag, and often many flags, whilst the big imposing one flies no flag or a tiny one.

As for the vehicles on the road there could be as many as 50 vehicles w/o a flag to 1 that has. Again the smaller the vehicle, especially the Kancil and the cheaper Protons, is more like to fly the Jalur Gemilang - sometimes many of them creating the danger that the car might just fly - than the huge expansive ones. Some of the amaller ones or the old and almost discoloured vehicles are neatly wrapped up in the Jalur Gemilang. The big, expensive and luxurious vehicles would not, it seemed, want people to be distracted by the flag and pay less attention to the cars.

What's wrong with the way we're celebrating the Anniversary such that some people are not even interested, or let's say could not be bothered to even fly the Jalur Gemilang, a symbol of the nation's sovereingty and prestige? Is it the way we're celebrating it or is it those non-flag fliers themselves who have some attitudinal problems? If they are the owners of the huge commercial buildings, the palatial houses and the big expensive cars - ie. the cream of the Malaysian society, the rich and the successful-there can't be anything wrong with their psyche! Are the relatively poor or the lower class people in Malaysia more nationalistic than the rich and more successful? Surely flying a flag to show our respect to the nation ( that is if you can't find in your heart even a speck of genuine gratitude or love for your country) is no big deal?

I think the disinterest in flying the Jalur Gemilang is borne out of the Malaysians pencant for a reward in whatever they are asked to do - the overmaterialistic nature of our development culture. Start a competiton with a RM100,000 reward for the
100,000 car with a Jalur Gemilang flying on it, and I think everyone will fix a Jalur Gemilang to his or her car. Unless of course RM100,000 is chickenfeed to him or her. Even a chance in a million would be enough to motivate a Malaysian, especially the poorer ones.....lah! If monetary reward is bad for the soul how about an all-paid-for round trip to Hollywood or Las Vegas.
You know why I suggest Las Vegas? The gambling hantus will wrap their car in Jalur Gemilang if they can win a price for it.

The suggestion is of course, not a solution to the pathetic show of interest in flying the flag. The question is how to get the public at large involved in the Anniversary celebration. Certainly watching a march pass and parade by the roadside, a firework and perhaps singing the National Anthem, is not enough. All shows must not only be open to the public but allow them to participate, not just be a bystander. Perhaps the public can be invited to dance with the beauties as they move down the road. Perhaps there could be free food stalls for the family stacked with Jalur Gemilang, prizes for the best decorated cars
with Jalur Gemilang as the theme, etc.etc. The think-tank appointed by the Government to prepare for the celebration must have done the thinking.

Let's not have more of the same year in and year out. Otherwise the 50th Merdeka Anniversary becomes just another red-letter day for the officials and those paid or forced to take part in the celebration. The public will watch, of course, but don't ask them to do more, like flying the flag on their homes and cars!

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