Thursday, August 30, 2012

55 Yrs of Independence....

After 55 years of Independence or Merdeka, I see that people become more and more insensitive or lukewarm to the anniversary celebration. I don't see flags flying around on cars and busses, fluttering atop building, and the whole city being lighted up. The centers of activity for the celebration are few and numbered. It's not like the whole nation rises up in pride and jubilation.

I keep thinking that this is probably due to the fact that government is handling everything. The Merdeka celebration is fully orchestrated by government, from arranging the parade, the processions, the music, the dances, etc. We pick the schoolchildren to do most of the stage-filling jobs, the acrobatics (if you can call it so) but more like becoming the pom-pom dancers. Actual participation by the people and the crowd is practically nill. You only go to the Merdeka Square to watch, almost the same same thing every time, sometimes tolerating the sun or the rain. So, it's not surprising if people chose to stay at home and watch everything on TV.

How to allow people to participate actively in the processions and all the shows? The organizers need to think about that, inviting every form of participation that people want. Musical performances along the street by professional or amateur bands with dance group to invite participation from the crowd could be a draw. Street dancing in fancy dresses could be another crowd puller with free participation from the crowd, moving along determined routes around the Square. Even opposition groups could be allowed to participate by mounting their own shows, with participation from the crowd and no 'ceramah' or politicking. ( Who wants to listen anyway when dancing and singing is the order of the day or night.}

Whatever it is we have to break away from the old tradition of presenting cut-n-dry performances, exploiting the schoolchildren under the rubric of participation, and limiting the participation of companies and agencies to a semi-fancy dress march through probably accompanied by a float. Why don't we allow them to perform in whatever way they want to entertain the crowd. Such entertainment could even start on the eve of the anniversary.

I feel that the Merdeka celebration should also allow Malaysians to show their artistic talents, express their joy and pride in whatever way they want under the light and within the premise of the Merdeka Square. People don't want to be mere spectators anymore, they want a piece of the action. Isn't that what merdeka is all about?


kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
I'm sad! The reality of the situation seems so depressing. It's true! There does not seem to be a oneness of purpose! It's most apparent this year! A country that appears divided right down the middle. Each (the Govt and the opposition)trying desperately to outdo each other. There are separate themes and separate logos for Merdeka (to avoid confusion the Govt later did away with the logo) There were calls to revise the flag, calling the present flag Jalur Malang instead of Jalur Gemilang. It came even with a visual of how the new flag looks like.

We can be given doses of what they have in mind in the run up to the GE but to cause the thinking of upheavals to national pride smacks of political immaturity. I don't think Mitt Romney would make fun of the Stars and Stripes and call for a change as it looks like the Jalur Gemilang. He would salute the US flag for he's a US citizen. But here it's much to the point of childish thinking or of extreme blunder or both. Disrespect was shown also to His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor who was not extended the normal Merdeka invitation by the state.Today damage control was frantically being bandied about that the State Secretary was the one to invite. It's so unsettling!


norzah said...

I share those feelings, Akhi Hank, but listen to the leadership recounting the nation's success as if we haven't a problem in the world. I get sick listening to the recounting of the successes every other day over the radio and TV, and the giving away of millions of ringgit as if you get it for the asking. However some of the major issues faced by the nation remained unanswered or unresolved. Many are just swept under the carpet and dismissed as the creation of the opposition.