16 September 2009
Happy Malaysia Day
Come to think of it, the Dusuns (and Sabahans/Sarawakians) have only been Malaysians for 46 years today. In 1963 the federation of Malaysia was formed, consisting Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. I can then say that my parents generation "converted" to Malaysia (and they have done an excellent job of embracing their nationality- proud of you my folks).
The sad thing about this fact is that not many people realize the importance of September 16th. I suppose we give too much emphasis on 31st August 1957, the day Malaya gained its independence from British. When we learned history in school (and I used to be quite good at it, although in the process of aging I've lost the penchant for memorizing dates except for people's birthdays), no history textbooks have ever given emphasis on the importance of 16th Sept 1963. It is not even a public holiday in other states in Malaysia except for Sabah.
Now this is an error that needs to be corrected. I believe giving a proper acknowledgement to 16th Sept will benefit all Malaysians- at the very least, it will appease many Sabahans and Sarawakians who feel mistreated, among others, because of the non-acknowledgement of the date.
Well some people might demand that 16th September be made the national day instead of 31st August. But the leaders do not have to comply to that. I remember watching on TV sometime last year here in Aus, a certain event when the aboriginal people demanded that Australia Day date be changed to another day because they feel that the present date actually symbolizes 'invasion'. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd firmly but politely said 'no'. Malaysian leaders can do the same- refuse to change the indipendence day date firmly but politely if ever any Malaysians asked for such thing. I am very sure, being the peaceful people that we are, no one will actually take it to bloodshed level. What I have learnt from the leaders of countries like Australia is that there are good ways to deal with demands and dissatisfaction of the people. Our leaders have yet to learn those ways, I guess. But like many, I do hope 16th Sept will be given the acknowledgement it deserves.
Happy Malaysia Day my fellow Malaysians. Dusuns, if you haven't already known (because the textbooks might have not taught you well), or if you have forgotten, this is the day we became Malaysians 46 years ago :-) May God (whoever or whatever God is according to your understanding) continue to bless us with peace and harmony.