As we all know, Merdeka has passed, and Malaysia Day is fast approaching. And for those of you who often ask “how is Hari Malaysia different from Merdeka?“, Hari Malaysia basically celebrates the formation of the entire country as we know it today, including Sabah and Sarawak. This formation only took place in 1963.
This year, in conjunction with Malaysia Day, an inspiring Malaysia Day video series was recently released showcasing Malaysians from different walks of life shlaring about their proudest moments in Malaysia, as Malaysians. Here’s a gist of what they had to say in the videos:
1. Miri binti Adek, an Orang Asli school dropout at the age of 14 who is now a teacher
Miri, who comes from an Orang Asli kampung in Kelantan, decided to drop out of school at 14 years old because she was unable to keep up with school work.
“I still remember, my father was so angry that he threw a bucket of water at me while I was sleeping.”
Fast forward a few years, Miri realised the importance of education and decided to enroll herself into the SOLS Academy of Innovation. She was 20 years old.
“I went in with nothing. I didn’t know English, I had no confidence, nothing. But a few years later, I was awarded the best student and they promoted me to become a teacher.”
Today, Miri–who once thought she would end up as a cleaner–is a teacher to Orang Asli children, most of whom were once like her.
2. R. Nadeswaran, an award-winning investigative journalist who graduated from university at the age of 46
Nadeswaran left his studies and became a part-time journalist after finishing his Senior Cambridge level (equivalent to our SPM today). But as he got much older, he realised the importance of education and knew something needed to change.
Long story short, Nadeswaran enrolled into a university in the UK and successfully graduated with upper second class honours! He even won the book prize for the best essay in contract law. All this at the age of 46!
Today, he is an award-winning investigative journalist, Malaysiakini columnist, author, and more. He was also named a member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) operations review panel in 2015.
3. Eddin Khoo, a writer, poet, and translator, who founded PUSAKA
Eddin was brought up in a very cultured, mixed parentage family whereby his father was Chinese and mother was a Tamil. He was also raised by a Malay woman. Talk about Satu Malaysia!
However, not everything in life was smooth sailing for Eddin as nobody expected him to get into university. But he successfully graduated and has made it his life goal to ensure Malaysia remains the land where different cultures meet.
Today, Eddin is the founder of both Kala (a publishing house specialising in foreign literature translated into Malaysian) and Pusaka (a non-profit study and documentation centre for Malaysian theatre) and he continues to strive for a culturally rich Malaysia.
4. Zakri Mohd. Khir, a Malaysian of mixed parentage and the CEO of Allianz Malaysia Berhad
Also coming from a family of Malay-Chinese mixed parentage, Zakri enjoyed many diverse celebrations and cultures. In fact, his Ceylonese neighbour always served him Thosai and Idli for breakfast, a tradition he practices ’til this day.
Because of this, Zakri grew up with a genuine love for Indian food. He is also very patriotic, has a genuine love for his country, and its many diverse cultures. So much so that in October 2018, he accepted the government’s appointment to play a bigger, more active role as the council member of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to help change mindsets on some issues he feels strongly about.
At the end of the day, Zakri believes that unity in diversity is Malaysia’s biggest strength and we need to be constantly reminded about this.
Needless to say, just like Zakri, we all have a part to play in ensuring Malaysia remains the harmonious, culturally-rich country we know and love today. And a good way to start would be to first appreciate the multicultural diversity we are blessed with.
But if you need a little more inspiration, you can go in-depth into these Malaysians’ inspiring stories and hear more about how they’re striving to make this country a better place by watching this series! A few other Malaysians featured in this series include a hearing-impaired Abilympics gold medallist, a retired Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion, and more! These are not your everyday Malaysians but they all have one thing in common, and that’s their love for the country (and incredibly encouraging life stories). So make sure you tune in!
Pssst, the final episode also showcases a very difficult and eye-opening question, so make sure you check it out! It’s out already!
For now, here are the first two episodes of the Malaysia Day series:
If you want to watch the rest of the videos or find out what the last question is, click here and get ready to be inspired to build a better Malaysia. The videos will give you goosebumps, especially the final one!
Until then, selamat menyambut Hari Malaysia, friends!