Selamat Merdeka to all of you Malaysians!
Today is the day that our country turns 61. With every Independence day, comes a myriad of festivities happening all around us. (Literally, there are so many things going on this weekend! Just google it). And although all those Merdeka themed events might bring a more patriotic side out of us, and even though it might be nice to surround yourself with a sea of Malaysians during the most Malaysian day in Malaysian history, there are just certain things — Certain sentimental things that we feel can easily make you fall in love with Malaysia all over again. (And let’s be honest — Not everyone can, or wants to, celebrate Merdeka kaw-kaw.
So here’s a list of tiny things you can do to help you celebrate Malaysia, and make you fall in love with it all over again:
1. Binge watch Yasmin Ahmad films. (I’m watching Gubra as we speak)
2. Take public transportation for the day, and walk around KL city.
Trust me on this. Some things, you can only realize by walking. I’ve walked the streets of KL a thousand times. And each time, I guarantee you, I’ll find something new. Or learn something new! You know what they say, all great adventures start by putting one foot after the other. So start walking!
3. Urban cafes are cool, but when was the last time you went to a Pa and Ma shop? Sit down, have a cup of Kopi-O at your local Kopitiam, and talk to the uncle and aunties there! Oh trust me, they will want to talk. Uncles and aunties are the backbones of our society. What would we do without them? Strike a conversation. Learn something new. You might get a free storytelling session in return.
4. Be a tourist for one day. It’ll amaze you just how many people have actually been to certain landmarks in our country/city. (Here’s a hint: Not a lot!) So do yourself a solid favour, and be a tourist for one day. Go to the Batu Caves! They’ve recently renovated the steps up to the temple and painted them in bright colours.
5. Support local cinema! Aside from Yasmin Ahmad films, there are some great locally made movies being shown at your nearest TGV.
6. Mosey around some of KL’s best parks/gardens, and have a picnic! Growing up, I used to do this a lot. Nothing fancy, but surrounding yourself with loved ones while sharing some homemade food is always a treat in my opinion. So why not change it up with a beautiful scenery? One of my utmost favourite parks in KL has to be Lake Gardens.
7. Go to art galleries and experience art made by local artists. Apart from celebrating Malaysia’s 61st birthday, Balai Seni Negara is also celebrating their 60th birthday! What better way to experience both occasions than by checking out the art that’s being exhibited at the gallery. The National Art Gallery is currently having exhibitions that focus on what it means to be a Malaysian. You can find out more, here.
8. Watch some stand-up comedy! People might now know this, but Malaysians are actually pretty darn funny. Aside from a monthly occurring laugh fest with AiiA, an improv group that does hilarious skits every once a month at Crackhouse Comedy in TTDI, you can catch a Crackhouse Merdeka Special ft. Papi Zak, Sim Tong, Justin Heyes, and Rizal van Geyzel! More details here.
9. Have a dinner party! What better way to spend a weekend, then with friends and family? That’s what Merdeka is really all about. Togetherness! You can host a simple barbeque, or maybe even a potluck. There’s no denying that Malaysians know food best.
10. Lastly, do what makes you happy. Do what makes you feel connected to your roots the most. Being Malaysian is a special thing because it’s an inexplicable thing. Some people feel most Malaysian when they’re right in the thick of things and alongside everyone at the Dataran Merdeka, and some feel most Malaysian while they’re with the things and people who remind them most of what Malaysia truly means to them. I guarantee you, whatever you come up with, will trump all the other lists you find online. Because it caters to what make you fall in love with Malaysia. But all in all, I think we can all agree that Malaysia is home to all of us. Whatever you do, remember to stay safe, take care, and have fun!
Here’s to 61 years of independence. Merdeka!