I WAS on duty at Padang Merbuk where the Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu rally was going to be held.

It was 10am and the rally was scheduled to start at 2pm. As I waited there, I prayed: “God, bless Malaysia. We are celebrating our National Day.”

The hawkers began to set up their stalls and there was a young Malay couple among them.

The woman, who was pregnant, wanted to move a cooler for drinks to make way for a van that needed the space.

She was about to lift the cooler when I went over to help. Her husband was surprised and for a moment could not say anything.

But his eyes spoke a thousand words of gratitude. An ice cream seller nearby was touched by what he saw and nodded his head with a broad smile.

At about 2pm, a large crowd had gathered and patriotic songs were being sung.

A lady approached me and asked if I, being the lone Indian there and dressed in a different coloured outfit, was afraid.

She kept asking me if I was uncomfortable and feared being victimised. I replied that I wasn’t because I grew up in a multiracial community and I didn’t have anything to fear.

She was amused at my reply especially in the midst of some fiery speeches about the rights of a particular community.

The programme began at 2pm and they played the songInilah Barisan Kita. I learnt the song during my childhood and so I began to sing along because it spoke about me as a Malaysian and that I would die for my country.

I sang in the midst of those who are part of my wider community. What saddened me was they did not sing theNegara Kuat all.

As I was leaving, the young Malay hawker approached me and said, “Thank you, Sir.” The pak ciks and mak ciks smiled at me as we greeted each other.

I left the place thinking we will all change our clothes after this and then we will be back to being the true Malaysian community we are and always will be.

God Bless Malaysia!


James Nayagam

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