To my grandparents and parents, Merdeka means the end of the British rule in Malaya. As simple as that.
But to a child born long after Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj declared “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” on that fateful day of 31st August 1957 at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, the meaning had lost on me.
I think it was the same for the rest of the other post-Merdeka babies too. The troubling part is, we made up the biggest portion of the country’s population. Despite what we had read from our history books at school, we could not feel the impact.
Yesterday, I have finally found the true meaning of Merdeka. It was not only freedom from colonial rule but more importantly, freedom from poverty, freedom from corruption and freedom from misrule for this beloved country called Malaysia – our one and only home.
So when the call of “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!” reverberated throughout the Stadium yesterday, it finally dawned on me that this is what Merdeka really means.
What does Merdeka means to you?