Sarikei 2004 - Old District Council bathed in neon lights
(All photos from Sarikei District Council)
Merdeka (Independence) Day commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule on 31 August 1957. The Federation of Malaysia, comprising states of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on 31 August 1963 but it was postponed to 16 September 1963 due to Indonesian and Philippines' opposition. Indonesia viewed that as a new form of colonisation of Borneo but a United Nations referedum found otherwise and Malaysia was borned.
For national days, I recall we had to hang our national flag from our shophouse window. It might look grand from the outside for nationalist pride but inside our living room was the funny backend of the bamboo flag pole tied to a chair. In Sarawak, the celebration in style is rotated around the divisional capital towns every year. 2004 was Sarikei's year to party & look pretty.
Folks, stop dreaming about aliens shooting at our Sarikei District Council a la the Will Smith movie, Independence Day. Ponder this instead: If we continued as a British colony, would David Beckham play alongside our local stars in the World Cup? Would you be eating fish & chips with Earl Grey tea instead of laksa noodles with kopi-O (strong black coffee)? The latter is more important. I can live without spicy Posh & her hot pretty boy, Beckham, but I can not live without spicy laksa and hot kopi-O. I rest my case, your honour. Independence Day, it shall be.