Sarawak Independence Day
The stage is all set for the ceremony to commemorate an event 52 years ago on 22nd July 1963 - Independence Day for Sarawak. It was an important date to be remembered, so says many of my seniors in the service for many years as there was no mention of this date when I joined the State Civil Service in 1994. I am probably one of those in my generation who were taught in our textbook that 31st August 1957 was our Independence Day or better known Merdeka Day. Then again there are many arguments to this on why its that date and this date. The formation of Malaysia comprising of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah was not an easy one as our union was not favoured by other neighbouring countries. But we find pride in knowing that we have a date that most Sarawakians are able to find in its history when our colonial masters were confident enough to allow Sarawak govern herself -even if it was for a while, after the signing of the Malaysia Agreement on 9th July 1963 and eventually the formation our beloved country Malaysia on 16th September 1963. Anything could have happened in between but it was the trust that we are entering a favourable merger where Sarawakians will be treated as equals in this new country that I believe our leaders worked hard to make it a reality. Thus it is with this trust that the Federal Government has acknowledged the important dates in Sarawak with the hope that it will help our future generation realise the struggle of our forefathers in forming Malaysia, the same way Tunku Abdul Rahman is seen as the Father of Merdeka for the Federation of Malaya, then subsequently fondly known as Bapa Malaysia. This date matters as much as 31 Aug matters to those across the sea.
The rehearsal for the event held in the evening at the State Legislative Assembly was really eye catching with the sun set scenery. The actual event will be held in the morning and will be attended by the Sarawak Governor and Chief Minister together with State Cabinet Ministers and VVIPs.
Lighting up the activity area to make final preparations
Traditional and Modern dance movements to symbolise the various events in history
Children were also seen here participating in the ceremony
The 'Japanese' occupation reenacted here with a local actor but in this rehearsal its made quite realistic with the Japanese Samurai Sword and also 'Selipar Jepun' aka Japanese slipper
Finally we got someone to play the role of Sir Alexander Waddell, the last British Governor of Sarawak. He does look tougher than the real British Governor though. I did not manage to get the name, I can say he can pass as a Hollywood actor during the rehearsal.
It is the hope of many Sarawakians that the significant dates in Sarawak's history make its way into the textbooks of our schools and other literature so that it will be known to all Malaysians the same way we learn what the Pangkor Treaty or Malayan Union so that they too understand why certain quarters in Sarawak stresses itself to be treated as equal partners. Therefore one cannot accuse us of being so demanding when it comes to seeking more development funds, projects or that miserable increase in oil royalty when we can sponsor a Formula One Team. It is only fair that our leaders and representatives call for increase in modern infrastructures and intensify development for the state as it is the people's fervent wish to also achieve developed status by 2020 together with the country. Why, that is just around the corner that you can smell it. Will it be a rosy cake or just some lousy deal.
As an example, it is my simple wish that my area where I stay gets high speed Internet (its in the middle of Kuching and not even UNIFI connectivity now) and for goodness sake, uniform 4G (LTE) statewide as I am paying for 4G. Its not too much to ask when we can send an astronaut up to space. Enough said, it time to wish Happy 52nd Independence Day Sarawak.