IT has always been 8 days to that historic day since 1957. I am always reminded of that closeness whenever today's date return each year. This is my best of days, historic and lovingly adored by those who care. How do we keep track of each returning year? How do we remember particularly what transpired that very day or days surrounding that special day?
Looking back for the past five years or so may help but what about scores of years behind. Where and what were you doing back in 1957 when Malaya heard the deafening shout of 'Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!'? Unless you are always in earnest, strict to the point of being meticulous and in short a habitual diary person you would be able to supply bits of stories linking one year after another. Many of us would be grasping for breath to even come up with anecdotes of what transpired a year ago.
I would be able to define where I was on 31 August 1957 since I left a note on a Youth Hostel Card, still intact. I was on a Dutch dike site some where in Holland and spending a night at the hostel having reached the place on a motor scooter.
I am therefore reminded to record some if not all, the attractions that come with this Monday morning 23 August 2010. Local as well as foreign news would help to define the auspicious day. Still the good wishes by the wife, children and grand children while sharing a chocolate cake after the breaking of fast this Ramadan evening defined the necessity.
A look at the morning news via the internet, since it is too early to get the printed pages of the newspaper recorded the following:-
i. A van Gogh piece stolen from a museum in Kaherah ( Cairo) has yet to be found. It is valued at US $60 million
ii. " Jangan biarkan orang Melayu 'gila' - a leader in Utusan Malaysia's page. It recalled some of the current unhappy situation and one particular where the 'khatib' in Penang praised the disallowed to the point of being an action accorded 'haram' .
iii. Jakim and 'Halal' certificates come into the news. Perhaps that's a reason why there are not many adverts in the newspaper this year of hotels and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur especially luring Muslims and friends to break fast at their 'sumptuous' spread. What better to 'buka puasa' in the comforts of your own home with the 'sejadah' ready at your side when the times come.
iv. The Australian ballot saw " Pilihan Raya Tidak Menentu" The result saw independent candidates being wooed to join in by both sides to form the government. What if the magnificent 5 decide to stay where they are?
v. Flood situation in China has been reported since June 2010 and now River Yala at the border of China and North Korea caused 100,000 to be evacuated. Pakistan and Bangladesh too are affected by flood waters. Jogjakarta was rocked by an earthquake too.
The above should be definitive pointers to what transpired or reported in the early morning of today. A definite exercise to remember my yearly 'celebration' is to purchase a book and define in the inside cover some pointers. One it pointed to my choice of title or subject and another it disclosed where I was then.
Maybe this is a good day to glance at the previous collections. What goes with August 2009? KELEBIHAN AMALAN DI BULAN REJAB, SYAABAN DAN RAMADAN translated by Nabilah Abd Jalil, Al Hidayah Publication KL 23/08/2009
For 2010 there is THROUGH MY LENSES by Mahathir Mohamad MPH Printing (M) Sdn Bhd 05/08/2010
2008 saw TRADITIONAL MALAYSIAN JEWELLERY by Mohd Kassim Hj Ali ,Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd KL as a collection piece and in 2005 THE KRIS AND OTHER MALAY WEAPONS by A H Hill and others, published by MBRAS took to the mantle piece. ' MALAY SOCIETY Transformation & Democratisation by Khoo Kay Kim published by Pelandok Paperback was my reading list for 30/08/1992. together with METAPHORS an ANNOTED DICTIONARY by N E Renton published by Schwartz & Wilkinson.
I may not keep a diary but reading the opening pages of the books purchased all through the years since the first Merdeka days and earlier be at home or where ever I happened to be that year would help to rekindle some past stories or happenings since invariably notes are scribbled on their opening pages.
Each has its way. This is MY WAY. Syukur Allah for all the good healthy years.