Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flag Waving and Photos

Selamat Hari Merdeka.

Britain doesn't have a national day. (Well okay, we have our patron saint days e.g. England has St. George's day which everyone forgets about.) We're pretty sneery about patriotism in general. The only displays of patriotism now are reserved for international football matches, royal weddings and funerals, and the last night of the Proms.

But I think a national day is a much good thing, even if you're cynical about the marching and the flag waving and other openly extravagant shows of patriotism. It makes you think about your nation, examine how far you've gone since the turning point of Independence, and contemplate your future.

This year's National Day feels a bit dislocated. 49 is an awkward birthday. (Been there myself, bought the t-shirt.) You're contemplating the big one, when you can really pull all the stops out, so you don't bother much with the one at hand.

Congrats then to the New Straits Times which is celebrating Merdeka with an excellent exhibition of photos from 1957 in Bangsar Shopping Complex. The pictures also appear in a special pull-out section in today's newspaper.

I scanned in my favourite photo (top) captioned Have payung, will travel. I just love this group of smiling Malay girls strolling with their parasols. And how gaya they are in their traditional dress with flowers pinned in their hair.

Can a whole era be summarized in these images? Nostalgia naturally tints the past in rosy tones, but I do wonder if folks were happier back then.

The NST has also produced a facsmile of it's 1957 Merdeka issue which makes fascinating reading.*


The Visitor said...

hey, read the "other paper's" Merdeka pullout. got a couple of stories u might be interested to read. wink wink!

Argus Lou said...

What are the 'other stories', The Visitor? Silly ones or worthy pieces? I couldn't find them online.

Sharon, I've another little story up in my blog, which looks different now - cheerier. (Sorry I couldn't click on your email contact to inform you of this.)

Thanks and best regards,

bibliobibuli said...

thanks visitor - i flicked through the star very fast this morning so i'll go back and take a long look

argus lou - i visited you just

The Great Swifty said...

Er, somewhat unrelated, but maybe kinda, since this has something to do with countries and cultures. Hah. Well, behold Justin's latest entry regarding his own top ten list of great works of Japanese literature that this article chose to exclude with their ridiculous stereotyping of Japanese culture!!

Lydia Teh said...

Sharon, no wonder the NST was sold out at the newsstand when I went there yesterday afternoon. Stacks of other papers were still available but NST gone!

bibliobibuli said...

thanks swifty for keeping me informed about what's fresh on your blog - will check this out

lydia - the supplement from the NST is a keeper.

visitor -yes, you're right about the nice articles in the star - i love the one about entertainment and the places you could go to joget the night away. can't help thinking hasn't malaysia lost something?

loved also the nasi kandar article which made me hungry!

Anonymous said...

Honestly speaking, I wasn't really up for celebrating this year's Merdeka. I was all pumped up for it, but the events of the last few weeks leading up to yesterday poured cold water down on my celebratory mood.

Ranted on a post here -

Eternal Wanderer said...

Ah...annonymous is me The Eternal Wanderer...must've still been sleeping...