44 or 50?

Independence Day Stamp

Inspired by dobbs on our History in Stamps, I also took this one out from my collection on the eve of Merdeka.

Here is a story that was run by The Borneo Post on Sunday. I think it’s a good read for HiStory!

Malaysia 44 or 50?

Come Aug 31 our beloved nation will celebrate her 50th birthday, as designated by the federal government. But until today certain quarters are still fervently debating the age of our country.

EVERY year as we celebrate National Day on Aug 31, the debate on the actual age of our nation surfaces and it seems to rage with greater intensity than ever.

The federal government designated this year’s National Day celebration as the 50th anniversary of our independence based on Aug 31, 1957 when Malaya gained independence.

However, for certain quarters in Sarawak and Sabah, it is inconceivable that Malaysia could be 50 years old this year as the formation of our nation took place on Sept 16, 1963.

The real bone of contention in this argument over the age of Malaysia is the question of whether Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya or formed Malaysia, a new nation, with Malaya on Sept 16, 1963.

Those who advocate that Malaysia as a nation was actually born on Aug 31, 1957 cited the formation and expansion of the United States of America as a parallel to the formation of Federation of Malaya and its subsequent expansion when Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore joined the federation on Sept 16, 1963.

This is a classic case of comparing an orange with an apple because USA was formed by 13 former colonies of the British Empire on July 5, 1776 after a bloody war of independence and remained as the United States of America despite its expansion through the addition of other states to its federation.

This is not the case with the Federation of Malaya or Malaya as it ceased to exist as a nation when it joined Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

It must be noted that Malaysia was formed through an equal partnership between Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore (which withdrew from Malaysia after two years) it was never a formation of the sovereign nation of Malaya and the three states.

Bearing testimony to this partnership is Sarawak’s autonomous authority on land and immigration as part of the list of special rights of the State would retain in the Federation of Malaysia.

An even more ludicrous argument put forward was the claim that Malaysia is actually the alternative name for Malaya citing references of the region around the Malay Peninsular as Malaysia by British Colonial writers in the 1800s and that the concept of the Federation of Malaya when it gained independence was not confined to the Malayan mainland but also the Malaysian regions still under British rule then.

The flaw in this argument is firstly the confusion of Malaysia as a reference to a geographical region with Malaysia as a nation which came into being only Sept 16, 1963.

As for the claim that the Federation of Malaya was formed with the plan of including Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore, there is no documentary proof and even if there was it had nothing to do with the three states as they never planned to join the federation.

During the formation of Malaysia, there was never any mention of the three states joining the Federation of Malaya in any of the historical documents signed by all parties.

To put to an end this polemic on the actual age of our nation and how it was formed thesundaypost traces the birth of Malaysia through the documents pertaining to its formation signed by all parties and interviewed Datuk Amar James Wong, the only surviving member of the Sarawak delegation of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee which paved the way for the birth of our nation.

The Malaysian nation was the brainchild of Tunku Abdul Rahman when he was the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya. On May 27, 1961 he brought up the subject at a luncheon meeting of Foreign Correspondents Association of South East Asia in Singapore Adelphi Hotel saying “Malaya today as a nation realises that she cannot stand alone and in isolation. Sooner or later she should have an understanding with Britain and the peoples of the territories of Singapore, North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak.”

That speech set into motion a rapid succession of events that culminated with the birth of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

The book ‘Formation of Malaysia’ published by the Federal Information Department soon after Malaysia was formed stated in the last paragraph of the section Milestones to Malaysia, ‘So in less than 28 months from the time he put forward his proposal, Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Malaysia plan is realised, uniting 10,000,000 diverse peoples — Malays, Ibans, Land Dayaks, Melanaus, Dusuns and Kadazans, Muruts and Bajaus, Chinese and Indians — in a new nation dedicated to justice, peace and prosperity, in pursuit of freedom and happiness for all.’

In his report for the Commission of Enquiry to visit Sarawak and Sabah and setting out Terms of Reference for the formation of Malaysia Lord Cobbold stated in article 10 of his findings that the name of the Federation shall be Malaysia.

No one is in a better position to talk about the formation of Malaysia from the Sarawak perspective than Datuk Amar James Wong, the former Deputy Chief Minister of the State.

When thesundaypost interviewed him at his office, Wong was adamant that Malaysia is 44 years old as he involved personally in the negotiations and consultations leading to the birth of Malaysia.

“I remember Sept 16, 1963 very well. I was in Kuala Lumpur when the agreement on the formation of Malaysia was signed. After the signing I flew straight to New York with Rajaratnam, one of the Singapore representatives, to attend the 18th session of the United Nations as representative of Malaysia.’

Referring himself jokingly as ‘the last of the Mohicans’ Wong said he is the only surviving member of the Sarawak delegation to the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee.

“I was directly involved in the negotiations on the rights of the State and you can quote me in stating that we never joined Malaysia, we formed Malaysia.”

Wong who wrote several books on diverse subjects also published a book ‘The Birth of Malaysia’ in 1993 in which he reprinted historical documents pertaining to the formation of Malaysia.

In the first two paragraphs of his introduction he wrote: “Our 30th year of Independence within Malaysia would be a fitting time and occasion to remind all Sarawakians of our great heritage and as to why and how Malaysia came about.

“This is particularly true of the younger generation, especially those in their mid-forties and below, who were then too young when Malaysia was formed, to grasp and understand the implications. But what all Malaysians in Sarawak must know and understand is that — We did not enter Malaysia, but we formed Malaysia together with North Borneo, (now Sabah) Singapore and Malaya.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the positions of Sarawak and Sabah within the federation should read this book as it contains reprinted historical documents and reports and a chronology of events that led to the formation of Malaysia.

There should never have been any debate on the age of Malaysia as there are ample irrefutable documents that prove that the birth of our nation is Sept 16, 1963.

While Sarawakians and Sabahans rejoice with our fellow citizens in Semenanjung Malaysia in celebrating the Federation of Malaya’s 50th anniversary of independence from British rule, we cannot distort history by confusing it with the birth of Malaysia.

There is more at stake than the quibble over the dates of the birth of our nation for Sarawakians and Sabahans as accepting Sept 16, 1963 as the birthday of Malaysia means the two states formed Malaysia as equal partners with the Federation of Malaya while accepting Aug 31, 1957 implies we joined the Federation of Malaya.

The latter date could mean the rights of the State were temporary conditions granted by the Federation of Malaya while recognising Sept 16, 1963 clearly states that the two states joined as equal partners in the formation of Malaysia and their special rights are entrenched in the agreement on her formation.

Happy Birthday Malaysia, but is it 44 or 50?

Here is the link


Travel Like This

Imagine me travelling like this?

The woman is shy, probably camera shy. But, she is simple and true.

I have a story to tell the nation today. A story of our national carrier. A story of truth, but of complexity.

I booked for a business trip two or three weeks ago. My travel plan was from Sibu to Kuching, then to Singapore. I made a stopover at Singapore for few hours. Then, my onward journey was Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. This was for Monday, 27th August. All went smoothly.

On 28th August, I was booked on 8:50 pm flight to Kuching. I needed to stop over in Kuching for a meeting next day. Finishing my business early, I checked-in at KL Sentral at 4:30 pm. I was given the boarding pass, and I even had a chance to change my seat from 16C to 11C.

Happily grabbed my boarding pass, I boarded the ride I enjoy most – KLIA Ekspress! Why not? I could have my ipod plugged in my ears and enjoy the trip – almost every time I enjoy the ride.

At KLIA, I satisfied myself with the streaming hot chicken porridge from McDonald.

Still early, I got a CD Poison perfume for my good friend, Sandra.

Done, I walked to the gate. It was quite a distance. But, I have all the time in the world in my hands. It was no rush. Seated at the gate, I began reading the Chinese version of “Faith of our Fathers” (write about it next time). It was a delightful read.

Finally, the gate was open. I showed my IC, my boarding pass and entered the gate. It was also with no problem.

Just few minutes before boarding time, my name was called. I walked to the counter and was greeted with these words –

“You were booked on 28th September. If you wanted to travel earlier, you have to pay early boarding fee.”

28th September? A month later?

I was quick to show my boarding pass, but it was such a shame and setback when I was greeted with another harsh words,

“The boarding pass is not your name. You never looked at your boarding pass meh? Go to the ticketing counter and pay the fee. You may not be able to board this plane.”

It was then the temper grew short.

“I am only one person. You have one staff at the check-in counter looking at my ticket and IC and given me the boarding pass. You have just now checked my boarding pass against my IC and you let me in. And on top of that, you have the whole computer system. It was my fault that I did not look at the boarding pass. But it was because I have simple faith on my national carrier.”

I knew I was creating a scene by raising my voice.

The superior came. He was efficient and kind enough to correct the error and let me board the plane without having to run to the ticketing counter to try my luck.

As he settled my problem, he thought he could have a final say,

“Next time if you want to board early, please pay the fee.”

I took out my print-out ticket and said,

“I could not be travelling on 28 September to Kuching when my booking back to Sibu is 29 August as clearly shown. It was in the first place that your ticketing office made a mistake for this sector.”

Travelling the fast way? Be afraid, be very afraid.

Travelling like this simple woman seems more secure!

The Flag Flies High

Rach & Chris – the stress-free moment

Chris turned 12 on 1st August. Yes, he has stopped being a “guest writer” of his mum’s blog. The little boy has a public exam, UPSR to take this year. He has put a lot of pressure on himself. The UPSR has made him a different boy.

I love the way he was. I love this one he wrote two years ago. I have found tremendous joy reading this again today. Enjoy the thoughts of a boy – stress-free!

By Christopher Lau, 10

My mother says I am still a very tiny bud. I think small as I am, I am still called a flower. A flower needs to be nourished and guided.

Thank you, my parents, I am protected and guided.
Thank you, Malaysia, the land where I stand.
Thank you, God, I am growing each day.

My classmates and I like to form other meaning with words. Merdeka in our own foochow dialect sounds like “selling pig legs”. “Malaysia Boleh” in our foochow dialet sounds like “Don’t eat glass”.

So, everyday, we shout “Merdeka”, “Malaysia Boleh” and the like. We have fun. We have joy. Today, on Merdeka Day, I want to truly say, “Merdeka, Merdeka” in its true meaning.

I want to fly a flag also on my mother’s car. I think it is so nice to see the flags flying. But, my mother does not like the idea. She says flying flags does not really show a person’s love for the country. True enough. this morning we just passed by a small car with more than 10 flags flying high. They overtook us and the passengers popped out their heads and showed monkey faces to us.

So, I think the flag really flies in our hearts.

We went to the church cleaning this morning. It was a spring cleaning. I see many uncles and aunties happily cleaning the church. I think I see the flags flying in every corner of my church.

I used to like August very much. Why? Because on the first day of the month, it is my birthday, in the middle of August it is my grandfather’s birthday, then on the last day of the month, it is my country’s birthday. There have been a reason to celebrate on 1st, 15th and 31st. But, my grandfather went back to the home of the Lord last year. Now, August has become a month with a reason to remember my grandfather on the 1st, 15th and 31st.

I remember. I listen. I watch. I learn. I see. I feel. I move. I smell. I touch. I love. I run. I jump. I yell. I sing. I dance. I am not a great person. Malaysia is my country. I am one small star. But, my mother says that’s wonderful too.

Happy Merdeka Day.


Being Organized

Yes, I have a business trip to make tomorrow and will be back on Thursday.

The passport, the money, the namecard, the credit card… all in place. Oh no, no air-ticket? Have you forgotten that MAS has gone ticketless?

Thanks to Jocelyn for this wonderful gift given early for birthday!

At the back of this Travel Planner is a slot for putting your boarding pass. Gone are the days when I have to search high and low for my boarding pass from my big backpack!

Mum’s Secret Recipe

Today is one of those “bad days”. For the past two years – the menstral cramps – has been my best friend. First, this friend came every month, punctually, without fail. Then, finding it quite at home with this silly woman, she comes every three weeks. Making herself host, now she comes as she likes it, at times she stays for a consecutive of 30 days.

Every time she comes, she makes herself at home, whether you like it or not.

Every times she comes, I cry. And it is always a “crisis of faith” for me.

There are not many times that I take this mum’s secret recipe. Why? Because it’s the perception that only when mum makes it that it is effective. I tried making once for Rachel, and it also works.

Today, I have to make it myself because my best friend is very destructive. She upsets me so much that I cried – Where is God when it hurts?

This mum’s secret recipe is really not a secret, I guess. Many of my foochow friends know about it. You can even order it in restaurants here cooking foochow food. It’s just ginger, egg and home-made rice wine (red). It’s gentle to the stomach, and usually cramps gone, and you will have a good sleep.

Yes, I do need a good sleep for I shall be on a three-day business trip tomorrow….

Busy Enough for God to Use?

Lifted this from my Church Bulletin today –

God never goes to the lazy or the idle when He needs people for His service. When He has work to be done, He goes to those who are already at work. When God wants a great servant, He calls a busy person. Think about great men of the Bible who were busy when God called:

Moses was busy with his flock at Horeb

Gideon was busy threshing wheat by the wine press

Saul was busy searching for his father’s lost sheep

David was busy caring for his father’s sheep

Elisha was busy plowing with twelve yoke of oxen

Nehemiah was busy as the king’s cupbearer

Amos was busy following the flock

James and John were busy mending their fishing nets

Matthew was busy collecting customs

Saul was busy persecuting the friends of Jesus

Are you busy enough for God to use?

Yan is busy ……..

Er… that seems to slap me on my face when I last wrote about Singing For the Lord!

Posted in Soul Encounters. Comments Off on Busy Enough for God to Use?

Singing For the Lord?

Last night my Pastor came visiting my family. Rev Dr Tiong joined our Church early this year. It was when I retired from “active church life”. It meant I took a break from the Church EXCO, I also took a leave from my Girls’ Brigade’s Saturday activities for health reason. So, this “new” pastor only sees me on Sunday. He takes me as one of the “Sunday Worshippers”.

With my pastor last night was one of the Church leaders whom I have worked together in the areas like social concern and literature. He named to the pastor what areas I have served, and said, “She also sang in the evening service choir for many years!”

There, the pastor said his wife is going to start a choir for morning service and invited me to join, “Are you not going to sing for the Lord in the morning also?”

I am really almost up to the neck in my work and my family commitments. Can I still sing for the Lord? Practicing once a week, singing in the morning church service?

I think I am “out of tune”, not a little bit, very very out of tune!