Both the Sarawak and Malaysian flags are still hanging at the porch of my home. When my little daughter look at them waving in the afternoon breeze, she shouted at me pointing to the flags"look daddy! Merdeka baa!" She refers to our 'jalur gemilang' as 'merdeka' just because he flag is prominently displayed during merdeka month, including ours.
It reminded us, as Malaysian Borneon, being part of Malaysia and as independent beings. Well, not so merdeka with sentiments being played around like the race and religious issues that always grip the heart of our nation. Not truely merdeka in the sense that part of our people still could not embrace the nation as their own, another race continue to harp on the master of all race, another religion continue to subdue and dominates by all means, and worst of all, we live in uneasiness in our own country.
Being on the island of Borneo is another issue, different from the other part of Malaysia, totally different, yes. That reminds me of my sister-in-law from Kedah who said, "bila kita sampai kat Kuching ni kan, serupa negara lain tau.., entah, sangat bezalah dengan tempat lain di Malaysia ni." She was correct in saying that. There are stark differences in term of environment, peoples and how the communities interact. That matters to us and we on the Borneo part of Malaysia also 'felt' being not so 'merdeka' with the way our country manage it's resources. So much resources found in Borneo but the Malaysian part here is very less developed compared with our counterpart in Peninsular Malaysia.
There is also a notion that the Borneon Malaysian States joined Malaysia. That was rebutted by the fellow whom was part of the party, the elder politician James Wong Kim Min. He said we didn't joined Malaysia but we formed Malaysia. That is very important and should be made correct in all history books. Merdeka celebrations ends and we forget about the issues again as we struggle with day-to-day living and only be reminded again at the next celebration. And Sarawak decided to celebrate a large scale 45th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia next year (2008) and gain 45 years of independence when Malaysia is already 51 years? Is it a joke? Is Sarawak really merdeka?
I think my daughter is right when she says that the jalur gemilang is pronounced merdeka.