August 29, 2006

past/present tense


Nothing spectacular today. Just a simple picture. A scooter and a bicycle that's as old, or older, than my mother. Thoughts and images playing in the movie in my head. In 2 days, Malaysia celebrates 49 years of independence. Yup, not too long ago, we were gardeners and servants to people who managed plantations and sipped tea, ate cucumber sandwiches while listening to the click of croquette balls coming from the lawn. We were once called Malaya. August 31, 1957 we shouted, with fists held high, the words 'Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!'

9 years later, an island broke away from us and today known as Singapore.

49 years isn't very long. We're still a young nation. But our history books tell a different story. A history whose stories are in constant debate, some even lost. The present need to have the biggest, brightest, newest, longest has caused many of us to forget what is important and discard the disposable. The word 'Archive' is as new as our nation. We are slowly beginning to appreciate what was left to us way before '57. For some things, it's too late. The debate about our foolish carelessness continues.

Once a year, we group together and celebrate our independence. My question is: What are we free of/from?

Once a year, I sit home and wonder what the future holds for my independence.

Once a year, I celebrate. I celebrate that I have a home to come back to.

19 Comments:

Blogger Lisi said...

Ed, you are a very good writer!
Keep that older-than-your-mom scooter and bike, the museum would thank you one day, seriously...

You also remind me of the brief coverage of Malaysian history in high school...we thought the hardest part was the names of people and places...you know what the syllabus never covered the independence of Malaysia, for obvious reason, under British rule, they didn't want to let us know that other colonies did get independent...

For other KLDP visitors I recommend the National Museum, small but with a good coverage of the history of Malaysia...I've been there 3 times ;-)

12:49 PM  
Blogger ~tanty~ said...

We are free from penjajah. Very good narration. I like it. Merdeka!!

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Keropokman said...

I used to have that big black bicycle. Inherited it from my aunt. haha... Hey, that 'bakul' on the bike bukan original lah. The original does not look like that. It was a square basket.

Actually not an island, but a cluster of islands broke away. Just before this millenium, I, too broke away from KL to join the little red dot.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Great words Edwin. I believe in your sentiments. At least for a young nation like yours, history is still fresh and you can instill in the mind of the young people the true Malaysian identity.

Sadly, our country had a hard time finding our own national identity. The 400++ years as a colony did more damage than progress to our country.

Btw, MALAYA is the Filipino term for Free/Freedom.

4:05 PM  
Blogger midnitebara said...

thanks for sharing a bit of your countries history.

our country is also young ( discovered in the 1500's ) and from that time on we have been fighting for our freedom.
Im so sad to say that we've been colonized so long that we lost our original names. I dont even know someone who's family name is pure tagalog. Is there, jane ..anne?
we are malay people with spanish names.

I really like the way you write. If you are going to publish an essay or a short novella, let me know!!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jazzy said...

You're doing great, we are younger than you are, nearly 11 years old with very fresh wounds from the recent war.

Congratulations, at least we have somebody to get a courage from like yourselves.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

Thanks for sharing your reflections.

8:09 PM  
Blogger wmw said...

I too ask that question myself at times, being a Malaysian. There's always a plus minus factor in every situation.

12:41 AM  
Blogger wmw said...

Edwin, I forgot. Check out my food and food related shots on flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ugwug/sets/72157594247887407/
Ha ha ha....trying to make you hungry lah...

1:12 AM  
Blogger Louz said...

As a citizen of a country that's all about the pursuit of the biggest, brightest, biggest - our stores are packed to the ceilings with it, out TVs demand that we buy it - at this point I think the hope for the future is countries like Malaysia that still could go another way.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous anne said...

Interesting shot Edwin! And your sentiment is a lot more interesting.

11:40 AM  
Blogger santy said...

I agree with Lisi! I so enjoyed reading your post today :)

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Master Muppet said...

Qué será, será, whatever will be will be, whatever won't won't, along with whoever, however and wherever.

The farther one travels, the less one knows.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

I learn so much from DP, thanks for sharing Edwin!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Juggerpix said...

Your quite correct, 57 wasn't a start for your country, it was just a new beginning of possibilitys.

Louz had a good point too. Think of it this way, a young nation can grab the ideas that are good from other nations, while hopefully seeing and avoiding the problems that some of us older nations have been thru or caused.

If that bike is yours, keep the bike. I had a couple bikes as a child that were older (my moms? Dads?), I wish I still had them.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Hi Edwin.. hope your electricity hasn't gone haywire again. Nice shot of the bike.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Neorelix said...

You write a fine post Edwin. Nice simple picture too.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Thanks for a great post - I learned a lot about your country today! I hope I can visit someday. Come see my blog today - my pre-show photo isn't half as good as your dressing-room shot from a few days ago (thought it inspired my attempt!) - but I know you'll appreciate it!

2:05 AM  
Blogger edwin s said...

Thank you all for the kind words on my writing. It's been a mad past few days. Rehearsing the play which opened on the 30th. performing on the 31st was absolutely amazing, made poignant by the fact that it was Independence Day.

Now nursing a whiskey soda to wind down and sleep for tomorrow's show.

Love always :)

3:05 AM  

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