Saturday, September 15, 2012

Selamat Hari Malaysia

On Aug 31, the country celebrated its 55th year of independence. In 1957, Malaya, as it was known then, received independence from British rule. However, it was only in 16 September 1963 that Malaysia was formed, with the inclusion of Sarawak, North Borneo (now known as Sabah) and Singapore (which subsequently left in 1965 to be a republic of its own).

Tomorrow, the country will be celebrating what is called Malaysia Day. It was only in the past few years that the government had decided to declare this date a public holiday as it should be recognised as a significant date for the country. Therefore, this weekend, we will have a three-day break as the public holiday falls on a Sunday, making Monday a holiday too.

ACE will be spending this weekend with a short trip back to A's hometown of both Seremban and Melaka. My side of the family hails from Melaka. I grew up in what was then a small, quiet town which has now turned into a tourist haven mainly because of its historical attractions. However, Seremban is also considered my hometown as I was born there and spent my early infant/toddler years there before moving back to Melaka to go to school and grow up there.

Progress and tourism has made Melaka busier and everytime I visit it, I feel like a stranger.  There are many more tall and modern buildings, and attractions for tourists. The old narrow roads have become busier. There are newer roads that never used to be there, and highways too. Lots of rural land have been developed. Some old business establishments have gone while those that remain have moved with the times, expanding into larger, more modern premises to cater to the demands of tourists.

Jonker Street used to be just an old narrow residential road in the heart of town but now, walking down that street makes me feel like I'm walking through a popular tourist street in Thailand or Bali. What used to be family homes have become little shops selling souvenirs, street food and 'antiques'.

I miss the old Melaka.

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