Monday, August 29, 2005

AS WE APPROACH MERDEKA DAY

I remember my Form 3 history teacher well, Puan Rahmah. She was an excellent teacher. Allergic to chalk, so she never wrote on the chalkboard. I was the devil in disguise, I think. Short, and condemned to sit in the front row, I would get thrown out of class for chatting, laughing too loudly, chewing gum... once, I even grated a stick of chalk in front of Puan Rahmah, knowing she was allergic. OMIGOODNESS, I am evil!!!! She was sick for a whole week. I can almost understand the lack of remorse Andrew Van De Camp of Desperate Housewives feels, after running down Mrs Solis. I was no better at that age. I don't recall feeling much remorse. It's amazing Puan Rahmah didn't report me to the headmistress. God bless you, wherever you are, Puan Rahmah.

One of the things I recall MOST, in those history lessons, was the term JUS SOLI. Hands up anyone who remembers what that means, viz a viz the Malayan Union? Well, it means,

Jus soli (Latin for "right of the territory") is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born in the territory of the related state.

Of course, it meant nothing then, just sounded like a funny term, coz it is pronounced like JUICE SOR LAI.

Few of the key details of the Union were:
Malayan citizenship that would give equal rights to all would be citizens regardless of race
a citizenship based on the jus soli principle
the transformation of the title Sultan to President

I don't know why none of us could see it then, but yup, it made sense that UMNO should object vehemently. Jus soli.

Anyway, for you children who have forgotten your history, here is some info.

In 1946, the whole of Malaya (except Singapore, which became a separate crown colony) was consolidated into a crown colony called the Malayan Union. Because of opposition from the Malays the Union was a political failure, and was replaced just two years later by a looser Federation of Malaya in 1948.
In 1948, local communists of the Communist Party of Malaya, nearly all Chinese, launched a insurgency, prompting the imposition of Malayan Emergency (the state of emergency was lifted in 1960). Small bands of guerrillas remained in bases along the rugged border with southern Thailand, occasionally entering northern Malaysia. These guerrillas finally signed a peace accord with the Malaysian government in December 1989.
Popular sentiment for independence swelled during and after the war and the Federation of Malaya negotiated independence from the United Kingdom under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who became the first prime minister. As part of their "Hearts and Minds" anti-communist strategy the British government agreed to give Malaya independence on August 31, 1957. Malaya remained part of the Commonwealth of Nations, and hosted a large British and Commonwealth military presence until the withdrawal of British forces East of Suez in the late 1960s.

Source : http://www.free-definition.com/

Anyway, a question that oft pops up in my circle of friends is, "would you ever emigrate". Without batting an eyelid, my response is NO. I was thinking about this question. Last friday, me, the wife and the kids, had a hearty breakfast at the mamak, lovely roti canai, etc etc, all for RM10.30. Yesterday, as I did my usual Sunday walk in Bukit Kiara, I bumped into at least 6 people I know. On Saturday, I had a full day, with various groups of friends, family, gym, (where increasingly i'm getting to know more people). Why won't I leave? Rather, why WOULD I leave? Everything I want, and love, is here. In this lovely country. For all its idiosyncracies, this really is the land I love.

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