Hari Malaysia at Publika
This was a unique one. Usually, come Merdeka season, most celebrations centred around the joy of Merdeka in 1957. Hari Malaysia at Publika was different. A lot more was focused on the formation of Malaysia in 1963 and the journey of stringing Sabah and Sarawak to join in to form this fledgeling nation - plus Singapore back then.
The exhibition and displays ran between Merdeka Day and Hari Malaysia. Most of the event took place at the main foyer of Publika, with some spill-over at the area surrounding the shopping mall. In collaboration with Arkib Negara, it showcased documents chronicling the complicated process of getting the citizens of Sabah and Sarawak to buy into this grand concept. It has not been easy. There were last-minute protests from both Indonesia and the Philippines. There were also concerns about the sovereignty of Brunei who remained independent.
Some really eye-opening documents and stories reminding me of my primary school History classes. The names of the leaders of Sabah and Sarawak were also highlighted, Temengung Jugah and all.
Apart from the serious stuff, the event also featured vintage cars from the era - including the very car that the late Tunku used. These were from the Malaysia and Singapore Vintage Car Registry (MSVCR), with cars being restored in working order till this day. A lot of fascinating items to see and displays to read.
This also begged the question of how much my Sabah and Sarawak had benefited from this marriage. Now that Jokowi is planning to bring the Indonesian capital to Kalimantan, will this have a far more significant impact on the development of Borneo as a whole than the formation of Malaysia? Things to ponder for the future ...
Back to the exhibit, a well worth a couple of hours of your time exploring the events taking place there. I understand that there would be more coming up, including a picnic event during the Hari Malaysia weekend itself. I would definitely give the place another visit during the festivities ...