Tuesday, August 31, 2010


In my 300th entry of my blog, and in conjunction of our country's 53rd National Day, I have gone an extra mile of conducting an online interview with my fellow ex-coursemates from the B. Ed. TESL of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia class of 1993. The question is:


Pn. Maslinda, English teacher, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means being able to be me, myself."

Mr. Ridwan, PhD graduate, Sydney: "I am living abroad at the moment so there will be no cars adorned with Jalur Gemilangs on the streets where I live come 31 August. I will, in fact, go to my university where I work part time and will not be blissfully on leave like my fellow countrymen back home. But despite what seems to be nonchalance towards the significance of our Independence Day, my wife, my daughter and I do celebrate our country’s independence at every chance we get. When asked by the locals where we come from, we proudly answer ‘Malaysia’ and it’s a word that carries our identity more effectively than a thousand banners. It sums up our culture, values, beliefs as well as the way we look and the way we sound when we speak English with them. As citizens of an independent nation, we are able to say all these things just by mentioning the name of our country – and we do so with pride."

Puan Sharifah, Lecturer, UM: "Independence is the freedom of choice, maturity, learning from our mistakes, having faith that the best of minds and hearts will work hard to cherish what we have in this beautiful country and keep it that way."

Pn. Hazura, HR Executive, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence to me means being able to see my daughter growing up in a diverse society, and not only being able to understand the physical similarities and differences between these groups but also their cultures and values. And with this knowledge, learn to respect each and everyone of them."

Pn. Ida, Full-time Homemaker, Melaka: "Independence means the freedom to voice your opinion without people taking action against you."

Puan Marina, Assistant Manager of HR, Kuala Lumpur: " Independence means good education, good transportation, skyscrapers everywhere in KL, living in peace and harmony, modernization, having a strong and stable government, freedom of speech, multi-millionaires, national car, our very own astronaut etc. - what else can you ask for?"

Puan Aliza, Teacher Educator, Cheras: "Independence means education for everyone."

Mr. Shazreen, English teacher, Cyberjaya: "Independence is a state of freedom to be on your own, and be able to lead to that freedom."

Puan Chris, English teacher, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means having the freedom to choose and make decisions. It means not being told what I should be and how I should conform and obey. I am allowed to use my God-given gifts and talents and be responsible over the freedom I am given."

Puan Hazlina, Education Specialist, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means being able to respect and tolerate each other; it doesn't matter if you are tall or short, black or white, pretty or ugly, or whatever your past is."

Puan Taty, English teacher, Kedah: "Independence means to be able to voice out one's opinion. Independence of the mind is very important so as to avoid any inner conflict within ourselves. We must also free our minds from judging a person from his wealth or monetary value rather than the good values one possesses.

Puan Suzanni, Development Specialist, Hawaii: " Independence to me is to constantly reflect on the true meaning of freedom, practising it and being sensitive to and aware of what it takes to keep a multi-racial country like ours united. It is something we should not take for granted. As with almost everything else, freedom is a conscious decision and real decisions are measured by the fact that youhave taken action. Our forefathers fought for our freedom, we must fight for its preservation."

Puan Nik, English teacher, Kota Bharu: "Independence is the state of being able to make your own decision."

Puan Hasni, Language Teacher, UIA: "You are physically Merdeka (translate: independent) if your heart is free of ill-will towards other Malaysians of different race and religion. You are not truly Merdeka if as long as you feel that Malaysia belongs to one race or religion only; or if you are of the opinion that Malaysia should only be monopolised by one race and religion only."

Puan Rozana, IT columnist, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence is the ability to have your say, and make your choice in a mature and responsinble manner. Taking into account that as a citizen of the country, we have an important role to continue to build upon the progress that we have made so far."

Puan Ana, Full-time Homemaker, Langkawi: "Independence basically means freedom to make my own decisions using my own discretions."

Puan Sakinah, Full-time Homemaker, Seremban: "Independence means freedom, being able to do what I want, move freely, living harmoniously in a multi-racial country. But most importantly, I feel safe most of the time."

Puan Anom, Postgraduate Student, UKM: "Independence means being able to be yourself and after experiencing life in the 20th and 21st century, independence means to be able to learn new things in facing the challenges that are yet to come."