Celebrating the country’s tri­umphs and cher­ish­ing sac­ri­fices of its fore­fa­thers, lo­cal artistes dish out on what Malaysia Day means to them and how they cel­e­brate it. DEN­NIS CHUA has the story

New Straits Times - - En­ter­tain­ment -

MALAYSIA Day will not be com­plete with­out pa­tri­otic films and doc­u­men­taries, for they make Malaysians ap­pre­ci­ate the mean­ing of in­de­pen­dence and na­tion­hood.

Vet­eran ac­tor Zakaria Ah­mad, better known as A. Galak, be­lieves that com­mem­o­rat­ing Malaysia Day does not merely mean wav­ing the Jalur Gemi­lang and wit­ness­ing the pa­rades in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kin­a­balu or Kuch­ing.

“A true cel­e­bra­tion of Malaysia Day, like Merdeka, is re­mem­ber­ing the sac­ri­fices of the country’s free­dom fighters, who worked hard to free us from for­eign rule, and the pioneers of all races, who built up the mod­ern econ­omy through hard work,” he said.

Galak, 76, known for play­ing Sar­jan Mi­sai in Gerak Khas, has, since 2009, watched Malaysia Day pa­rades in Kota Kin­a­balu and Kuch­ing that are broad­cast live by RTM.

“I can­not imag­ine Na­tional Day and Malaysia Day with­out the pa­rades in Dataran Merdeka, Kuch­ing Sta­dium and Dataran Ban­daraya Kota Kin­a­balu,” he said.

“I also look for­ward to view­ing Malaysia Day doc­u­men­taries and pa­tri­otic films. This year, I will watch The Malay Reg­i­ment, which is about our soldiers who fought com­mu­nist.”

Galak does not star in the his­tor­i­cal film, but his Gerak Khas co-star, Z. Zamri, has a ma­jor role as an army of­fi­cer.

“I am in Abang Long Fadil 2, play­ing a mas­ter crim­i­nal. It is not about pa­tri­o­tism, but it shows how po­lice risk their lives to keep the country safe from crime lords, like my char­ac­ter.”

Another vet­eran ac­tor, Faizal Hus­sein, also celebrates Malaysia Day by watch­ing the an­nual pa­rades on tele­vi­sion. He also watches the lat­est films and doc­u­men­taries.

“I watch Merdeka and Malaysia Day pa­rades on TV with my fam­ily as a tra­di­tion,” he said.

He said his par­ents had re­minded him that Merdeka and Malaysia Day were not only about in­de­pen­dence, but also striv­ing as Bangsa Malaysia to achieve de­vel­oped na­tion sta­tus in ev­ery as­pect of life.

He said his fa­ther, screen leg­end Hus­sein Abu Has­san, did the country proud when the lat­ter starred in Hong Kong film Be­witched in 1981.

Faizal has out­done his fa­ther by ap­pear­ing in two in­ter­na­tion­ally screened films, Buno­han in 2012 and Mrs K, cur­rently in cin­e­mas.

“I take my craft se­ri­ously, and strive to put Malaysia on the cine­matic map.

“I am for­tu­nate to have been cast by film­mak­ers Dain Said of Buno­han and Ho Yuhang of Mrs K. Their work is tes­ta­ment to the spirit of Malaysia Day.”

He starred in Aziz M Os­man’s pa­tri­otic film Lef­te­nan Ad­nan (2000), which is based on the true story of Lieu­tenant Ad­nan Saidi who died fight­ing the Ja­pa­nese in 1941.

Hus­sein starred in Tan Sri Jins Sham­sudin’s Bukit Ke­pong (1981), the true story of 18 po­lice­men who died de­fend­ing the Bukit Ke­pong po­lice sta­tion in Muar, Jo­hor, from com­mu­nists in 1950.

Oh My English! star Zain Saidin celebrates Malaysia Day by hav­ing buf­fet din­ners with his loved ones in Klang Val­ley restaurants.

“This year is a spe­cial Malaysia Day be­cause it con­cludes a bril­liant Sea Games. Not only did we win, but we had an amaz­ing open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­mony that cel­e­brated Bangsa Malaysia,” he said.

He went to support the na­tional football team in its match against Thai­land, and although they did not win, Zain is proud that they showed true sports­man­ship.

“Malaysia Day is not just our country’s birthday, it is also a time to cher­ish our most im­por­tant as­set, mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism.”

He is glad that Malaysians now understand each other’s cul­tures better, and home­grown films are be­com­ing more mul­tira­cial.

“We can cher­ish the spirit of Malaysia Day by fos­ter­ing stronger ties be­tween West and East Malaysia. It is heart­en­ing that many en­ter­tain­ers from East Malaysia, such as Dayang Nur­faizah and Tony Eu­soff, are ad­mired by Malaysians.”

He praised Astro for pro­duc­ing dra­mas such as Anak Merdeka, which de­pict the strug­gles of the country’s pioneers re­al­is­ti­cally.

“My favourite pro­grammes ev­ery Malaysia Day are those which ex­plore our his­tory, food, cul­ture and tourist at­trac­tions.

“Astro’s Ne­garaku cam­paign is a must-watch.”

Ac­tor Syafiq Kyle admits he has yet to at­tend a pa­rade or count­down, but Malaysia Day is mean­ing­ful to him.

“Malaysia Day is a time to re­flect on what I can do to put my country on the map.

“My aim is to progress in my ca­reer un­til I can star in an in­ter­na­tional film.”

Zain Saidin

Syafiq Kyle

Zakaria Ah­mad, also known as A. Galak.

Faizal Hus­sein

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