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Memories of Merdeka 

I'm not going to pretend that I'm a patriotic kind. But having lived abroad for a big chunk of my student life did put things into perspective somewhat. And for Merdeka Day, most of the students used to congregate at the High Commissioner's Residence in London for a quick get together and food, clad in their traditional costumes.

I guessed that made things felt rather different from the ordinary routine.

The first and only time that I joined in - making a trip to London from where I was based was rather tricky - was soon after I first arrived in 1990. I remembered that the High Commissioner's house was just outside Central London. We took a train there and then a short walk from the station. From afar you could see your fellow Malaysian in their Baju Melayu and Baju Kurung. Quite a sight in a foreign land.

We were ushered in, plenty of food at the garden this being late sunmer when the weather was still warm. A few of the students happened to be children of well known parents from back home and were known personally by the Commisioner or his staffs. They got to be introduced around, while us ordinary folk just mingled around looking perplexed.

We then decided from then on that maybe hanging around and meeting friends at Malaysia Hall was a better idea. Elitism can be stuffy .......

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