Published: September 12th 2007August 30th 2007
All day the other teachers at our school had been telling us that that approaching midnight would be a very exciting event. Malaysians all over the country were delighted to be celebrating 50 years since they had thrown off the shackles of their oppressors (i.e. us). We considered joining the festivities - after all, weren’t we representatives of a nation of such generosity that we had allowed this flagging colony to assert some measure of autonomy? And as such shouldn’t we be welcomed with squeals of delight: “thankyou, sir, ma’am, you are so kind to have loosened your vice-like grip on our land”? But then we considered what an odd country we were in. Perhaps these foolish locals might find it odd that their former colonisers should join in a celebration of their liberation. So, out of respect for such foibles, we declined to attend. Well, that and the fact that we couldn’t be bothered to go all the way into town, especially when we informed that there would be no taxis to drive us home afterwards. In a concession to the occasion, however, we did wait up until midnight to watch from our flat the dramatic fireworks display over the city centre, which would form a part of the massive celebration that the local government had been planning for months. After several minutes of eager anticipation, we were rather disappointed with the half a dozen sets of sparks in the sky, which meandered upwards and then wilted with a vague “plop”. Our hopes were ignited once again, however, when the spotlights all converged on the Kuala Lumpur Tower. This time we were not let down - a light ran all the way up and down the Tower TWICE. Exciting stuff eh?