Monday, August 29, 2016

A beginner's guide to attending Hari Kebangsaan celebration

Hey, I am Joan. I am Malaysian. And here I am writing a beginners' guide to attending Hari Kebangsaan celebration at Dataran Merdeka.

This is such a long overdue post. I wanted to write about it right after Merdeka Day celebration day but I sort of forgot about it. Besides, I had a hard time finding a blog post regarding how to attend the Hari Merdeka celebration. All the tips are catered more for tourists. So here it is.

Well, I guess as a local attending it is not on a priority list. But, I said to myself - I must attend it once since all this while, I only watch it on TV every 31st of August. (Yeah, given the fact that I grew up in East Malaysia, it would not be a good idea to actually fly to the capital of Malaysia just to attend this celebration. LOL!)

Anyway, enough with the rant.


What you need?
1) Cap/Hat
2) Good walking shoes
3) Bag (preferably with a zipper, safer to keep your stuff)
4) Water
5) Face mask (seriously, you will need it, its always gonna be hazy this time of the year and there will be a lot of people, close proximity, sweaty under the sun - so go figure!)
6) Sunscreen (not a must, but just maybe)

Where to start?

Start early!

1) wake up early! Seriously. I remembered we started our journey like before 7am and parked our car at Sunway Putra Mall. Took LRT to Masjid Jamek station.

waiting for LRT train

And I thought I was early. Nope! People are more prepared. I would advise be there at Dataran Merdeka by 6am. Yeah, no shit.

traffic light
This was the crowd at 7am. To get a seat there at the grandstand, I think they were there before sunrise.
merdeka day crowd
So many people! And at the moment we reached there, I was already thinking why would I bother to be here. Somehow, it is a nice atmosphere to see people are so eager to see the Merdeka Day parade that was about to take place.
merdeka day crowd
merdeka 2015 parade
Also can be seen people dressing up with fancy clothes. Not to mention the enterprising street vendors that are selling Merdeka Day memorabilia and that super noisy vuvuzela. They really charge you kaw2 also for those kind of stuff. But they will reduce the price kaw2 also towards the end of the celebration. My advise to you - don't bother buying it.

plants trampled

Stand tall!

2) For a vertically challenged person like me, trying to look above the crowd is such a feat. People are just practically standing everywhere. Even on the flowers and plants, pots and ledges, cars that are parked at the road side. You name it. They will try to be higher above to see the parade.

merdeka 2015 parade

For this photo I have to extend my arms fully to take a photo of the Malaysian flag during the parade.

merdeka 2015 parade

Do not get your hopes up!

3) The whole road where the parade happens is practically congested. Super crowded. If you think by attending the Merdeka Day celebration there and then is fun.Think about it again. You will end up just tiring yourself. But if you are up for a challenge or some adventure. Go for it! Hahaha
I got excited the most when I see the army with tank cars parading. Also the army with the camo suit looking like rumput!
merdeka 2015 parade

Expect a lot of walking

4) After the "official" ceremony ended do walk to the main celebration area and go and pluck all the flowers for decoration. Hahahaha. Seriously, there were a lot of the makciks were competing to go and pluck all the fresh flowers at the main stage.

The initial plan to be at Dataran Merdeka was to take photo there and go back. But hey, we got interviewed and were live on TV that day. Hahaha. Talk about being lucky!

ally iskandar
 This was a screenshot by my friend. It was funny how the TV crew decided to interview us. They thought we were foreigners. Tsk tsk tsk. But yeah, we were in TV. First time attending the Merdeka celebration and not watching it on TV and now we are on TV. LOL!
joan on tv

Take your time!

5) If time allow you and you can bear the heat, spend some time there to soak in the moment. It is actually a new experience to see people from different walks of life to be there for the celebration. Although, everyone's intention might be different to be there - it is still fun to see everything live.

sehati sejiwa

merdeka day celebration 2015

Go in a group!

6) My last tip for you being a beginner is go in a group, it will be more fun. But not in a super big group 3 to 4 people will do. It will be nicer besides there will be people helping you take pictures. Hahaha. I went my husband and also my sister.

kids in malaysia flag clothing

So, it was a blast. A very different experience. I think every Malaysian should actually try to attend the Merdeka celebration at least once in their life just to have a feel of it. Anyway, do not be surprised with the amount of trash and also decorative plants being destroyed after the whole thing. People just don't care. Sad right?

merdeka day 2015 flower trampled
This is not a grave but a mess of trampled flowers

By noon time, we made our way back to Masjid Jamek station which was by the way will be super crowded too. So, be careful with your belongings and that face mask I told you to have will come in handy. (Sun, sweat and crowded places is just so smelly)

Will I go and attend again this year? Nope. Hahaha. But I hope this guide will help you on anticipating things if you ever decide to attending one. Good luck!

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