PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's 63rd National Day celebration is being held on Monday (Aug 31) amid uncharted times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but that has not stopped citizens from sharing what being Malaysian means to them.
The absence of the usual grand parade due to the coronavirus has no bearing on Malaysians who took a moment to post on social media their reflections about the country.
Teenager Mohamad Amirrul Sofian, who lives in Kulai, Johor, said that National Day was an occasion to commemorate contributions of past generations.
Posting a picture of a rubber tapper donning a national flag hijab on Instagram, the 18-year-old conveyed his gratitude to the struggles of the older generations which had led the nation to today's success.
"The peace, comfort and harmony that we have now is from the struggles of the past generations.
"We didn't have to go through their sweat and tears, so it's vital to be grateful for the peace and serenity that they've left for us today. Happy 63rd National Day, Malaysia. Without them, we won't have achieved what we have today," he said.
He also congratulated frontliners who served the country throughout the pandemic.
Mr Mohamad Amirrul was among those who flooded social media to share their love and pride for the country via the #MomenNegaraku (My Country moments) hashtag.
The #MomenNegaraku initiative was introduced by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to encourage Malaysians to share their best moments as citizens of the country amid an unprecedented period with new norms in place.
This year's celebration featured the theme "Malaysia Prihatin" (Malaysia Cares).
#MomenNegaraku saw Malaysians displaying the national flag with pride in various ways.
Some creative teenagers also crafted a model of a large-sized cannon wrapped in the national flag.
Entertainer and singer Jaya Sivam Jayagoby shared a video of himself playing the keyboard and singing to a patriotic song titled Sejahtera Malaysia at the balcony of his house.
"My father is Indian and my mother is Chinese but my features make me look Malay. It's easy, I'm Malaysian," he said on his Facebook post.
The 36-year-old from Kuala Lumpur said every year on the eve of the National Day, he would perform at events while leading people to the Merdeka countdown.
"I always find it refreshing and wonderful to see people of different races counting down as they chant 'Merdeka' with me despite whatever we may go through in that year.
"My wish is that we will be able to overcome the pandemic as a nation, united by our diversity and rising above our differences," he said.
For mother of two Nurul 'Izzati Abdullah, her #MomenNegaraku was shared in a photo of her two young boys clad in baju melayu (Malay traditional atture) and a national flag-themed tanjak (traditional headgear) in front of the Bachok district police headquarters in Kelantan.
Her five-year-old son Muhammad Nadeem Zhareef led the chant of Merdeka, which was echoed by his two-year-old brother and five police officers.
"As a citizen of #MalaysiaPrihatin, we should continue to adhere to the SOP (standard operating procedures) so that the country will be 'merdeka' (free) from the pandemic," said the 33-year-old housewife, whose husband is a policeman.
"Happy 63rd National Day and thank you to all the frontliners who tirelessly protect the country against Covid-19," said Ms Nurul 'Izzati.
National squash player S. Sivasangari posted snapshots of her journey in the sport, as well as her achievement of winning a gold medal at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in 2017 and a bronze medal at the Indonesian Asian Games 2018.
"That is among my greatest memories as a Malaysian. I am Malaysian, and this is #MomenNegaraku," the 21-year-old tweeted.