Tuesday, September 16

My small contribution to Malaysia

Today is 16 September, the day when Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya jointly formed the Federation of Malaysia 45 years ago. The date is an important historical significance when Sarawak freed herself from the shackles of colonialism and ventured into a new life in the federation, successfully overcoming obstacles to her nationhood – communist terrorism, the undeclared war of Indonesian confrontation and uncertain future.

To me the date has deeper meaning. As a young boy of 17, I stood at Pangkalan Batu together with 30 of my classmates from the then Dragon School, 24th Mile, Kuching Serian Road sadly bidding farewell to Sarawak’s last colonial governor, Sir Alexander Waddell and at the same time welcoming our new found freedom.

Early that morning we came down to the Pangkalan Batu in the school bus eager to take part in the historic event, where we met some of the independent leaders such as Stephen Kalong Ningkan and Temenggong Jugah. And when our leaders shouted MERDEKA!, we echoed with equal zest but without really knowing, at the time, the meaning and the implications it would bring to the country.

However, the shouts of Merdeka spurred and inspired us as students to study hard in preparation to serve the country. Some of my classmates are doing very well in their life – Dr. Patau Rubis (Medical Officer and Politician), Dr. Abeng Lim (Dentist), Sulong Matjeraie (High Court Judge), Frankie Nyumboi (Diretor of Customs), Empeni Lang (Resident), Putit Matzen (Education Director). Some became administrators, teachers and businessmen.

By twist of luck, I joined the State Information Department three years after independence as an Assistant Press Officer, whose job among others was helping to project the image of the new federation which was burdened with fighting the communists and Indonesian confrontation. Malaysia finally won the fight against the communists in October 1974 when the communists together with their leader Bong Kee Chok surrendered.

Happily retired with four grown-up sons and with four grandchildren, I spend most of my time reading and writing. And after much effort, I managed to write a book, The Broken Shield – The Birth of Dayakism, and this book gives an account of what I witnessed in the making of an independent Sarawak. The second volume of the book, The Broken Shield – The Dayak Dilemma – should be on sale by the end of the year.

As I celebrate today -the date of our independence - with a feeling of nostalgia, and feel proud of my small contribution to history, I think I did not do too badly.
Related news/articles:


Anthony Dylan said...

That is interesting....to have my dad as one of those who inspired. Cheers and Lest We Forget, Malaysia is 45 years today

sagaraptor said...

I want to ask.... some source says Sarawak merdeka was on 22 july 1963.

Tbsbidayuh said...

Happy Malaysia Day Jetty. When can we meet? Maybe with a cup of bitter black coffee.

Jetty said...


Happy Malaysia Day to you as well. Well, we can meet anytime you want. Please email me at josephtawie@yahoo.com to arrange for an appoitment.


TeRiciA @ Bay_B said...

Wowww!!! Coool!!
GO uncle frankie!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr Saga,

It's 16 Sept 1963 lah..it's stated in the Sarawak Gazette. Tak percaya, tanya Tan Sri James Wong

Anonymous said...

...Integrasi Nasional is a failure due to the hypocrisy of "August Malaysians" which subjugates the sincerity of "September Malaysians...( or STEPmember Malaysians....anak-anak tiri Malaysia!)

King of Cups,
Gunung Kinabalu

NEIL said...

Yes, Jetty you have done very well and I will keep on wishing you the best and may the good Lord keeps on blessing you and your family.You may never know me but I through my YB... knows you.I seldom blog in your web but I do on Malaysia Today, chedet,drchua9 etc.Keep the topics HOT and keep on blogging.