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    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    It's Merdeka! Hey babes! You are 47!

    As usual, on August 30, people every where being overcharged for drinks while waiting for the seconds before midnight just so they can show their gift of counting backwards to zero. What's this thing with Malaysians and counting down?

    I particularly found it funny when people went around calling me or messaging me wishing me "Happy Merdeka Day" like I had anything to do with it. Perhaps I am being the cynical Malaysian and I am missing out of the festivities (?).

    But let me share this story with you that shows what being Malaysian is all about.

    As I was driving home from BK's BBQ last night, there were cars parked along the side of the road that leads to my apartment building. Because my apartment is on a hill, these scene-freeloaders would stake out at these roads as early as 9 pm just so they can get a 180-view of the fireworks display that goes on. You can see the KLCC, the Bukit Jalil Stadium, and some Type 3 Chinese fireworks action going on at Cheras which looks like men throwing Christmas tree lights up in the air.

    But back to my story. So, it's usually a crawl back to my apartment building because of these damn cars. Strangely, this time, it was worse than usual. I drive up a bit and I see a large gathering of people. Something must have happened. Fight? Accident? Sex show by the people who are hawking Tongkat Ali? A bug?

    I have to be cool right? I park my car at my designated-spot in my apartment building and walk out to the mob. I make my way into the nucleus of the crowd. Lo and behold. A woman on the floor. Legs apart. Screaming. In pain. It took two seconds to see that this woman was either celebrating our independence with her very special brand of noise, or the Discovery Channel was doing a special on women who yell out loud in pain on the streets of Malaysia. Or she was in labour.

    Talk about your bad day to go out for a walk.

    People around was in a quiet panic. You will occassionally hear "the ambulance is on the way" in various dialects and language in response to the "someone call the hospital". A few men, were on the ground with her comforting her. She was Malay. Her husband was with her but mostly on the phone calling for help. Apparently, they can't get to their car because of wanton double parking. One look at her situation, you wouldn't want her in your car either.

    Still, there were a few Chinese men, and an Indian "jaga kereta" man who somehow managed to make her a little more comfortable with the towels and blankets he whipped out from his make-shift collection booth. This was an opportunity for me. Now I can do what I've always wanted to do.

    With all my strength, I yelled out what I've always wanted to say but never had the chance to until now. This is my destiny.

    "Move back! Give the woman some air!"

    Words I've been longing to say, right after "Move along! There is nothing to see."

    If at all possible, to cut a long story short, the three muhibbah men delivered the baby seconds after midnight with the help of the emergency personnel. There was a feeling of patriotism that moment the newborn cried amidst the light and sound of systematic combustion of gun powder across the city. It was beautiful.

    And because my pizza is here, the woman decided to name her baby boy, Merdeka. Now that's one name to look out for in 20 years if there is a case of a man gone amuk in the streets of KL.

    Then we all had cake.

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