The wind of change is nigh – the horizon crackles with spontaneous energy feeding into its impending arrival. You can feel the pressure in the atmosphere; sense the electric in the air; hear the whisper of random gusts, all gathering momentum for the coming storm.
Something changes in you too. Excitement gushing through you veins, your instinct thumping to be released; and your feet answered the call. You are now moving to the rhythm of your instinct, the rhythm of the storm! Before long, thousands are running with you, sweeping you up in the stampede for liberty, for freedom, for Merdeka!
Your forefathers undertook a similar journey 55 years ago, but they fought a different enemy then. They struggled against a corporeal form, an external threat, and their victory has been well documented in the lore of your people. The narrative of their struggle forms part of the collective psyche of your community, binding the diverse into a congruent unit. But for too long, your people have relished in the success of your forefathers, reciting the narratives of their struggles until the morals were wrung out of it. Soon the spirit of camaraderie settled; and a mist of content blanketed the horizon.
The seed of your new enemy took root under the veil of this mist, poisoning the soil beneath your feet as you slumbered, feeding your dreams with prosperity and pride. It is also amidst this dream-time that you were born. No, you are not to blame as you could not have realized the insidious influences of the enemy. It has no name and cannot be seen, yet it nourishes you, poisons you, as it slithers its way to encompass your psyche.
The procession grows in strength as more and more awakened from their slumber to join the march for liberty; but your weary body is taking its toll, your pace diminishing, and soon you were left behind. Slowing to a halt, the thunderous roar of the procession retreated into the distance, leaving only the rhythms of your laboured breathe and throbbing heart audible. You contemplate on the journey thus far – What was it that beckons your feet? Who or what is the enemy?
The retreating mist reveals a landscape scared by years of neglect; the empty shells of your kinsmen that have yet to awake stand testament to the corrupting influences of your enemy. You call on them, beckon them to join you in your march for liberty, but their hollow shells did not react, they hear but do not listen; they see but are not aware.
As the horror of the corruption of your people lays bare before you, a realization struck – That the enemy has neither name nor form; it can neither be pinned nor struck down. Yet it is omnipresent, constantly turning unity into dissent, ambition into greed; pride into arrogance; tolerance into apathy and wisdom into ignorance. The enemy is within you, it feeds off the idleness of tranquility, yet it seeks to destroy the only thing that is important – peace. You finally understood, the enemy cannot be defeated, but only enlightenment can keep it at bay.
The struggles can never be over; the march of your forefathers is but the beginning, the narrative of your people does not end with the defeat of colonialism but it must be written by every generation to come, each adding depth to the collective psyche of your people. The struggle against corrupting influences is an ongoing endeavour and only through enlightenment can true liberty be obtained.
Raindrops greet your dusty cheek and cleanse your soot stained body, breathing renewed vigour for the march ahead. The rain has also awaken your kinsmen, their feet fumbling as if uncoordinated; but you know they have heard it as well, the rhythm of their instinct, the rhythm of the storm! You extended your hand and called on them once again, and this time they listened.
The wind of change has arrived. Tens of thousands are now running with you, for enlightenment, for freedom, for Merdeka!
“Merdeka” means independence, not only from colonialism, but also of the mind from the shackles of ignorance. The essay is dedicated to the fighters of our new Merdeka, to those who labour out of conscience to build a shared future, of tolerance, understanding and moderation. You may get tired along the way; you may get frustrated at times, but know that your work has not gone to waste, it only takes one candle to bring light to absolute darkness.