By Hakim Mahari
GOMBAK, 31 August 2021: This year, Malaysia once again is celebrating the national month of Independence during the COVID-19 pandemic, however efforts to ignite the spirit of love for the country continued to be intensified among the community, at the same time internalising the spirit of Independence.
A discussion on Independence Day of Malaysia was organised by IIUM.fm in their weekly podcast #WeHearYou with two respected guests, Deputy Rector (Student Development and Community Engagement), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zulkifli Hasan and Assist. Principal of Mahallah Siddiq, Prof. Dr. Zainul Mukhrim b. Haji Baharuddin.
In the one-hour discussion held last Sunday (29 August), both speakers on the episode #WeHearYou, “Merdeka: Demi Negara”, shared the common view that despite the pandemic, it is important to educate and cultivate the meaning of Independence, especially among students.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zulkifli emphasised that in the current situation in which the country is battling an epidemic, it is critical to shift one’s perspective on the meaning of Independence in the light of the current circumstances.
“We must see and analyse the concept of Independence in a new dynamic and progressive light,” he said.
“Seeing from a different perspective can undoubtedly help one understand the actual meaning of Independence and serve as a reminder of past struggles by our freedom fighters,” he added.
Dr. Zulkifli went on to say that the concept of Independence covers not only freedom from colonialism, but also freedom in all parts of one’s life, including freedom of the spirit, heart and mind, among other things.
Meanwhile, Assist Prof. Dr. Zainul Mukhrim agreed that Independence should be sought in the soul of a person who possesses a strong sense of patriotism, defined as a love of one’s nation.
He said, “In our effort to instil the meaning of Independence in students, various programmes have been planned for a month from 16 August until 16 September which will be attended by students, staff and educators on campus.”
“One of our great projects is the ‘Jalur Gemilang Light Garden’ at the main campus where it involved collective efforts from the IIUM community in instilling the spirit of Independence together,” Dr. Zainul Mukhrim added.
At the end of the discussion, both speakers expressed the hope that the country will recover soon from the pandemic and wished everyone “Happy Independence Day.” ***
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