Let’s just be frank, how many of us actually remember the full lyric of our national anthem Negaraku as well as well we remember our favourite hits, the latest song by our idol or any K-pop songs? If we are to do a random survey on this topic, I believe honest Malaysians will answer that they can remember the lyrics of any of Michael Jackson’s songs much better than Negaraku.
I have friends who, at functions when we were asked to sing the national anthem, can’t remember whether it is “Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju” or “Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan” first after “Tanah tumpahnya darahku”. To avoid embarrassment, they just do the lip moving but during karaoke sessions, they can sing any K-pop songs without even have to look at the screen.
I would say this is not surprising because if we are not involved in official functions or a local sports fan and assume that we do have children in school as well as you only watch drama series on Astro, official as in government related functions; chances are we will hardly get a chance to sing and listen to Negaraku. Negaraku is rarely being played in any other events. I have never attended any company or private event that involved singing the national anthem.
I have to confess that I sang Negaraku more often during my student days in Auckland than after returning to Malaysia. It is a ritual that members of an NGO that I was involved in took turns to sing the national anthems of the countries where fellow members are originated before every meeting. At another Association that I was an advisor, playing the national anthem of New Zealand and China is a mandatory before any activity.
There are three national anthems that I can remember by heart. The first of course is our Negaraku, follow up with China’s March of the Volunteers and New Zealand’s God Defend New Zealand. One for where I come from, my Negaraku, one for where I spent my formative years and one is due to the frequency of it being played whether one is in China or involved with any China related activities regardless of location.
Thus, I hope that we will get to listen to our national anthem being played more frequently and I am happy that cinemas in our country are willing to play it before the start of any movie in conjunction with Merdeka. It would be great if this practice can be continued on a daily basis. I would also like to suggest that it be played on private functions more often as well as on a daily basis on TV channels besides RTM 1 and 2.
Singing the national anthem indeed play a role in instilling patriotism in a person.