Last night, I retraced his footsteps as I entered Lancaster House as this early nineteenth century building, in the leafy and secluded corner of St. James’ almost next door to the Queen’s, once again hosted a historic occassion for our country. Lancaster House was the venue for the 50th Merdeka reception, hosted by the Malaysian High Commission in
So, if this is the climax of my hectic schedule running up and down the country during the last few months, then I am happy. Deliriously so. I had just got off the Eurostar from
Earlier I had plans to blog about the the meeting with the Scottish ex-servicemen in
Peggy was a close friend of Tunku and had been his confidante on a lot of things, not least his choice of the bunga raya as the national flower. Fred lees, was of course the Englishman who shouted Merdeka from the control room at the Merdeka Stadium. One can sit for hours and listen to Fred. He has a way of telling stories and and make you laugh. Fred, as a young MCS officer worked with the Tunku, Tun Razak and many others. But one very important task that he carried out was organising the programme for the big day. From the copy of his programme, you can see every minute detail was planned with military precision. But, according to Fred, no one anticipated the school bus that went into the monsoon drain nearby!
Fred talked about how Tunku would come up with ideas at the last minute. Walking with the Duke of Gloucester to their seats in the stadium, Tunku popped his head into the control room where Fred was sitting with Syed Jaafar Albar and said:
“Albar, when we are walking back after the ceremony, shout Merdeka into the microphone,” which of course Syed Jaafar Albar did until he lost his voice and the responsibility fell on to the young MCS officer that was Fred. In that joyous and happy atmosphere, no one knew any better whose voice it was that shouted Merdeka into the microphone 50 years ago. Fred will go down in history as the Englishman who shouted Merdeka!
Yes, I wanted to write all that – and now I have. We had a kind of mini celebration eating salmon and salad with fried rice that Marie made. I had brought with me nasi lemak and sambal ikan bilis that Peggy instantly demolished with vigour. We even had a mini Malaysian flag flying on the table. It was a beautiful day – one that I’d like to write about properly, some day.
Rushing back from
Then we prayed for the continued safety, peace and prosperity of our country.
And of course I wanted also to blog about the celebration in
Yes, it sounds a little hectic but there were moments when I let my hair down when I enjoyed an evening with Mawi, shared a song with Sharizan Borhan and enjoyed the beautiful Melayu asli songs with the Asika band who made Ala Canggung like I have never heard before!
Will be back after
Read the story as appeared in Sunday Times here.