31st August 2022 marks the Malaysia’s 65th Independence Day. Celebrated in the very heart of Kuala Lumpur, the return of the annual Merdeka parade which took place in that eventful day saw the biggest ever audience turnout. It reflects the joy of the common Malaysian people that eventually after months of battling the pandemic, victory eventually arrived. Malaysia emerge victorious.
But like every war, there are casualties. There are also heroes. Sung or unsung. This year’s celebration, the honour goes to the small contingent of the Pandemic Covid-19 Frontliners. The 100 plus team members however represent hundreds of thousands of unsung heroes from the crisis management teams, the health care and medical team, the security team and various other agencies and volunteers that contribute to the victorious outcome of Malaysia’s Covid-19 battles. The most cheered and celebrated contingent as been reported all over by the media, it reflected that Malaysian people really appreciates the nations’ sons and daughters. Our own living heroes that since the past 30 over months have become the tip of the spear in combating the pandemic. The celebrated contingent gains the respect and honor given by Malaysian from all walks of life. The Yang Dipertuan Agong and Pemaisuri Agong gives them a standing ovation as they pass in front of the royal box. The nation is so grateful to the few that gives everything to protects the many.
Each and every frontliners have their own emotional story of joy, despair, sadness and courage, which we may will never be able to heard to. Many lost their colleagues. Their families also not spared the despair. Many lost their loved ones too. Having to let their mothers, fathers, children, husband and wife putting the people first instead of them during the crucial times. Most kept the story to themselves. As sharing their stories is always never been their priority. Serving their nation is. Thus the mantra of “service before self” is the principle that all the frontliners are holding on to. Bonded to their oath in protecting the beloved Malaysia and its people, the frontliners never ask to be recognise nor celebrated. But Malaysian owes to them to the joy of finally able to walk the street and celebrate the Merdeka Parade after two years of hiatus. It marks the nations collective achievement in finally overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. Without the sacrifices and contributions by the frontliners, we will be no where near as what we are now – on the right path towards endemicity. Surely we will be there soon, thanks to the thousands of the unsung heroes contribution and sacrifices.
Just as like the crowd that disperse after the pompous parade, life goes on for the frontliners too. The celebrated contingent members will quietly return to their battle stations and continue serving the beloved Malaysia. Like the thousands other of their colleague that they represent, they are duty bound to the nation. The attention may no longer be there, as we humans easily forgets after we moved on. The joy ends with the last spark of the fireworks. When what’s left is the dim light of the slow burning candle, one tends to fade away and forgotten. Hopefully we will continue to remember the courage and sacrifices made by our frontliners, the candles that burn themselves so others can be guided out from the darkness. Thank you heroes.
The Lucky Jebat
** The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of M-Update