Wait a minute. It's not August yet. And not September either. What's with the State Flags then?
It's because of July 22. Embarrassingly enough for myself and my Sarawakian nationalist tendencies, I didn't know what happen on July 22 1963.
It was Independence day. Not 16 September when Malaysia came into being. July 22 was the day the UK officially handed over administration to local authorities. For a while at least, we were actually an independent country.
The state government is going to celebrate our 45th anniversary all year round. I'm all for it. I'm not entirely convinced that our younger people know enough of our history (and by "our" I mean Sarawak, not Malaysia). Yes, we are part of Malaysia but our story is different.
We are different no matter how hard some people try to make us the same as states in Semenanjung. This is not a bad thing although I do understand why certain people would feel that it is so.
We will always be different. One country sure, but there will always be us and there will always be them. Different. We will always be Sarawakians first.
I'm not surprised that there are some people who insist that this is a waste of money. I guess some people don't understand the importance of remembrance. The past makes us who we are today. Who we are makes us unique within and without the context of Malaysia. We need to reflect and remember.
These next few months is a good time to reflect on how far we have gone since then and how far we will go.
If I were to start writing about what it means for me to be Sarawakian, I would never finish this post.
The short version?
I'm proud to be from here and I'm proud of my home. I'm proud of all my people and it honours me to be among them. Especially these days of political turmoil and uncertainty. These days of racial and religious tension within the country.
When it comes to peace, tranquility, unity and harmony Sarawakians lead the way. There is no need for some government big wig to come down and talk of "Perpaduan" here. Those are just words. Here, it's a way of life. It's always been like that. It will always be that way, God willing.
On a social level in modern times, Sarawak has never had any serious tensions amongst her own. We can all be justifiably proud of this fact.
It's not to say that there is no problems at all here. Only a blind fool would say that. There will always be problems, both social and political.
We have some minor racial issues every now and then. Our government isn't the most transparent and our politicians aren't the cleanest lot. We suffer from poor treatment by the Federal Government. We have issues with cronyism and corruption.
But so far, we have never allowed our problems and conflicts with each other to tear us apart. At the end of the day, despite our little frictions and disagreements we are all one people. Sarawakians.
Hopefully we can solve what problems we may encounter and be even better in the future.
Sarawak is a beautiful place and I will always be loyal to her, first and foremost.
May God bless our home and may we live long and prosper, no matter what happens.