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Sharing The National Day Spirit With Gen Y

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KUALA LUMPUR – The run-up to this year’s National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations saw the National Archives of Malaysia and Wanita UMNO teaming up with a shopping mall and transit hub here, respectively to extend the message of patriotism to a wider section of people.

At NU Sentral, the National Archives is collaborating with the retail mall to hold an exhibition titled “History Can Shape a NU Future” from Aug 15 to Sept 17. The exhibition showcases the achievements of the nation’s past leaders and the challenges they had faced in attaining independence for the country and shaping the Malaysian identity.

Over at KL Sentral, a group of leaders from Wanita UMNO and the women’s wings of other Barisan Nasional component parties, including MIC and Kimma, held a small gathering on Monday afternoon to hand over miniature versions of the Jalur Gemilang to shoppers and visitors, in an effort to create more awareness of our National Day among the public.

National Archives Deputy Director General, Research and Outreach Sector, G. Savumthararaj said the agency found that collaborating with shopping malls was an easier way to convey an impactful message to the younger generation about Merdeka and the struggles faced by the nation’s leaders in the past.

“This is because about 85 per cent of shoppers and visitors at shopping malls are made up of the younger generation. This is our second National Day collaboration with NU Sentral, the first being last year. The exhibition is our way of reaching out to the younger generation and expressing to them the importance of our history and unity.

“We find other malls rather business-oriented but NU Sentral has taken this collaboration as part of their corporate social responsibility,” he told Bernama.

Savumthararaj said based on his observations the older generation appeared to be more patriotic and knowledgeable about the country and its history.

“During an exhibition in Langkawi a few years back, we asked some youngsters aged between 10 and 12 to identify the names of our present and former prime ministers and they couldn’t do it, which is sad,” he said.

NU Sentral General Manager Victor Wong said the exhibition had received positive feedback from the younger generation in social media. He said some local universities have also asked the mall management to update them on similar exhibitions to be held in the future so that their students could use the exhibits as part of their study material.

He said a lot of tourists too have been stopping by at the exhibition to learn more about Malaysia’s history.

Wanita UMNO secretary Datuk Noraini Ahmad said she had also come across tourists who wanted to know more about the National Day.

“Based on the few celebrations we’ve had in conjunction with National Day, many foreigners came forward to ask us what was going on… and they enjoyed taking pictures with our flag too,” she said, when met at KL Sentral.

On National Day awareness among the younger generation, Noraini said they have their own way of depicting their patriotism.

“They use social media, like ‘Merdeka Selfie’, to show their patriotism. They celebrate in their own way… I believe all Malaysians want the country to be peaceful and united,” she added. – BERNAMA

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