Discuss about the Visual Culture for Malaysian Flag.
The modern official flag of Malaysia is a product of a number of changes that took place since the inception of the country, after unifying the 14 independent states, much in the style of the way the British did administer and run the country. The Malaysian Flag that in the later years came to be known as Jalur Gemilang was formed even before independence came to the country. The designing process of the flag is an important historical event that reflected much of the nationalistic sentiments and the other social and political dynamics that did continue within the country at that point of time. The inception of the present Malaysian flag has its origin in the flag that was first hoisted by the Federation of Malaya. With all the 14 states coming together to fabricate single nation, there arose a need to make a single national flag that did reflect the national sentiments and the major components that came to together to define the ethnicity and the individuality of the Malayan people (Basir).
The very history of the design and the various changes that were brought about the flag of Malaysia, clearly showed the various elements and the dynamics that were at play at the time of making the country of Malaysia and the identity towards which the country and its people were trying to move ahead.
In the process of the final evolution of the design of the flag of the nation, we see that the process went through a long process and a sub sequential number of changes till the final design evolved. This change happens to be the most justified one as per which we see that the nationalist sentiments of the rulers and the people of the country were exhibited. This process clearly showed that the nation was striving towards the goal of attaining a clear, separate and individualistic nationalist identity. Flags are after all symbols of pride and dignity that the nations take in their entity. In the case of Malaysia these sentiments were no different (Macdonald).
The final design of the Malaysian Flag had 14 equal red and white alternate equal width stripes that are placed against a background of a blue cantonment based on the top left alignment. The cantonment also bears a yellow crescent and a 14 pointed star that is known as the Bintang Persekutuan or the Federal Star. These stripes indicated at the presence of the 13 member states and the federal government. The equal width of the 14 stripes indicates at the equal strength of the 13 member states and also the federal government. The 14 pointed Star indicates at the unity that exists amongst these member states and the federal government. The crescent indicates at the religion of Islam that is the national religion of the country. The colour yellow of the crescent is the symbol of the rulers of the country and the blue cantonment is the symbol that represents the people of the country. The flag of Malaysia truly exhibits and represents all the major forces of the nation and the elements that comes together to form the nation of Malaysia. It can be said that the flag itself clearly represents the major aspects of the country that gives equal importance to the major elements of the country that have come together to define the national identity of Malaysia (Fischer).
Democracy is the system where the people of the country have a considerable say in the general running of the country. The people of the country are adequately represented in the parliament and the other legislative, judiciary and also the executive bodies of the country. The people of the country has a major say the country is run, their opinions are valued and better still they have the freedom to express their opinions. This is a process that ensures that the people of the country are free and can contribute to the development of the country. The growth of the country and the well being of the fellow people is a responsibility that s entrusted in the hands of the common people of the country. I fact it has been stated that the democratic forms of government are the best sovereign frameworks for the people to live and flourish in (Therocket).
The incident where we see that the national people did contribute to the making and the designing of the flag represents and reflects the democratic spirit of the country. The leaders of the nation clearly had a vision of a democratic nation where the people of the country would be playing a really important role in the development and the enhancement of the nation, its goals, its success and its eventual international pride. The nationalist vision of the political leaders did not just happen to be their own, but was something that was to be shared and cherished by the common people of the nation. After all the population of the country did make the nation what it was and gave it its nationalist identity. This was the vision with which the nationwide flag designing project was undertaken by the government of the nation. The very nature of the project revealed the democratic spirit that was being encouraged by the political leaders of the nation. The people of the country were being encouraged and invited to form the nationalist character of the country, where the people of the country would come together to define the character and the nature of the national identity (Expatgo).
The nationwide flag designing competition was a major step on the part of the national leaders that gave an insight into their strategy of forming the character of the national identity. The people of the country would now come together to decide on their identity of the nation. This was a great step that did onset the process of formation of a national identity that would be done by the people of the country who together constitutes the nation. Through this process the people who earlier belonged to thirteen separate states now came together to form a single nation – Malaysia. This was a process a step through which the thirteen states were merged to form a single nation. This was a process that brought solidarity, unity and integrity to the people of the nation that in return helped to form the nation (Nst).
The plan of holding a national competition to design the national flag was truly a great step or a plan on the part of the national leaders that integrated the people of the thirteen states together and also helped the people in the formation of their new country. This was a step that celebrated the spirits of democracy which in the later days became the solid foundation on which stands the current nation of Malaysia – a symbol of unity amongst elements of diversification (Fischer).
The Malaysian Flag is an epitome that symbolises the elemental sentiments and the potential characteristics of the nation, its people, its culture, its religion and its ethnicity. In fact we see the entire history of the formation of the nation and the pillar features of the nation that has formed the identity of the country is well represented in the flag of the country. The makers or the designers of the flag, or better still, the national leaders, who did finally choose the specimen of the national flag amongst some 300 and more examples of probable designs, did keep in mind to put together the essential characteristics of the nation within the flag (Expatgo).
The Malaysian Flag or the Jalur Gemilang, as it came to be known in the later days truly has kept in mind all the milestones that the nation has attained in history throughout the process of formation of the country (Fischer).
If we talk about the basic design of the flag we see that the elemental structure has been taken from the flag of the East India British, where we see that the basic design has been taken from the flag of the British colonizers. The flag of Malaysia that we see in the current times, the official format or version did see a number of changes. A number of revisions have been done so that the flag can best represent the constitution elements and the nationalist sentiments of the country. The flag of Malaysia in fact aptly represents the ethnic feelings and the sentiments of the nation and also exhibits the factors and the facets that has come together to define the national character of the country and its people and also its society (Bestrategic).
The nation of Malaysia was formed by integrating together 13 different independent states and then formation of the federal government. The 14 alternate red and white stripes happen to be representing these thirteen member states and the 14th stripe represents the federal government. The Blue colour cantonment represents the common people of the nation. The crescent represents the religion of Islam and the colour yellow signifies the royal colour of the rulers of the country. In addition we see that the 14 point star reflects the unity of the 13 member states and the federal government (Arkib).
Evaluating all the symbols that have been represented in the flag clearly shows the designers and the national leaders have all the elements in mind that are important to the nature of nationalist identity of the country. The flag represents the separate thirteen members, the religion of the people of the country, the common people of the country and also the unity and solidarity amongst elements of diversification (Worldatlas).
Truly it can be said that the Malaysian flag happens to be an apt representation of the national sentiments of the country. It denotes the various challenges and the difficulties that have been conquered and overcome in the way of forming the nation. The flag celebrates the unity and the coming together of so many different elements together to make the nation of Malaysia. The flag celebrates the unity amongst diversification, which is the central sentiment behind the formation of the country. It represents the true spirit of democracy and shows equal respect to all the major components of the society and political elite of the country. It respects and celebrates the religion of the people and also the individual identity of the nation that rests on the inherent cultural aspect and lineage of the country (Expatgo).
Task – 4
The National Flag of any country is the symbol of integrity, uniformity and the identity of the nation, something in which the nation takes a sense of immense pride and honour. The national flag is of utmost importance for the identity of any nation. It is the first and the supreme symbol that defines the entity and the individuality of a nation. It becomes the first symbol that defines the personality and the character of the nation. As a result national flag is an element to honour, take pride in and respect. The nationals of any country are expected to show respect and reverence towards their national flags. In fact people across the world are expected to show respect and honour for the national flags of other countries. The act of disrespecting the national flag is an act that is condemned as a national crime. In fact in many countries dishonouring or harming the national flag is an offence for which the person doing the cat can receive very severe punishment (Bestrategic).
In Malaysia as well the national flag is the symbol of national pride and integrity. The people of the country do take immense pride in their national flag and holds it with great honour and dignity. It is the symbol of the unique character of the nation of Malaysia.
This is a sentiment that is very commonly exhibited in the daily life of the nation, its society and its people. Anybody who has the minimum sense of observation shall witness this fact in some of the merest activities that goes on within the nation even on a day to day basis.
On other occasions of national character we see that the importance and the eminence of the national flag happens to get all the more prominently pronounced. The event of the celebration of the National day clearly shows the nationalist sentiments of the people of the country who do take an immense pride in their national flag. The National Flag of Malaysia in fact narrates the story of the large number of challenges faced and hurdles overcome in the process of making the nation of Malaysia. The National Flag is a symbol that represents the various elements of diversity that has come together to form of the nation of Malaysia. The National Flag on such occasions of the national Day celebrations or maybe even international sports events fills up the people of the country with a sense of adulation for their nation and the heritage that it contains for its future generations and the message of solidarity that it conveys to the rest of the world (Basir).
People of the nation are to show respect, adulation and immense reverence for their national flag that is but the ultimate symbol of nationalist identity of the country. Anything otherwise is treated as a grave offence shows towards the entity of the country.
Arkib. Formation of Malaysia 16 September 1963 . 2016. 27 October 2016 <https://www.arkib.gov.my/en/web/guest/penubuhan-malaysia-16-september-1963>.
Basir, Kusha. History Behind the Malaysian Flag. 1 September 2010. 27 October 2016 <https://www.malaysiandigest.com/archived/index.php/15-features/personality/24948-history-behind-the-malaysian-flag.html>.
Bestrategic. The history of Malayasian flag. 2016. 27 October 2016 <https://www.bestrategic.my/herebecontent/tag/flags/>.
Expatgo. Symbols of Malaysia: Her flag and anthem. 31 August 2016. 27 October 2016 <https://www.expatgo.com/my/2016/08/31/symbols-malaysia-flag-anthem/>.
Fischer, Uwe. Jalur Gemilang – The Story of the Malaysian Flag. 1 September 2014. 27 October 2016 <https://www.malaysia-insights.com/jalur-gemilang-the-story-of-the-malaysian-flag/>.
Macdonald, Ian. Flags of the world. 20 November 2013. 27 October 2016 <https://flagspot.net/flags/my.html>.
Nst. Rising together, Rimau to drive KL Sea Games. 14 November 2015. 27 October 2016 <https://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/11/111481/rising-together-rimau-drive-kl-sea-games>.
Therocket. Malaysia’s Democracy. 22 August 2013. 27 October 2016 <https://www.therocket.com.my/en/malaysias-democracy/>.
Worldatlas. Malaysian Flag. 2016. 27 October 2016 <https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/malaysia/myflags.htm>.