By NELSON BENJAMIN and MOHD FARHAAN SHAH
TANGKAK: Ezwan Abd Karim stood out among the hundreds of people taking part in this year’s national day celebrations here when he turned up with the help of a pair of crutches.
Despite a broken leg, the 24-year-old was in high spirits to be part of the contingent from the Pejabat Kadi in Tangkak.
More than 1,300 people from various government agencies, schools, private companies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) took part in the district-level celebrations on Sunday.
Ezwan, who was among a group of about 40 personnel from his agency, said that he volunteered to be part of the contingent as he was proud to be given an opportunity to represent his agency.
“I came here as early as 6.30am together with my family from Segamat to be part of the celebrations,” he said, adding that a slight drizzle during the event did not deter his spirits at the event.
Ezwan, who together with his colleagues drew and coloured the banner the contingent put up during the parade, said that this was the first time he had taken part in such an event.
His leg was injured in an accident several months ago.
Meanwhile resident Tan Lai Eng, 67, who brought her three grandchildren to witness the parade said she wanted her grandchildren to know more about the various cultures and also the sacrifices made by the country’s past leaders.
“My grandchildren are still young and we need to let them know the hardships and struggles made by our past leaders to enable all of us to live in harmony now,” she said, adding that it was difficult when the country was ruled by the British and Japanese and also during the communist insurgency.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman launched the event together with his wife Datin Paduka Prof Jamilah Ariffin.
In his speech Ghani paid tribute to the past leaders who fought for the country’s independence especially against the British and during the Japanese occupation.
He also urged the people to reject leaders who use the “divide and rule” method used previously by the colonial masters to cause disunity in the country through racial polarisation.
Meanwhile, on Saturday thousands thronged Batu Pahat to witness the state-level Merdeka Day celebrations despite a heavy downpour.
School student Mohd Rais Mohd Hamid, 15, said he came to watch the celebration with his friends and was not deterred despite the heavy downpour.
Businessman William Tan, 48, said he was impressed with those taking part in the celebration.
He added that the participants taking part in the parade did not run for cover and instead got drenched in the downpour.
SOURCE: THE STAR, SEPTEMBER 16, 2011