Monday, August 29, 2005
We are in the season where you can see more Malaysian flags than usual. If you have inquisitive kids or grandkids and they ask you about our country's flag and you are not too sure about the facts, this post is for you. As a former scout and scout master, I know a bit more about the flag than is necessary. We were tested on our knowledge of the national flag (and state flags too) and we flew it more often.
Our national flag was without a name for 40 years. USA has her Star Spangled Banner or the Old Glory, Britain has her Union Jack and France has her Tricoloeur. Even our neighbour Indonesia has The Sang Saka Merah Putih. So in 1997 we stopped calling our national flag "the flag, bendera Federal" or "bendera Malaysia". The PM, with the help of Tok Mat and his people, named our flag "Jalur Gemilang" the Glorious Stripes.
As any scout worth his tenderfoot badge will tell you, the 14 stripes on the Jalur Gemilang represent all the states in Malaysia plus the Federal Territory. The colour red signifies courage while white is for purity. The dark blue canton symbolizes the unity and solidarity of the people while the yellow of star and crescent symbolizes the sovereign monarch.
Fly the Jalur Gemilang with the canton (the blue rectangle) on the left i.e. the closest to the flagpole as in the animation above. If you stick it up on the wall, the blue will be on your left.
Flying the flag upside down will indicate distress or that we are at war. The flag can only be flown as early as at first light and must be lowered at sunset. Jalur Gemilang can only be flown at night if there is suitable illumination.
The flag should be treated with great respect. When lowering the flag, care should be taken not to let it touch the ground. The flag should not be used a table cloth or a picnic mat. I am not even sure if it is appropriate for it to be fashioned as the cap for waiters in Mamak restaurants even though Sudirman used it once. The waiters would not be Malaysians just by wearing the caps.Of course to wrap the Jalur Gemilang around a naked model is unforgivable.
Now, there were grumblings heard and read about people not flying the flag especially during August. I guess people have other ways to show their patriotism or their love for the country. Some people are not overly demonstrative and might not want to show their feelings. As long as they don't use underwears with the Jalur Gemilang on them, I guess it is ok.
This blog has always been non-political and non-partisan. Please refrain from racial comments because I have friends from all races. Direct all relevant grouses to the proper fora because I can't help you. IP addresses are recorded in Haloscan and would probably be noted. Thank you.