Mohd Merdeka now wears his name with pride
Last Update: 21/08/2019
By Kenny Teng Khoon Hock
KEPALA BATAS, Aug 21 -- Mohd Merdeka Ismail now carries the name given by a village midwife proudly, although there was a point in time he used to feel ashamed of it.
At 7am on Aug 31, 1957, while Malayans were celebrating the day the nation gained Independence from the British, his mother Puteh Husin gave birth to him in Tasek Gelugor in Penang's mainland.
He was delivered by a village midwife known as Tok Esah, who also coined the name in conjunction with his birth on that historic day.
Sixty-two years on, Mohd Merdeka is a fisherman living in Penaga near here with his wife Che Kiah Osman and his only daughter Izzatunnabila.
He explained that from his school days, he was often teased and ridiculed by friends because of his name, so much so that he was embarrassed by it.
“When I was small, I was ashamed by this name but over time the feeling disappeared and now I carry the name proudly because I was born on the same day our nation gained Independence,” he told Bernama when met at his home recently.
He added that because of his special birth date, he had the opportunity to set foot in Istana Negara when he was invited by the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, in 2007 for a nationwide gathering of the Anak-Anak Merdeka.
Being born on an Independence Day, as well as having the word Merdeka on his name, Mohd Merdeka admitted that his unique name has frequently benefited him.
He said not many people know that he had on several occasions been featured in National Day programmes.
“Apart from the name, my birth date is also easy to remember, it is a public holiday. I always have an annual thanksgiving ceremony with family members on that day,” he said.
He said the name has also instilled a deep sense of love for the country and he wished for continued peace and harmony for Malaysia.
“Every year I will decorate my house with the Jalur Gemilang to share the spirit of patriotism and love for our homeland while appreciating the sacrifices of our security forces who fell in the line of duty,” he said.