August 31 – Malaysia's Independence Day

Posted August 31, 2013

Happy Hari Merdeka! On this date in 1957, the Republic of Malaya became independent of Great Britain. 

By the way, in 1963 Malaysia was formed by combining the Federation of Malaya with Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore (although a few years later, Singapore was kicked out of the federation)and that event will be celebrated in a couple of weeks!

Malaysia is highlighted here in green.
Malaysia is an interesting nation. Part of it is located on a Southeast Asian peninsula (a bit of land that juts out into the ocean, so that it is surrounded by water on three sides). The other part is located on the island of Borneo—but just the northern part of the island! The rest of the island of Borneo is the country of Brunei and part of the country Indonesia.

(The island of Borneo is fairly large. It is the largest island in Asia, about the size of Texas. Still, to be divvied up into three countries, two of which have other land as well, is a bit surprising to me! And check out Brunei—it is made up of two tiny, unconnected bits of northern Borneo!)

Another reason Malaysia is interesting is that it has a parliament, which is a group of lawmakers elected by citizens, modeled to some extent on Britain's parliament. The nation also has a king and a Prime Minister—again, just like Britain—but Malaysia's king is elected to a 5-year term rather than just being born the king (or queen), and ruling for life, as almost all nations with a monarchy arrange things! As a matter of fact, only one other modern nation—Cambodia—has an elected monarch—and that king is chosen for a life term.

(The citizens as a whole do not elect the king. Instead, the nine hereditary rulers from the Malay states have a secret vote to see who will be the next king. There seems to be an informal decision to pass the title around to each of the nine in turn, originally based on seniority.)

Malaysia is multi-cultural, modern, and economically strong. It is one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of number of plant and animal species. Check out this compilation of various tourism videos for great scenery and wildlife sequences as well as glimpses of posh cities and colorful culture! 

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first tennis championship in the U.S.

Plan ahead:

Here are my Pinterest pages on August holidayshistorical anniversaries in August, and August birthdays.

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