Late in July 1960, the Bunga Raya was picked to represent the courage of our little nation, growing in the eyes of the world.
If you wondered, ‘Bunga’ means flower, and ‘Raya’ carries hints of a joyous celebration.
We had some of these plants in the garden, and when I was little, the growing boy in me used to love the wisp of sugary nectar from a freshly picked Hibiscus flower.
I didn’t know it then, but Malaysia day would come to have a special significance in my life. Had Sarawak not entered the Malaysian Federation, I would probably never have met the charming young woman who would go on to become the love of my life, and my greatest friend.
Interestingly, our local version of the Hibiscus bears a technical name that is the Latin equivalent of ‘the rose from China ‘.
And while it probably doesn’t come from China, nor does anyone seem to know where it really first appeared, I do know one thing:
the ‘Raya’ in Bunga Raya really does give my heart a reason to celebrate this day.
Originally written on 16 September 2020 at home.
Note: 16 September marks the day in 1963 when the Malay Peninsula joined Sarawak and Sabah in North Borneo, uniting as a new country – Malaysia.