The 31st of August and the 16th of September are two very special dates to every Malaysian. On the first date, we celebrate Malaysia’s Independence Day or ‘Hari Merdeka’ with 2022 marking the 65th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence. On the second date, we celebrate the establishment of the Malayan Federation in 1963 and the unity in diversity of Malaysia. This span of 17 days incites a strong feeling of patriotism in all Malaysians, and YONGL is no exception. In this creative challenge that pays tribute to the beloved nation of Malaysia that he calls home, YONGL has depicted how the spirit of Malaysia can be found everywhere throughout the country. The Malaysian flag need not be presented in nylon, polyester or cotton — it can be anywhere in any shape or form.
In this series, YONGL illustrates the Malaysian flag in various everyday places alongside various national elements. The national animal of Malaysia, the Malayan tiger, roams underneath the red-and-white striped roof beams under the light of the crescent moon and the bright, shining star.
The renowned Petronas Twin Towers stand tall amidst the backdrop of the night sky brightened by the crescent moon; a Malaysian sits atop a red-and-white striped fence and reels the shining star up as he fishes for hope. YONGL tells us that hope can be found anywhere in this nation if we have the determination to seek it.
On Hari Merdeka, the Petronas Twin Towers lights up with the colours of the Malaysian flag; a Malaysian symbol bearing a symbol of patriotism on itself. Underneath the glow of the shining star that illuminates the sky on this ceremonial event, YONGL depicts a crescent moon that bridges a connection between the Twin Towers upon which Tunku Abdul Rahman stands and raises his hand as he shouts “Merdeka!” for the first time. A Malayan tiger stands behind him to symbolise the bravery and strength of the Malaysian people.
YONGL illustrates the national flower of Malaysia, the hibiscus or ‘bunga raya’, sprouting out of the KL Tower that reflects the colours of the Malaysian flag, and bursting fireworks out of its stigma in celebration of the festive events.
YONGL is thankful to his country for providing him with all the opportunities that it did as well as the beautiful nature, urban design, people, and culture that has allowed him to embark on his photography journey and pursue it to date. Standing atop the old Proton that sparked his creativity, YONGL expresses his gratitude to the nation of Malaysia for all it has done for him.
With his camera lens, YONGL captures the essence of Malaysia everywhere he goes. He encourages us to look beyond what we see on a superficial level and appreciate what our beloved nation has to offer for us.
YONGL continues to create and inspire Malaysians by depicting the bits and pieces of their everyday life against a backdrop of surrealism. Check out feature stories about YONGL on Free Malaysia Today, the Sun Daily and World of Buzz. Stay updated with YONGL’s latest works on his Instagram and Facebook.