Growing up, the first image that would probably come to our minds when Merdeka Day comes about, would be the photo of our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, proclaiming our independence at Dataran Merdeka. Needless to say, that picture has been used countless times for any sort of independence day related promotion. We might have always talked about the people in the picture, but no one has actually had a conversation about the photographer.
Well, for those who are clueless, as pointed out by Twitter user, @kisahtwt, the photographer of the historic picture is Ng Weng Hong, a Penang born photographer!
Apart from Weng Hong, his partner, Michael Wong Swee Lin has documented the moment where Tunku Abdul Rahman first announced the nation’s independence at the Dataran Pahlawan in Melaka on 20th February 1956! Thanks to them, the future generation could have a glimpse of the days that changed Malaysia’s future. These two photographers, worked for the Information Department back in the 1950s.
In an interview with The Star back in 2008, when he was 82-years-old, Michael said, “I remember the stadium was filled to the brim with people anxious to see what was going to happen next. Then after Tunku Abdul Rahman cried out ‘Merdeka!’, everyone erupted with joy.”
Not only that, the both of them have documented various parts of Malaysian history including guerillas, protests and all the forced handshakes and smiles in the journey of obtaining independence.
Nevertheless, although their works are often used without credit, it’s high time Malaysian history recognises their efforts in capturing those moments. Their names should be in every history book existing in Malaysia.