When Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day come around every year, what do you do to show your love for Malaysia? Some post cool pictures on Instagram, others cover their cars in Jalur Gemilang. This father and son duo however, are celebrating with an expedition. And this isn’t even the first time.
This year is R Ragu’s fifth time doing the Sayangi Malaysiaku expedition, and he’s making his way from Johor all the way to Perlis on foot with his son. The duo started their journey before Merdeka Day and aim to complete the total 1,400km distance on 16 September, Malaysia Day itself.
Ragu makes his way through towns and states by visiting several police stations, using the stations as ‘checkpoints’. At each checkpoint, he gets his book stamped by the station as proof of his visit.
The 43-year-old father of five said that the 28-day walk was inspired by his daughter, who had first done the walk to express her patriotism. In Ragu’s first and second expeditions, he walked solo, while he did his third and fourth expedition on a bicycle, cycling around the Peninsular.
His son, R Surya, 13, took his first walk in 2013 and only managed to complete the first 20km, so this year, he’s in for the whole journey.
To prepare for the expedition this year, Ragu and his son underwent a three-month-long training program. They also managed their diet by avoiding high calorie and spicy food besides drinking lots of mineral water.
When asked about unique encounters they had throughout the journey by New Straits Times, Ragu said that the trip had been uneventful until they crossed Perak’s border.
Apparently, the pair faced both good and bad reactions from other Malaysians. There were some drivers who threw rubbish at them from vehicles and called them “stupid and crazy”. Some other Malaysians stopped to offer the duo water and food, and invited the pair into their homes for meals, and wedding ceremonies. But their most memorable experience had to be at the Esplanade in Penang on Monday night.
The father and son were accompanied by members of the Penang Mountain Bike Association (PMA) at the Esplanade and buskers played “Negaraku” for the duo as they walked past.
“It was a huge morale boost […] Just a few days ago, my son was being yelled at by the drivers and he was (mentally) broken. I had to keep comforting him along the journey, but last night (at the Esplanade), he could not sleep even until 1am, telling me how Penang was the best while crying tears of joy,” said Ragu.
Ragu welcomes the public to join him and his son on future walks, especially youngsters, though they would require some physical and mental training. It’s not easy to walk 1,400km okay!
To those who would like to contact R Ragu to offer assistance and donations, you may contact him at 016 590 5585.