Merdeka Day is doubtless a special day for all Malaysians. The celebration of Merdeka Day however varies depending on how one wants to celebrate it.
For Roslee Yusop, 48, or better known as Uncle Ting Tong the Clown, Merdeka Day is a very special day for him. According to Roslee, Merdeka Day and New Year’s Day is the time he can show his patriotism by wearing his Malaysian Flag costume. It would not be appropriate to wear the Malaysian Flag as a clown costume or for any other occasion.
“It fills me with pride and joy to wear the Malaysian Flag as a suit,” says Roslee. He adds that he has been wearing the Malaysian Flag suit every Merdeka and New Year’s Eve since 2011.
His youngest son Mohd Nerwan, 12, also follows him for the Merdeka Celebrations. He too has his own smaller Malaysian Flag costume to celebrate the National Day.
For Roslee, being a clown and celebrating with other fellow Malaysian makes him forget his daily struggles, if only for a while.
Roslee has three children, Nurizwani, 20, Norzimawati, 19 and Mohd Nerwan, 12. All of his children have Thalassemia. His wife, Norehan Binti Hamid is not in good health and suffers from leg pain result of falling a few months ago.
Every three weeks, he brings all three children to Hospital in Petaling Jaya for a blood transfusion. Lately, Mohd Nerwan has not been going to school. He suffers from constant headache and fatigue.
Roslee owns a small stall selling corn near Uptown Kota Damansara. During the weekends, he spends his day performing comic acts at Jalan Masjid India and around the KL City Centre. On these occasions, he only dons an all-white costume for his street performances.
“I have been in the Malaysian clown scene for 23 years now. It is a way I earn some extra cash, but a lot of it depends on the donations from the crowd. For now, I am trying to save up to buy a small lorry that will help me expand my corn selling business,” says Roslee.