This Grandpa Cycled 11 Days To Watch TAR Chant "Merdeka" In 1960. Now He's Doing It Again

He was only 14 years old when he made the 500km journey on bicycle the first time.

Cover image via Syamsi Suhaimi/Harian Metro & New Straits Times

Wan Hashim Wan Mahmood was only 14 years old when he cycled for 11 days just to witness his very first National Day celebration at Stadium Merdeka in 1960

Now fondly known as Pak Wan, the 74-year-old recalled that he cycled 500km from his hometown in Kota Bharu to the capital city together with 14 friends.

And now, he's planning to do it again but this time, solo.

Pak Wan is aiming to recreate the memory by cycling to Stadium Merdeka for Malaysia's 63rd Hari Kebangsaan this time around

"In the past, I used to cycle in a group from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur but today, at the age of 74, I am cycling solo to Kuala Lumpur," the senior citizen said just before starting his 2020 Merdeka Solo Cycling mission.

The grandfather of 20 grandchildren also said he plans to inspire the message of unity among all races during his journey this time.

"I want to prove my love for the country. And it is more than enough for me to just be there again to recall the experience of seeing thousands of people happily celebrating National Day," he added.

His flag-off was officiated by Kelantan Red One Network branch sales manager Daniel Leoh, along with Kelantan Darulnaim Media Club (KEMUDI) deputy president Zabidi Ishar at his home on Jalan Telipot on Sunday, 9 August.

Daniel Leoh (left) and Zabidi Ishar (right) flagging off Pak Wan in front of his home in Kota Bharu.

Image via Bernama/Selangor Kini

Recounting his 1960 adventure, he remembered how excited he was to find out a group of friends had wanted to cycle to Stadium Merdeka to celebrate National Day

"All of them were older than me and initially refused to let me join them because I was too young," he told Bernama in an interview.

However, his friends relented and the group of young cyclists were among the tens of thousands of Malaysians who were at Stadium Merdeka that year to see the National Day parade.

"I could not describe my feelings when I saw Tunku chanting 'Merdeka', a mixture of everything from happiness to sadness and wistfulness," recalled Pak Wan.

"It was then that I realised how difficult it was for our country to actually gain independence," he said, adding that they stayed in the capital for a few days before returning to Kelantan by train.

Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaiming the country's independence from British rule at Stadium Merdeka on 31 August 1957.

Image via New Straits Times

60 years later and with this latest mission, Pak Wan said he intends to create a new record for being the oldest person to cycle around Peninsular Malaysia nine times

No stranger to extraordinary feats, the septuagenarian entered the Malaysia Book of Records in 2014 for being the oldest man to cycle solo for 2,220km around Peninsular Malaysia.

Since then, he has also set four more records for cycling - most notably completing 5,319km through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Peninsular Malaysia in 49 days back in 2018.

Leoh from Red One said that his company was thoroughly impressed with Pak Wan's determination and strength despite his age.

"We, young people at Red One, will embrace Pak Wan's spirit to build the country together with fellow Malaysians of various races," he said.

We're cheering you on, Pak Wan!

Our country is not short on determined and talented individuals. Here are more Malaysians doing us proud:

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