KUALA LUMPUR - Every year on Merdeka Day, Manikamangai Ahsaithamby wakes up early in the morning to watch the annual parade on television.
This year, the 16-year-old will not be watching it because she will be participating in the parade.
"I love watching the parade because it's so lively and colourful and makes me feel proud to be Malaysian.
"Now, I have the chance to be part of the celebrations. It is so exciting!" said the Methodist Girls' School student.
Manikamangai said she signed up immediately when she heard about the opportunity to participate under the youth segment in the Merdeka Day parade tomorrow.
"I love my country and consider myself a very patriotic person. Being directly involved in the Merdeka Day parade is a dream come true for me," she added.
The youth segment will feature 2,200 students from 52 schools in Selangor.
They will be dressed in the national colours and will form the hibiscus as well as the number 56 during the procession.
SMK Taman Medan student Mohd Amirull Shah, 16, said the segment would reflect the country's future generation.
"I think it is good they are giving youths a chance to showcase their potential on the big stage. It's also a good experience for us to be directly involved in the Merdeka Day celebrations," he said.
SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahimah student T. Navvin, 14, said the segment would feature a dance that students have been practising for the last 22 days.
"Participants from different schools have been rehearsing at the Matsushita stadium. It's a good excuse to get out of the classroom and you get to meet so many new friends," he said.
Despite his shy demeanour, SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahimah student Tee Ee Chen, 14, said he was looking forward to dancing on national television.
"The dancing is actually quite fun. I'm just afraid it is going to be very hot under the sun," he said, adding that one of his teachers had roped him and his friends in to participate in the parade.