An inspiring chronicle of change

by Jee Wan
Jan 9, 11

When we won the Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup, our PM declared 31st December a public holiday, claiming to support the 1Malaysia concept of “People First, Performance Now”. Hurrah, hurrah.
But when our PM attended a Christmas celebration at the Catholic Church Archbishop residence, the PMO directive ordered the church officials to remove crucifixes and prohibit them from singing hymns and praying, saying it’s to protect the prime minister’s Islamic credentials.

Here we are shouting 1Malaysia this and 1Malaysia that, but know not how to respect the tradition, culture and beliefs of another religion? What message are we sending out to the public and the world at large? That we are still immature even after 53 years of independence?

That even our own leaders can’t walk the talk?

That’s just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. And our opinion would probably sound very biased to those who only read the mainstream media or who have been constantly reminded and instilled with fear of change.

But seriously; if we want to see improvement and real progress, we need to change. Change the way we think. Change the way we perceive things. Change for the better.

A wise man once said, “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” So, let this book, ‘March 8: Time for Real Change’, open your mind. Read it and then, tell me and those whom I share my stand with, if we’re biased.

‘March 8: Time for Real Change’, is an upgraded and revised edition of the 2008 original, titled ‘March 8 The Day Malaysia Woke Up’, put together by Kee Thuan Chye.
This edition is divided into 3 sections – Where We Are Now, Back to the Beginning and Where Do We Go from Here, and contains 42 essays altogether.

The ones in Where We Are Now discuss major issues that have happened since March 8, 2008 and reflect on whether the country is better or worse off.

Back to the Beginning consists of essays and interviews selected from the original book, which bring us back to the beginning of March 8, helping us to reflect and learn from our mistakes before moving forward. Lastly, in Where Do We Go from Here, we look forward and reignite hopes for a better future.

Hoping for real change

Spread sporadically throughout the book are comments and opinions shared by Malaysians from all walks of life, young and old, expressing their hopes for real change – each very moving, especially the ones written by determined, hopeful youths.
The essay that brought tugged at our hearts was the one written by Kee (right), titled Merdeka on March 8, which reminded us of what happened three years ago – the joy that spread like wild fire and camaraderie that had the right ingredients for the now 1Malaysia.

Everyone did their part to make a difference. There were those who came back from afar just to cast their votes, those who volunteered to help out at the polls and those who attended the numerous ceramahs during the campaign period, to see change. And change is what we got.
If this can’t convince people that we can make a difference, then I don’t know what can.

There are also brilliant interviews in this compilation. We enjoyed the ones with Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) that had a rather suggestive title, How Big Are Your Balls? and Steven Gan in We Stand with the Underdogs.
It goes without saying that the interview with RPK is not without some bluntness, wisecracks and Malaysian slang slipping in every now and then. Not only did it tickle us to the core, but it made us ponder on a few things.
We liked what he said about fear. “Once you keep fearing and fearing, everything takut, gangster-lah, takut ini-lah, takut itu, I tell you we will never move forward.” And how can one learn not to be scared? “…set an example, and you get people to join you.”

And we found the last comment he gave in regard to Umno ruling by sheer intimidation, so true. Don’t blame the musang for eating the ayam, because that is its basic instinct. If you want to blame, blame the one who opened the door to let the musang in, i.e. people who gave the power to the parties to do so.

We Stand with the Underdogs, is an interview with Steven Gan, the editor of Malaysiakini, who’s also a dedicated, rare Malaysian journalist. In this interview, Steven shares with us about his experience and challenges working with an independent media.
The second half of this interview focuses on being an underdog and supporting those in the same position. “I think if BN happened to be out of power, we would be standing with them. It is part and parcel of the fact that there has to be some check and balance, and we need to play that role.”

Sweet success

Like many other Malaysians, he too, shared the sweet success of March 8. He said, “I think the most meaningful thing that came out of it is that there can be a change in government without riot”, further proving that we need not fear change, because we can handle change.

This book reminded us that change is possible; that there is hope for a better Malaysia. It helped us recollect what has happened and reignited that fire in us again, to want to make a difference.
Youths and those interested in knowing a little more about politics besides the ones you have read in the mainstream media would appreciate this book, as it gives a clear picture of what we have achieved thus far and what our future holds if we don’t do something about it today.
Please do not to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to politics; it’s not dirty if you’re fighting for peace and justice.

If you’ve never really cared about the future of Malaysia, then ‘March 8: Time for Real Change’ might just make you want to care about it now.

  1. #1 by tak tahan on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 1:33 am

    No comme..nt lah.Ask the Ridhuan tee to say about this about malaysian rights.They’ll say ya ya 1Malaysia.My papa and mama TOO singing praise to me.Thank you and malaysian.Sieh sieh malaysia and my godfather Datuk Misbun Sieh Sieh.Lu sama gua panlai loh!!

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 1:39 am

    ///Hoping for real change///

    Hope for real change is completed when PR is voted into power.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 2:27 am

    I do not think UMNO B members are immature.
    I think the decades of feeding them with one sided news and keep fooling the Malays have resulted so many to think Malaysia belongs to the Malays and all minorities Aliens accepted by the Malays in good faith.
    I guess all those who came before the Malays are treated as animals…not important useless jungle people?
    While propagating the rights of Malays…..Mahathir made sure for 22 years as PM…that the Malays are proud and daringly be small time corrupted lot……..while he and his band steal by the enriched their families..and relatives..and use part of the money to fill UMNO B kitty bank….to firstly… buy up chosen top leaders of every sector…serving the Govt….and laws are amended to give UMNO B leaders the final say.
    One you have got the root cause understood…the branches of this evil tree planted by Mahathir which is now…nearly 30 years full grow with off springs sprout out everywhere….to master the art how to twist and turn….observed by students faithfully…how their masters do that with their side shows.
    Anwar was in jail…and only DAP dare to confront UMNO B crooks and their corrupted acts with no fear…and PAS was fighting to win Muslims being lured to serve the Devil.
    After 12th GE…we have the awakened ones by the hundreds of thousands…Muslims….that makes Najib fear UMNO B will be loosing power…for the first time…and out come.. all his nonsensical tricks and low class stunts…to be the best UMNO B leader….in fooling Malaysians.
    But with no success.
    And so…near 13th GE…he declared he will defend with his life…against traitors taking over Malaysia..which actually revealed he thinks he is the king of Malaysia…and so UMNO B is too.
    Always remember the cause and effects…and who are we dealing with.
    And ALWAYS have no fear….as the power lies in your voters.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 2:54 am

    I will rather sleep now!!!Think of something for better tommorow!

  5. #5 by Open Air on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 6:32 am


    two headed snake at its best – when you have the great grand old man as master.


  6. #6 by cemerlang on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 7:19 am

    The fact is not all Muslims are like that but when they attempt to integrate, some other clever Muslims forbid them to. They are scared that they will not believe in Islam anymore and for them, Islam ensures a way to heaven. In the end, any religion can do except Islam. Islam is exclusive and the word exclusive comes from the word exclude. That is why you have the 1 Malaysia thingy because Malaysians are getting more and more disunited. If everything is honestly okay since 1957, Malaysians should be more united today. This 1 Malaysia thingy is to tell that Malaysians are having a problem in unity. It is scary to change. Imagine putting Malaysia into the hands of PR. The feeling is that of fear. You are not tried and tested like BN. Like a mother and a child. She cares for her all this while. Suddenly she has to put her child in the care of some Indon maid. If you are her, what are your thoughts and feelings ? Malaysians know. Not that they do not. But what are the securities ? Good if they have New Zealand to run to. Or Australia. Or Singapore. If hell does break loose. But for those remaining ones, what will happen to them ?

  7. #7 by k1980 on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 7:54 am

    When we won the Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup…..

    How? By using laser beams!

    //the PMO directive ordered the church officials to remove crucifixes and prohibit them from singing hymns and praying//

    Don’t just blame the PMO directive, who gets her salary from the one who gives the orders. Under whose orders was the PMO directive acting?
    A. DAP
    B. PAS
    C. PKR
    D. The Botox guy

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 8:20 am

    Whether there will be an “inspiring chronicle of change” depends substantially on Malay Malaysians. At present the political reality is:

    • Constitutional amendments introduced in 1971 anda further slew of them in the 1980s after TDM came to power made it difficult for anyone to question the concept of Malay special rights that undergirded the NEP’s ideological construct, said to be a major obstacle to the country’s economic progress;

    • there is a heavy preponderance (maybe up to 90%) of Malay bureaucrats in all branches of the civil service, including the police and armed forces; every government department implement its policies explicitly or implicitly based on Malay political dominance and the NEP;

    • gerrymandering in last 2 decades has produced a lop-sided weightage in favour of rural constituencies which are predominantly Malay against urban constituencies which are predominantly non-Malay. The under-representation of urban voters is so serious that in some areas, 1 rural vote is equal to more than 3 urban votes, whilst a ratio of 1:2 in favour of rural voters is common in many state and parliamentary constituencies

    • Non Malay political parties and politicians in ruling coalition depends on Malay (read UMNO’s) political patronage to do well; even within the PR coalition Malay sensitivities are respected and supported as when even Penang LGE talked about emulating the Caliphate;

    • In the corporate sector over 80% of banks owned by Malay capital and in Bursa Malaysia government or UMNO linked counters dominate. I leave the rest to what Loh has expanded on corporate wealth from FELDA etc in earlier threads.

    • Malay population growth and expansion of Malay voters base outstrip Non Malays, exacerbated by comparatively low birth rates and high migration rates.

    If one believes in what AB Sulaiman said [as posted in earlier thread under caption “Malay problem root of nation’s problem”] – that much depends on whether the Malay thinking can be secularized and be receptive to change to bring economic progress and democracy – what are the chances of this inspiring chronicle of change?

    The record for last three decades has in fact been the opposite – from the secular judging from what Tun Salleh Abas said in 1988 Fedral Court decision Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor (that we’re a secular constitution/nation) to Tun Dr Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” that we’re an Islamic nation!

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 8:36 am

    Can the likes of AB Sulaiman, RPK or Malaysiakini’s Steven Gan usher in an inspiring chronicle of change against the Islamisation Tide?

    Tun Dr Mahathir could have – had he been like the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. However he acted the exact opposite.

    I read in TheMalaysianInsider report 9th Jan under caption “Turks protest TV drama showing boozing sultan” that 100 Turk protestors protested at the offices of the entertainment channel Show TV in Istanbul against its broadcast “The Magnificent Century”, a historical drama showing Sultan Suleiman I (1494 to 1566), with his wives and concubines in his harem drinking alcohol proscribed in Islam.

    Here such a broad cast, even if based on historical facts, will never happen and even if it happened there would be 1 million instead of 100 protesters.

    Thats interestingly the measuring cast of diference between the two countries touted as the most modern Islamic nations in the world.

  10. #10 by dagen on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 8:53 am

    DAP will hv an enlarged role to play this time around given the unsettling incidents in PKR. And the role is enlarged as a consequence of increased support for political revolution (as manifested in 308). The poor ground condition (umno’s own shoddy work, unsurprisingly) on which umno slipped and felled last time has not changed at all. Jib’s 1malaysia slogan remains as words only; and they are plainly stuck to his pink lips and never quite got to anyone’s ears nevermind the ground. Because nothing positive was done, the state of the ground has gone worse as compared to before.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 9:41 am

    D truth is dat the converted lot has oredi made up their mind 2 change
    It’s d traditional UmnoB fixed deposit lot dat needs 2 b converted, mental revolution lah
    However, not easy, even amg nonMalays there r lots of UmnoB/BN supporters
    D funny thing abt this UmnoB fixed deposit lot is dat they r rural folks, mostly Malays n Bumiputras, some struggling 2 survive, expolited/sodomised by d rich UmnoB ppl
    Yet they r UmnoB/BN die hards, always faithfully vote 4 UmnoB/BN
    They r d ones targeted by d organ of UmnoB, Utusan Malaysia, dat print lies n racist remarks 2 scare Malays 2 unite behind n vote 4 UmnoB/BN, their great protectors

  12. #12 by limkamput on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 10:01 am

    It is the masses that will make the difference. We write beautiful pieces and record discerning interviews, but who are reading all these? I think those who read all these need no further convincing. It is getting the message across to the masses that poses the greatest challenge. Average Malaysians neither have the time nor the energy to follow the twist and turn that is going on in the country. In fact, after a while, they all got confused. They do not even know their lives could be better if only they have a better government and better governance. When you are really poor, ignorant and down trodden, you wouldn’t know it is your right to get help and trust me, you wouldn’t know some of your predicaments are due to the government’s inaction or wrong action. I am speaking from my own personal when growing up. It is only on reflection that I began to understand. The government can actually fool most of the people most of the time, unless something is done to enlighten the masses. The main stream media is making them stupid. What then is our alternative? The reach of alternative media in BM, Chinese and Tamil is limited. The people must be enlightened, that is the key; the rest we can talk till the cows come home.

  13. #13 by k1980 on Monday, 10 January 2011 - 1:27 pm

    //if we want to see improvement and real progress, we need to change. Change the way we think. Change the way we perceive things. Change for the better.//

    The big problem is that there are many uneducated voters, who upon being given some spare change by the govt, would then change their minds on voting for the better candidate, and instead cast their votes for the devil. To them, RM50 in the pocket is worth another 5 years of corruption. And the sin of accepting that Rm50 would be washed away by praying 5 times a day

  14. #14 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 - 8:07 am

    1Malaysia = 1Inflation

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