Untameable Bersih Part 2, understanding it

By Sakmongkol AK47
July 15, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 15 — Some spell it as “tamable”. Others as “tameable”. The fact remains, the marchers cannot be tamed and though battered and aspersed, remained unbowed and honourable.

How do we make sense and explain the actions that took place after Bersih?

Let’s have our own debriefing session lest we agonise over how the media characterised our fellow citizens who marched on July 9. On the whole, I think, those people who marched towards Stadium Merdeka on July 9 before being horribly set upon by the police with tear gas and chemically-laced water are good, honourable and public-spirited people.

They carried no parangs and other assortment of dangerous weapons which were displayed by the police a few weeks ago and which looked suspiciously bought from a same single supplier. Perhaps one person was assigned to purchase the “weapons” from a single supplier and then the cache was displayed before all. Logic would have it that if the weapons were owned by different people, they would be of a jumbled-up lot. Here an axe, there a pisau, over here a parang, over there a catapult. Where were the Molotov cocktails?

Samad Said, the National Laureate whose earliest novel “Salina” I read a long time ago, could hardly be described a subversive or crook. Khalid Samad? Haji Hadi? These people consisted of ordinary people from all walks of lives — pensioners, taxi drivers, writers, lawyers. They are just plain, public-spirited individuals.

The Bersih marchers are not street mobs on a looting spree. They are peaceful marchers making a statement about how elections are run in this country. But as usual Umno and the government like to claim and exercise ownership on the bad things. So any attacks against the bad things owned by the government are taken as attacks against lawful government and therefore require punishment. The punishment came in baton wallops, water cannons ejecting chemically-laced water, tear gas and physical abuse. All these are of course mild treatment from our own chaps in blue.

If we read and listened to the pliant print and audio-visual media machinery, all those who participated in the Bersih march are subversives, traitors and dummies. These people are tools of Lim Kit Siang, mules for Anwar Ibrahim, digits directed by Indians, especially that minachi named Ambiga. Those marchers and those who write in support of the Bersih cause will all perish. Umno will triumph and those causing trouble will be punished.

How does the government explain Bersih?

1) Bersih is an outlawed organisation used as a front by opposition politicians and politicians who have lost credibility.

2) Bersih is just a ploy by Anwar Ibrahim to revive his image.

3) Bersih is a subversive effort by people to unseat the government unlawfully.

4) Bersih is a strategy by non-Malays and foreign agents to destroy the Malay government.

5) Bersih is anti-Islam.

This is the story that is going to be retold over and again in kampungs and villages.

Bersih 1 took place so many years ago. The previous home minister must have slept through his job, whoever he was. Perhaps at that time, he was busier overseeing the processing of immigrant workers from Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Bersih, which did the same thing as the intended one on July 9, wasn’t outlawed? The answer can only be straight and simple — simply because it never contained any crooked elements. This time, the government is more creative — first they discovered an assortment of weapons, then the NGO was outlawed. There was also an attempt to picture the marchers as communists because some posters of Shamsiah Fakeh were discovered. I thought some time ago Utusan Malaysia hailed Shamsiah Fakeh as a freedom fighter? Bersih was also hinted as a front for foreign powers and that it received funding abroad.

Why would the Yang di-Pertuan Agong be allowed to meet up with representatives of an outlawed organisation and why would the PM be willing to discuss with an outlawed organisation?

The outlawing of Bersih smacks of the use of unbridled discretionary power. If Bersih is outlawed, then it must have contained elements that were outlaw-able right from the beginning. That it was outlawed on the eve of the July 9 march would suggest that the decision to do so was done maliciously as it was unprincipled. This is the reason why Bersih was outlawed — to justify the actions intended upon the marchers.

Understanding why they were set upon then would help the marchers dispel any notions that they were crooks or subversive elements. These people are not crooks but participants and supporters to a cause espoused by a hastily and peculiarly outlawed organisation.

The hidden agenda is, by outlawing Bersih it will be possible for the government to declare the participants and the organisers en bloc as law breakers. As law breakers, they are subject to the laws governing crowd control and public disturbance. It will be easy henceforth to justify any actions against the marchers and organisers in accordance with the law.

I think the mainstream media is overplaying this point. There were elaborate attempts to show Bersih as a means to restore Anwar’s sagging fortunes. Hence Utusan Malaysia gave coverage about Anwar’s involvement in the rally. But this was truly and actually wasn’t about Anwar anymore. If he feigned his injury, wearing the familiar neck brace and looking almost dead on the hospital bed, he must have gotten a miraculous recovery for the very same night he was in his element at the PKNS stadium in Kelana Jaya.

Everyone saw he fell down while negotiating somewhere after leaving his presidential suite at KL Hilton. Tian Chua was mobilising marchers who stampeded through the police cordon and in the melee, Anwar fell. I am almost near to saying: Anwar was actually a liability in the Bersih rally.

I am sure the police must have been instructed not to touch the 91 people classified persona non grata in KL on July 9. The same cannot be said of the nameless but determined marchers on that day. Being nameless gave the police a freer hand to deal at their discretion. Excessive force was applied on these people.

Let’s push the argument further. Even if Anwar leveraged on the Bersih march, does association with Anwar make the march illegal? Somehow it must be wrong if Anwar is involved. Let’s not forget that Anwar has paid a heavy cost for his Sodomy I. He has not been convicted yet and therefore technically must be presumed innocent.

Anwar is a former deputy PM and is currently battling legal charges and is on trial. Association with Anwar, who is maligned with all sorts of dirty descriptions, does not make Bersih and its cause any less honourable. Anwar’s case is his and his alone — it does not pollute the cause of the Bersih marchers. Hence, there is no shame for the marchers if others accuse the marchers as Anwar’s mules.

Anwar’s presence does not diminish Bersih nor besmirch the honour of the marchers.

Let’s try to make some sense about how the government responded. Anwar was factored in the rally. First-hand accounts were elicited from international tourists. Traders and travellers were solicited for their comment. The whole rally was classified as haram. It caused great hardship to traders who lost business and daily life was disrupted. Bersih is an insidious ploy by non-Malays to undermine the Malay government.

Why is the government doing all this rather elaborately? The answer is: it’s all part of the mind-conditioning process of the public. It’s trying to isolate the Bersih marchers as some foreign substance to prevent it from becoming some integral element of a civil society.

But here is the thing. Spontaneous and voluntary banding together is an important ingredient of a civilised and democratic society. Only Third World despots who are naturally anti-democracy respond the way the government did. Use batons and other harsh treatment on its own citizens.

Is Bersih an agenda for non-Malays to dislodge the Malays from political power? The bitter and inconvenient truth is the majority who marched with Bersih the other day were Malays. That makes the debatable fact that the rally was planned by Indians and that Malays are being used insignificant.

The cause and the beliefs underlying the resolve to march with Bersih are more important. That the Election Commission hasn’t been up to standard in ensuring elections are seen as clean was and shall remain the main objective. It wasn’t about overthrowing the government though street action. People marched because they are motivated by real concerns.

Why is the government afraid of electoral reforms? Everyone seems confident that the government will be returned with a bigger majority. The victory will be more honourable if it wins with integrity. The issue of postal voting is insignificant. Those in the service vote earlier because of operational reasons and the election process is done under watchful eyes. Representatives of political parties are present during the voting and vote counting process.

Why should aliens be given citizenship and the right to vote in order to ensure victory for certain people? The bigger issue here: how is it they got citizenship with such ease and so large a number?

On TV, we were shown interviews with a few Caucasians. They were inconvenienced they said. The inconvenience of two or three Caucasians is considered to create a jarring impact on Malaysia? Their pedantic views are irrelevant; as though they are not inconvenienced by other things. Many of us had to waddle through crawling traffic. Come, interview us, we will tell you another story.

Our opinions, coming out as Malaysians, are definitely more important than two backpacking Caucasians. The two Indian tourists said they had to go to bed starving. Were they going for a particular type of food that can’t be found elsewhere?

We were of course made to listen to excerpted interviews. If these kwailos come from western democracies, they are not altogether strangers to marches and demonstrations. Everyone gets inconvenienced especially those who want to use the same route.

The impression represented by the kwailos is irrelevant to Malaysia. Caucasian tourists will still come to Malaysia. All Ng Yen Yen needs to do is to flash out on her expensive Facebook routes to be avoided by the kwailos.

It’s all part of the mind-conditioning strategies of the print and audio-visual media industry.

Interviews with the Caucasians and the horny-looking Egyptian will be exploited to show people that tourism in Malaysia will be affected. Ng Yen Yen came out with her usual condescending explanation of how much we lost in terms of tourist revenue. If we earn RM30 billion over a month, a loss of one day’s revenue is RM1 billion, she will boom in her usual speech-giving style as though she’s talking to stupidas.

We will teach you a lesson in Raub, nyonya. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

  1. #1 by drngsc on Friday, 15 July 2011 - 11:22 am

    I am worried that there will be copy-cats. Beware of copycat Bersih 2.0. We all agree with the Bersih aims and objectives, so there was Bersih 2.0 on 9th July. Lets us not adulterate it with other issues.
    Lets make sure that the country won’t go on a Rally mania, and rally for every small issues which can be solved peacefully.
    Let the true spirit of Bersih prevail. Let us not spoilt it.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya.

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