Negara kita

Michelle Chan
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 17, 2011

JULY 17 — At the not-actually-ripe-yet age of 20, I may have not experienced first-hand or seen with my own eyes how bad WWII or May 13 were, but I recognise the face of right and wrong.

Being politically inclined since school days, it was not easy to stay passionate about this Bolehland. There is too much contradiction and ignorance or even denial from the previous generations and also my own.

Raised in a middle-income family, my parents work hard to make sure I grow up to have the good things in life — a good education, leading to a good job, marriage, kids, life. The whole point of these ideals is about progressing towards betterment. No? Development is about achieving the better things in life, right?

Leading up to the Bersih rally, I thought thoroughly about the validity of this event. The objective: clean and fair elections. I sure hope that when I’m eligible to vote, my vote really counts.

I was unsure because I did not want to side any political party in this chaos, but I believe in democracy, I believe in choices; I believe in Bersih.

When I told my parents that I was going to rally for Bersih, they were already plotting how to roadblock me at home on that very morning. The same parents who taught me to stand up for what I believe in were going to stop me from… standing up for what I believe in? Are you freaking kidding me?

I thought a lot that night. I understand perfectly what they are worrying about. For many decades, the ruling government was so comfortable with censoring what’s not politically-friendly to them (ISA, Printing Presses & Publications Act, et cetera). My parents’ generation was raised by the authorities to be afraid of authority — “expressing opinions” is futile. My parents are worried only because they know what corrupted governance is in place.

The Bersih rally had a 50,000 turnout and for me, it was a time for Malaysians to stand up for what we believe in — that is clean and fair elections. Merdeka Day pun tak seramai! I believe we are preparing for another stage of merdeka; one that leads us to real democracy.

July 9 2011, this historic day, will forever be etched in my heart. My mentor, also one of Bersih’s steering committee, Wong Chin Huat led the crowd to sing Negaraku — that was the highlight of my day. I have never sung the national anthem so wholeheartedly. It was like the first time I was introduced to the song but I knew the lyrics already. And I meant every word this time. “rakyat hidup, bersama dan maju”

I cried so hard.

No introduction needed for the injustice and brutality, you can see it for yourself on Twitter or Facebook.

The aftermath of the rally was an eye-opener of the ruling government. The lies and mocking was hurtful and respect was nowhere to be seen.

Even bystanders, who were ignorant or reluctant to be involved, cannot goyang kaki only any more. People will stand firmly to make their choice to progress towards betterment. My parents’ generation will not need to be afraid of being right anymore. Malaysia has lot of hope, I promise you. I saw it myself!

I am often told not to discuss political matters because “I’m too young” for it. But exercising democratic rights in my own country should not be an age matter. It is either right or wrong.

I can’t vote yet but I hope all those who are eligible will.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:36 pm

    Bersih was peaceful demonstration.

    Inside my heart, I wished Bersih can be something like the gathering of middle-east. Bersih should gain more power. Bersih should become the element to ask this government to go.

  2. #2 by PRmaju on Sunday, 17 July 2011 - 8:40 pm

    You did well. Now make sure you tell all your friends, t do their part to save this wonderful country of ours from the lanuns. There is no choice, it is our only homeland, if we all do nothing, the thieves and lanuns will rob all of us blind and ruin our country.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 2:54 am

    Not too young at all 2 learn abt politics n dis evil racist gomen; applause

  4. #4 by dagen on Monday, 18 July 2011 - 9:31 am

    Umno’s winning formula is being stripped bare and that is why umno is panicky. First, kampung folks and ignorant/lowly educated natives, as a collective group of umno’s supporters, are showing signs of dimunition. Their age, education level and exposure to reality, as time passes, are all definitely not in favour of umno. Umno in rhetorics and umno in reality are two completely differently entities. In fact umno’s greedy ways and needs are shortening the exposure to reality process. Second, freshly baked bumiputras using dr mamak’s projek ic secret recipe are not reliable as support. Because they too would sooner or later discover the rhetorics/reality dichotomy and be disillussioned thereby. Third, civil servants would of course support umno. They were so indoctrinated by the BTN. But ultimately it could be because umno somehow is able to exert a hold over them. Inspite of these, a growing number of them are also getting dissatisfied with umno and hence are turning against umno. The real umno they have to face and deal with is not the same as the umno they hear or see.

    It is therefore obvious that umno now would need to rely more and more on the federal government’s machinery and bodies like the election commission, the police force, the army, the AG, the judiciary, the macc and of course the draconian and completely out of date laws. In the last instance, more often than not the reliance upon them were either in bad faith or an outright abuse.

    All of these have been rolled together and hammered by umno into one powerful weapon, i.e. the weapon of fear. The fear of being deprived of freedom and of being beaten and tortured and even murdered while in detention. In other words, umno has taken on the attitude and outlook of an autocrat.

    Unfortunately for umno, the once powerful fear weapon has gone blunt. For one thing, umno should not have overused it. For another, youths of today – not having had the nightmarish and live threatening experience of world wars – are a great deal less fearful. On the contrary, they seek fear for sheer entertainment. Besides, education and increased general awareness have encouraged them to be more independant and assertive insofar as their basic rights are concerned.

    The clampdown and police brutality which umno directed in the recent bersih 2.0 rally is one glaring example of use by umno of that fear weapon. The clampdown and brutality have failed to produce the desired effects and this is proof that umno’s fear weapon has in fact gone quite quite blunt.

    In short, umno’s collapse in inevitable and imminent. Correct decisions and actions by umno now can only secure them a soft and perhaps a slightly delayed landing.

    So umnoputras, abandon ship while you still can.

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