Auntie Bersih spooked by Facebook attention

Kow Gah Chie | Jul 20, 11

Eleven days after inspiring netizens for her heroic role in the Bersih 2.0 rally, Auntie Anne Ooi has gone into hiding.

Ooi, 65, said she is stunned by the attention she has received on the Facebook page set up for her, which has gained more than 40,000 ‘likes’ to date.

She has been praised as the ‘Malaysian Lady of Liberty’ and held up as an icon of the Bersih 2.0 cause for clean and fair elections.

For a retired teacher who has led a simple life and who has no knowledge of social media, the intense attention has come as a culture shock.

“I’m so frightened by all this ‘madness’ in Facebook,” she said when met on Monday night.

“I lead a life with no TV, no newspaper, no nonsense. I read only good books. (Now) I dare not go home. All this madness frightens me. Everything is so unbelievable.”

Ooi, who had been an English teacher for 35 years, said her daughter’s house “is now my shell” and said she dared not go out in public, except to church.

She expressed her wish to be left alone and pleaded with the public to give her time to adjust to the situation.

“Please give me time. I know I have courage… until I can handle Facebook, only until then…,” she told Malaysiakini on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the DAP.

The party’s parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang had invited her to the seminar on Dayak issues.

Ooi, wearing a blue T-shirt and pink flowery long pants, soon caught the crowd’s attention.

Upset over media attention

At one point, Ooi was visibly upset over the media attention, and she threatened to leave the event and go home.

“I am angry with the media. I am angry with the photographer who took my photos. You all didn’t ask my permission. I am even angrier at Facebook (netizens),” she fumed.

But she soon calmed down, saying she understands that the media and the photographer had to perform their duty.

She agreed that the coverage of the Bersih 2.0 rally had been beneficial to the country’s struggle for democracy.

Ooi had gone alone to the rally on July 9 and she was stopped by the police and asked to explain why she was wearing a bright yellow shirt.

She persisted and joined the crowd at Petaling Street which later marched to Jalan Pudu, where she was tear-gassed and doused with chemical-laced water several times.

Despite the ordeal, she remained with thousands of protesters until the rally ended six hours later.

Photographs of her at the rally holding a flower stalk soon caught the attention of netizens, turning her into an instant celebrity.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 - 5:23 pm

    Is Losima looking 4 her 2 learn fr her?

  2. #2 by k1980 on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 - 6:38 pm

    //Is Losima looking 4 her 2 learn fr her?//

    Cannot lah, Auntie Bersih tak ada RM24,000,000 diamond bracelet. Losima only minat diamond because diamonds are a fat lady’s best friend.

  3. #3 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 - 10:23 pm

    This auntie Annie is terror la..true ichiban freedom fighter.No need internet or media reliance sources.But marched and marched in spite of tear gases and blardy water cannons she came as one of the best finalist..Could i do this if i were in her state and age?Quite hard even for a peaceful rally mission in bolehland,right?Ok whatever la.What about presenting her with personal computer for her bravery?
    LKS,let us know if we can chip in as a token of our gratitude to present her the PC since she said she needs time to get adapted to facebook.I think many of us will not hesitate to help out.

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