Bersih 3.0: An awakening

— Cee Kay
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — After watching Bersih 2.0 from the comfort of my home, I promised myself that if ever another Bersih were to be organised, I would be there and so there I was yesterday afternoon at 1.30pm after alighting from the LRT at the Pasar Seni station. I was not disappointed as Malaysians from all races and creeds were there, from college students to aunties and mak ciks to uncles and pak ciks. It was like a carnival, with shouts of Bersih and the eight resolutions sought. The police were just standing around which was a pleasant surprise. The number of people present was beyond my expectations and strangers of different races were chatting with each other like old friends or neighbours. That gave me hope that there are better things to come.

At about 1.40pm, the crowd began to move forward led by Ambiga and other leaders of Bersih and we were joined by others along the way. From my vantage point, I could see that there were plenty of people all the way from Pudu Sentral up to the junction of Tun Perak/Tuanku Abdul Rahman Junction and there were more along the major side roads.

It was nearly 2pm and the crowd was waiting patiently along Jalan Tun Perak, as we could not move forward. Shouts of “Bersih” and “Bangun Rakyat” could be heard as well as renditions of “Negara Ku”. I was at the Masjid Jamek station when I heard a popping sound and realised that tear gas canisters had been fired. Chaos ensued. The crowd was not aware that Ambiga had given instructions for the rally to disperse as we were far away and as such, the actions of the police caught everyone by surprise!

Suddenly, my eyes began to sting and I could not breathe but it was quite impossible to move forward. There was a mak cik in front of me and she tripped. I managed to catch hold of her because I feared she would be trampled and I managed to move to a side road. By then, I was already in tears due to the chemicals but there were strangers of all races handing out salt and helping others. We helped each other to move further away as the police were continuing to fire more tear gas canisters. I had a 20-something Malay chap begging me for some water and I gave him whatever I had even though I needed it badly for myself.

I sat beside a Malay family and an Indian guy and a lady of about 65 said to me this “ Kerajaan Zalim!” I replied in my Kedahan accent and said “ Memang!” We started chatting as a group and the mak cik said something that really moved me: “Encik, kita orang Melayu tidak benci orang Cina atau India, kita semua rakyat negara ini. Yang buat huru hara adalah orang politik dan Perkasa”. I thanked her profusely and moved on to Menara Maybank which wasn’t safe as well as all the exits to join Pudu were locked down and tear gas continued to be fired. Finally, I reached the safety of Chinatown and sat down again for a drink.

It was then that I began to ponder what the mak cik had said to me. Yes, I know all along that it is the politicians, especially the ruling ones and organisations like Perkasa that are the shit-stirrers but I never imagined that it would be told to me by a mak cik. Also seeing the camaraderie that took place amongst the crowd, especially helping each other regardless of race and creed to overcome the chemical effects of the tear gas, gave me hope that we can still rebuild this Nation of ours, hope that there is still a future in Malaysia, hope that together, we are Bangsa Malaysia! This is the true embodiment of 1 Malaysia which has failed in its implementation by the current regime. But we can only do that provided we vote wisely during GE13.

As to how successful Bersih 3.0 was as well as the brutality of the authorities, I will reserve that for others to comment.

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