Bersih from Down Under

— George Lee
The Malaysian Insider
May 03, 2012

MAY 3 — Ever since the inception of the online alternative media where overseas Malaysians are given opportunities to articulate their views, we have never come close to any break to put words into action until the Bersih movement was launched. We have been called “turncoats” many times over because we choose to live outside Malaysia. However, many of us took these unwarranted comments in our stride. In our hearts, we know that we can still contribute to the betterment of Malaysia in many channels as we never cut ties with our homeland completely. Most importantly, our love for Malaysia grows ever strongly as living apart makes our hearts grow fonder. Hence, when the Bersih movement came to town, we did not hesitate to be part of the flock as we knew this was a time for us to contribute to this cause in a non-partisan manner.

Standing amongst your countrymen at Federation Square singing “Negaraku” was so poignant and gratifying but the feelings were soon eclipsed by enormous worry for those assembled in another “Square” back home. It is so ironic to think that both “Squares” have similar historical milieu but have contrasting destinies when it comes to peaceful assembly. When the Global Bersih co-ordinator asked us to pray in silence for those attending a similar assembly at the forbidden “Square” back home, our hearts sunk to an unprecedented low when we think about our love ones who would come face to face with the Federal Reserve Unit and its free firing weapons.

At the congregation at Federation Square, students, professionals, past student activists, retirees, local social activists and members of Parliament were amongst those who stood up to share their voices. There was so much to say in so little time. Many in the crowd would have loved to relate their aspirations coming to the Bersih 3.0. As a professional driving instructor, I have the privilege to meet many overseas Malaysians from all walks of lives with their joyful and sorrowful tales. Many agreed that only with free and fair election we will see things change for the better in Malaysia. There are just too many unmerited issues surrounding the present electoral system including the recent revelation that the Election Commission heads are aligned to a pro-government political party. To me this is not acceptable (if it is true) as these people are no ordinary persons but individuals who are tasked to run and manage the electoral process. They must show that there are impartial but their political inclinations say otherwise.

It is our hope that Bersih’s aspirations will be met and a deserving government and leadership will reign for the betterment of Malaysia. As overseas Malaysians, we are committed in seeing truly free and fair elections get under way without delay.

Finally, to all my relatives and friends who attended Bersih 3.0 in Malaysia, I am impressed by your immense bravery in spite of the predicament you know you would encounter. Your love for your country surpasses all the fears in you. I salute you all.

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