The journey of 900km

— R. Yang
The Malaysian Insider
May 13, 2013

MAY 13 — On the night of May 5, the outcome of the election was somewhat predictable — the slow release of the electoral results coupled with huge contradiction between the official and unofficial results. We were filled with disbelief, disappointment and anger towards to failure of the caretaker government and the affiliated public institutions to ensure a clean and fair election.

On May 6 evening, there was news that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) calling for a mass rally at the Kelana Jaya stadium. Upon arriving back in Singapore on May 7, my friends IV and BF informed me of their intention of participating in what would be a maiden rally for them. With little hesitation, we took the decision to be part of the historical moment in Malaysia. I informed my manager on my decision to take urgent leave and, delightfully, he wished me all the best for the trip.

On May 8 afternoon, BF and I rented a car in Johor Baru and started the journey of 400km at 3pm. In general, everything was smooth. We were stopped by policemen at Seremban who asked us where we were heading to. “Shah Alam,” I said and we were released. Some wrong exits were made but fortunately we managed to pick IV and continued our journey to the stadium.

At 7.30pm traffic was crawling along the North-South Expressway at the Subang exit. It took us more than 45 minutes to travel the final 2km and the cars weren’t moving at all after the toll. It was 8.15pm. Some drivers abandoned their cars and walked. We were lucky to locate a spot to park the car and headed to the stadium.

It was a drizzling that evening. The people who walked with us were in black or yellow. I know that this was going to be a historical black parade in Malaysia to send a defiant message to the regime that we, the rakyat, would not tolerate blatant fraud in our electoral system. In addition, we wished to reiterate that BN’s disappointing results were a reflection of Malaysians’ sentiments instead of the clumsily-coined “Chinese tsunami”.

As we entered the stadium, what we saw was simply stunning. The spectator seats and the field were filled with people dressed in black, carrying flags, umbrellas and some self-made message boards. People from different ethnic and age groups had gathered here for a common purpose — to voice our stand against the electoral fraud. Some may have said that we were exploited by Pakatan Rakyat for its political agenda in this rally. However, for those fellow friends who were in the stadium, we could proudly proclaim that Pakatan Rakyat had successfully restored unity among Malaysians. Never once were we united until the formation of Pakatan Rakyat after the 2008 election.

It was an eventful session with many veteran and rising speakers taking to the stage. There were brilliant speeches made by Nurul Izzah Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Siti Aishah and, of course, Anwar Ibrahim. The message we were sending was clear and loud — all we want is a clean and fair election.

We are Malaysians first and as proud Malaysians, we will work together to challenge the status quo which is filled with cronyism, corruption, racism and suppression. In contrary to BN’s divide-and-rule rhetoric which aims to create ethnophobia, the core message by Pakatan is to dismiss the fear-mongering tactics which have been employed by BN and that Malaysians can rise above ethnicity to unite as fellow Malaysians.

There is no Chinese tsunami. We have had enough of this ethno-centric nonsense. It is, in fact, the rakyat’s uprising against the ruling elite.

The rally ended with the singing of “Negaraku”, our national anthem, which we were so fond of since our childhood. Singing it now again with almost 100,000 people in the stadium carried a profound meaning. It was our forefathers’ vision to build a nation upon principles of liberty and justice.

As the late Tunku Abdul Rahman stated in his speech at the proclamation of independence in Merdeka Stadium:

“Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour — the creation of a new and sovereign state. At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty — a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.”

We should really reflect on what we have achieved in nation building since our independence. The 13th general election recorded the demise of democracy and our public institutions. However, it is imperative for us not to give up and to persist on bringing the necessary changes required to restore the very foundations of our country.

As the rally ended, the first question I had in mind: “So, right now, how would I be driving back to Singapore in this massive jam at 12.30am?”

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