Our democracy died but was revived

— Chris Tay
The Malaysian Insider
May 14, 2013

MAY 14 — When I reached home in Bandar Sunway after work on May 8, my housemates were already in black and pumped up to go to the Kelana Jaya rally. As tired as I was, I decided to go and show support in the fight against electoral fraud.

We left around 6.30pm from Bandar Sunway and took the Ara Damansara way to try to avoid going through the LDP. Incredibly enough, the jam was as bad as it was raining as well. All cars seemed to be heading to the very place we wanted to go. Finally we manage to park (somewhat illegally) on the highway about 3km from the stadium and started walking.

As we got nearer to the stadium, we were joined by many others who were wearing black. With our umbrellas (it was still raining), we inched closer to the stadium and what I saw were cars everywhere, all parked in the most imaginative way possible. People of all races were all walking side by side to the stadium and some even stopped to buy merchandise like shirts, scarves and the annoying little horns.

The stadium came into view after about a 20-or-so-minute walk. A small “pasar malam” seemed to have been set up. It was carnival-like. This was about 8.15pm. Suddenly, I heard a loud cheer like one of those from the movie “Gladiator” when Russell Crowe’s character reached the Coliseum. We hurried into the stadium and found a sea of people wearing black, braving the evening drizzle and cheering. This was as though Malaysia was playing in the World Cup and we are watching the final.

My housemates wanted a good view, so we made our way right to the centre of the stadium. Everywhere I looked, there was someone smiling or giving a polite nod to us. The view was spectacular. Flags were flying everywhere and banners that had messages I wanted to say were found everywhere. A Chinese girl holding a PAS flag or a Malay guy waving a DAP banner was something common. The people, mostly young adults, were of all races.

The rain stopped a little, but the ground was still wet. So people were putting newspapers, plastic bags on the ground to sit on. One Punjabi guy lent me his towels (I don’t know why he had them) to sit on. The rally started and one by one, we cheered on each speaker. I must note there was nothing racial about their speeches and it was only concerning the electoral cheating and fraud of the incumbent government.

By that time, the whole stadium was packed and overflowing into the streets. I guess the figure of 120,000 people could be quite accurate. From where I was sitting, I could see people climbing over fences, sitting on the scoreboard, climbing up the walls and some even watched from the buildings surrounding the stadium.

Speakers like Mat Sabu, Tony Pua, Wong Chen and Saifuddin Nasution fired up the crowd. But when Lim Kit Siang was sighted on the big screens, the stadium went into euphoria. This man, who is in his 70s, has fought so hard for Malaysia, and the crowd acknowledge his spirit and sacrifice. They say he is racist, in fact someone did say he is an extremist racist. I guess these people are deluded because intelligent Malays would know he is not. In Gelang Patah, he was not just banking on the Chinese vote, but also for the Malay and Indian vote. His ceramah was always to unite, not divide the people. Beside me was a group of young Malays guys who were cheering as hard as I was when we saw Uncle Lim.

Anwar got the loudest roar from the crowd. The man waved to the sea of people and the crowd was chanting “Anwar, Anwar!” His speech was inspiring, with sections of the stadium replying to his questions and comments. It was this day that I once again believed in the strength of the people, that we are not alone in this fight, and that we must follow the leaders who have fought, got beaten down but rose up again like Anwar, Uncle Lim and his son, the CM. If they persevered, we must emulate our leaders and persevere for our future and our democracy.

I felt more Malaysian and united than any slogan can make me feel. The anger of the people seemed to have reached its peak and the rakyat will not stay quiet any longer. Finally, when we sang “Negaraku”, I felt a rush of pride being a Malaysian. I stood with a group of Malays on my right (who brought their Atuk, I think), a group of young Chinese behind me, and some Indians in front of me. We were not distinguished by our race that night. We sang as Malaysians and we were all proud to be Malaysians — 120,000 people sang as though they were going into battle and there were emotions as though we were sad that our Malaysia is under attack from within.

When it finished, chants of “Reformasi”, “Bersih” rang through the night. I left the stadium with much difficulty as it was so congested. It was not until 2am did I reach home, tired, wet and exhausted, but burning with love for my country and for the wonderful people in it.

I want to say that although we are of different races, colours, creeds or religions, we are still Malaysians. On May 5 I witnessed the worse of Malaysia, but that Wednesday, I witnessed the best of Malaysia. God bless our home, Malaysia!

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