Bersih 3.0: From A Rakyat’s Eyes

Posted: April 28, 2012 10:40 pm in The Republic

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” (V for Vendetta)

I am not a blogger. Saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words; I beg to differ. I believe that the best photo is always complimented by words that truly give life to it. But what do I know? I am not a blogger.

I missed Bersih 2.0 last year due to some reasons. Today, I made it a point and tagged along with my cousins, my brother and his friends. Of course, last year’s stories gave us more than enough reasons to prepare our inventories. My brother advised me to bring salt to counter teargas effect and headphones/earplugs because rumors went round that the government set up some sound-wave device around Dataran Merdeka. I prepared two bottles; one for drinking, one for washing, and face masks. With that, I headed into the battlefield of Bersih 3.0 on a humid Saturday morning.

Being a first-timer, I did not really know what to expect. To be honest, my main concern was not the crowd or how violent things will turn out but rather the teargas effect. Yes, I sound like a wimp but what do I care? I am not a trained militant. Moving on, I took the LRT from Taman Bahagia to Pasar Seni. The train was already packed halfway through; albeit with a not-so-yellow crowd. Perhaps, lesson learned – some who wore yellow were actually stopped at stations last year. So, most actually brought their Bersih shirt along to change upon reaching.

Of course, our first goal was to look for brunch before we started doing whatever we were meant to do at the rally. Lai Foong was more packed than a can of sardines so we ended up tapau-ing chicken rice and makan-ed by the roadside. The crowd was slowly growing in number; patches of yellow were seen all over the streets. As I was eating, POS Malaysia decided to send their boys on a parade down the street (or tasked to spy if you happen to be a cynic). A group of motorcyclists in red and blue uniform tore down the road with the crowd cheering and waving. Most of them looked happy; one cheeky motorcyclist even showed us his yellow watch. Nobody understood the significance of the whole POS Malaysia thing but what do I care? Even civil servants reserve the rights to stand up for whatever they believe in.

By now, the crowd has grown into a full-blown, massive assembly. The streets were flooded with yellow and green men. And some other colors, mind you. Cheers, chants, honks, songs broke out from all directions; it was hysteria. As I strolled along the streets, a small boy caught my attention. He was sitting on the shoulders of an adult, shouting, “Bersih, Bersih! Hidup, Bersih!”  to the delight of the crowd. Of course, he may not have understood the full significance of his cry or the rally but his age, his presence, and his patriotism took my breath away just like how Auntie Bersih took all of ours away last year. Young and old, both were present at the rally. After all, age is just a number.

Jalan Sultan was our first destination because apparently, some DAP big shots were going to pass by. Along the way, banners were seen everywhere with Bersih messages. Basically, everybody wants free and fair elections. Else, why even bother having them? The delusion of democracy has overstretched its limits – the Rakyat  has awaken and we want our fair share (if not all) of decision making in this country. No more phantom voters. No more bureaucracy. No more gerrymandering. No more corruption.

From an economics perspective, the smartest people today were definitely those who made the most profit out of Bersih. Not surprisingly, every shop that was located strategically (some even not so strategically) were painted yellow inside-out. Of course, the second smartest group of people was the “recyclers” (as I call them). These people collected whatever bottles/tins/cans that literally filled the streets for recycling and God knows how much they actually made out of them. This indirectly helped clean the streets and therefore, epitomizing the very English idiom that we are all too familiar with – killing two birds with one stone. Talking about smart people, there was also this group of very-determined-and-patriotic people. Despite their limited physical abilities, they too, were present to make their voice heard. Perhaps, this group of people leaves us to wonder why some born physically perfect would rather spend the day watching “The Avengers” instead. I’m just sayin’.

Now, I wrote earlier about civil servants and their rights to remonstrate. But what about the police? Police are civil servants too. Yes, I may not be unbiased when it comes to the police force, but today, I believe that they were just doing what they had to do (in a certain way, or subject to those I met). As we tried to converge with a larger crowd on the other side of the road, we were barricaded by a human chain formed by the police. The purpose was unknown and the strategy was definitely not a very smart one. You see, we managed to bypass the human chain using an alley on their left. Right in front of their eyes. Oh, did I mention that they have helicopters overhead as well which means they have a bird’s-eye view of the whole area? Perhaps, the police need a little more training in roadblocks. But I digressed. My main point is, even the policemen looked happy. The lot were smiling and many a Bersih people actually took photos with them which included Jarno Trulli (yours truly in F1 language), me. They were, in a way, enjoying the whole atmosphere but I do wonder how many wanted to openly declare their support for Bersih but could not due to job restrictions. Not a very democratic Malaysia now, eh?

After the photo session with the men in blue, we bypassed them and arrived at the bridge leading towards Dataran Merdeka. I took a photo of this group with Guy Fawkes’ masks and playing the kompang or some sort. The mask was an illustrated voice to all that Malaysia is OUR country. Again, the bridge was barricaded not just by the police, but with additional contraption – barb wires. In the midst of all this tension, the Bersih crowd actually found a lighter side to things. I’ll let the photos below do the talking. This was definitely one witty, humorous lot.

After hanging around the area for a bit, we decided to move to Masjid Jamek which was just beside the bridge. The crowd was massive there with half already started their duduk bantah. Chants of “Hidup Bersih”, “Hidup Rakyat”, “Hancur SPR”, “Hancur Kezaliman”, and even the Bersih version of Olé, Olé, Olé were heard all around. Police trucks that passed through the crowd were booed and given the real life version of a YouTube thumbs down. There was yellow, there was green, and then, there were Angry Birds. And pigs. Perhaps, it was meant to show how angry the Rakyat is. And how stupid the EC is. One of the only big guns that I managed to photograph was Karpal Singh (saw Ambiga and Nurul Izzah as well). He was mobbed by the crowd and flocked by his bodyguards so I suppose you can forgive me for the quality of the photo below.

Ambiga gave a speech to the crowd, telling them that today was already considered a success before following through with a barrage of motivational talk. Ambiga’s group then proceeded to move to the front of the crowd where another barricade was. We decided to follow after observing for awhile before we saw teargas fired from afar. The crowd was pushed back, people started booing the helicopters, everyone told everyone to move back, someone told everyone to calm down. My Converse wasn’t being very kind today so I willingly agreed it was time to go home. On the way to Pasar Seni station, we suddenly saw people running towards our direction followed by thick smoke behind them. We started to move faster but the teargas eventually caught up with us. If you ask me how it felt, it felt like peeling onion while eating wasabi. Mydin worker pulled its shutters down as soon as he saw the crowd running, looking for cover. Thank God KFC was a little retarded; we managed to hide in air-condition and internet connection for a good couple of minutes. Well, the day didn’t end very smoothly as LRT stations were closed for security reasons and flagging down a taxi was practically impossible. We did manage to get one in the end for RM40; which was a good deal if you asked my legs. And so, my story ends with a photo evidence: I was there.

You see, what I took away from Bersih 3.0 is this. Yes, everyone reserves the rights to stand up for what they believe in but not everyone can exercise those rights. But for those who can and yet willingly choose to remain ignorant, apolitical, they are the parasites of this country; feeding on her resources without any contribution. They are the armchair critics, Monday morning quarterbacks, who talk about change but do not realize that change begins with people. No, I do not believe that you have the rights to sit home and enjoy your movie while we fight for our country. I believe that you, too, need to take a stand; not sit on the fence. And until that happens, we are not a people. But what do I know?

TGIF?

Posted: February 26, 2011 3:02 am in The Brain, The Emo

There are dry periods in the life of a blogger (if I may so call myself) while some days, thoughts would just emancipate. It goes without saying that today is the latter.

It has been a pretty exhausting yet happy, nostalgic yet refreshing day. It’s late, I’m sleepy; I shall cut to the chase.

#1

Exhausting day. Waking up at 7am is not my thing but oh well; what’s love without a little sacrifice? It was exhausting and definitely got even more exhausting after Macro III mid-term. And bear in mind that it is now 19hours+ since I last remember what is fondly known as “sleep”. Exhausting day, I say? Definitely.

#2

Happy day. One that I can explain without much pain with the following mathematical equation:

Happy day = A day with ♡.

Spent almost the entire day with Loopy and managed to watch my long awaited “The King’s Speech.” Kinda offset all my exhausting. Happy day, I say? Definitely.

#3

Nostalgic day. The main inspiration for today’s post.  Sending PL home, Dad came into our conversation. I recounted the day he died and left us all broken. I also recounted the fond memories we had together. My dad is the greatest father because greatness is not embodied by actions; rather, greatness is embodied by the character behind the actions. My dad showed me love in his fullest capacity as a human; love has never been anymore real. And for who I am today, I owe it all to him; wish he was here.

#4

Refreshing day. Nothing like a good game of futsal on a chilly night. Need further explanation?

Allow me to digress. We all define love differently. Love is materialistic; love is physical; love is being happy; love is a feeling. But above all these and a myriad of others, I ask, “What is love?” I try but with many failures to love according to 1 Corinthians 13. I fail to be patient ever so often. I fail to be selfless in many occasions. Yet, my imperfection in love only reminds me that I am human; I fail. It doesn’t mean I love any less; it only means I am constantly striving to love in perfection. The intent should be passed off as lesser¹ love while the achievement would be love in all its glory.

Goodnight; if anyone reads, that is.

¹Lesser, in this context, is not a progression of the root word “less”; rather, it is the antithesis of “greater”, not quantified but a relative of each other.

Unpublished, Unrated Work

Posted: February 16, 2011 1:40 am in The Brain, The Varsity

Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

To the layman, economic development often connotes material accumulation where the chief end is to boost income and consumption. Not that this view is wrong in itself but as economists, we are called to look beyond economic growth when we talk about development. Other aspects such as ability to command basic needs should be taken into consideration but most importantly, human development should be emphasized. Economic growth needs to come hand in hand with an increase in capabilities, freedom and choices for the individual in order for development to be meaningful in a real sense.

Unfortunately, the world today places more emphasis on the former in looking to alleviate poverty in under developed countries such as those in Latin America and the Middle East. Foreign aid is extended to develop modern infrastructures which in turn, would boost income (wages paid to labor) and consumption (when labor spends the wages); thus, recycling the money back into the economy. But one question that begs asking would be this: Who are the real beneficiaries of this huge capital infusion?

Read the rest of this entry »

Such Great Heights

Posted: February 10, 2011 12:02 am in The Music

I’m thinking it’s a sign
That the freckles in our eyes
Are mirror images and when we kiss
They’re perfectly aligned

And I have to speculate
That God himself did make us
Into corresponding shapes
Like puzzle pieces from the clay

And true it may seem like a stretch
But it’s thoughts like these that catch
My troubled head when you’re away
When I am missing you to death

When you are out there on the road
For several weeks of shows
And when you scan the radio
I hope this song will guide you home

They will see us waving from such great heights
Come down now, they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
Come down now but we’ll stay

I’ve tried my best to leave
This all on your machine
But the persistent beat
It sounded thin upon listening

And that frankly will not fly
You’ll hear the shrillest highs
And lowest lows with the windows down
When this is guiding you home

They will see us waving from such great heights
Come down now, they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
Come down now but we’ll stay

Posted: January 14, 2011 8:17 pm in The Emo

It takes two hands to clap.

November Rain

Posted: January 13, 2011 3:12 am in The Emo, The Music

Guns N’ Roses
November Rain

When I look into your eyes I can see a love restrained
But darlin’ when I hold you, don’t you know I feel the same? yeah
Nothin’ lasts forever and we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain

We’ve been through this such a long long time
Just tryin’ to kill the pain, ooh yeah
But lovers always come and lovers always go
An’ no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today, walking away

And if we take the time to lay it on the line
I could rest my head just knowin’ that you were mine, all mine
So if you want to love me then darlin’ don’t refrain
Or I’ll just end up walkin’ in the cold November rain

Do you need some time on your own?
Do you need some time all alone?
Everybody needs some time on their own
Don’t you know you need some time all alone?

I know it’s hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal the broken heart
Wouldn’t time be out to charm you?

Sometimes I need some time on my own
Sometimes I need some time all alone
Everybody needs some time on their own
Don’t you know you need some time all alone

And when your fears subside and shadows still remain, oh yeah
I know that you can love me when there’s no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness we still can find a way
Nothin’ lasts forever even cold November rain

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one, you’re not the only one

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one, you’re not the only one

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one, you’re not the only one

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody

I’m Doodling Again

Posted: December 12, 2010 7:59 pm in The Lazy Days

My last two doodles have shown some pretty good progress from when I started.

#1

#2

I didn’t know missing someone can be such an inspiration.