Nic and I will be in KL this weekend and we are going to do the BERSIH march.
Do wish us luck and do pray for us! Do leave a message for us on our Facebook page if you can.
We really hope to be back in Penang in one piece and safely of course. We’re anticipating massive crowds but we also know it’s not a walk in the park. We have to be adequately prepared for all emergencies.
You must be thinking that we’re crazy.
Maybe we are. Maybe we’re just frustrated like many Malaysians today.
Many times we’ve been told that businesses and politics don’t mix. For the longest time, we believed that.
But over the past few years, we realised that our lives are not so easily compartmentalised into neat little boxes.
One box labelled Business, another labelled Politics.
Politics used to be like a “secretive” thing one did on the sly.
We weren’t supposed to talk politics – it’s best left to politicians.
But of late, we also noted that we’re made fools of every single day.
I can tell you we didn’t vote for the Government of the day and we didn’t vote for idiots. Worse, look at GST and its timing!
When I jokingly told my market vendor that he should wear a Bersih t-shirt, he said he wouldn’t because he might “offend” some people. I contemplated if I should tell him, those people who are offended, don’t really deserve to be your customers but I held my tongue.
In Malaysia, we’re so used to NOT talking about “sensitive” issues that we never raise them, much less debate about them.
There is this fear – the fear of the police, the fear of being locked up, the fear of everything.
And because of this fear we have come to this stage – where citizens are made fools of, bullied and taken for a ride while our currency slides and slides, and where stupidity is the order of the day.
Nic and I are tax payers and the way this country is going to the dogs is not right. Lots of people complain either in coffee shops or online.
But this does not shame the bullies.
The bullies think they’re kings of the land and they have a right to do whatever they want. Even peaceful marches are not allowed.
A friend who lectures in UITM asked me what use is going for BERSIH when there’s no specific outcome? I ask, what then would you suggest? Discussions? My foot. (Maybe I should un-friend him!)
BERSIH is about an outcome.
The outcome is to let the world know that Malaysia is ailing and what ails us are corrupted leaders who keep telling lie after lie. We want the world to know Malaysia is beautiful and full of amazing resources but due to selfish people, we are at the worst point in the history of our nation.
Look at Singapore. Look at what it has become in the last 50 years. Look at Malaysia and compare. We are the ones with resources and people. And yet we lag behind and now our currency is falling too.
Singapore would be laughing its way to financial freedom if it had our land, our people, our timber, our petroleum.
I once took Political Science as a freshie in USM. I remembered the lessons well. Politics isn’t just about what your MP does or doesn’t do. How your father distributes money in the family is also politics. It is about the resources you get or don’t get.
Politics affects us all. If we had better structures in place, better governance, better systems, we could all do so much better entrepreneurially.
If you’re in business and you still think politics doesn’t affect you, go ahead and do what you like. But each time you complain about prices of goods, the rising costs of living, stupid or unfair policies, the insider cables you’ve had to “pull” just to get something done, remember it’s all politics.
“Do something that scares you, every day” so goes a quote.
Is BERSIH scary? Hell yes.
But what’s worse than what we have now?
What happens if we don’t do something? The amount of cheating, lying and corruption go on. And we will just sit around and complain and twiddle our thumbs.
If you have children, what kind of future do you foresee for them?
Or will you just emigrate as millions of Malaysians have done?
If you have children abroad, don’t you cringe in agony each time the ringgit shrinks and your children may just have to eat bread and Maggi mee? (Some dumbass said the ringgit shrinking won’t affect Government scholars as the Government scholars will still get the same amount. Where does the Government get money? Taxpayers’ money! And this guy has only one point of view – he’s forgets that not everyone is a sponsored scholar. Most people are surviving on their parents’ hard-earned money!)
How could a beautiful country like ours end up like this?
At least we want to be able to tell others, years from now, that we tried.
We tried to do what we could, with what we have. Taking part in a rally doesn’t sound like much action but it’s hell better than sitting around and being a keyboard warrior. And it is our right as citizens to walk peacefully down the streets of KL.
Fear always paralyses us. That’s what it is supposed to do.
But fear can also be a catalyst so that all of us can become heroes.
Not the super powered sort but the everyday living, breathing sort.
Far too long, marches have always been the kind of stuff activists do. These days we see more and more ordinary folks – old and young – take to the streets because this is what we can do.
Even if you are not joining the official rally, please do your part and wear yellow this weekend especially if you’re in Penang. (A KL acquaintance said to me just the other day, “Penang is almost a country by itself. You guys have freedom.” Yes, we are.)
Show that you’re unhappy and unfrustrated. Show that you know what’s going on and you absolutely despise every lie that you’ve been told. Show that you’re not easily cowed or bullied.
Let’s have the message heard, loud and clear!
P/S: Think about it. Which other nation can have a global Bersih in 50 countries in the world simultaneously? Have we asked why so many Malaysians are overseas? Why do we spend our own money and time to buy Bersih t-shirts, to donate, to fly into KL, to book accommodation, to prepare our Bersih “starter” pack and put our lives at risk to march down the streets of KL? Why do my friends overseas spend time and money organising their own Bersih gatherings?
We’re not crazy because this is an awakening that’s more than about money and time. That we have a belief that our nation can be better. That we can do so much better.
So even if you’re not marching this weekend, please wear yellow. You’ll be showing your support for all of us who are descending upon KL to make our collective voices heard.