Poor, poor Malaysians back home. Unlike them, we were a lot more fortunate. Peace rally here in UK only required us to notify the local police station, and then we were permitted to clog the roads just outside the Malaysian Hall. No tear gasses, no water cannons, at least nothing used in this scene we have below:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BzqSddWkxGs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Instead, it was just the 20 odd of us on the road, a little bit of chanting and banner raising just so that passerby’s and those dining within the Malaysian Hall Canteen will be aware of what we’re doing… aware of what’s happening back home. Could have been more, but most are afraid, expected outcome really, as most were instilled with fear after today’s news emerged from all sources of the media.
We’re just peace-loving people in general, really. Read more for more pictures and a true (and fairly humorous!) account of the event written by someone who took part in the rally with some friends, without expectations and just for the sake of his love for the country.
An entry by somebody who doesn’t mind not being anonymous, but for the sake of privacy I will reserve the anominity of this person, thus taking full responsibility for whatever comments that this may generate, if at all =P
I was there today… marching along side thousands of people chanting “Hidup Rakyat” and “Allahuakhbar“. It was an awe inspiring march, mainly because there were more than 30,000 people gathering in front of the palace to deliver a petition to our Yang di-Pertuan Agong that the people want free and fair elections.
I remembered how worried I was the night before… what if the police arrested me? What would happen to my cats? Who would take care of them? Haha. Yes yes, it would seem like a silly little worry, but I worried for them nonetheless.
So, this morning, I called my mom, told her that I would be participating in the rally and that if anything happened to me, I gave her instructions on who to send my little babies to for care.
And off I went with a group of my friends to participate in the rally at 2pm. We gathered at the Taman Jaya LRT station and took the train to Pasar Seni. It started to drizzle as we proceeded to the city centre and I could not help but think how God was kind to us – the drizzle meant a cool walk (having thousands of people marching in the heat can lead to heatstroke) and that should tear gas be fired, at least the smoke would disperse quicker.
I heard there were four gathering points as the original idea of gathering at Dataran Merdeka was called off. The two that I knew of were the Pasar Seni LRT Station and the Masjid Jamek LRT Station.
As I got off the train with my friends at around 2.30pm, we saw the march in the distance already. It had started earlier than the 3pm time that organisers gave.
It was an awe to behold from the distance… and it was an even greater awe as we walked, in our raincoats, to join the marching crowd.
“Mari mari! Welcome welcome!” was the chorus that greeted us from the crowd that was already marching. Even as we marched, we smiled to each other… and even shook hands and exchanged simple greetings like sharing where we were from.
“Ini mesti sokong,” I said to a total stranger. He gave me a genuine smile before rushing forward to chant with the group “Bebas Rakyat! Hidup Rakyat!”
Cars caught by the march and stuck in the middle of the road honked their support as we marched forth. Men dressed in red uniforms were positioned all along the roads that led towards the palace and guided the massive group of people with their loud voices alone. It was calming to note that the organisers had it this well planned.
As we reached the palace, I noted that me and my friends were the only Chinese and Indians among the sea of Malays that were brave enough to come forth to stand up and be counted in this momentus occasion.
It saddened me that many more Chinese would not support the rally… but there were still some. There weren’t many of us, but we showed up either as individuals or in groups. The Indians, who are an even smaller minority in this country, rivalled the Chinese in numbers (which is still a small number) at the rally.
Be that as it may, the walk was a success. At 4pm, the crowd was told the memorandum had been delivered to the King and we were told to disperse peacefully.
It was a short peaceful walk back to the Pasar Seni LRT Station, at which point we heard news that the assembled group at Masjid Jamek station were bombarded with water canons and tear gas.
I met one of my friends on our way back to PJ at the LRT Station – he was caught in the commmotion at Masjid Jamek. He too had gone there on his own to participate in the rally and said the Federal Reserve Unit fired without provocation there and the tear gas caused a burning sensation.
All of us had a moment of disbelief when we reached the LRT station though. It was closed… and we all joked that the government just wanted to spite us and have us all walk home to PJ.
The shutters did come up after a while and everyone rushed to purchase their tickets. It was a happy journey home – one filled with hope that things can change for the better… that is until I read the news online.
Al Jazeera, Reuters and many other news agencies reported the event primarily focused at Masjid Jamek, showing the tear gas being shot, the riot police marching and dispersing the crowd.
For our local media… I only looked at The Star Online. It was posted at 7.54pm (more than 3 hours after the incident happened) and it was heavily biased… reporting the part where only 4,000 people were dispersed by the police.
An amazing read, don’t you think? If you have any message for the writer, do drop a comment, or e-mail me at christopher [dot] tock @ gmail.com. For more views on the BERSIH rally back home (I love this particular blog by Nat, because unlike some who write in extremity, this one is pure rationality) please visit http://jelas.info/.
I don’t believe for one bit that what I’m doing is what people would call an anti-government behaviour, even in the eyes of the government. True, there might be dirty politics played beneath the 70+ organization that colaboratively conducted BERSIH, but I believe some of us, like the writer above, still believe that much good can come out from our government. Who’s to say that we, the people of Malaysia, has to be affliated with any factions that took part in the rally, when we’re just united under the same cause? After all, we’re just making a pro-active approach to issues that had us worrying throughout the years… High time for us to get out of our little holes and let our voices be heard in the most spectacular way. (which, btw, was made infamous only because the police and their higher-ups decided to take matters violently…)
With that, I hope that Malaysians worldwide and even foreigners will come to understand the real situation at hand: that it’s not that bad as seen on the mass media (because the videos concentrated around Masjid Jamek area were actually the worst scenes there was, otherwise no violence occured in most other places), but not altogether useful either (just look at the response given by the government).
“Daulat Tuanku!”, I shout once more, this time right from the very depths of my heart for this beloved country that I call home.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affliated with any political organisations and everything written above are words of my own, brought upon using my own judgement and analysis. People who know me will know that I’m a-political and only looking out for the best of my countrymen (and women :P). End of disclaimer.