I Will Dare.

I’ve always found it hard to see anything eye to eye with my mother. Being from such different generations, and having such different viewpoints on things, it doesn’t shock me that we could never seem to agree whole heartedly on any particular issue, particularly politics.

She thinks I’m radically crazy, my ideals and my thoughts and my liberalism. And I don’t blame her as she comes from the older generation who believe that we should oppose all these idealistic thoughts of a new Government, with their promises of a better, cleaner Malaysia.

Her most recent statement that I do not understand as I have never lived through May 13th only proves it that she falls under the category of those who reject the unfamiliar by sticking to the known evil. The ones who ignore the fact that our executives hide behind our legislature while fiddling with the judiciary in their pockets, so long as there is (cheap) food on the table and (subsidised) fuel in the car.

Everything about our nation feels so flawed and it confuses me as to how one can not be ready to see some kind of change, or at least take the risk of making a change and hope that it is for the better. Needless to say these are the dreams of the young and hopeful, but that’s another rant two cents for another day.

So, what was it that prompted this word vomit that is to stretch for several scrolls of the mouse more and a blindifying amount of words this blog has not seen in a long long time? Well, for those of you’s who have been hiding under the rock, I am referring to the “illegal assembly” to “waging war against the king” 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally.

Police began imposing roadblocks days in advance, much to the public’s inconvenience I feel I must add, in a “preventive” move to stop undesirable elements from “smuggling” weapons. It was perhaps a justified ‘fear’ as instead of taking to Stadium Merdeka, the rally took over Kuala Lumpur with an estimated 50, 000 people in attendance.

But I am not here to delve into the deep end of what the rally stands for, or what it aimed to achieve, or whether it was a success, or whether it was a good avenue or platform at all to begin with to urge for a fair and unbiased election in Malaysia, or even the blatant over reaction and subsequently the attacks the police have made on these thousands of peaceful demonstrators.

No, truth be told, this one that has been long time coming.

It’s strange, because I have realized a long time ago that we are a country that is so blessed, in so many retrospects. We have land so fertile that if you dig and you don’t find oil, you can damn well plant it. We have that fantastic warm weather all year round and a position strategic enough that we never have to learn how to protect ourselves from blizzards and earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

So how is it that we are not even a world player, much less a champion?

How is it that the only time we this small cilli padi of a country is only seen/read/heard of in the international news when they highlight our corruption, or the unbelievable repeated accusations of sodomy against Anwar Ibrahim, or the Indians taking to the streets after being tired of being forgotten, even by their supposed representatives, or the bombing of churches over a tiff regarding wordings, or the forced boot camps for effeminate boys.

The truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Put aside the multiple photo and video indignities and sex scandals, take a moment to consider all the other outrageous (let’s find a sheathed way of putting it delicately here) incidents; the case of Altantuya, the case of Teoh Beng Hock, the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the case of Kugan Ananthan, the case of Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, the cow head issue, the Allah issue, the follow up attack on churches due to the aforementioned issue, the blatant censorship, the oppression of the natives and orang asli.

Think of the education system  and how it has been battered and beaten, burned and stomped on, changed from Science and Math in English to Malay, then to English and back to Malay again, the syllabus degraded, teaching the young what to think instead of how to think, debased and demeaned till they know so little, and care for less.

Think of the National Service and how it is meant to foster interracial bonds and yet how the Indians still sit with Indians, and the Malays with the Malays, and the Chinese with the Chinese.

Think of ethnocentrism and remember the time you sat at the local mamak with a friend of a different race and how people stare because we betray the social norm to identify with colour first, being Malaysian second.

Think of how the Chief Ministers are billionaires, and yet all of which have both eyes closed to the thousands of homeless and hungry, some so poor that they cannot even afford to go to public school, where everything is already so heavily subsidised that the rest of us folk think of it as a free education.

Think of them Dewan Rakyat sessions and how those elected men and women insult one another with name-calling and jeering and the eruptions of verbal exchanges, with us at home wondering when they might possibly start picking up chairs and tossing them at each other ala Taiwanese parliamentary sessions.

Think of the decisions these elected men and women make and remember how the DNA bill they are trying to put through is a good thing because in other countries, “like you see in CSI: Miami and CSI: NY“, have similar laws.

Think of Parliament and remember the promises of soaking someone’s keris in Chinese blood, and how they tell us that if we don’t like it we should get out.

Think of our elections and you can see how it’s rigged, and how hundreds of thousands are not even registered to vote, and how the ones elected to serve and protect has abused the instrument of government to the point that they cannot be removed at elections.

Cruelty and injustice. Intolerance and oppression.

I think the May 13th comment by my mum is the perfect example of how there were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt the reasoning and rob the common sense of those who act against this wave of change. Fear gets the best of people. And though it’s hard to point to any one party in particular, in the words of a certain comic book turned film, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I can just feel/hear/see the sighs and the eye rolling and the head shaking that will follow this insane explosion of words across the screen. Perhaps I’m starting to sound too cynical right now. Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Maybe you should calm down.’ And maybe I should.

Recently, we have seen some vestige of a promise for change. There was the unafraid Raja Petra Kamaruddin. There was the new Prime Minister and his promises of 1Malaysia. There was the birth of alternative media that promised the truth without adjectives, embellishments or spun wool over our eyes.

And we bought into all that. Hopeful dreamers swept up by the promise of a new world order, or at least a new Malaysian order. One that promised our futures secured, and that we will be returned to the pathway of glory paved by hard work, sweat and blood.

But here we are, years on, and no where nearer to finding that path.

And what do we have to show for it? A political situation that is becoming more and more convoluted as the days pass.

It’s funny when I find myself recalling vividly this once upon a time when I believed in Malaysia. When I was proud to hold my country’s passport and felt the warmth when I heard the pilot announce, “Welcome to Kuala Lumpur International Airport”. When I took pride in showing off my country to foreign friends who marvelled at a country so alien yet so welcoming with so many wonders to be explored.

And every time I think those days are gone, and I – like the countless other peers of mine whom have had the opportunity to go abroad or will have that opportunity to study and see the world beyond the tempurung that is Malaysia – want to attain my education abroad and carry on residing wherever there is, I feel that I should stand for something more. That I should crave for something more. That I should want something beyond leaving the forsaken land to let the stubborn and the hopeful fight it out while I make my fortune and future on better shores.

Perhaps this latest Bersih rally can serve, in a way, to be a beacon in glum looking point of view of a doomed future. It is proof after all, that there are still those hopefuls whom are willing to fight for change. That not all hope is lost if we unite and not let fear shackle us to familiarity.

So maybe, that is enough of a reason to end on a lighter note. Not just to offset the bitterness and resentment that oozes with every typed word, but in all my daring, to actually continually hope. Realistically of course, there is nothing more annoying than blind faith or subservient optimism after all. But I shall be hopeful. That one day. I shall find myself amongst my peers, triumphant on a field of change that we asked for.

“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.
V for Vendetta (2006)


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