The Aftermath.
May 6, 2013

There has been an influx of black on my facebook wall. And to those who know the significance of May 5th 2013, they will know that it began as a day of hope for many in Malaysia and the updates of blackness was a (not so) silent poetic mourning of the outcome of the 13th General Elections.

Many wouldn’t like to hear what I have to say. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine whom I thought had more sense told me that I was going to hell because of them. She felt that my brand of logic and rationale was too submissive. Not radical enough. Too cynical.

What she calls cynicism, I call being a realist.

In all honesty, did we expect any differently? Did we really think that the opposition would sweep the elections? Obviously, I think a lot of us thought that it would’ve been a closer contest. A tighter race. A bigger change. But take a moment and think about how small our social circles are. We do not represent the majority. We probably do not even interact with them enough to be able to predict what drives their actions and thoughts, let alone their votes.

And so when it was over, and the outcome had not been what we would have liked, we became the children that we have proven to be on so many occasions, and began throwing tantrums. Descending to borderline barbarism, whining about a democracy that is dead, signing petitions for foreign heavyweights to come and fix our problems, “blacking out” our facebook, and actively participating in rumour mongering in social media.

I disagree with these actions not only because we are supposed to be mature adults and evolved human beings but because it’s nihilistic behaviour. It’s pandering and it’s undignified. We all love Malaysia. It has its faults, but it’s OUR country. We’ve worked hard to fight for change. But all that hard work means nothing when you give up the moment you lose. It was a lost. The world did not end. Malaysia did not end. Democracy is not dead.

Yes, we hear tales of ballot boxes appearing from thin air, and phantom voters being brought in by the busloads, and how the election commission is still under the Prime Minister’s Office, and the fact that there is no distinction between the judiciary, executive and the parliament. Yes. These are problems with no clear cut answers and fixes. But 80% of the registered voters turned up to vote. That’s a record high since 1964. That’s over 10 million people who decided they wanted to stand for something instead of letting it all pass idly by.

In 2003, BN won 198 seats.

In 2008, BN won 140 seats.

In 2013, BN won 133 seats.

The gap is closing. Perhaps not as fast as many of us would have hoped or liked, but these are small victories. We take them and we work harder.

Gandhi took 32 years to fight for independence in India and Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years in his fight against the Apartheid. The sting we’re feeling is merely a fraction of theirs. Yes, the barely closing of a gap loss hits below the belt. We’re hurt. We’re winded. We’re reeling. But I was still hoping to return to Malaysia proud to call myself a Malaysian, a citizen of a nation that was ready for change and fought hard for it, accepting the outcome (disappointing or otherwise) with grace and decorum. Instead we reverted into children once more. Petulant, whining children.

And it needs to stop.

“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
Paulo Coelho