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 

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No. Just no.
April 28, 2012

Today has not been a day for you to channel your anger towards the law enforcement or how inept you think they are.

Today has not been the day for you to fight back because you feel you’ve been on the losing end of justice for too long.

Today has not been a day for you to channel your contempt towards the government.

No. Just no.

Bersih 3.0 was not an anti government protest. It is not a call for unity to bring down the regime of a certain party that has been in power too long.

No.

Bersih is and always have been a call for a cleaner election. A call for electoral reforms. A call for Malaysians to stand up for civil liberties.

Over 80 cities and 30 countries took part in Global Bersih and all eyes were on Malaysia today, us, this small cilli padi of a nation as I prefer to call us. And we descended into anarchy and chaos.

The rally had already archived a remarkable feat of more than 100, 000 people. There was no need for the violence on both sides. There was no reason for breaking through barricades and provoking violence in the attendee’s, sparking knee jerk reactions from the law enforcement.

Just. No.

As I read on about the news of casualties and how angry the people are, and how we’ve made it onto the world news again  and again for unsavoury reasons, there is just a sinking sensation I feel at the pit of my stomach.

I guess I’m just disappointed. Because really? Is this really who we are? Is this really all that we’re capable of? Is this all that there is to us deep down? All instinct and chaos and a hunger to watch things burn?

“Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
The Dark Knight (2008)

Saudade.
April 21, 2012

Watching the video for the umpteenth time, I can’t help but feel slightly melancholic. It’s a longing for something that seems gone forever because how do you recapture your childhood when the things that made it so memorable is spread out so vast and wide and out of reach;

The sun. And trees. And sand. And grass. The playground. The creepy forbidden areas in school with the ‘Keep Out’ signs. The gravelly back roads. The gravelly front roads. The window grills. The couch. Books. And pens. And paper. Colour pencils. Shiny swirly coloured pens. Paint brushes. The kids at school. The neighbourhood kids. The kids at the park. The stray cats. The stray dogs. Grasshoppers. Butterflies. Those dumb openable egg things with like a toy car in it that breaks after a week. Ice cream days. Junk food days. Long walks. Short walks. Running. Sprinting. Bicycling. Recess time. Play pretend. Made up games. Monkey bars. The badminton racket. Discmans. Walkmans. CRT tellies. Cassette tapes. CD’s that cost a lot more than a week’s worth of pocket money. The bath tub. Everything the sun touches. Everything the sun didn’t.

The world was our playground. And the video does an excellent job capturing these memories.

It’s odd to think how this generation could make a video about their childhood. Hard to make pre pubescent children and adolescents staring into computers and phones and tablets strike a chord like this, wouldn’t it?

“People Change. Memories don’t.”