May 7, 2013

lets reignite the malaysian dream

Sunday, the fifth of May 2013 was supposed to be a historical day in the history books of Malaysia. It was supposed to be the day before the dawning of a better and brighter future.

Sadly, that future now lie in ruins and darkness as all fairness and all justice that our founding fathers fought so hard for, the equality and freedom that Malaysians gave their lives for are now buried in mountains of lies, corruption, treason and violence fuelled by a power-crazy and money-hungry government. A government so arrogant that they openly transgress upon the very people they were supposed to serve and protect.

George Washington once said, “ … the basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitution of government.” Last Sunday, the rights of the people of Malaysia to make and alter their constitution of government were literally non-existent. In the last few days alone, we the rakyat have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears these very transgressions:
  • Openly buying votes from the rakyat using the rakyat's hard-earned money;
  • Openly flying in phantom voters, paying and feeding them using the rakyat's money;
  • Openly approving and providing foreigners with identification cards in exchange for their votes, when those who have lived in this country over half a decade could not.
  • Openly transporting phantom voters to polling centres in bus loads, under the protection and guard of the police and FRU's - the very people who have sworn an oath to protect and guard the safety of the rakyat. These very people used verbal and physical violence to protect those who were brought in to destroy our dream of a truly united Malaysia;
  • Openly transporting phantom votes to polling centres, again under the protection and guard of the police and FRU's AFTER vote counting have commenced;
  • Openly claiming that the indelible ink was indelible. But then the indelible ink met the typical Malaysian household dish washing liquid and it was indelible no more thus sending RM5 million of the rakyat's hard-earned money into the pockets of the undeserving, yet again.
I also could not wrap my head around this math - PR garnered 5.5 million worth of popular votes while BN only managed 5.2 million ... yet BN won. Did all sense of rationality in Malaysia die last night?

I woke up Monday morning with a deep sense of sadness and anger and betrayal. I cried and mourned the death of the Malaysia our fore fathers dreamed. I cried and mourned the death of the Malaysia I dreamed of for myself and my children and their children. On Monday, the sixth of May 2013 the rakyat of Malaysia cried and mourned the death of true democracy and the dream that was once Malaysia.

My Facebook and Twitter pages were filled with victory quotes and speeches of old, one that has been repeated for 56 years from the new government re-elected . The ugly head of racism also made its appearance and my heart sank further. But then I read something George Orwell wrote and I smiled.

“Political language ... it is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

It was then I realised something and my sadness (fine, and the melodrama too) took a backseat. The power of the rakyat exists. Never before has it been so strong and united as it was in the last few days when;
  • Malaysians flew thousands of miles home from all over the world;
  • Malaysians drove hundreds of kilometres home braving traffic jams and thunderstorms from every corner of the country;
  • Malaysians marched to the polling centres and waited their turn to cast their vote under the blazing sun and pouring rain;
  • Malaysians stood together united in one cause to stop phantom voters and their votes from tainting what belongs to the rakyat - our democratic rights as Malaysians to choose our own government.
But if you really drill into the maths, the majority of win came from urban Malaysians but what about our rural brothers and sisters?

I work in an industry where some of my colleagues come from these rural areas and still have family there. It is a place where us urban folks will most likely not survive ... and admittedly, I am one of them. To us urban folks, the basic necessities like food and education are secondary to things like a mobile phone and the Internet, which let's be honest here ... to us ARE the basic necessities. But yet, all these are a luxury to those in the rural areas. As Jonathan Ngan wrote in his FB post, "What good is a wealth of information without the education to process it? How can a mind be full when a stomach goes empty?"

I understand now that we need to stand together, united to make a change. But this unity would have to include both the urban and rural folks, only then can the Malaysia we dream of come true. If you look at the GE13 statistics, it is where PR suffered most and BN strategically took advantage of it.

The opposition can only do so much. At the end of the day they are human and they are also limited in manpower and resources; they are fighting against an army that has had 56 years to train and fine-tune their strategy. Help them win back our Malaysia by first educating yourself and then spread the word to your family, your friends, their friends and their friends. Spread the word so the folks in the rural areas will know that the Malaysia that they dream of can also come true for them. Let them not only hear it from a menteri, a dato' or a datuk or a politician but from a fellow rakyat, just like themselves. The Malaysia we are dreaming of can come true but it needs to start with you. Never feel like you are standing alone or that you do not have the power to make a change as an individual, because you can.

In 2008, BN polled a 51.8% lead against Pakatan's 48.2%. In 2013, the tables turned on BN with only 48.7% against Pakatan's 51.3% and it happened because you as an individual and collectively as the rakyat made a stand and proclaimed that "enough is enough" - not as a Malay or a Chinese or an Indian but as Malaysians. Never before have I been so proud to stand amongst my brothers and sisters from different religions and cultures under the blazing hot sun for over two hours just so I can mark an X on two pieces of paper.

Lim Kit Siang recently wrote about the "great Malaysian dream" where he urged Malaysians to stand up in GE13 and "dare to dream the great dream of a Malaysia of justice, good governance, freedom and in which ALL are regarded as Malaysians, first and last."

Help our rural brothers and sisters envision this dream. Help them envision a Malaysia –
  • where all Malaysians are just Malaysians and not categorised by a checkbox;
  • where all races and religion can live in peace and harmony;
  • where all are treated with fairness and equality under the law regardless of race or religion;
  • where corruption of any kind and amount are not viewed as the norm but with utter disgrace and contempt;
  • where freedom of speech is not laced with fear of persecution;
  • where our children are educated with the highest of standards and taught to think outside of the box instead of copying out of one;
  • where our hard earned money laced with blood, sweat and tears are not blatantly spent on the unnecessary;
  • where the government elect are imbued with honesty, integrity, tolerance and respect.
  • where a rakyat is genuinely proud to declare out loud, "I am a Malaysian, no more no less." 
This is my dream and I am sure you have yours to add on to it.

When Barack Obama took office as the first African-American president of the United States of America in 2009, it gave me hope (and goose bumps) that one day Malaysia will taste the true nature of democracy she craves and so badly needs.

In his speech he said, "For we know that our patchwork heritage is strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

Our dreams and hopes for GE13 may have died in the wee hours of Monday, the sixth of May 2013 but there is still hope. Reignite that dream, Malaysia for there is always hope – it will be an uphill climb, one that will without a doubt knock the wind out of you but persevere nonetheless, if not for yourselves then for your children and their children and their children’s children. UBAH! It needs to start with you.

“Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
― Langston Hughes