Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Let me proclaim humbly, I was there...(Bersih March)

Yes, I was there. ( Do not ever ever mention this to my parents, if you know them )

Although the rally itself started at 3 o'clock on Nov 11, the excitement was felt 2 days prior to that. You see, both my parents were informed by Pontian Salted Fish on my extra curriculum activities on Nov 11, and they basically went into a fit.
My father threatened to die the night before the rally if I were to participate. The strong opposition by my parents was conveyed to me by none other than Sister Chai Mei Ling, a close relative of mine, and the pastor of Vision Church in my hometown. There were some email exchanges throughout Friday as I explained what the rally is all about and why I should go. Both as a citizen of the country and also as a Christian. She understands and respected my views, but would want me to cancel this 'meaningful' activity for the sake of my parents. Finally, I relented and know that my parents are beyond reasoning when come to matters like this. I have made up my mind that I must go while at the same time, I would want my parents to have a good night sleep. I managed to do both.....

I went to the rally with a heavy heart. Pontian Salted Fish refused to say bye bye to me and even suggested that she will travel all the way to KotaRaya (KL), alone, just to buy some Korean Series, on the same day. That's the kind of pressure I am in. Later, after reaching KL with Dave and Andy, I ask Dave to send an sms to reassure her that everything will be fine. I thought she will at least have another number to call, should anything happens to me.

We were there early. At around 1 pm we are already at a Chinese hawker center opposite Pasar Seni LRT station. We meet up with other brothers and sisters, Pastor Wong, and other bloggers as well. It has to be clarified that this meet up was not organised by any church whatsoever. We were there simply because we feel strongly for the issues Bersih is fighting for. And it was pure coincidence that when this issue pop up in the Agora mailing list, many of the listers have the intention of attending it. Besides, it is much safer to go in group.

We walked to Central Market, one of the designated meeting place. We are disappointed that there are so few people around. There were heavy presence of FRU and police. It was very very intimidating. Heavy rains started to fall, as if to douse the small little fire in each of us. I was somewhat relieved, as I think that the rally will most probably be canceled. Then a number of women and men group up outside and started to say the doa. These people are full of semangat. They are the one that set the momentum of the rally. The rally begins. Throughout this period, I hesitated to take off my red shirt to expose the yellow shirt underneath. I guess, I must have too much of chicken feet, that I act so much like a chicken now...

The rally begins, and instead of joining the large crowd, I prefer to follow silently behind. The large group is in front of me by about 20 meters when suddenly the FRU cut them off from behind. Those of us at the back were given a warning to disperse, otherwise will be detained. The atmosphere is getting more intense. The large group in front are trapped, both by the FRU in front and from the back. They have huge buildings on their left and right which prevented them from escaping. From far, it can be observed that the tense standoff between the marchers is getting serious. They cannot proceed further and they cannot retreat. This is bad, real bad. Are they waiting for the water cannon to arrive? We waited, together with Pastor Wong and Andy for more than 20 minutes. Later on we decided to proceed through the back ways (under Daya Bumi) and move on to the final meeting place at the Istana (Agong palace).

They are trapped.....

Once at the Istana, we are surprised to see so many thousands of marchers already there. Those from the Masjid Negara, Masjid Jamek, Sogo and finally Central Market all made it to the Istana in one piece. 4000 marchers, you say? Count it yourself -

Irene Fernandez moving from Central Market (all pic from Malaysiakini)

Amri, Haris is searching for you (pic from Haris Ibrahim)

We disperse peacefully after the memorandum was submitted. We then walk towards the KL Central to meet up with others and to take a rest. It was at KL Central that I met one of my favourite blogger WhataLulu.

We are tired, we are wet, but we are satisfied. Some may criticised us as doing something illegal, some may criticise us as trouble makers that caused huge traffic jams. But please, read further and get your facts right. We are not doing something illegal. The Constitution grant us the right to gather peacefully, and the Constitution is the highest law of the land. Was it illegal or was it deem illegal to serve certain purposes? And finally, we don't cause traffic jams. It's the government that's doing it to prevent people from attending the massive rally. One pakcik I talk to, came all the way by bus from Batu Pahat. He counted at least 15 road blocks by the police to turn away buses, cars and people that are attending the rally. All the trains (LRT, Star, Komuter) were directed not to stop at KL stations. All roads leading to KL are blocked. The government went to that extent to prevent people from attending the March, and yet 40,000 were there.

More Pictures

Blog Commentary
How they painted it Yellow
They paint it Yellow

Handing of the Memorandom
Tear Gas
The one who can't string a proper English sentence
Interview by AlJazeera

A very moving Open Letter to Badawi by Beth Yap on the Bersih Rally.

Beth Yap sent this letter to all mainstream Newspaper and this is one of the response she got -
Your articulate open letter was a pleasure to read. However, for the reasons you describe so well, we cannot RISK publishing this. Thanks for speaking up for Malaysian journalists.

Do you believe what you read in The Star, Utusan Melayu, Sin Chew?
Do you believe what you watch and listen in RTM1/2, TV3, NTV7 and Channel 8?
Do you want to wake up every morning reading lies upon lies and believing them?

Tear Gas at Masjid Jamek

Zainuddin Maidin - Minister of (Mis)Information

4 anak ayam bother to comments:

Josh said...

Nice to meet you too in the rally! Let's continue to stand in the gap for Malaysia!

What A Lulu said...

meant to leave a comment earlier, but was busy.
you look much, much younger than 30-something.
i also looked forward to meeting you. i was kacau-ing john and david, "which one is chicken feet? show me! show me!"

kaki.ayam said...

i usually suspect people who say that i look young for my age are those who are trying to tell me that I am fat, in a discreet manner...keke....

somehow, the fatter i become, the younger looking i will be. i guess the underlying fat actually helps to pull(expand) my skin further, exposing the younger skin underneath...

good to see you too lulu

Bengbeng said...

wow.. i read this post so many months too late. but still it was a successful event which changed the course of history of the nation. it was the first time racial issues were not highlighted but all races came together.

the recent election results too were a direct consequence of that rally among others. glad to know you :)