Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bersih - "Uncle okay?", Auntie is okay!

This post is about the conduct of mass rallies. Today most mass rallies in Malaysia would usually but not exclusively be protests against the government. Those which were not were exhibitions of ‘patriotism’ (a la 'last refuge of the scoundrels') or hatred or to instigate fears and revulsions of imaginary solar-powered foes.

Bersih 2.0, second in a series of mass protests against the lack of clean and fair elections in Malaysia, would be considered by the public (except UMNO supporters) as the most relevant, effective and popular protest rally to date.

It’s relevant because the public has lost trust in the supposed impartiality of the Election Commission, viewing that organization as nothing more than just another of UMNO tools.

It’s effective because it was participated by a broad spectrum of Malaysians and personalities, and to name a couple of the latter, social activist (for HIV-AIDS victims, feminine affairs and civil & human rights) Marina Mahathir and Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate) A Samad Said.

It’s popular because of unwitting contribution from the police wakakaka. Malaysians are no different to other people in that they want to see the underdog wins, the David beating Goliath, Zatoichi (Japanese blind swordsman in Japanese movies) or Fang Kang (The One Armed Swordsman) triumphant against impossible odds.

The police turned the underdog Bersih (and its participants) into a David, Zatoichi and Fang Kang all rolled into one.

The unnecessary and brutal oppression of the police against the very people they were supposed to serve and protect vividly projected poignant images of heroic underdogs in the mass rally battling impossible odds against the villainous police shock troops. And despite being hosed with hurtful chemical laced water or bombarded with distressing tear gas grenades even in the universally accepted sanctuary of a hospital, they triumphed.

Naturally folk heros had to emerge from Bersih 2.0 and if not, undoubtedly would have been created. One such folk hero was magnificently personified by the underdog of underdogs, a senior citizen in the person of Madame Annie Ooi, who has become Bersih's icon, the legendary and much admired Auntie Bersih, though, mind you, not of her personal choosing.

This uniquely civic-minded sexagenarian walked through the fire of oppression and rain of chemicals holding a flower, a symbol of peace, to demonstrate her quiet but grave concerns at the continuous erosion of the neutrality, impartiality and integrity of the EC and its sheer incapability of convincing the rakyat that it will provide clean and fair elections.

'Twas just too poignant, too outstanding, too symbolic not to see in her courageous stand the very essence of the rakyat's concerns expressed by the Bersih rally. She more than earns the iconic title of Auntie Bersih through deeds. 

Legends also grew of young Malay Malaysians showing true concerns for the more senior (aged) Chinese men in the rally, like one Lt Colonel (retired) Aw Yeang, in their caring “Uncle okay?” as they ran from the tear gas and water cannons of the Brown Blue Shirts. Common adversity, terima kamsiah to the FRU, bound them emotionally together in common cause.

Such muhibbah unity caused even the most neutral observers to experience goose pimples of awe, admiration and happiness. The caring multiracial fraternity was unlike transient Malaysian unity in sports, being inspired by and elicited in angry protest against the increasingly unacceptable rule and conduct of the UMNO-government, in particular in its gross abuse and misuse of the EC, a so-called public -institution. Thus, Bersih 2.0 and such supra-racial concerns, care and courage under fire shook, shattered and shocked UMNO whose political control over the country has rested on the old British political formula of ‘divide and conquer’.

But UMNO still fails to realize that oppressions of such protest rallies by use of uniformed thugs had been counter productive. Time and time again I had observed the sheer moronic imbecility of the authorities in providing unnecessary publicity and glamour for such protests, whether they be small candlelight vigils by a few sweeties or mass rallies, through their unnecessary employment of force and brutalities, whether by police or samsengs, against the protestors.

Just how much attention will a dozen people holding a candlelight vigil attract if left alone, and for how long? How much sympathy would a few campers in Dataran Merdeka (a public place) win from the general public if not attacked by thugs, and for how long? Has not sabotaging Himpunan Hijau’s chartering of buses from Kuantan for a trip to KL raised extra attention for the NGO and increased dislike for the authorities?

But the authorities, police, DBKL and their attack hounds haven’t learned anything. ‘Tis the nature of the beast where to them, force is perceived as a time-honoured and convenient panacea for neutralizing any opposing the corrupt practice of the UMNO-led authorities. In a less globalized world, far more medieval tactics would have been adopted – May 13 was an example of the unrestrained thuggish mindset of these people.

… which brings us to the coming Bersih 3.0 and what I like to see.

Inevitably UMNO will portray to the heartland that the mass rally is a creation of its political rival, Pakatan Rakyat. Thus I want to see Ambiga Sreenevasan and Samad Said, coupled with folk heroes like Auntie Bersih, stand out as the indisputable unambiguous leading personalities of Bersih 3.0, where their political neutrality will project the ‘civilian’ concerns that form the very heart of the Bersih movement for clean and fair elections.

In the synthesized declarations of Ambiga Sreenevasan and Maria Chin Abdullah: “Bersih is a coalition of 84 NGOs and not a political organization. Civil society will lead its rally and assembly.”

The message to Malaysians must be unequivocally and unambiguously clear that Bersih 3.0 in demanding clean and fair elections is a campaign by very concerned and politically-neutral citizens who are neither pro Pakatan nor anti BN, or vice versa. Far more importantly, Bersih’s efforts are pro public interests and anti-corrupt elections. Bersih seeks to prevent nefarious forces from cheating the voters of their choice of representatives.

Pakatan leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Hadi Awang & Lim Kit Siang and their senior lieutenants, must allow Bersih to be seen clearly by the Malaysian public as a non-Pakatan affiliated movement for clean and fair elections, and deserving of support by ALL concerned citizens, thus these Pakatan leaders, while supporting Bersih, must remain in the publicity background and not selfishly hijack the rally for their own political interests.

Photos borrowed (without permission) from all over, for a good cause wakakaka


  1. Nice one, KT, especially the last line.
    Did you get the message, Anwar?

  2. You should be glad for DSAI to hijack this.

    99% of the turnout this Sat will b hardcore voters of DAP, PKR and PAS.

    Dont kid yourselves too much that any fencesitters or Barisan Najis supporters will turn up this Saturday.

    If truly zero endorsement from DAP, PKR and PAS and a no turn up order , the whole Bersih 3.0 will b a damp squib.


  3. KT boy, hope to see you in Merdeka Square tomorrow.

  4. l'll be at dataran merdeka 2morow

    since dataran is NOT a designated gathering place under bee-end law, our dear mayor has graciously closed all road around and leading to dataran for us to gather around the perimeters of dataran, safe from any risk of being knocked down by passing traffic.

    tks fuad!

  5. Auntys will be there. But uncles won't be.Uncle Kit, cousin GE may not be there. Uncle KT is Down Under happily reading the sexual scandals of the Gillard government.
    Who is taking care of achi Ambiga, mats, minaha, ahmois, ah beng and tangkachi and anehs, then?
    Uncle Nuar? Err, busy acting out his old drama.
    Best we heed Uncle Tunku Aziz's advice to stay away from the do.
    He has said what if the provocateurs of the do did not turn up and the protestors are leaderless.
    Like he said, who will be responsible if anything untoward happens?
    Tunku said the police are the legitimate authority to take action. So don't challenge the authority.
    And if you read Hishamuddin's statement, you can expect to get tear-gassed and water cannon sprays.
    Come guys, let us enjoy our Saturdays with more beneficial ways.

  6. sunwayopal, obviously you have problems reading my post. I didn't say Pakatan ppl or even the leaders shouldn't be there. I said Pakatan leaders should NOT hijack the event to promote their political parties or wakakaka "SELF" wakakaka.

    Bersih is not about Pakatan but about clean and fair elections.

    An UMNO which truly subscribes to Islamic values should also support Bersih wakakaka.

  7. ".....the police are the legitimate authority to take action. So don't challenge the authority." - said Buttercup

    When we have reached the unfortunate situation where the government of the day repeatedly ride roughshod over the rakyat, then the inevitable will happen.... with the rakyat feeling that since there is not much choice left..

    " "Civil DISOBEDIENCE become a sacred duty when the State has become lawless or CORRUPT and a citizen who barters with such a State shares in it's corruption and lawlessness".

    UMNO might keep on pushing and shoving, trying to keep the 'tide' under control, but they would do well to see clearly what's going on in the neighbouring countries.....their time is up, sooner or later, this is quite inevitble.

  8. KTemoc said...

    sunwayopal, obviously you have problems reading my post. I didn't say Pakatan ppl or even the leaders shouldn't be there. I said Pakatan leaders should NOT hijack the event to promote their political parties or wakakaka "SELF" wakakaka.

    u obviously didnt read my comment then.

    I said Bersih should b GLAD for a hijacking ! If not, it will b a non event without FULL SUPPORRT or endorsement !

    And not just DSAI, LKT, LGE or Khalid Samad hijacking the event would b GOOD for BERSIH!!!


  9. KTemoc said: An UMNO which truly subscribes to Islamic values should also support Bersih wakakaka

    O horrors!! Kaytee, you must be out of your mind. Why in the world would UMNO want to support Bersih when doing so could very well mean UMNO/BN losing the election and getting unceremoniously thrown out of Putrajaya.

    It is certainly more logical for UMNO and BN, esp UMNO, to employ every dirty trick in their impressive arsenal to thwart Bersih and to demonise Bersih and ALL its well-wishers in every manner possible.