Fight the good fight — Christine SK Lai

12 May

MAY 12 — I guess we should have seen it coming. Sigh.

The homo sapiens species is notoriously difficult to satisfy and very easily agitated when things don’t swing our way (and I am not talking about women).

The mother of all elections has come and gone. The day after, I saw a man dismantling election banners and flags on my way home from work. The odd thing was, he was only removing the paraphernalia of a certain party – the one which lost in his constituency. My, my, division even trickles down to removal of rubbish nowadays! Anyhow, whilst I anticipate our roads will look nice, clean and orderly again soon, that can’t be said about the state of affairs in our land. It looks like the dust isn’t settling at all; on the contrary it’s being stirred and swept up to create even more storms and tsunamis; wonder what we will call the next one?? Both sides of the political divide are unhappy; one cries foul, the other finds fault and makes excuse.

Even as I understand the outpouring of indignation of a ‘hijacked victory’ and the outrage of what in effect amounts to justice denied, I am not interested in the ‘us vs them’ debate.  I have voted and so have some 13 million other M’sians. The results are clear for all to see and understand. It doesn’t take a master’s degree to figure out who won the majority of the M’sian people’s hearts (and I am not talking about a certain race alone).

Certainly it cannot be denied there are many crucial issues which need to be clarified regarding the election process. By all means, let that be challenged, investigated and dealt with in accordance with due process, through real (not circulated and sometimes questionable) evidence by cool, not hot, heads.

I believe in change for the better, not change for the sake of change. I also feel nauseated and angry at the ridiculous things that are being said about Malays and Chinese. I am not “chicken”, I participated in every 1 of the Bersih rallies, and yes, I have battled traffic and human-jams in the process, been tear-gassed and survived it all. I am not against standing up to demonstrate. Neither am I dismissive of the  ubiquitous accounts and videos being shared repeatedly on Internet blogs, Fb, Twiter, U-Tube and wat-not, but I do question whether these represent  the ‘truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’? Come on, let’s not be so naive to believe everything on social media. Messages, even pictures can be ‘faked’, totally taken out of context or just plain twisted/misinterpreted.

So I prefer to take the cue from Datuk Ambiga who, in an early (May 6) statement,  after enumerating a list of alleged fraudulent practices and concluding that GE 13 was neither free nor fair , went on to say that Bersih has no plans to call for a rally, as they ‘need to concentrate on a fact-finding mission first.’ That’s focus. Shouting slogans only get masses of people excited over a common cause (even if it’s a right and noble one). And I am very glad indeed to see that apparently Tindak Malaysia has already circulated a form to document facts from actual eye-witnesses who were on the ground monitoring the election process.

I fully recognize the right of people to make their collective voice heard, just as much as I understand the need for a rally-ing (pun intended) point for the overflow of frustrations over GE 13. Yes, I can join thousands of other M’sians to protest in some more rallies. But I doubt that there’s gonna be any new ‘expose’ that I don’t already know anyway. So whilst I can understand, appreciate and indeed applaud the marvellous show of solidarity in all M’sians coming together to take a stand for justice and demonstrate their unity and love for this land of our birth,  in the meantime, let’s not forget there’s a nation to be run. Heaven forbid that we get side-tracked and miss the forest for the trees.

We may not have seen a change of regime but we have seen an unprecedented change in the maturity of M’sians, which cuts across racial, sex, age and status divides of society. And that’s so heartwarming. Putrajaya may not have changed hands, but I ask, so what? Is it  about Putrajaya or Malaysia? The popular vote is already a clear indication of who won the victory – the writing is on the wall for all to see, especially for those still warming their seats in Putrajaya. And surely it is a matter of time that if they don’t buck up, they will have to vacate the seats to those who have earned the trust of the people.  I dare say, even if external forces don’t put them out, eventually they will ‘implode’ upon themselves internally. So let justice take its course. It may not be immediate but it will come. Isn’t it amazing that all the ‘heavy arsenal’ being thrown left, right and centre – rounds of ‘free’ $$, free food, free entertainment, free whatever, – didn’t succeed in enticing 51% of M’sians? It surely speaks volumes and augurs well as a first step towards eradicating the scourge of endemic corruption in the land, for it says boldly – Look, you can’t buy my soul.

When I look at the line-up of the leaders who have been chosen and voted in by this 51%, I am very very encouraged. I see a bunch of ‘ancients’ (pardon the expression) well into their 70s, standing tall, who have sacrificed decades of their lives fighting unwaveringly and untiringly for principles, some to the extent of being imprisoned for their beliefs. They remind me of Caleb in the Bible who, at 85 years old, asked for the ‘hill country’ as his inheritance after they entered the Promised Land (Joshua 14). By the way, that hill country wasn’t exactly paradise – it was inhabited by giants (a race descended from the famous Goliath who was all of 9 feet tall). Certainly there are still many ‘giants’ in Malaysia to be fought, and I am not talking about people. Their names are Corruption, Racism, Prejudice, Oppression, Injustice, Inequality… you get the idea. Their names are not Ismail, Ah Kow, Muthusamy, Priscilla or Asri . It’s very easy to forget who our real enemy is.

A blogger when recounting her harrowing experience of being a volunteer EC/SPR officer commented, “Really, to hell with humanity, I have to say. In our bid for free and fair elections we leave out compassion and love for others.” This is a sad commentary on what can happen when people become over-zealous and act out of the heat of emotions. We ‘tar’ everyone who isn’t ‘with us’ in the same camp as ‘against us’, because we are so quick to suspect/assume they are the ‘enemy’. And so we go all out for our ‘pound of flesh’ against anyone and everyone who doesn’t belong to our ‘gang’. Yes, that may be our right. Indeed we all know there are evil schemes perpetuated. Yes, we want the ‘bad guys’ brought to justice and yes,  it looks as if they are getting off scot-free through manipulation, deceit and cheating. That may be how it looks, but I choose to believe there will be retribution, sooner or later; ultimately “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 11:21) Truth and justice will always prevail at the end of the day.

So I’d rather focus on the new dawn that has been ushered in after 5th May 2013 in M’sia. I see fresh, “young”  faces whose hearts are full of fire and enthusiasm, who are articulate in expression, who talk sense (not non-sense). They don’t spin stories or pluck fancy figures from the air, they don’t need to descend to vitriolic hyperbole spouting divisive hatred to gain political mileage. They speak from realistic facts. Many are experts and professionals in their own fields. This is the new breed of ‘bangsa Malaysia’ – idealistic, knowledgeable, dynamic, eager, committed to being good stewards of the trust placed in them by their fellow country-men  and dedicated to be change-agents of M’sian society, to pursue and realize the  Malaysian dream of a government of the people, for the people and by the people. As much as the ‘old’ garrison has started the journey from years ago, this is the new generation of soldiers rising up in the ranks, willing to fight the good fight to transform Malaysia, take it out of the old into a new era, where everyone can be assured of their rightful place under the Malaysian sun.

It’s not about what the Chinese want, it’s about what Malaysians want. Notwithstanding all the alleged voting irregularities, I don’t see GE13 as a defeat, on the contrary to me, it is already a victory for the people. I salute the old and the new ‘guard’ who have sparked off a grand movement that offers a realistic hope of a better M’sia for tomorrow’s generation. I see the baton being passed onto a new ‘battalion who are and are being prepared to continue building on the foundation that has been laid. We have gotten off to a great running start, let’s not lose the momentum by getting distracted . There is now increased representation in both parliament as well as state assemblies. So let’s get on with the real business of government – building a ‘rainbow’ nation of all races, united in love for this “tanah air tumpahnya darahku”. And that can be done, in or out of Putrajaya.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.




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