People's hopes are modest. No matter what race, region, religion and class we come from, most of us believe that every child should have a genuinely good education. And those children should be able to go to college even if their parents aren't rich. We want to be safe from criminals. We want the assurance that the taxes we pay are spent well. We want clean air, clean water, and the ability to retire comfortably at some point. And although we don't expect our government to solve all our problems, and we certainly don't like seeing our tax dollars wasted, it's only fair to expect that government should help.
We're all sick of the dead zone that Malaysian politics has become - where backbiting and character attacks have become part of our daily news routine. We're all aware that the nation's most significant challenges are being ignored. Everyone talks about reforms and transformation and plans and programmes and manifestos. But how much of that are we really seeing?
Let's face it. We all talk about it. We've all played the armchair critic role at some point or another. Any of us can and have pointed out the flaws so apparent in our government. We all talk. Ask anyone on the street what they've done about the situation our nation is facing lately and chances are you'll get a blank stare. But walk into a coffee shop and suddenly you're surrounded by veteran politicians discoursing the latest injustice/scandal/expose etc.
Maybe the time for talk has passed. As the saying goes, talk is cheap.
I believe the first step towards changing the face of Malaysian politics/government is getting involved, simply by registering to vote and exercising that right to vote. I wonder how many skeptics out there have decided to forgo that right simply because "my 1 vote won't make a difference". True, in Malaysia you can win 90% of the seats with 60% of the votes, but that only serves to emphasise the importance of each vote. We need to be absolutely clear about one thing - transformation can never be birthed of apathy.
The next step is reinforcing the need for free and fair elections.
Does the fact that 30,000 people walking someplace change anything? Not explicitly perhaps. But it inspires defiance against a broken system, engenders a willingness to stand up for change and above all, represents the audacity to hope and to believe that our nation can be transformed.
I didn't give 2 cents about Malaysia or its politics before 2008. But seeing the first Bersih rally on TV in 2008 awoke something in me. I realised for the first time that I could not leave it to someone else to fight my battles for my nation on my behalf. For the first time, I dared to believe that things could change.
I'm not writing this to ask anyone to join the rally. It's risky business indeed, what with the prospect of getting water cannon-ed, tear gas-ed or if you're extremely unlucky, arrested. I write this because I feel it's my duty and obligation to speak out as a young person to say we all have to care enough and believe that change is possible when we exercise our votes and EC is playing fair. Wear yellow on July 9 to show that you care.
Do you remember how we used to be taught in school that the young people are the future of the nation? Well, we can only be that if we care enough.
June 29, 2011 11:15 AM
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Civil Resistance is an inherent democratic process.
there must be UNITY, PLANNING and NON-VIOLENT DISCIPLINE.
No ruler can rule if people refuse
to go to work
to pay taxes.
No authoritarian regime can hold power long if their security forces shift their loyalties.
If enough people disobey and disrupt
Police loyalty have surprisingly cracked
and change becomes possible.