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Thread: BERSIH 2.0 RALLY PERSONAL STORIES: Someone Did Win on July 9th

   
   
       
  1. #11
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    I did the BERSIH thing for my babies


    By Goh Siu Lin
    July 13, 2011 | AWL

    I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and I happen to be a lawyer too.

    Mine was a spontaneous decision to go to the rally.

    Something struck a chord in me when I heard my senior partner tell stories of BERSIH 2007, of volunteer lawyers at remand hearings, on their feet, hours on end, tirelessly going through file after file before a Magistrate, till the wee hours of the morning. So, I decided to take the plunge, and give my support to BERSIH 2.0 by offering my legal skills.

    The next hurdle was tougher, which team in the Bar Council should I sign up for? Urgent arrests? Monitoring? Both had its own risks. In the end, I signed up for both.

    Monitoring needed us to be on the ground, near the people.. near the FRU.. near the POLICE… tear gas.. water cannons.. risk of racial riots, injury, arrest. Not to mention the Patriot, Perkasa and the Silat guys would be roaming free too. Didn’t fancy bumping into any of them. My cha cha spins and dips would definitely not save me here!

    Urgent Arrests had its own dangers as well… I worried about being thrown in jail indefinitely. Just like the 5 young legal aid lawyers. So, don’t ever think that being a lawyer gives you a force-shield of immunity. Not in Malaysia! Read this if you don’t know what I’m talking about: http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/gener...elievable.html

    Still gung ho, I encouraged lawyers from my firm to volunteer and bouyed by the moral support, I attended briefings for both teams. I must commend the Legal Aid Centre team who had prepared us very well, they were great. The KL Bar Auditorium was jam-packed with young volunteer lawyers. Felt so proud of them all. When the director of the Legal Aid asked, “Why are you joining the urgent arrest team?” My answer was short, spontaneous and simple. It came from the heart. “For Malaysia!” my voice rang out and I was taken aback by the heavy applause. Wow. Everyone had the same sentiments!

    The turnout for the Monitoring briefing the next day was smaller in comparison, about a third of the Urgent Arrest numbers. Many were first-timers. 75% comprised young members of the Bar. More than 50% were female! Isn’t that great? Unfortunately, not many there looked like they could protect ME.

    Attending the briefing didn’t really give me additional comfort. The situation was still so tense and uncertain, BERSIH 2.0 had no venue, no permit, no nothing. So, it was difficult to plan our route in advance. I still remember one of the speakers saying, “If they shoot tear gas, just run for your lives.” “Huh? That was it?? No safety tips?”.

    We were also warned, “Try not to get arrested.” , psyching us mentally for a lawless kind of environment. “Great stuff.” I murmured to myself.

    We were taught what to do with the rock salts and vinegar/lemon. For the uninitiated, if you ever get tear gassed, suck on the rock salts, like you would a sweet, then spit it out. Please don’t swallow or gobble it down like some people I know. Not wise at all. :). After that, whip out your lemon/vinegar cloth and cover your nose and mouth and inhale.

    Friday night at home, I gathered my things, note pad, cloth, cap, water bottle, rock salts,extra change of clothes. I packed sandwiches and biscuits. The hours passed, I couldn’t sleep, I was on tenterhooks. In the wee hours of the morning, 1.36 am, I received an SMS “Cops knocking on hotel room doors. Just give cooperation. They just under orders. Kesian jugak dia orang. Offer them some makan minum”. My nervousness escalated.

    I listened to the gentle breathing of my babies. I prayed silently in the quietness of the night, thinking of the many Malaysians here and far. I prayed to God for good governance, fair elections, an end to corruption, tyranny and oppression. I prayed for a united people. “May God keep the peoples of Malaysia safe and sane tomorrow.”

    I leaned down and smelt my baby’s head and my daughter’s hair. “I hope I will be around to put you both to bed tonight.” was my immediate thought.

    Saturday 5.30am. I felt so alert, ready to face the challenges ahead of me. My good friend, Wee Tee arrived at 6.30am and we set off to KL Hilton at Sentral to pick up another pal, Jane. There was no traffic. We sailed thought Jalan Damansara, Jalan Semantan, passed Carcosa and ended up at Hilton Sentral all in 10 minutes. We headed towards KTM, I got down from the car and negotiated with police at the first barricade, got through. Felt exhilarated. Second barricade, also a breeze.. it was surreal driving towards Central Market. No other vehicle was in sight, it felt like a war zone. We parked at Central Market. The only civilian car there. To our right were the FRU trucks and police doing drills. “Hey, the parking attendant looked at us in admiration!” said Wee Tee, and we giggled conspiratorily, amazed that we had gotten so far. We made our way to Bar Council, and stopped by a mamak stall for nasi lemak. It was 8.35am. At the next table – plainclothes cops who seemed to be checking us out.

    BC briefing at 10am. My colleagues and I began to feel fearful of what lay ahead, I think I must have gone to the ladies umpteen times. Another friend’s face was white and tense as news streamed in of arrests, at that time, 238 detainees. Bail going rate was RM8,000.00 apparently.

    My team set off at around noon, soon thereafter, I could hear the roar of the crowd, we turned back and there they were, a sea of people converged in a stand-off with the FRU at Leboh Pasar. “Ting! Ting!” Two warning bells. 3 rounds of tear-gas were released. My first taste of it. We ran away, choking. I could hardly open my eyes, my eyes were stinging, the skin on my face, smarting and itchy. As for my poor team-mate, he threw up by the roadside. It was then that our fear dissipated. We had a job to do.

    The whole afternoon was action-packed, overhead helicoptors, cat and mouse games between the people and police. Thankfully, our team did not witness any serious incidents of police brutality. Although the FRU had moved from Central Market towards Kota Raya where the second round of tear-gas was shot into the crowd, this was neutralised by the heavy downpour. At this point, the police began to arrest people indiscriminately about 500 metres away from where we stood. We couldn’t interfere. Our duties were to impartially record what was happening before our very eyes. I saw a young Indian boy, eyes wide-open in fear, a malay youth, his face wincing in pain as he was dragged to the nearby waiting Black Marias.

    We moved on to Petaling Street, Wee Tee’s shoes had given way in the rain, so we even managed to squeeze in a bout of shopping!! (Her favourite past-time!!) And I’ll always remember this, we were there standing in an empty street, but when I turned round to look behind me, hundreds of people appeared out of nowhere, it was just like magic. Singing “Negaraku” in unison. Electrifying. Felt so emotional then. We were all united, 100% Malaysian.

    This was followed by chants of “Hidup, Hidup, Hidup Rakyat”. “Hancur BN” “Allah-hu-akhbar!”. All peaceful and in a celebratory carnival atmosphere, people stopped to buy ice-cream from the ice-cream man who was doing roaring business.

    I saw people of all colours. Chinese Ah Peks, Minahs from Kelantan, Indians, people of all walks of life. Mother’s pushing their babies in strollers, a man holding up his crutch as if it was a mace. What amazed me most was the presence of the bespectacled middle class. They were here. Here with us. Here where it counts. When it counts. Wearing yellow. I cannot describe the feeling. Absolutely wonderful and positively beautiful. There and then, I had true hope. Hope for a better Malaysia for my babies.

    Well, it’s been 4 days since the BERSIH 2.0 rally, yet, I still get overwhelmed with emotion whenever I read BERSIH 2.0 media reports and the avalanche of first-hand heart-warming stories, videos etc etc. I grieve also on the passing of the late En. Baharuddin. My emotions turn on like a gushing tap. In fact, I was a weeping softly over lunchtime today, having just watched another BERSIH video, so I ended up being red-eyed just before having to meet some clients. :)

    It was enriching personally. I learnt so much from the whole experience. I learnt how to conquer my fear. I saw Section 42 of the Legal Profession Act in action. I saw something magical happening to us all in BERSIH 2.0. We banished apathy. We took our citizenship seriously. We took our country seriously. We now take voting seriously.

    Malaysia is our birthright and nobody can ever take that away from us.

    I am writing this for my babies. What I did, I did for them, not as a lawyer, but as a mother.
    py

  2. #12
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    Wednesday, 20 July 2011 19:15

    Bersih attempted murder: Trapped, ambushed, gassed!

    Written by Fadiah Nadwa Fikri


    EDITOR'S PICK On 7 July 2011, while I was lazing around at home after work, I got a call from my friend, N Surendran saying that my name was on the list of 91 individuals who were restricted from entering Kuala Lumpur on 9 July 2011. Nothing surprising. It was just that I couldn’t wrap my mind around the paranoia displayed by the government over a planned peaceful assembly to demand for clean and fair elections. This whole scare tactic definitely was funnier than any comedy show I’d ever watched on TV.

    It was 9 July 2011, the day plethora of right thinking Malaysians and I had been waiting for. It felt like waking up to Aidilfitri morning. Serenity filled the air. Peaceful. I packed my bag. Salt, checked. A bottle of water, checked. My friends, Latheefa Koya, Eric Paulsen and Renuka Balasubramaniam and I went to KL Hilton to meet with the rest of the group.

    When I got into the room, I saw Bersih leaders, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Wong Chin Huat, Haris Ibrahim and Zaid Kamarudin, all getting ready to lead the march. I also saw Pakatan Rakyat leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah, Lim Kit Siang, Hadi Awang, Tian Chua, William Leong, Nurul Izzah and our respected national laureate, Pak Samad Said, standing firm next to Bersih leaders, to give their undivided support to the cause.

    I looked at my watch, it was 1.30pm. After finishing our Zohor prayers, we put our yellow Bersih t shirts on. The room was filled with laughter, the worrying thoughts on the highhandedness of the police in dealing with this planned peaceful assembly seemed to fade away for a little while. I could feel the strong conviction to freedom, freedom to march on, to assemble peaceably to demand for free and fair elections. We couldn’t wait to meet with the rest of right-thinking Malaysians so that we could walk together to Merdeka Stadium on this historic, most awaited day.

    Bersih!Bersih!Bersih!

    We started marching on, we held each other’s arms so tightly. We chanted “Bersih!Bersih!Bersih!”.A strange feeling suddenly embraced me. A pleasant strange feeling. I believed this was what solidarity, strength and conviction felt like.



    I was holding Wan Azizah’z right arm. Nurul Nuha was holding my left arm. As we were walking, I could feel more hands were holding my arms, the hands of amazing people I hardly knew. When I looked around, all I could see was police. My heart was beating so fast, in between the chanting and the thought that all of us would not make it to Merdeka Stadium as it was almost certain that we would be arrested, judging from the heavy police presence around us.

    From KL Hilton, we proceeded to KL Sentral train station. At this juncture I kept asking myself why we weren’t arrested yet. The police were there, surrounding us, waiting and watching our single move. I just ignored the question that was lingering on my mind. From KL Sentral train station, we had to go down the escalator to the underpass to reach the main road.

    After going down the escalator, we then walked through the dark and confined underpass. Suddenly I heard the wail of police siren behind us, there was a police truck that was trying to pass. We stopped and gave way to the police truck. We then continued walking.

    As we were still walking in the underpass, people in the forefront abruptly stopped. It was puzzling as to what was happening. I saw Anwar Ibrahim turning around and asking the people who were standing in the back to step back. I was still puzzled as to what was happening at that particular moment. In a split second, I saw the dark and confined underpass filled with tear gas. I couldn’t breathe. My eyes were all teary. Everyone was coughing. Panic struck.

    A trap

    I kept asking myself these questions. “Why did they fire the tear gas directly at us while we were still in the confined underpass? Why didn’t they arrest us right before we headed for the underpass? Could this be a trap?”.



    Every one ran towards the escalator to escape. Haniza Talha fell on the floor and Sharifah Shahidah picked her up. I saw one man was holding Lim Kit Siang’s left arm, trying to help him to get onto the pavement. I quickly grabbed Lim Kit Siang’s right arm and helped him get onto the pavement.

    I was coughing really hard. It was getting harder to breathe. The only thing that was flashing on my mind was the thought of death. The voice inside my head was getting louder and louder-“God, I’m going to die, I won’t be able to join any peaceful assembly in the future as this would be my last. How are people going to survive this brutality in the future?”

    The use of tear gas on us, in the confined underpass was severely criminal. The thought that the same tear gas would be used on peaceful demonstrators in future peaceful assemblies was killing me. I dragged myself to the wall and leaned against it. I was struggling to find air. A woman gave me water and held my hands. We were trapped in the middle of the underpass, we couldn’t escape from where we came. It got harder and harder to breathe.

    I tried to drag myself to the escalator in my attempt to escape but my steps were getting heavier. I saw tear gas was also shot from the back of the underpass and that made me realize that I would never make it to the escalator. The dark and confined underpass was filled with tear gas which was shot from both directions, leaving every one trapped in the middle.

    I just stopped as I couldn’t move, not even an inch towards the escalator. At this point in time, I couldn’t open my eyes. Everything around me seemed so distant. I couldn’t hear a thing.

    Then there was light

    Light, I suddenly saw light in between the wooden walls that were blocking off the adjacent construction site. I told myself to get to the light and try to escape. I suddenly saw Wan Azizah and Elizabeth Wong running towards the construction site. I ran towards them and we managed to get through the gap in between the wooden walls into the construction site.



    We ran and crossed the main road in the rain. We stopped to catch our breath. We were still coughing. Our eyes and skin were all red. I couldn’t touch my skin as it was burning. Two American journalists were standing next to us. They too were hit by the tear gas. One of the journalists asked us “Are you okay? The police were brutal”. I replied “Welcome to Malaysia!”. There were also a few men standing around us, passing a bottle of water to us. Elizabeth Wong drank the water and threw up as she couldn’t stop coughing.

    We then sought refuge at a chapatti shop nearby. At the shop, I started calling everyone to ask whether they were alright. Some were severely injured, some were arrested and some managed to escape.

    I received calls from my lawyer friends, Farhana Abdul Halim and Afiq Mohd Noor who were on their way to the police station to give legal representation to peaceful demonstrators who got arrested. They told me that they were caught in a middle of sea of people, attacked by tear gas and water cannons in Puduraya.

    The whole city was under siege.

    Why did they have to launch this brutal attack on us, the unarmed, peaceful citizens of this country?

    Why did they have to launch this brutal attack on us, the unarmed, peaceful citizens who were just exercising our constitutional and democratic rights?

    Why did they have to wage this war against us, the unarmed, peaceful citizens who were just marching on to demand for free and fair elections?

    I might not have the answers to these questions but I am certain about one thing. We, the people have won this war the authority waged against us.

    We stood tall in dignity, weathering this brutal attack, standing up for one belief, a belief that would never be taken away from us.

    Yes, we, the people have won.



    - Fadiah Nadwa Binti Fikri is a reader of Malaysia Chronicle and a member of Lawyers for Liberty


    ---------- Post added at 01:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:56 AM ----------

    Wednesday, 20 July 2011 10:30

    A special note to July 9

    what kind of a government shoots tear gas at unarmed citizens, sitting on the ground, asking for peace

    Answer: A fascist Govt!

    Written by Katrina J Maliamauv

    Thousands upon thousands,
    Marching, walking, wheeling
    together.

    A familiar strain - Negaraku.
    We stop. Stand in reverence
    A flag waves in our hearts
    We sing -
    My country.
    Yes, it's the mine of all of us.

    Pride. Elation.
    We walk walk walk together.
    The police - they stand
    In angry gear;
    Beastly batons,
    Menacing tanks,
    Aiming straight at us
    guns loaded with terror-smoke.

    A leader emerges
    "All sit!", he exhorts
    "Semua duduk!",
    His voice is echoed by others
    mini-leaders ; the concerned;
    thousands follow -
    a sea of squatting citizens,
    hopeful - ever hopeful,
    that the guards will part,
    and the sea of us
    will flow.

    A voice is heard –

    we want peace
    Softly at first
    then stronger
    We join
    "We want peace"
    We chant we chant
    The quiet strength builds
    Peace - yes, that's what we want

    Bang! Bang! Bang!
    They aim for us
    Without warning
    The anger is shot out at us
    The us that has asked for peace;
    why do they hate us?
    why are they so angry?

    Smoke - bitter, burning smoke
    Searing; stinging; tearing

    Everywhere!
    Oh God - in my eyes,
    my throat
    my mouth,
    my lungs
    It burns, it burns!

    Run - we try to run
    Scrambling;
    Screaming for salt
    Water
    Mercy.

    Eyes shut,
    Arms reaching out for help
    Someone hands the salt
    Water is thrown
    We choke
    and gag.

    The heavens
    thank God for the heavens
    and the rain pouring down
    in solidarity
    with the mass of people
    united for peace,
    attacked for it.

    - Katrina Jorene Maliamauv was among the participants at the BERSIH 2.0 rally who were shot at from multiple directions by teargas, right after they started singing "we want peace". Along with hundreds of other people, she sought shelter in the grounds of Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospital, where she witnessed in horror as teargas and water cannons were fired straight into the compound, and police employing brutal force stormed in and arrested peaceful ralliers.

    She asks - what kind of a government shoots tear gas at unarmed citizens, sitting on the ground, asking for peace?
    py

  3. #13
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    Saratbabu – The Brave Youth Activist

    (PSM Detainee Under the Emergency Ordinance )

    R Saratbabu @ Babu is the youngest in a family of five siblings. Babu's parents was one of the key individuals who championed for the Kg. Chepor urban settlers struggle which laid the foundation stones for his involvement in community organising work and championing other communities in need of help. Since young, Babu was naturally immersed in community meetings, activities and exposed to struggles by the Kg Chepor families. By the time he reached 17 years of age, he was much empowered to establish a youth network among the children of the Kg Chepor families. The idea of a youth network was then conveyed to M. Sarasvathy (one of the current six PSM detainees) during a programme hosted to celebrate the victory of the Kg Chepor struggles, and since then, in 2005, Alaigal Youth Front was successfully established with a committed members of 10 youths.

    The Alaigal Youth Front became an instrumental group to organise beneficial programmes to young minds around Ipoh. Only from this constructive programmes during a cultural programme in 2006, that I had the opportunity to build a rapport with Sarasvathy who was then the coordinator for our youth front as well as with Saratbabu, the founder. After attending this cultural programme, I continued to further attend the youth camp for the first Socialist programme in Port Dickson in March 2007. After the camp, Sarasvathy had invited me to join the Alaigal Youth Front.

    The important decision to join the youth front allowed me to know Saratbabu as a person untill now, leading to his detention under the EO. However, knowing Babu, we are extremely proud of his brave struggle against all risks for the people of Malaysia.

    On a personal level, Babu had to undertake all family responsibilities after his dad suffered from stroke two years back. His basic grounding in leadership qualities and responsibility were acquired from his family, which turned him into a man of calibre throughout his championing work. He has been working as a tuition teacher based at home and earned a well-respected standing among his community, both as an educator and as an activist. Two years ago, he began teaching at a tuition centre and beginning 2008 to 2009, he applied to enroll for law studies at Universiti Malaya (UM). His application was rejected twice, yet his aspiration to pursue law pushed him to apply again in which he succeeded in registering for Bachelor of Jurisprudence (External Programme) at UM. It is a huge responsibility to perform as a householder and pursue law studies, but these did not deter Babu from continuing to be a dedicated community organiser for the marginalised, especially youths. In my perspective, Babu is a person who never gives up easily and is highly capable in solving all kinds of challenges that life throws at him.

    In the almost five years that I have known both Saras and Babu, they have only shown their relentless efforts to champion people's struggles and mobilise the rakyat in pushing for reforms.

    As much as Babu is active in his youth organisation, he also holds other responsibilities including assisting the PSM branch in Bercham. Among the activities organised were youth camps, football leagues, examination seminars, study trips, sports, carnivals and many others. Such activities targeting youths were aimed at refraining youths from involving in social ills; as well as attract them to provide support to the communities around them.

    Babu has also shown how important to be committed at branch and national level of PSM, which I have come to notice had given him the needed experience. Babu is always looking for something to achieve. I am amazed at the way he coordinates any particular event, par excellence. In fact, Babu was one of the state facilitators for Perak in JERIT's 2008 national-level cycling campaign where he succeeded in ending the 17 day campaign orderly. Babu also believes in the principle of democratic-centralism where the decisions are made by majority of votes after consultation with every person present in any meetings.

    I have acquired so much of knowledge from observing Saras and Babu. Some pertinent factors I gained were the non-discrimination in age when engaging in debates and decision making based on democratic-centralism, among others.

    Whenever I express disappointment with a particular individual or concern, Babu will say, "Hussein, we are working for the Party and the Raykat, the rest are not important." Such words are continuously repeated to me or any other members which provide the maturity for us to move forward. Babu is also a sociable person and that was how I became a close friend. Almost every day we will meet and discuss on various topics that include our work for youths, family education, finance and many others. I have placed my faith in Babu, in sharing anything that matters to me and there were times we will debate for hours to achieve reasonable conclusions.

    On the day Babu was arrested and served a notice of the EO, I was filled with much sadness as he had to sit for an examination on 3 July at UM. His parents and I went to the Kepala Batas district headquarters and met Babu for five minutes to receive the notice. I simply could not accept what Babu has to undergo and within a day, everything seems to come crushing down. For the first time, I saw Babu with a beard who smiled at me with his hands in cuffs. Tears streamed from my eyes. Babu even had to assure me that he will be out once BERSIH 2.0 is over. As a police officer was recording our conversation, Babu continued calmly saying, "Sosilawati's case has yet to be solved, and they still want to arrest us." His smile held a thousand sadness, which I perfectly understood. Babu further stated, "Hussein, looks like my education will end here..." Babu remarked that he could not sit for his much-anticipated law exam, be among his family members, and continue his work with the Alaigal youth group, especially in the people's struggle under PSM.

    To me, R. Saratbabu is a responsible Malaysian citizen. He is brave to express his opinions anywhere in any condition. His bravery burns brightly in my heart, where I have now taken up some of his responsibilities. I feel highly elated that due to Babu's detention, majority of Malaysians have the opportunity to know what the draconian EO=ISA is. This ordinance kills our right to express. Let it be, if the sacrifices of the six PSM activists ignites Democracy in Malaysia. The six are socialist activists who have put their lives at risk to champion for the poor and marginalised, while pushing for a socialist economy that is fair for the rakyat of Malaysia. R. Saratbabu has to be, and will be, released. I want to see him continue this struggle, and achieve his ambition to become a lawyer.


    By,

    Muhammad Hussein

    Pemuda Sosialis (Parti Sosialis Malaysia - PSM)
    Long Live the Rakyat , Long Live the Struggle , Abolish EO = ISA , Free Detainees!

    Note: Alaigal is a grassroots movement to assist the poor and marginalised. Its members have been championing causes including land rights issues, healthcare and workers' issues since 1992.


    --
    visit our website at
    http://parti-sosialis.org
    py

  4. #14
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    Kid gloves? Najib, were you there?

    Michael Chong
    Jul 17, 11
    3:28pm
    10 friends can read this story for free
    EYEWITNESS I am a middle class Chinese Malaysian, who works in an investment bank in Johor Bahru. I first heard about Bersih and its idea only around June 20, 2011.

    I never knew the previous Bersih rally in 2007, and all the people involved then. But right after I heard about it, I knew that it was very important and every decent Malaysian had to support it.

    Therefore, I asked around my friends to car pool over from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur to join the event.

    I got two friends and my lovely wife who were interested, until our own government threatened and made the walk illegal a few days before 709.

    One of my friends, a director of some listed companies was worried that he might get blacklisted if arrested, and was not willing to join any more, along with his wife who also did not respond to my call.

    I think that was an acceptable response as not only they, but also most Malaysians have been held hostage by the BN's 53 years of non-democratic rule.

    Then my in-laws who read Sin Chew Daily also got worried. There was no doubt that the fear was there. I know my wife was worried too, but she told me that if I still wanted to go, she would join me.

    I was discouraged until I received an email from an acquaintance whom I had only met once a few weeks earlier, then I alone decided to join them to Bersih 709 in KL.



    On July 8, four of us, one a 49-year-old teacher, two engineers, and I, took the early morning train to KL and checked in at a hotel.

    Later that evening, four more people whom I had never met joined us too, one, a student in Singapore who had flown in. We bought yellow T-shirts and had some famous local food around Chinatown, then hit the sack before 11pm.

    Booming business for those who dared

    On 709, we woke up and had breakfast in Chinatown, very few shops opened that day. I heard that the police distributed notices directing the shops to close on that day; yet a few still opened, and their business boomed. The workers at the two food stalls where we had breakfast were working non-stop until noon when we left.

    On the streets of Chinatown, we could already see a lot of people hanging around, some Malays, many Chinese; very few, especially the older ones, had already put on their yellow shirts. We could feel something was coming, everyone seemed excited and a bit panicky already.



    About 12pm eight of us walked to Merdeka Stadium; the roads were blocked in front of the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and we waited there for about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Then we decided to walk towards the Merdeka Square direction. After we passed the traffic police station, we heard some voices, and we walked even faster towards the source. There we saw opposite the Pasar Seni riverbank thousands shouting, "Hidup rakyat! Hidup Bersih! Bersih Bersih!" and, "Rakyat in the walk," etc. and walking towards the POS building. We of course joined them without giving it a second thought.

    They were mostly Malays from PAS or other Islamic groups, I think, but many Chinese and other races joined them too. I didn't care much about racial differences anyway; and then one of the elder Malay uncles beside us told us that the "Real 1Malaysia" was right here. The feeling of walking with these fellow Malaysian is very hard to describe even now; a mixture of all sorts like a sense of decency, righteousness, belonging, excitement, being moved, and etc. You had to be there, no simple words can describe the feeling.

    We walked and passed all of the police blockades in super orderly and peaceful fashion, those whom I believed are PAS members and their supporters were very well organised and disciplined throughout the whole day. Not a single mistake they made, nor did they provoke anyone. We were having a 'Malaysia carnival' until we were stopped in front of Merdeka Square.

    Tear gas and awakenings

    The crowds then tried just to sit down and protest peacefully, yet without warning the riot police fired many tear gas canisters at us. Now remember, many of us there were senior citizens, women, and children.

    That was the moment I was transformed. I ran to the side of a small path so that I could recover from the tear gas effects - it was not so bad for a youngster like me, although my lungs, eyes and skin were burning.

    But what took over me at that point was a new feeling that is hard to describe. It never happened to me before, but from that point onward, I became totally fearless, and a bit angry with the government for shooting tear gas at us as though we were nothing but dirt.

    At the same time I was full of sympathy for my Malaysian family that I had just met around me. I quickly put on my yellow T-shirt, that I brought a day earlier, and wore it until I reached home that night.

    Everyone in my group was motivated and determined from that point on. The police thought that they could create fears in us by firing tear gas without warning, yet it only made us realise our own courage.

    Later, the crowds regrouped quickly and we walked back to Chinatown, through the street next to Jln Petaling, towards the Merdeka Stadium. We got blocked and walked back to gather at the junction in front of Dataran Maybank. The carnival spirit pervaded and I was having a good time, spirits growing higher when another group coming down Jln Pudu joined us.

    Showdown at Jln Pudu

    With us were native friends from East Malaysia wearing their traditional clothing, we had PAS and DAP leaders giving speeches on why we need a “bersih" electoral system in our country. I was in the front, close to the speakers so that I could hear what they had to say. Beside me were many Malays young and old, some women wore their tudungs respectfully, and I saw one family with their two young girls of around four to twelve.

    Along the way we waved to passing trains passed above and the mood was totally harmonious and peaceful, until the riot police shot water cannons and tear gas at us without warning again. This attack turned out to be the worst ever to me; tear gas canisters were coming in every direction around me, and no matter where I escaped I would run into a burning tear gas canister.

    As with most of the people there, I was not prepared with any salt, mask, or even a T-shirt to cover my face. Walking up the stairs to the Maybank building, I could hardly open my eyes and breath. I passed at least two burning tear gas canisters. I saw one elderly Malay lady sitting down on the ground, overcome, but I was about to pass out too and unable to help her. I felt very bad about that.

    My eyes were burning, and worst of all my lungs hurt so badly fluid came up through my mouth and nose and for a minute I felt I was drowning. I can imagine this may have been what the poor 59-year-old Baharudin Ahmad who passed away during the rally must have experienced. The government's ignorance, negligence, and greed caused this whole tragedy to him and all of us.

    At the top of the hill there was a row of basins and many queued to wash their faces. I wet my other T-shirt so that I could cover my nose to escape the tear gas.

    Then I walked back to the street in front of Maybank. I wanted to take photographs of all of the bullying by the police towards us, but I also wanted to help others who were in need.



    Back on Jln Pudu, I saw the police make their brutal arrests in the direction of the hill; my friend there described it later that "the police treated and chased us as though we were animals". Many clambered up a tall sharp fence, or jumped down from a roughly 2 metre slope/cliff back to the street without caring for their safety. That was how our own police, sworn to protect us, treated us.

    Treated like animals

    After that, the riot police marched up Jln Pudu and hitting everyone they encountered with their sticks, until all the protestors in the front line had fallen to the ground. One Chinese riot police spotted me in yellow in front of them, and in the middle of Jln Pudu. He ran ahead of the others and scolded me and threatened to hit me.

    However, I have the feeling that he didn't really want to hit me, or perhaps I wish to believe that he was just following his orders to clear out the street; Malaysians don't really want to harm Malaysians. I crossed to the front of Pudu Raya bus station and I was in yellow, yet he didn't chase me.



    After those riot police did their job clearing the street and hitting people down, the regular police did the arrests. This is my first experience at such an event, and I encountered numerous cases of the police's unthinkable brutality toward unarmed and peaceful rallyers.

    I had tried to figure out all sorts of reasons, logic, explanations, or even excuses for our police. Why they did such actions that no reasonable people could accept? Have they lost their sense of decency totally? Did the late Teo Beng Hok felt the same thing before he got murdered exactly two years ago? He thought police should be professional and follow our constitutional rights to protect us and do their job?

    The sight left me with many troubling questions about our police, about Teoh Beng Hock's death, and would my children have to face the same in their time? I felt torn and confused, and that was the moment on Jln Pudu that I truly understood the deeper meaning of the Bersih movement: it is not just the electoral reform, not merely fighting corruption, nor our constitutional rights.



    It is much more importantly to restate and reinstate human dignity, decency, and righteousness back into our Malaysian culture. When did we come to a state where BN government officers and politicians feel that deception, vice, corruption, bullying the people is their norm and the accepted culture? When the honest, ambitious, competent, moral, humane youngsters get into the dirty BN system and culture, and give in to become liars, hitmen, prostitutes, and self-interested parties?

    For that policeman whom I encountered, has it ever crossed his mind that he truly doesn't want to hit innocent people on the streets? Does Bersih mean anything to him? I am really interested to know this.



    The tear gas-bully-arrest routine continued mercilessly until divine intervention brought rain and win that blew the tear gas smoke back into the riot police gang, forcing these police gangsters to back down a bit by about 20 metres.

    With three big trucks blocking the road, and long negotiations with DAP's Ngeh Koo Ham, and other Pakatan leaders, I thought the police were about to give in. The atmosphere was slowing calming down, Channel News Asia reporters were doing their reporting, and it was only after getting home that I saw myself on TV.

    Tung Shin attack didn't happen?

    Somehow I think some cowardly politicians, someone not at the field, maybe on the helicopters, or in front of some big fat TV screen, ordered the police to continue their insane inhumanities against the peaceful rally.

    Many of us sought refuge in Tung Shin Hospitals, as we had no way other out, yet the police ridiculously fired tear gas at us in the hospitals' two parking lots, barging into the hospital compound to arrest people without court warrants and any sense of justice at all. Many of the foreigners, included news reporters and photographers were there to witness this; do they think that our 50,000 protestors' testimonies are like those of the BN politicians that cannot be trusted?

    Until today, the BN government keeps denying all these simple facts despite all the evidence and witnesses. All of their comments about us are built on hatred, lies, pride, and prejudice. Their words are devoid of moral and legal values. What credibility the has government then?



    They are just making fools of themselves, nothing more. It is thus proven that they, the ones in BN, are the ones who prevent the unity, prosperity, stability, and development of the country. What a shame!



    Fortunately at the end of that day of wonderful self-realisation for me, and a horrible day for democracy in Malaysia, I was not arrested. Later around 4pm I had a meal at Jln Alor where the food prices are still too expensive as usual, and met up with the old doctor who came up with me, at KLCC.

    I have taken many photos along my journey to prove what I have related, and to prove how our BN government lies to all Malaysians and to the world. From the road to Bersih 709, we can surely come to many conclusions:

    1. Our PM and his BN people are nothing but a bunch of liars and dictators. They back out their words and lie about the facts, and they are disrespectful to the Agong's words. They even held the monarch hostage in the palace that day, with all kinds of roadblocks, it looked as if the King was under house arrest to me.



    2. Malaysian supports Bersih; despite the unconstitutional bans and the road blocks, still over 50,000 Malaysians (from my own observation) of different races, sexes, ages supported the walk, on the other hand, while the BN government represents an unfair and corrupt system that benefits only for a few interest parties among themselves.

    3. The police used tear gas and other almost deadly forces on peaceful rallyers.

    But don't worry, Baharudin Ahmad didn't die for nothing, and will not be forgotten, this I promise. Every one of us has a moral duty to keep him in mind. The Bersih road will continue, until fairness and justice prevail.

    Finally I want to warn our BN government that the people of this country will never forget and forgive on such dictatorship.
    py

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    I am proud to be Malaysian — May Chee Chook Ying

    July 11, 2011



    On Friday, after checking into the Swiss Garden Hotel at around 5pm, I sent an SMS to my good friend Kim which said: “Just checked into the Swiss Garden Hotel for my second honeymoon. Going for a picnic tomorrow at 2pm at Stadium Merdeka. Please pray for all of us gathered there, that everything will be peaceful.”

    When asked whether he wanted a room with single beds or one with a king-size bed, we were requested to check into the Residence after my husband asked for the latter. Later, we took a stroll down Bukit Bintang Road and I was rather surprised at how things have changed.

    I do go to Pavilion once in a while, but I’ve not strolled down the street of Bukit Bintang since my varsity days back in the early Eighties. It’s kind of sleazy now. I’ve since told my kids not to go there on their own!

    After taking our dinner at the cafeteria in Lot 10, my husband and I went to Pavilion. After half an hour, we made our way back to the Residence. I was dead beat as I’d been awake since 4am, leaving Malacca at 5am for KL, my second home. Since there would be a lock-down at 12.01am on Saturday, I had to get into the city before then, hence the necessity to book a room at the Swiss Garden.

    Just before I knocked off that Friday night, my husband read to me a posting on Haris Ibrahim’s blog about a 75-year-old Pak Mat who had to do what he thought was his duty despite pleas from his wife. My husband’s voice quivered and it was choked with tears even before he reached the end. I think I fell into a slumber then, but my sleep was interrupted now and then by sirens somewhere in the background.

    The next morning, my daughter, who kept watch at our other home in TTDI, SMSed us to say that the Swiss Garden Hotel was among those hotels raided. She couldn’t join us because she was on standby with the Urgent Arrest Team of lawyers. I had quite a good sleep, considering that I woke up only after 8am that Saturday morning when I usually am up and about after 6am on most days.

    We checked out at noon, then headed for Bukit Bintang again for our lunch. On our way to Lot 10 to use the washrooms, we saw the press and some burly Malay guys loitering around the shops opposite McDonald’s.

    Most of them were sitting on the pavement outside shops that had closed for the day. That was around 1pm. We met a friend’s daughter who was there with a colleague. They were covering the event about to unfold, supposedly at Stadium Merdeka. We told her we would follow her.

    However, after a second visit to the washrooms, we lost her. Three patrol cars then came and lined up across the road facing McDonald’s. A short distance away was a pick-up truck with guys on top of it. They were throwing red shirts with the word “Patriot” emblazoned across the front.

    Many Malay guys then went towards them from all directions, catching those shirts and putting them on. Some stall operators also went forward to collect the red shirts. I overheard someone saying that for the red shirts, they had police escorts but for the yellow shirts, they would be rounded up. I didn’t see any patriots, just saw goons!

    After hearing hostile words blaring from a loudhailer, we decided not to follow this group. We then moved forward, stepped into a side lane to continue our journey. I prayed for direction as we moved along.

    We turned right and lo and behold, we saw a group walking towards us, but away from Stadium Merdeka. We crossed the road, stepped in line with them, not sure why we were heading in the opposite direction. I nudged my husband to ask someone where we were heading.

    A tall, bespectacled guy said: “Don’t ask me anything. I know you want to ask me something.” That was quite funny. I wanted to laugh out loud but thought better of it.
    Another two guys were ahead of us. My husband approached the taller one who said: “We are going to Dataran. The stadium was just a red herring.” I thought that made sense. We exchanged pleasantries. The tall one asked us why we were there. My guess was we looked like tourists.
    I replied: “Because I’m a Christian.” Both of them then shook our hands and said: “We, too.” I wanted to add: “Because I’m Malaysian and my fellow Malaysians shouldn’t have to walk alone.”

    I actually joined the “Bersih for fair and free elections” march out of a sense of guilt, especially after reading the holy book which reiterates this: “Fear is a bad adviser; it turns cowards into violent people. God comes to the rescue of the person who confronts the crowd for God’s sake. The fear of acting is an insult to God.”

    To me, not to join in this march of justice would be an affront to the God I love so much. To me, to just watch as others march for the truth would make me out to be a plain empty vessel, all talk and no action. To me, to let my fellow Malaysians shoulder this alone would be sheer irresponsibility on my part. I, too, am Malaysian, I told myself, and I can do this!

    So, I said to my husband: “Let’s march.” Of course, he was game. He, too, loves God just as much if not more than me. He loves his fellow Malaysians, too.

    As we approached Hentian Puduraya, I saw my friend’s daughter again. She had been tear-gassed. The crowd was now going in the opposite direction, yet there was no panic. I saw a Malay boy rubbing his eyes. Both his eyes and face were inflamed. I handed him a pack of tissues. He took a piece and returned the rest. I told him to keep it. That made him smile.
    Later, as calm set in, we started to move towards Hentian Puduraya again. This time, with me was a kakak from Penang. We struck up a conversation. She said: “Kita tidak boleh berundur. Dia orang tak tau kita betapa susah.” To which, my husband replied: “Saya tau, saya boleh nampak.”

    Kakak is in her sixties. She walked slowly, aided by her daughter at her side. There was also a regal-looking Chinese man behind me. He limped along with a walking stick. He could easily have been 70, yet he was unaccompanied. Their courage put me to shame.

    Kakak was really cute. When Dr Tan Seng Giaw came, she nudged me aside. She wanted to shake his hands. She was blind, colour- blind! I lost sight of kakak after a series of tear-gassing. I even lost my handphone, while running away from my fourth or so shot of tear gas.

    It was a disaster waiting to happen. I was texting and updating my kids and my friend Kim now and then. While my husband did the shouting, I texted.
    At the foot of the slope below Tung Shin Hospital was a small compound where we took a breather. Before that we were tear-gassed left and right. That was when some of us ran towards the hospital. Someone shouted to us to just run through and not stop.

    I prayed like crazy. I pulled my cap down, covering my eyes as I ran, beside my husband. We decided to leave a bag of supplies back at the Residence when we read that police were checking backpacks. So, we were without towels and salt but we had water.

    The pain was sharp but momentary. My husband remarked that my eyes weren’t so bad. That was when a young Malay man offered my husband some salt. I took a pinch though the pain had somewhat subsided. We saw an old Malay man beside the young man. He was rubbing his eyes with a towel. Both of them had really inflamed eyes and faces.

    My husband poured water onto the old man’s towel, then gave the young man the bottle. He washed his eyes and face, then returned the bottle to me. I told him to keep it. He asked: “Auntie, bagaimana?” I told him I still have another bottle, so it was OK.

    Then another tear gas attack came. We had nowhere else to run to except up the slope into the hospital. It was still raining and the slope was slippery. However, two knights in shining armour in the guise of a Malay man and an Indian were at the top of the slope to help us up.

    We went into the hospital where we managed to use their washrooms. We hung around in their waiting lounge for a while and decided it was not safe to remain there, too. As we were leaving Tung Shin, we saw Irene Fernandez, seated in her wheelchair, surrounded by five youths.

    We asked if she was OK, to which a girl laughingly said she was better than the rest of them. Irene was smiling throughout. Nothing was going to get her down! My husband cautioned them to move along and not be the last one to remain behind.

    We watched from the balcony when someone shouted it was all right now to go down. They, as the police and the leaders of the movement, were negotiating. So down we went. At that point, we were at the junction where a lane to the left led to the Church of St Anthony.

    Some young boys opted to sit down on the road while “they” negotiated. Then we were told to occupy only one lane, the one further away from the hospital. We were told the police would let us through if we did that. So, we happily obeyed and even sang the “NegaraKu”. At all times, we obeyed.

    When it was calm, we were told to move slowly, which we did. When someone shouted something out of the norm, we were told not to aggravate, to which the shouting ceased. We were well-behaved, all of us were. After a good 10 minutes of waiting, I heard a young Malay man say: "Jangan-jangan kita ditipu lagi. Mereka selalu menipu!” So young and so disillusioned! I felt almost sorry for him. Where’s Perkasa now? This young Malay man surely does not believe he’s a “Tuan.” He has no faith in those purportedly fighting for his interests. He’s so lost!

    To my left, another two young Malay men washed their faces, then, rolled out their mats to pray. I, too, said a little prayer, that God will protect His little ones from all evil and harm. Suddenly, we saw water gushing towards us. They were firing chemical water at us. Like the tear gas, this water was targeted directly at us. They meant to hurt.

    How could they?

    As we ran towards St Anthony’s, I saw another two young Malay men kneeling down to pray on my right. They would not know what hit them. Poor guys! My husband told me then, when you write about this, don’t forget to say that our government betrayed us!

    He was rather emotional when he said that, was rather angry, too. As for me, I felt really sad. I make it a point to remind my kids now and then, to always forgive others; to always give them more than a second chance. I believe that everyone deserves more than a second chance. I don’t know if he would throw me a punch at me if I said that, then! Guess things don’t always work that way.

    At the gate of St Anthony’s, the caretaker was already unlocking the gate for us. He ushered us to the back gate to escape. On the way, we saw a grotto where we stopped to pray and asked Mother Mary to intercede for us to her Son for protection.

    We had to cross over a 2ft-high brick fencing to get to the back gate to escape. I heard a loud thud. Someone had fallen. It was my beloved husband. Running away from tear gas and water cannons was a breeze for him but he had to fall as we strolled through the church.

    The rest of the people there were shocked but not me. I had to stifle my urge to laugh because it was just like him to be injured over silly stunts. He jokingly wanted to shout: “Police brutality!” I had to shut him up. We were already laughing for I knew we were already safe.

    How can we not be safe in the house of God? By the way, my husband’s right cheek, elbow and shin now bear some scratches due to that fall. He’s telling his friends that it was all worth it and that he would gladly go through it all over again.

    It took us another three minutes to reach our hotel. In fact the whole charade happened just down the road. It was about 4pm then. We changed, logged onto the Net to see what was happening elsewhere when suddenly the police in front of the hotel dispersed.

    We went across the road to get some drinks from the 168 store. They had run out of Coke. A Malay man overheard us telling each other to go to the mamak shop instead. He told us they were sold out, too.

    He, then, added that business was brisk and could have been better. He disputed the government’s version of how business could have been badly affected by the gathering at the stadium. Honestly, that was how I saw it, too.

    Had we been allowed to picnic on the Stadium Merdeka grounds, how can business in the city not be better? We would have to buy our stuff from the stores here, in Bukit Bintang Road. Business would have been roaring!

    This was my inaugural march, it will not be my last. I wasn’t paid to go. I guess that’s why the red shirts show fizzled out. Perhaps there wasn’t enough money thrown around? Like I said, I wasn’t paid to go. I paid a lot to go. Someone paid with his life.

    He, you goons in the government, is the patriot you’ll never be. You goons now stand responsible for his death. I am proud to be Malaysian because of someone like Baharuddin Ahmad. Though words cannot describe your loss, my dear Rosni Malan, your beloved husband’s death will not be in vain.
    You and your family will be richly blessed for generations to come because of his selfless love for his country. He died for his country, he died for a stab at free and fair elections. Like I said, he will not die in vain. We, the rest of us, will see to that.

    I am not just proud to be Malaysian. More than that, I’m truly proud of my fellow Malaysians. May God bless you all.
    py

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Born Again Malaysian, Totally Cleansed (BERSIH)!
    By Socrates

    To put my participation in the BERSIH 2.0 Rally into proper perspective, I need to give you a short synopsis of who I am, and what I used to do for a living.

    A full blooded Malaysian, I was born in the 50's in Kuala Lumpur, when life was simple, and as kids, we played amongst ourselves oblivious of whether we were Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, or others. We were just children and kawan-kawan, and we had a darn good time playing football, badminton, sepak takraw, picture cards, etc. all together then…. BUT TODAY THEY ARE ALL GONE…..


    Razak Hussein,
    2nd prime minister

    Somehow all this changed especially after May 13, 1969. All the bigotry, and prejudice started to set in during Razak's time as PM and it slowly got worse and worse as the ruling elite spotted the opportunity to divide and rule, and make use of all the prejudice and bigotry to set up divide-and-rule systems that could be exploited to enrich themselves under the guise of "the Malay struggle."

    As time wore on, to further entrench themselves in their position of power, built on the insecurities of the masses, and the prejudice and bigotry spawned by their system of "divide and rule," they started to dismantle democracy in Malaysia by making the Executive (Govt) so powerful as to make the Legislature (Parliament), and Judiciary subservient to it, the Executive, thereby making the Prime Minister the de facto dictator of Malaysia.

    Not satisfied with this, they dismantled the jury system where we are supposed to be tried by our peers. No longer, now we are tried by judges who are on the government's salary, appointed by the government.

    Mahathir Mohamad,
    4th prime minister



    Furthermore, the government placed their staunch supporters in key positions, whether they were Malay, Chinese or Indian, in the AG's office, Election Commission, MACC, PDRM, and so on to control these institutions so that instead of doing their duty to protect and serve the Rakyat of Malaysia, they are now only to protect and serve the BN govt while paid and funded by the Rakyat.

    Naturally, by now, the whole election process in Malaysia has been corrupted and skewed to ensure government rule by the BN, where through gerrymandering, phantom voters, multiple voting, and manipulated postal votes, and the stuffing of ballot boxes, and outright vote buying guaranteed the survival of the BN government to the exclusion of all else, thus thwarting the Rakyat's Will.

    BERSIH 2.0 is the Rakyat's Rally to tell the BN Government that enough is enough and we want clean, free and fair elections to reflect the True Will of the Rakyat, and whoever wins the elections then, so be it.

    At my age, and having worked for 3 decades (since the 1980's) from a salesman all the way to a CEO of a foreign owned, public listed corporation, coming from a very sedentary lifestyle, the last thing on my mind would be to walk for hours in the afternoon heat, and with the threat of violence hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles, especially so when I suffer from high blood pressure (HBP), a bum left leg, and an overweight 115 kg body.

    Having lived through the BN apartheid system (yes, it is no different from South Africa's apartheid system under the whites before the ANC led by Nelson Mandela succeeded in making South Africa a truly democratic nation) for so many years, and having only been overseas for my tertiary degree for 3-4 years, and holidays paid for with my hard earned money, I have always worked in Malaysia, paying full Malaysian taxes, and contributing to the EPF, and lived here in KL all my life, I finally had enough when I saw the demonisation of BERSIH 2.0 and the true Patriots of Malaysia (steering committee of BERSIH 2.0 and all the 62 supporting NGOs), by this self-centred, bully of a government.

    So I told my wife and my kids that I had to go to this rally on the 9th July in KL and make our voices heard. If I made it back, finI didn't, so be it. My wife wanted to walk with me, but I convinced her not to as our daughter is only 4+, though our sons are big enough, and she needed a parent to look after her. Also, if I didn't make it back, she needed to carry on the fight for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our country, Malaysia.

    This would be my first rally although I had attended almost all the PJ vigils to free Raja Petra Kamarudin from ISA and to mansuhkan ISA, along with my wife and family. My daughter was only 1+ yrs old then and she was then dubbed by Haris Ibrahim and Del Capo as the "Angel" Of the PJ vigils. Yes, I exposed my kids to all this because they had to be taught what is right and wrong, and that is the most important thing that I, as a parent, could teach them.

    So we checked into Quality Hotel on Jln. Raja Laut as we thought we were going to the palace, then we heard that we were to go to Stadium Merdeka, but it was too late to cancel, so we all showed up at the hotel the afternoon before.

    On the morning of the 9th, I painfully hauled my 115 kg carcass up and walked out of the main door of the hotel at 9:55 a.m. with my wife who insisted on walking some way with me. There was a police car parked up at the front entrance, and further along we saw many blue "ants" milling around, maybe about 150 to 200 of them. We were stopped and asked where we were going, to which I replied:"Sogo". So this big burly policeman said:"Oh ... Sogo boleh." as if I needed his permission at all to set my foot in any part of MY country, Malaysia!

    We ignored him and went into Sogo for which could have been our last breakfast together. We observed them playing around with the red riot police helmets, batons, and shields while drinking our coffee. Then, at 10:20 am, we left Sogo and walked to the PRT station across the road. There were some policemen in the booking office and some milling around outside, so I looked at the train routes. I knew I should get out at Hang Tuah to be close to the Stadium, but I saw them watching me, so I told the gentleman at the counter, one ticket to Ampang (the last stop) please, and said goodbye to my wife with my eyes.

    One of many spoof images inspired by BERSIH 2.0

    You can tell that once the police heard me mention Ampang, they lost interest in me and what I was doing immediately, although I was carrying a bag of water, salt, extra t shirt and face towel! Luckily, we had such simple minded folk in the police force!

    I got on the train, but it skipped Hang Tuah station! I swore under my breath! Will it stop at Pudu next, or won't it?? It stopped at Pudu, and I walked out, heading back towards KL. There were no police presence there at all, and while I was walking down Jln. Pudu slowly, the road was eerily quiet, save for some 5 or 6 other people walking like me.

    A little nervous, all alone on my way to my first rally, and cursing the Najib administration with every painful step of my bum left leg, hauling my 115 kg sweat drenched carcass, I stopped by a 7-Eleven and bought some sweets. The air-con made me want to just camp there, but the thought of my family floated across my mind, and with renewed vigour (as much as I could muster!) I headed down to where one of my friends said they would be, in McDonald's next to Kota Raya.

    Hii Tiong Huat from Sarawak was arrested one day before the rally for carrying this sign!

    But before that, I had to rest my bum leg again and I went into the Swiss Garden Hotel and ordered a milk shake to cool down while I texted like-minded friends to tell them that Jln. Pudu would be an all clear if anyone wanted to join the rally from this direction.

    When I reached McD's it was 12 noon and my friends, Lee, Chong and Menon were there laughing at my deplorable physical condition! Soon, we went out to Jln. Sultan and suddenly, everyone started walking out and chanting "Bersih, bersih", "Hidup Bersih", "Hidup Rakyat."

    Young, old, strong, weak, infirm, the physically challenged, Muslims, Christians, Confucianists, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, Agnostics, Atheists, Malay, Chinese, Indians, Iban, and many more from all walks of life, walking together, shoulder to shoulder, with but a single purpose in mind, to reclaim our birthright to clean, free and fair elections in Malaysia.

    With adrenalin pumping, I walked the length of Jln. Sultan, and whenever a group made it to Kota Raya, we would walk all the way down clapping and chanting to welcome them, and then walk up again. We met several of our friends along the way, Rodi, Claire, Farid and his brother, Hawkeye Jack. There were a few Caucasian tourists joining in and cheering us on as well. What a carnival it was until ... without any warning to disperse, the police advanced upon us.

    9 July 2011 was a truly Transforming experience!

    Before long, the tear gas came and the water cannon as well, just outside Menara Maybank and PuduRaya, while I was standing outside Nandos, and we scurried up into PuduRaya to escape from the fumes. The water cannon, however, ran out of water before it could reach us and had us jeering and laughing at the hapless "cannoneers", with tears streaming down our faces due to the tear gas!

    People were everywhere helping other people, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, etc., and offering salt, and one guy even got a hose connected to spray the people down, those soaked by the chemical laced water from the cannons, and those who got tear gassed badly.

    Nostalgia and euphoria simultaneously swept over me, as this was what it was like before May 13, 1969, and after Merdeka, all for one, and one for all! Malaysia had indeed come a long way since then, but here we are again, one people, one identity, One Malaysia! This is what the Najib character had tried to convince Malaysians the government of Malaysia is, but has instead shown how racist, fascist, and prejudiced they really are, administering an apartheid system of governance over the Malaysian people.

    God intervened at this point, and the resulting downpour washed away all the chemical laced water, and tear gas, and the police suddenly found themselves powerless to bully the protestors.

    On the 9th July 2011, that was One Malaysia in action, and we all headed up Jln. Hang Jebat towards Stadium Merdeka. We stopped outside Stadium Merdeka on its access road and saw barbed wire across the road leading to the Stadium, with the cops behind it.

    BERSIH 2.0 in Hong Kong

    Some of us shouted: "Kami sokong BERSIH, apa kamu sokong?? Kotor??" Some of them smiled. Some of us sat down and when 4:15 came, we dispersed as we, being men of honour, promised the Agong that we would, all of us, be melting away back to our mundane lives, from whence we came.

    There I was, with Lee and Chong, all drenched and soaked through from head to toe sitting outside the YWCA facing the Stadium when a friend of mine showed up, Lian, and her friend. An ice cream vendor came by and we waved him down and had some ice cream. Lee had also kindly shared his stash of biscuits with Chong and I.

    We parted company and I found out one of my friends had booked into the Olympic Hotel next to Wisma OCM, I dropped by dripping water as I entered the lobby. Cold, wet through, and still famished from no lunch, and my bum leg sore from so much walking and running, I managed to heave my 115 kg frame into a comfortable chair of the hotel cafe and proceeded to order lunch. My friend, Pat, together with a PAS gentleman, Pak Lokman, had booked several rooms there, and I was generously given a room to shower, clean up, rest and recover.

    Malaysians in Hong Kong rally in support of Clean & Fair Elections

    To cut a long story short, my wife and family came to fetch me from Olympic Hotel, and after one long look at my tired out countenance, my daughter held my arm tightly and kissed me on the cheek welcoming me back. We arrived back to our hotel and my kids offered to massage and pommel me and said thank you for fighting for them and their future. My wife was relieved beyond words that I made it without being worse for wear. I had left her with all my codes and passwords for everything the night before and I can never forget the look on her face when I did that.

    Najib, Hisham, Ibrahim Ali, Mahathir Mohamad, Muhyiddin Yassin, Muhkriz Mahathir, please take heed. We, the Rakyat of Malaysia, will continue to fight for our civil liberties and rights under our Federal Constitution, and for electoral reform to ensure clean, free and fair elections, no matter what you do, or think you can do. With my passing, my wife and children will take up the clarion call to perform their duty as true patriots of Malaysia.

    Sure, I am rich enough to emigrate, but I choose not to as Malaysia is my country and my home and nobody, no matter how powerful, how evil, how scheming, will convince or blackball me, or my family and friends, otherwise.

    Baharuddin Ahmad's final moments (pic by Joshua Ong)

    There is an ancient saying that we can die without a whimper, or we can make our deaths resound through history. Either way, we die, as death is a fact of Life. I have chosen to make my death count, for my country Malaysia. To the Death, lawan tetap lawan, if that is what is needed to reclaim our birthrights!

    An Ordinary, Sedentary, Risen through the ranks, Middle Class, Middle Aged, Bespectacled Malaysian with a bum leg, and an overweight 115 kg frame, signing off.

    Socrates
    12th July 2011

    P.S. What took me so long to write this?? My body and legs still ache, lah, recovering from it all
    py

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