Monday, March 10, 2008

Winds of changes

Time: 02:39

The 12th elections' over, and the dust is settling. It set a precedence for me in more ways than one: I voted, and I was out of the country when the results were announced. I was scrambling to look for a computer with Internet, cursing and regretting my decision to go to Singapore anyway, despite being alone and having to risk long waits at the customs thanks to a particular Mas Salamat who escaped Singapore prison by going to the bathroom, just like a movie ploy. My mom with good intentions did not allow me to return to KL Sunday evening, but looking at the lack of "excitement", I returned anyway rather than being stranded in Singapore. We, the rakyat, are mature enough to accept changes and that gave me a huge measure of relief.

I was greeted with shock more than anything in finding out four states in Malaysia now belongs to the Opposition, or the Barisan Rakyat. Joining them, of course, is Kelantan, and also FT Kuala Lumpur. I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I certainly didn’t even have faith that we can even deny them the 2/3 majority.

But it happened.

We, the rakyat, went beyond that, and then some.

That proves it all.

It proves how dissatisfied we were with the government, it proves we are now enlightened, we are empowered to not fear changes anymore, and we are equipped with knowledge and the Internet to know better than to trust traditional media bullied into submission by our (Mis)Information Ministry. That we are allowed to exploit cyberspace was a blessing I credit to the BN government. I also have no doubt whatsoever that without the rigging going on with certain leaders of the Barisan Nasional, the BR sweep will be higher. It proved that the youth of the nation, despite being banned from politics as students or indoctrinated with BN ideas and manifesto, are going through an awakening and awareness slowly, but surely. And we’re starting to give a damn about it too.

Analysts feared this elections will be the dirtiest yet, and that fact didn't daunt the BR voters: Generally, people are cynical that change will come at all, but the best part of all, they voted anyway. Even with the riggings and all sorts of stories from the ballot countings, the BR came through.

At moments like this, as I explained Malaysian politics, democracy and voting to some Singaporeans, I felt pride about where I came from. I felt proud to be part of the changes, to play a part in it, and to witness history in the making.

Going to Anwar's Lembah Pantai ceramah allowed me to meet thousands of Malays, and if the NEP really benefited them, and if they are really as comfortable and protected as the government claimed them to be, why are they there? And why, despite the racial cards played by BN, were they so friendly to us? They talked to us, they allowed me to stand in their spots to see better, they yelled for Makkal Sakthi, and they shared their views and smiles. They reminded me we are all Malaysians first, and race a distant second.

Now the BR has their work cut out for them. They made promises, and they'd better deliver, because as much as I have misgivings for some of their front runners, they may be better than their BN counterparts. They have to be. They're our hopes now, considering some goons in the BN are arrogant enough to point fingers instead of looking inside themselves to study what went wrong. Even as voices from all sides of the country tried whispering, then yelling, about their mistakes and abuse. Even at this time, some are still not sorry, and I’m afraid will never be.

At least this time we see bloggers, human rights lawyers, educated fresh blood and younger politicians voted in. The change today is long-coming, long-awaited and long-needed for. This is more than winds of changes, this is typhoon Rakyat.

Quoting about what I learnt in Social Contract, I will not sell my freedom for more promises and lies. We give up certain rights to earn the right to live in an orderly, equal society; and when I deliver my part of the bargain, I expect it to be reciprocated, or else.

So, if the BR deliver, they will then see to it that the wheels are turned and BN turned opposition in the next elections. Otherwise, we're back at square one, and then, and only then, will I know there will be little left for me to want or hope as a Malaysian.

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