What I Think About Bersih


It’s a good thing that in recent weeks no one has asked me why I didn’t change my Fb profile pic to something yellow. I would’ve retorted: “My blog is predominantly yellow and has been for a long time. You could say I’ve been supporting Bersih for eons. I don’t need to change or add anything to my profile picture.”

So that rally thing came and went. And I still don’t know whether I like the idea or not. I agree with the things Bersih is campaigning for, yes, definitely. But, as I told Rachel and Hooi San yesterday, I don’t know if I agree with the method used. So you rally and protest. The government overreacts and we make the world news. You hand in a memorandum. Yay. Maybe you make some people who previously never cared sit up and take notice. Yay again. And then? Does it actually work any change? Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t. It’s hard to tell at this point.

I think about 95% of my friends would be shocked and maybe even angry that I seem to be slightly dubious, skeptical or less than enthusiastic about it. Maybe it’s a good thing that most of them don’t read this blog. haha!

I am glad that there seems to have been so much unity on display at the rally, judging from the stories here and there. Some snippets are quite touching and inspiring. I am relieved that things didn’t escalate to disastrous proportions, and that the people I know who did attend the rally seem to have come away in one piece (at least as far as I know). I approve of the fact that the people who did go for Bersih appear to have behaved quite sensibly and didn’t stampede or anything like that. I’m also very glad that Joshua and Joan’s wedding went well and didn’t appear to have suffered much from all the fuss in the city.

I do think the government overreacted – a big mistake – and some officials are (as usual) saying pretty stupid things in a weak attempt to deny or cover up stuff. I don’t like the force that was employed by some of the authorities in their attempts to disperse the crowd. A lot of it seems to have been unprovoked and uncalled for violence. Come on, firing a water cannon into the compound of a hospital?

I also dislike the fact that the Opposition leaders and KJ decided that they ought to defy the ban and stroll into KL city anyway. (I thought it was rather odd and ironic that Ibrahim Ali, whom on any other day I generally dislike for being outright racist and having a fondness of being a batu api, decided to obey the ban and sit quietly at home, and that his Perkasa lot were told to stay out of it – so at least “officially” they’re not involved. Perhaps he figured between the Patriots and Bersih, there’d be enough fuss so he needn’t jump into the fray as well?) And I dislike that Bersih was lied to – told by the PM that they could use the stadium but then denied the permit by the stadium management for suspiciously weak reasons.

But I do rather admire that they denied permits to Patriot and Perkasa as well, and that not only were the leaders of Bersih and Pakatan banned from the city for a day, but so were others like KJ (who appears to have been totally stunned that he was) and Ibrahim Ali. Fair enough, in my opinion. At least it wasn’t just a banning and arresting of the Pakatan guys and letting others off. KJ got detained too, which surprised me somewhat. (Yeah, we all know he’d be the most likely to get away scot-free anyhow but still…)

I felt for the police and the FRU. There were probably some decent men out there who didn’t entirely like the idea of doing what they had to do. Of course there were probably also some who liked the idea a little too much – there’s always a bad apple somewhere. But those who were just carrying out their duties? It must have been such a hard call to make for some of them.

I’ve been mulling it over and really, I don’t know whether or not to be happy about the rally. It is very easy to be swept away by emotions generated by all the touching or dramatic accounts of the event and I am trying hard to keep a level head. (What would we do without smartphones and digital cameras these days? The people are the press in this age.) The cause was a right one – to call for clean and fair elections – but was the rally the right way to go about it? Jesus lived in an Israel under Roman rule. I don’t think the Romans were angels, but Jesus didn’t call for rallies and protests. Heck, He even tells us to pay our taxes – give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. (And don’t we all wish He’d never said that… haha)

Where do you draw the line? Like Square said, as much as we want peace, sometimes perhaps some “bloodshed” is required for change and ultimately the good of all. At which point do you go from “okay, God has put these people in government for now; so let’s do what we can within the system insofar as it does not conflict with God’s word” to “this needs to stop, so something must be done and we are in a position to do something about it”? I don’t know where the line is, I really don’t. Until I do, perhaps I have to keep my opinion on the rally neutral, regardless of whether my friends scorn me for doing so although I would hope that they don’t.

Now that I think about it, how did soooo many people get into KL city even with all the roadblocks and closures of roads and public transport? Kind of funny. lol

Have a bunch of links:

  • For a first-hand account by someone whom I actually know, check out Tim’s blog post on his little “walk in the city.”
  • I rather liked this piece about the rally.
  • Al-Jazeera’s coverage. Don’t you think the government must really be regretting allowing them to open a broadcast centre in KL?
  • I like this post from popular blogger Suanie mainly because in her list of random thoughts at the end, she says: “PR leaders need to get it into their heads that in the 2008 election, the majority of people who voted for you didn’t vote for you, but they voted against BN. Nothing to be proud about, it wasn’t your win, get to work and prove people otherwise! Don’t get too comfortable into thinking that you have so much support (which I know a lot of them think that way).” It’s rather rare that I hear/read things like that! But it’s quite true, I think.



In other news…

– I have seen a picture of my ideal soft toy bunny. But in exists only in Japan, and specifically in some shop in Haneda Airport. *sad*

– My uncle got a puppy and it fell into the fish pond below my balcony last night. But that’s a story for another day.

Got anything to add or say? :D