Jul 10, 2011

Bersih 2.0 and miracles

On July 9, 2011, a miracle happened.

I spoke to someone who, has been a cynic and a defeatist for as long as I can remember, someone hardened of heart and full of despair. Someone who, when called to action and to take a stand, has always said, "What's the point?"

On July 9, he cried.

A rally called Bersih, which seeks fair and clean elections for Malaysia, was held in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Apathetic people, uncles and aunties who have stood by the sidelines so long they could stand it no longer, the 'what's in it for me' crowd - they stood up to be counted.

Thanks to Facebook, I saw a person who walked the rally, say how proud he is to be Malaysian.

I saw a person (who complains all the time), walk the rally, get tear-gassed and post, "let it not be said that I complain all the time only."

A person who walked with people of all races and colour who helped their brethren out, said that she was filled with hope that we can one day be truly colourblind.

In the face of a police crackdown and lockdown of the city, it would have been so easy to give a hundred reasons not to go. I'm sure many who tried were blocked from entering the city thanks to all the road closures...but kudos to the courage and determination of those who did or tried to, or as we would say it, "tabik!"

It is in events such as this that citizen reporting and social media display their greatest power. In the face of all the images captured by thousands of mobile phones and DSLRs, newspapers used as mouthpieces and lies uttered by the powers-that-be can only look silly when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Thanks to the citizen reporting, I saw people of all accents chant in one voice. My heart sang when I heard the national anthem Negaraku being sung (out-of-tune) by the masses. And how symbolic it was to watch the crowd disperse when sprayed with water cannons, but swell up time and again to form one body.

Of course, it is a long walk ahead. There were people there who weren't there for the cause of the rally (clean elections) but for other reasons. There are still many disuniting factors.

But as the bishop said in a sermon at church one day, "As a people of faith, we choose hope." And I can choose hope.

After all, a miracle happened on 9 July.

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