Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Email #1 from friend on Bersih public rally

By Yellow Waver#1

Dear friends,

Over the pass few weeks I have sent a few emails to you regarding the Mass Rally which took place yesterday, Nov 10th 2007.

I am happy to report that I was at the PEACEFUL WALK - not demonstration as the government would want the country and the world to know.

Since I was there, I can vouch for the fact that all the reports on the event were distorted, some more, some less.

I was there from 1.30am - 4.15pm. I went alone because my power of persuasion lost to the government's tactic of spooking everyone, saying that it was illegal and that action will be taken against those who attended as well as the PM's serious "Saya pantang dicabar." (I will not be challenged). As far as I know, none of those I coaxed, persuaded, threatened went.

To be honest I was cowed by fear yesterday and was out of sorts in the morning but as I read the increasing number of reports posted on Malaysia Today, I was filled with determination that I must go, esp when none I know and have coaxed to join me, will be there. I knew I had to be there! It didn't help that I have been unwell for 2 weeks and that my face was itching from an unknown allergy. I was without a maid too (for those who know, I am without an arm and a leg when my local maid goes home for a few days). After rushing out to buy a bright yellow raincoat and packed lunch for my children, I went to the Rally by LRT.

The original plan was for us to gather at Dataran Merdeka, but since the area was cordoned off and streets around it blocked off by all those tough looking men in uniform, the organisers of the event had earlier thought of Plan B. That was for us to meet at 4 different locations and to follow the instructions of leaders stationed there.

I was in Central Market, not Mesjid Jamek where the water cannon and teargas were deployed. In fact, I was sms-ing throughout the peaceful walk to friends and family, that it was fun and peaceful and when some friends told me at 5pm that tear gas and water cannon were used and the footage shown on Aljazeera, I said nonsense. If you were there you wouldn't believe it either because where I was up till we bersurai, it was all a walk in the park!! It was really fun too because we got to see our heritage landmarks up close. It seemed like a walking city tour to me.

When I arrived at Central Market, there were many uniformed men outside but not many yellow-clad people. RPK said to follow the sea of yellow but where is it? (this was 1.40pm) I myself had a yellow tshirt under my son's dark blue Tshirt throughout the train journey but revealed my yellow as soon as I was at Central Mkt. Not many ppl were in yellow so I was a bit lost for close to an hour. I walked around aimlessly until I befriended a man who was obviously reporting the event through his mobile. He introduced me to his group of friends, and among them was this lady who was my children's Sunday school teacher!!!

Joo Ti of First Baptist church was with me and took care of me throughout. I stayed closed to her and her group of church friends. We were together all the way, even on the LRT ride home. I was indeed blessed to have found this bunch of caring, cheerful and very proud Malaysians. Joo Ti seemed to know most of the social activists and pointed out many of them to me. I even went up to RPK and said "RPK, I just want to shake your hands. Keep up the good work, I will support you all the way!!" Wah... ye ye only... but you know by that time I was engulfed by this patriotic sea of yellow and bersemangat betul!

I only knew of the tear gas and watercannon incidents after the crowd dispersed. That's when I got many smses asking if I was alright since the police were rough. I insisted there were no such rough handling, because really, the walk was such a peaceful one. It was raining but that made it cool and pleasant! My bright yellow raincoat kept me dry and visible of course. We laughed and were very very happy about the success of the event. We were wondering what the gov would say in the papers, having lost face! Well, the gov turned our peaceful walk into some demonstration where unruly demonstrators had to be restrained, attacked, handcuffed, whatever. Did you guys read today's lame report on page 8 of The STAR?? Page 8, when this made news all over the world.

If I hadn't been to the walk, I would really think it was a rowdy demonstration... and that would make me more fearful to consider ever joining an event like this. But now I understand why people will take to the streets and demonstrate or protest or stage a peaceful march ... it is usually not as bad as reported. In our case, what happened yesterday was really successful and peaceful.

We dispersed at 4pm, (after the memorandum was handed to the King's rep, and after the Police told us we had 5 minutes to "Bersurai" or disperse). We all did as told, like school children, walking in an orderly manner away from the palace... back to where we came from. The street marshalls did their jobs well, and in many cases, we gave way to the traffic and made sure we weren't obstructing traffic by crossing only when we were told and did so, in a hurry.

Malays, Indians, Chinese, we all felt as one. It was truly great. The most heartwarming to see was a line of young Malay men with arms linking arms, protecting the public from the FRU in the event of any untoward incidences.

(I do believe RPK now that during the reformasi demonstrations PAS said they would die first before they let the gov do a May 13 on us.). Sad to say, not many Chinese were there.

Well friends, I just wanted you all to know that it was a really peaceful walk and we hope the King will do something. If at all, we hope the rest of Malaysia will wake up and realise that it is time for change and that it is okay to rock the boat. All for change and for a better Malaysia. Those in power now are too arrogant so it is time to put a stop to their supreme power. You and I can do something. Believe it. Believe me and don't believe what the main stream papers tell you (or rather don't tell)


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