Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Malaysia Fear-no-more (part I)

I was there at the Bersih 2.0 rally. I was attacked by tear gas, sprayed with water cannon, chased by FRU personnel. But alas I am fear-no-more.

In hindsight, I can see very clearly how pervasive and all-encompassing the propaganda of fear has been against the Bersih rally. The constant arrests of activists relating to Bersih, army rehearsal with banners saying “Disperse, or else we will shot”, the “third line of defense” declaration, weapon cache “discovered” by the police, and all sorts of thinly veiled threats from the government and pro- government right wing groups.

The all out intimidation and psychological warfare unleashed by the government was sickening and nauseating to the utmost degree. I was so turned off that I did not hesitate for a single moment when I was invited to join a small group of friends to participate in the Bersih rally. Despite all the fear drilled into my consciousness I knew that I had to do something. I knew that Malaysia is in real danger of descending into a police state if the people do not put a stop to it.

We anticipated that KL will be completely barricaded, so we book some hotel rooms in KL for Friday night to make sure that we won’t get locked out of the action. But our little group got more and more un-nerved as the day approaches. We took all sorts of extreme precautions – including purchasing new handphones, new prepaid SIM cards, and we would not exchange our new phone numbers with each other over the phone. Yes – we were paranoiac. The fact that we have some recognizable faces associated with a NGO weighted heavily on the group.

Our horror story begun to intensify tremendously soon after we checked into the hotel on Friday evening. Our group leader received a very strange phone call after we can back from dinner.

 “Is Mei there?” a voice asked.
“Your friend Mei from Singapore is in trouble. Can you come down?” the voice said.
“I do not know of such person.” Somehow somebody thought that one of us was from Singapore. Of course our leader was not so naive.

The phone call got everybody very uneasy. Then around mid-night we got winds that the police have started raiding hotels. Now everybody is getting really nervous. We were told not to put the “Don’t disturb” sign on our doors – and we should never answer the door.

The next morning proved to be even more unnerving. One of our group member pointed out that seated next to our breakfast table was two personnel from the Special Branch. It was obvious from the type of boot they wore and their crew cut hair, she said. Everybody was a nervous wreck by then. We decided to erase any trace of evidence that can link us to the Bersih rally. No salt, not even face towels, and we made up stories why we were in the same hotel together. Our leader even told us that if decided to pull out, we should not feel that we have failed.

I am telling you all these so that you can get a sense of the type of pressures that one has to endure in being associated with anything that is perceived as being remotely anti-government. It takes a lot of courage to be in the forefront of change. Amiga, and indeed the whole Bersih committee, deserve every bit of recognition for their courage.

I was quite nonchalant about all these intimations nevertheless, much to the annoyance of my wife. I had my reasoning and perception of the situation. My reasoning was that firstly we have not committed any crime. If we were to be harassed by the police, I do not even feel that there is any need for us to explain ourselves. Doesn’t the constitution guarantee our freedom of movements?

What annoyed my wife most was that I could not care less to lower my voice. I continue to blare with my booming voice. I discussed passionately and openly with our group members about the crisis the world is facing and the future of Malaysia. I had no concern that whatever I said could be misconstrued as being seditious (whatever it means). I have deep faith that true sincerity, with no hatred and no negativity, has the power to touch another heart. So what if the Special Branch personnel are spying on us? I wouldn’t mind at all - if that is way for our plights to get across to the government.

But fundamentally I don’t think the police can do anything to us. There is no ground for the police to harass us is one thing. More importantly there is little value for them to harass us, and I don’t think they have the man power anyway. We as individuals are simply too small and too insignificant to have an impact on the rally.

The total deployment of the police force, together with the plain cloth police and Special Branch personnel that do not care to cover themselves are totally irrational. The massive display of force can make it inconvenient for people to get into KL, but there is no way for the police to prevent an individual from entering and remaining in KL, apart from a court order. The government did manage to obtain the court order to restrain 91 people from entering KL, but that is already making the government a laughing stock in the eyes of the people and the international community.

It is all about intimidation. That’s the only logical conclusion I can reach. But logical reasoning is one thing. It took a lot more to alleviate the fear drilled into our emotional brain through decades of propaganda. It wasn’t until the rally begun with explosive suddenness that my fear was shattered with with the suddenness of being woken up from a bad dream.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Middle East Fever Hits America!

85,000 - 100,000 people marched to the street in Madison, and students are walking out in many parts of the country. You don't get to see news like that in CNN. The mainstream media in US are sanctioned. News in US are not free, it is not any better than Malaysia.

What is it about?

Michael Moore in Madison, Wisconsin on March 5, 2011:

"America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich ... The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on." –

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined (note: it is more like 60% in reality).

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'├ętat, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs.  That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre....

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity....

More here:

Make sure you watch Michael Moore speech. The youtube clip was viewed 500,000 times. It was simply WOW. Anwar Ibrahim would never be able to deliver a speech like that. Anwar is the lesser evil compared to BN - but he is very much a player within the system of power and greed. The current political/economic system simply needs a complete overhaul. Period.

A different type of leadership has to emerge for humanity to have a tomorrow. It will emerge. The signs are all over the wall. The question whether we will wisen up and assume the necessary discipline to make the inevitable transformation as painless as possible.

"  Only everybody-all-at-once can change the current chaos."   - Adi Da