Sneak Peek: The D-I-Y Toolkit #UM1stBday

Official launch of our brand new Resource Centre which will be open for public use and our first-of-its-kind D-I-Y Toolkit for Malaysian activism on 15 September 2012 (with loads more). All invited! Details here.

This is sneak peek into the Toolkit.

Activating Malaysians: The D-I-Y Toolkit (front)

Dedicated to all Malaysians who believe – or will soon believe – that we need to take charge of our own lives and our own communities by do-it-yourself activism if we are to uplift and improve the conditions of our peoples and our country. Move with us!


Preface | Acknowledgements | Glossary | I. A Brief History: How, And Why? #LBrak | II. UndiMsia! The Movement | III. The Activist In You: Citizen, Reformer, Social Change Agent And Rebel | IV. A Note To A Young Activist: Building Your Own Campaign/Movement | V. Sources For Further Reading And Action | VI. Appendices Appendix A (1) URGENT NEWSFLASH: LoyarBurok Not Just A Blawg! Join The Army! by Liam Hanlon (2) LoyarBurok:Agents Of Change by Zain HD Appendix B UndiMsia!’s Fact Sheet And FAQs Appendix C UndiMsia! And CPPS’ #LaporanRakyat Appendix D UndiMsia!’s #LaporanPenggerak Appendix E UndiMsia!’s #IdolaDemokrasi GameShop Appendix F #RecapVid: Recap Video Guide By Pang Jo Fan Appendix G #198Actions: 198 Methods Of Non-Violent Action By Gene Sharp,The Albert Einstein Institution


Why activism?
2011 and 2012 have been the most turbulent years for democracy and dictators in many regions of the world. We saw people power bring down Gaddafi and Mubarak. We saw disenchantment with the abuses of financial institutions leading to a backlash against capitalism giving birth to the Occupy movements. We saw Europeans marching in the tens of thousands against austerity drives by their governments.

Increasingly common in recent years, Malaysians are starting to see how non-violent direct action is making an impact on their lives especially in circumstances where formal institutions and processes have failed. The thread in many of these movements has been the taking of collective action by individual citizens to effect behavioural change by the powerholders.

Campaigns against the ISA, EO, AUKU and Lynas, among others, have been consistent, persistent and at times controversial affairs in the country. Some of these movements have seen success with the repeal of the ISA and EO after a struggle of more than 40 – 50 years. Tremendous public pressure saw the Court of Appeal in a rare judgment declaring section 15 of the AUKU unconstitutional. Repeated beach rallies attended by the ordinary makcik(s) and pakcik(s) of Kuantan led the Government to waffle and change its initially stout defensive position on Lynas to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee for further investigations.

Activism in our nation has become more important, more pressing, more relevant, more necessary and more powerful with the advent of the internet, the advancement of progressive youth empowerment through rights-based initiatives, the rise of the middle-class wanting to see change and the increasing disillusionment, disenchantment and distrust of those in authority.

But activists are not born.They are made. Anyone who tells you that he or she was ‘born an activist’ is lying. Instead, one should ask what triggered one’s journey in activism.What was the catalyst that made one become a more active citizen?

Why do I need this D-I-Y Toolkit?

In reality, many young Malaysians today are willing and ready to act to help, amongst others, the marginalised and oppressed in society. But many simply lack the skills, resources and capacity to do so. All they have are energy and idealism. Most thus rely on ad hoc campaigning tactics or disjointed organising methods which in turn usually fall short of achieving the stated goals or seriously impacting powerholders.

Post-BERSIH, we have seen a larger number of Malaysians gaining an interest in activism and taking action on their own, many initially without the support of political parties. The fact that political parties from both sides of the divide then attempt to, and do,‘hijack’ some of these movements enlarges the reach of the peoples’ messages while putting the issues on the national plate.

How are we then to harness these gains and constructively channel these initiatives towards lasting and meaningful social reform? If I am new to activism, what do I need to do to further my cause? What are the steps I need to take? Is there a model or template that can be easily replicated by others? How do human rights campaigns and movements achieve success? This Toolkit attempts to address these questions.

Second, in the belief that activism needs to be mainstreamed and no longer confined to a small minority pushed to activism by chance or accident,thisToolkit serves to provide some sort of coherent thinking – or checklist – of the design fundamentals or architecture of building campaigns or movements for effective practical implementation.The science of activism, so to speak.

Third, this Toolkit aims to complement the UndiMsia! experience by providing the necessary grounding for our movers to lead and facilitate UndiMsia!’s flagship #IdolaDemokrasi GameShops on their own.

Fourth, our research bears no copy of any similar Malaysian book on activism as this Toolkit. Given that we are in an age of information overload but regularly forget easily or suffer from attention deficit, we have documented and archived the verbal history and journey of UndiMsia! (launched on September 16, 2011) in the hope that it will give a fresh perspective to activism hereto unseen in our nation, for the current generation and future ones.

How do I use this Toolkit?
This book does not necessarily have to be read from the beginning to its end. We have segmented the book for easy reference in a way that reflects a logical flow. We believe that any new mover will be able to gather core information from this Toolkit to supplement his or her experiential learning with UndiMsia! through, among others, the movement’s #IdolaDemokrasi GameShop.

What do I do after reading this Toolkit?
No book can ‘teach’ activism. Activism must be experienced. This Toolkit may only ‘suggest’ possible narratives or guide action, and we do not pretend that you will learn all you need to know by reading this book. You must feel activism, experience it and do it to enjoy a fuller benefit from this Toolkit.

Around the world, one most usual phenomenon attributable to human nature is the ability of people to simply complain about problems and the concomitant inability to take action to seek solutions, i.e. the ‘recurrent complainer’, who takes little or no real tangible action. Yet, a truly free and functioning democracy is not about your vote that is cast once every five years or so. A vote once every five years solves little, if any. It is about taking action before and after the vote. UndiMsia!’s call to action is basically that we ACT. Take action. Act.

Based on a collective experience of more than 14 years participating in and leading various social movements since the Reformasi era in the late 90s’, we offer this Toolkit to you for activism, Malaysian style.

Activating Malaysians: The D-I-Y Toolkit (back)

We welcome you to do a book review of the Toolkit and help improve it. If you are interested, e-mail [email protected] indicating you would like write the review and we will send you a copy of the Toolkit.

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Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) is a non-profit based in Kuala Lumpur with the mission of promoting active democratic participation and human rights awareness.

Posted on 12 September 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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