The Rise of a Dark Knight: A Tale of Batman, Elections and the People

Kedrick Kwan draws parallels between Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and GE13.

I was watching the Dark Knight Rises the other day and as I sat down after the elections, a couple thoughts hit me hard. These thoughts, upon further thinking, were translated into lessons that we could learn from the election.

Batman is no doubt my favourite superhero and I try my best to be Batman. That’s because you should always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then be Batman.

I was speaking to my friend Jofan Pang, another passionate Malaysian about the elections before it took place and when we spoke about the corruption, I mentioned that we needed Batman.

I’ve rewatched The Dark Knight Rises a couple of times, and every time I do, I become a fan all over again. This time I could not help but notice how this movie was so closely similar to the current post-GE13 situation.

If you can be Batman, always be Batman. | Source: Image provided by author

Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt from The Dark Knight Returns:

The hiding

There’s this scene where Officer Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) introduces himself to Bruce Wayne. Blake tells Bruce they’ve met when he was a young boy at the orphanage which was once funded by the Wayne Foundation.

Not knowing the funding stopped, Bruce asks why was the home used to be funded by the Wayne Foundation but isn’t anymore.

Blake said, “Maybe it’s time to get some fresh air. Start paying attention the details because some of those details might need your help.”

It might be an insignificant scene to many, but I couldn’t help relate it to the atmosphere that took place when elections were close.

All of a sudden, everybody is now a political expert, everyone sharing the dirt the government is doing and fighting for change.

While this is indeed a good thing, the question is where were you two years ago before the election? Was that spirit of change you display so proudly now hiding in a corner two years ago?

I have no right to judge because frankly speaking, I was once like that.

We think it’s all about following the crowd and being part of the hype; when election approaches, everyone starts bashing the government and we wanted in. We then became keyboard warriors, spreading messages across Facebook, Twitter and any other social media sites you can think of.

Now that the 13th General Elections has ended, will we follow the mistake of Bruce Wayne, thinking that it’s time for that spirit of change to go into hiding or will we wake up every single day to fill the air with change?

Broken but not dead

While Round 1 of Bane (the villain) vs Batman was pretty epic, I’m going to fast forward right to end of the fight.

The scene when Bane broke Batman’s spine.

In our heads, a broken spine usually means death; after all, our spine is the messenger for our central nervous system.

The fight cost Batman a broken spine. Unable to move without pain, he was thrown in the pit (a prison where people never escape), destined to die a torturous death.

To cut a long story short, he got his spine fixed through a highly non-medical way (which I don’t endorse). He then trained his body with some push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups to prepare for the jump.

When the election results was announced and the same government that has been ruling for the past 56 years took power once again, people’s spirits were broken.

I saw posts on Facebook and Twitter claiming that democracy is now dead and the people of Malaysia should leave the country because it’s a place where democracy no longer exists.

This is a very short-sighted and untrue view.

Democracy doesn’t only take place every few years during the elections; it happens every single day.

Every time you speak out against something you dislike, that’s democracy taking place. Whenever you send a complaint letter to office management about the leaking tap, that’s democracy taking place. Democracy is all about the rights you have, and standing up for your rights, every damned day.

Democracy in Malaysia might not be a perfect picture of rainbow and unicorns. That does not mean that it is dead; it simply means that it’s just broken. Just like how Batman did his best to fix his body, the responsibility to fix democracy lies in our hands.

“People are claiming that democracy is dead? That’s what they said about Batman, but he came back stronger. It might be broken; that’s why it’s up to us to fix it.”

The rope

In the escape scene, after the countless push-ups, Bruce felt that he was ready. He made the jump, only to fail not once, but twice. On the third time, he made the jump, but without the rope (the only escape from the pit he was thrown in).The way I see it, that rope was holding him back. And that’s the same thing with the people in our country.

We desperately want to make the leap, and after a ton of preparation was done, we thought that it was going to be easy. All we needed to do is to send out a few Facebook statuses and Twitter updates from the comfort of our homes. Then BAM! Change will take place.

That mindset is the rope that is holding us back; we want it to be comfortable, and that is when we are mistaken.

Change will take place but I am pretty damned sure that the change you want to see will not come comfortably. I wrote above that democracy must be done every day, because democracy is never comfortable.

Think about it: Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison to end the apartheid, Martin Luther King was assassinated because he stood up for the rights for his people, and here we want to leave country when we don’t get the change we want.

Have we fought as hard as Mandela and MLK? I highly doubt it.Mandela and MLK showed to us how uncomfortable change can be.

We need to let go of the rope that is holding us back. The rope of comfort which prevents us from exercising our rights, taking the streets and fighting for our country needs to be thrown away if we want to bring forth change.

It’s time to fight for the land we love because the day the people stop fighting is the day we will lose our country.

Selina Kyle

Other than being extremely hot in her catsuit, Catwoman also whispered a few lessons that could be learnt from this situation. The most notable one was in her conversation with Batman.

Catwoman: I’ll open that tunnel, then I’m gone.

Batman: There’s more to you than that.

Catwoman: Sorry to keep letting you down.

Catwoman: Come with me. Save yourself. You don’t owe these people any more. You’ve given them everything.

Batman: Not everything. Not yet.

I had goosebumps when I heard those words.

The scene depicts Catwoman’s desire to flee the city and her encouraging Batman to do the same. Sound familiar?

I believe that there’s more to what meets the eye in every single Malaysian. I love Malaysia and I have no intention of leaving it to rot while it is in trouble, because running away will never solve the problem.

Before you have any intention of leaving, think about the conversation Catwoman had with Batman.  Honestly assess and ask yourself if you’ve given Malaysia everything. The answer would most likely be: Not everything, not yet.

The Dark Knight Rises

The highlight of the elections, besides the results, should be the event that took place at Lembah Pantai. The people who formed a human barricade to prevent phantom ballot boxes from entering the counting station became a symbolic act. The sign of people power.

The sign of people power. | Source: Author's photograph

Who rules the country doesn’t matter if people power doesn’t exist. After all, it is the people who gives the government their power and keep their actions accountable.

If you think nothing was gained, think again. A huge empowerment took place during this election. While the numbers might not be massive, it is definitely a good start.

Sometimes we rely too much on others to do the things we want. A good example is the petition to the White House which was circulating all over Facebook. To be honest, I commend the efforts of those who want to see change taking place. However, change will only take place when we take matters into our own hands. It’s time to get empowered and stop pushing the responsibility to others.

While Tony Pua, Nurrul Izzah, Hannah Yeoh and the rest of the politicians act as representatives of the people, it is important not to neglect the power we have.

Here’s some dialogue which highlights the power of the people in The Dark Knight Rises:

Jim Gordon: I never cared who you were…

Batman: And you were right.

Jim Gordon: …but shouldn’t the people know the hero who saved them.

Batman: A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.


Batman: The idea was to be a symbol. Batman could be anybody, was the point.

I hope and pray that people power will keep on growing throughout this nation. Things might or might not get worst after this election, but I can guarantee that it will be worse if the rakyat don’t do anything.


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Posts by Kedric Kwan

Kedric is a writer, consultant and lover of lifting heavy stuff. Kedric is on a never ending quest for knowledge. His mission is to help people grow stronger, and kick some serious ass in life and he does that through his site at He also occasionally writes random tips on his Facebook to help people kick some ass. Tweets @kedrickwan.

Posted on 28 May 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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