A lawyer chronicles her adventures as a political campaigner for Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the upcoming Hulu-Selangor by-election.
Read about (Day 1): Armour, Shield, & Sword here.
11.04p.m. Apr 17, 2010
I intended to catch at least 3 hours of sleep before leaving to Hulu Selangor (HS). My Ketua AMK was to pick me from my home at 2.30a.m. but I woke up late and we left at 3.30a.m. My bad, totally.
It’s a big day. We headed down to Batang Kali, where our station is. We reached at approximately 5.00a.m. The other members were already there. It was apparent that the Barisan flags definitely outnumbered our flags.
My grogginess was replaced quickly with enthusiasm when we were approaching our station. I could see our flags from each corner of my eyes. There is a tent/marquee at the petrol station nearby that was covered with Keadilan flags. I could see feet from the little view I had from the car. My ketua told me that some of the members were spending the night there – in the open!
As the rays of dawn peeked out, everywhere I looked, there was someone in either a Keadilan uniform, a “Selamatkan Malaysia” t-shirt or some shirt that indicates the person is at least supporting keadilan/Pakatan Rakyat. We were ready to leave.
We convoyed with two cars to Taman Gamelon, where another one of our stations was. We walked about 2 kilometres to the marching point. Traffic started to build up and since it is my first time being part of a by-election campaign, I thought this was quite a sight. Cars were at a standstill, there were people walking and they were all my friends! I may not know them personally, but we have the same objective and the same hope at this point in time. And amongst the many times that I felt like I belong, this was definitely one of them. I could almost literally feel the “Semangat Perjuangan” that they all talk about. Those two Malay words have been so overused that people do not absorb the meaning of it anymore.
It was a hot day. My uniform was not exactly suited for hot and humid weather. The crowd increased by the minute. The AMK was given the task to lead the march towards the nomination centre. The leaders came one by one. YB Azmin Ali, YB Salehuddin Ayub, YB Hassan Ali, YB William Leong, YB Teng Chang Khim, YB Elizabeth Wong, YB Xavier Jayakumar, our Chief Minister [LB: Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim], Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and last but definitely not least, Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim. There were rounds of applause and cheers as each one of them turned up. There were repeated chants of “Reformasi.” The mood was overflowing with the fighting spirit.
Helicopters were flying about when I heard one of the supporters exclaim, “Malaysia boleh, takde engin pun boleh terbang!”
We marched, we chanted repeatedly “Reformasi” and “Hidup Rakyat.” We did not have much space, we had marched on a path of about 100 metres wide with stalls by the side. If you have seen me, you’ll know I’m not exactly known for my height so I could only see heads and the tips of the flag poles they were holding.
After marching for 10 minutes, we had to stop because the policemen formed a human barricade to stop us and also a barb-wired fence. The leaders had gone in, the election commission had only allowed for 200 people in total to enter the centre.
As leaders were doing their thing – registering with the election commission – there were ceramahs going on. I saw YB Tian Chua speaking through a loud hailer, another dude probably from PAS was talking on what looked like truck, and there was one who spoke under a tent/marquee with chairs around. The people were fully-spirited, despite the sweat and heat. We had waited for more than an hour and yet tsupporters shouted at random: “Reformasi!”, “Hidup Rakyat” and “Takbir, Allahuakbar.” I definitely could not have caught up with them.
When the time came for the announcement of candidates, the crowd booed at all the names except when it came to Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, naturally.
By this time I am tired, sleepy, hot, and hungry. Small price to pay for the experience of “Semangat Perjuangan.”
LB: Read more from Eunice at her blog.