A lawyer chronicles her adventures as a political campaigner for Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the upcoming Hulu-Selangor by-election.
Day 3: On the Ground
By-elections are very tiring. I cannot imagine the general elections! I reached Batang Kali at about 3.30p.m. today. I brought a friend along today; he was my driver for the day.
As I entered Hulu Yam, I was welcomed by Keadilan flags which I did not see last night. I can’t help but feel a sense of pride when I saw that there were significantly less Barisan flags than ours. (Of course, just in that area at that time)
I started my day helping with the flags. They used used bamboo poles to hold up the flags. Recycled from the last elections, I assume. The bamboo poles were dusty and dirty. We worked at a playground opposite our station. By the time we were done, my hands and jeans were dusty and dirty too. I remember putting up flags at Gombak last Hari Raya, and we worked until nearly 2.00a.m. then. It was painfully tiring. Nonetheless, my support for the party surpasses these curable, necessary, pains. I’m a fan girl and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
Next, we headed out to distribute fliers for the ceramah at night. There was a carnival nearby set up by Pakatan Rakyat, called “Karnival Rakyat.” Then, the rain pooped our party, resulting in very few people walking into the carnival and us having to just leave our flyers with the stall owners. I was hoping to catch a local to speak to.
The thing about helping with the flags and giving out flyers is it’s not personal enough. I want to know what the locals think. I made a mental note to speak to at least 2-3 locals today, which I did! I have to say, it is difficult speaking at random to strangers; I’ve got a shy streak which surfaces when I least need it. Annoying. Anyhow, we went to Kuala Kubu Bahru for dinner. I caught the Chinese lady who served us and asked her, who she’d vote for? She seemed reluctant and said that, she’ll see when the day comes. What would you read of that? Sidebar – the food was great and cheap! We had mantis prawns, pork ribs, and vegetables for two and the bill came up to just RM20.50.
We visited my friend’s grandmother and when asked, she told me that it has been a habit of hers throughout all these years to vote for Barisan, but she does not know who P. Kamalanathan is. And I’m told her idol is Chua Soi Lek.
When we gave out fliers later that night, I walked to petrol stations and also the Malay shops to give them out. One asked, “Siapa ni?” to which I answered with the best smile I could give, “Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, undilah dia ok?” “Oh! Ok ok…”
And when I gave them out to other people, I received mostly welcomed responses. I really do hope it is because they will vote for Zaid, and not because of anything else (if you know what I mean).
We stopped at a Chinese shop then for a drink, during the ceramah. The owner came and asked if we were reporters and when we told him whowe were, he said in Cantonese that there would not be many people tonight because Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not here today (He is at Sibu, by the way). When probed further, he spoke with admiration of DSAI. He said that he likes the stories DSAI tells and it is funny. He added that he would have gone and listened to the ongoing ceramahs, but he would not understand it because his Bahasa Malaysia is not very good.
The ceramah we had at night was a ceramah kelompok, which means it is catered for a small group of people. When it started only a handful showed up. The tent was small and the rain from the evening had yet to subside.
After the second speaker, the numbers of the people increased. And since, there were not enough chair, they were standing under the drizzle listening to YB Amiruddin Shaari and also Cikgu Faris – rather attentively, I’d say.
Am I more confident now that we will win? I doubt I have changed my opinion since the last I expressed my thoughts on it. Then again, my job is to do my best and hope for the best.
LoyarBurok Note: Read more from Eunice at her blog.