Hasbee believes that, for tangible change to happen, we should demand for it and participate in it.
On the 13th of April, UndiMsia! held the first in a series of training sessions – a Training of Trainers (TOT) programme – to train a new batch of #IdolaDemokrasi gameshop facilitators. The first round covered the basics, which included facilitating skills and an introduction to the gameshop, with another three sessions to follow.
During the ToT, I was asked many questions by the participants, but I found one hard to answer. The question was “What had #IdolaDemokrasi accomplished and where were we headed?” I waffled over my answers (doing my best politician impersonation), mumbling about a couple of active Youth Action Groups (YAGs) and a relative fast-track to exposure and penetration for the gameshop itself. All valid answers I guess, but it was not enough – neither the answers nor the accomplishments.
I reeled off the ‘official’ objectives – to empower local communities, to expose them to Human Rights and Consensus Building (as opposed to top-down decision making), to plant ideas about taking charge of their lives using 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action – all the ingredients of UndiMsia!’s D-I-Y Activism.
But this still wasn’t the right answer.
Now that I’ve had some time to mull over it, I guess the answer is Self-Determination to its fullest and broadest, achieved through “gotcha politics”. The answer is for more and more people to start thinking about new ways and means of governance, while demanding for it and participating in it. Where all are represented not by skin colour or birth, but by human need – which is just another way of describing a human right. You need water? It’s a human right. You need an education? It is a human right. Healthcare? Human right.
Representative democracy has failed us miserably. It’s a democracy of the minority and if you disagree, I respectfully invite you to attend one of our gameshops. I want all of us to take part in whatever mechanism ‘governs’ us and all the elements in our environment, both natural and constructed. I want every voice to count; every idea to be seen as important and judged on its merits, not on who is related to who; and for every person to be considered important – no matter how ‘disadvantaged’ he or she is by ethnicity, gender or social status.
I want as few layers as possible between me and those who are the administrators of my life (I refuse to call them leaders). I want ‘leadership’ roles to change from decision makers (with superpowers to clear the roads only for themselves during rush hour) to facilitators of the peoples’ decision-making and the administrators of those decisions. And lastly, I want people – all of us – to live within our means as a society, a civilisation and a species.
I firmly believe in generational time frames, not electoral ones, when it comes to societal change. Which is why I do not believe in the current electoral system, but I still vote because it’s still an important way of trying to put the right people in the right places. So based on a generational time frame, it will be at least 15-20 years before we start seeing a systemic transition occurring – a shift to a proportional democracy and then to a mix of direct and representative democracy.
And do you know who will demand this change to a different and maybe better way of governance? You guys. Everyone who ever attended #IdolaDemokrasi will know about direct democracy and they will think about it and talk about it and tell their friends about it. And when the critical mass demands it, they will get it.
I guess this is how I stay non-partisan (but still political). I don’t support the current system of government. A change of parties might affect some cosmetic changes, but the systemic problems still exist. And I don’t think that those in power, whoever they are, will strengthen democratic mechanisms unless we demand it. Legally binding town hall meetings, referendum mechanisms, citizen juries, more state autonomy, local government elections, recall and impeachment mechanisms, consultation and prior consent of residents prior to any ‘development’ projects – all these processes and mechanisms will help return the power back to the people.
To paraphrase an old friend -“An enlightened Rakyat is not in the interests of those in power.”
Author’s note: Take note that this is my personal opinion. The direction of #IdolaDemokrasi will always be determined by UndiMsia!. And a lot of this stuff is actually my spiel from the past few training sessions. Thank you for indulging me.