Democracy is Not Dead

Ong Kar Jin has a few things to say to those who claim the death of democracy post-GE13.

Dear all,

I must say that I’m as appalled as anyone else about the allegations of massive electoral fraud. So many people are incredibly upset and I understand. But mourning and being angry is not enough. In fact, I find all the black profile pictures in a sad way rather amusing. And I do not know whether to laugh or cry when I see people giving up, or looking ahead to the next elections in another five years to push for change.

I find all this rather morbidly amusing because among the people being incredibly upset, many of them are also the ones who on a normal day, would rather go to a music concert than a protest, would rather watch the sports news than update themselves on Malaysiakini, would rather stay at comfy urban homes lamenting the “stupidity” of rural folk while never bothering to visit them or reach out to understand.

People power is not contained in a tampered, delible ink-stained, pencil-written ballot paper! | Source: Image provided by author

Even better yet are those who look forward to next elections in 2018, resigning themselves to “Lain Kali Lah”, as if democracy consists of a once-in-five-years vote and nothing else.

For God’s sake, wake up. Democracy is messy. Democracy can be deeply flawed or a tyranny of the ignorant masses. But one thing democracy is not is a hollow, rare concept.

Democracy happens every day around us. Start caring about the issues, start advocating and educating people about them. And I don’t mean clicktivism. The urban-rural divide needs more than Facebook statuses and black profile pictures (though it doesn’t hurt). Go to Sabah and Sarawak and feel just how separated and marginalized they feel when they speak of the Peninsular. Go to the kampungs and help the folk realise why even though all seems hunky dory and life goes on, change could mean longer term benefits for all. If you’re not the activist type, then do something else. Volunteer for PACABA and get everybody you know to register as a voter. A cook? Bring some food for the PACABAs and campaigners. Do anything but do something! And come on, demos kratos, people power is not contained in a tampered, delible ink-stained, pencil-written ballot paper!

“Democracy is dead!” some proclaim. No, democracy is very alive. You just haven’t discovered what it really is yet.


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A young Malaysian who attempts to take on the thorny (and occasionally horny) realities of Malaysian politics and its woes in his own tiny, smelly way. A person who has heard the twin arguments of "You youngsters don't care about anything else except Justin Bieber", and "You youngsters shouldn't get involved in what is too advanced for your age" and wants to disprove them once and for all ( especially the Justin Bieber part, ugh!) Read more of his posts at, or tweet him @duriandemocracy.

Posted on 6 May 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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