Michelle Chan urges you not to be complacent! Our fight has just begun!

I am a university student; one of my two majors is Journalism. I have been trained to question for evidence so as to not make baseless claims, and not make a fool out of myself when I set out to inform others regarding an issue. If you prove yourself true, I will stand by you, forever. Yes, “forever.” I’m the kind of person that will use that word because I believe in good, but this is not about me.

That Monday morning, I rested my head on my dad’s chest and, being a man of few words, he muttered, “Life goes on.” Soldier on, little dreamer. My mom worries that BN will mistake my fight for democracy as one that is partisan in favour of PR, and they will not hesitate to hurt anyone in their way. GE13 have and will affect younger generations more than it will my parents’, but this is not about them.

The results and the blatant fraud of GE13 have kept me up every night. When night falls, light from the sky slices the curtains and there it lays, a blade of reminder of Martin Luther King Jr’s words, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Good will prevail, I hum to sleep. The man I am dating must think he has lost his charm of keeping me at peace, but this is not about him.

GE13 has affected me in indescribable ways. Something inside me moved, and it is branching up my throat and out of my mouth. It is my heart, my morality; they ache. I ask myself, “What now?” and recognise the same inextinguishable fighting spirit in many others whom I am so proud of.

My 83-year-old grandma who queued to vote despite weak knees and shaky hands, and myself with our “indelible” ink. (The face of my grandma will remain masked until she understands how the www works, so if/when she sees herself online, it will not scare her.)

PR won the popular votes of 51.4% vs BN’s 48.6%, but gerrymandering has allowed leeway for the same coalition to call themselves our ruling government for another five years. Many Malaysians and even foreigners whose hearts are Malaysia-bound, are still in shock (yes, even some of my friends who are pro-BN), but we must congratulate Najib Razak. He has succeeded to the most reprimanded term in Malaysian history yet as the rakyat bangkit! To twist the knife, Najib Razak blamed BN’s curtailed electoral performance on a “Chinese tsunami.” This claim refutes the notion of a “national reconciliation” proposed in the very same speech, as well as his personal brand of 1Malaysia which he and his advertising team have worked so hard on.

What now, Malaysia?

Democracy did not die on May 5th; the battle doesn’t end just by the stroke of the pen in the voting booth. Truth is that, we are going to continue to strive. A functioning, participatory democracy requires the people to practise and demand for democracy on a daily basis. Be it BN or PR being Malaysia’s ruling government, we have to keep them on their toes. The rakyat will forever be the kingmakers in a society that champions democracy!

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ? Abraham Lincoln

I entreat you, I implore you, and I exhort you, to actively participate and engage yourselves in conversations and activities that will charge our civil society. It is our right and responsibility to educate ourselves and understand our country’s government and politics, especially in Malaysia, where everything is ultimately political. Considering our present political climate, nothing can change unless it goes through the political route.

I do not glorify any politician. I only pay my respect, give my support, and say my thanks where it is due. My fight is not one that is for the Opposition, but for what they pledge for ?for the rakyat? which I have witnessed proven with hard work. PR can surely play dirty politics like BN if they so inclined, but the spirit of a good government does not rely on neither gerrymandering nor malapportionment. It is about winning hearts with hearts, and not every politician can give you that.

We must commend Lim Kit Siang who moved out from his own constituency of Ipoh Timor of almost a decade to contest for the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat, a BN stronghold. I feel that he is the biggest victor this GE13!

Lim Kit Siang wins the Gelang Patah seat. | Source: The New Straits Times

That Sunday, I voted for the Opposition for many reasons. The reasons were perhaps very personal. I am one out of the 12,992,661 voters (80% of registered voters) who cast their votes. We rendered our dreams in the constitution of a Malaysia that we wish will grow and prosper. I have family and friends that I know voted differently, but our intentions are the same. So despite all, our destiny remain bounded together as Malaysians.

There is another quote from Lincoln which I feel fits Malaysia so aptly right now:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

We must ubah from within. This is about the rakyat’s power.


Michelle Chan is a struggling journ/anthrop student who is passionate about struggles, writing, people, and learning. www.michelle.my twitter flickr vimeo

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