Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bersih 2.0: I am not alone

I am not alone — Mohd Rizal Jaafar
July 11, 2011

JULY 11 — Last Saturday, (I shall call the day 9711), I made a sudden decision to drive to Kuantan from my house at Bukit Jalil. Knowing what I could face along the way if I travelled via the city or if I took the Middle Ring Road 2, I took the longer route.

I entered the LEKAS highway in Balakong and drove all the way to Kuala Pilah, then to Bahau and Serting. From there, I used the Muadzam Shah trunk road to Kuantan.

The journey took me two hours more than the usual route but I was happy. I took the pleasure of gorging on masak lemak daging burung puyuh (quail) and masak lemak telur itik (duck egg) in Kuala Pilah. At Serting, I indulged in a few durians by the roadside.

The six-hour journey took me along many kampungs and valleys, palm oil estates and padi fields. I felt blessed and I envied those villagers who seemed to me less bothered about what was going on in the city that day. I wished I could live in one of those kampungs at that time. I really did.

In Kuantan, I checked into one of the riverside hotels. By dusk, the view of the river was breathtaking when everything turned gold in colour. From the eighth floor balcony, I felt truly blessed for being the citizen of this country.

The call of the muezzin from the State Mosque nearby coupled with the recorded sound of swiftlets from the many swiftlet-breeding shacks at the rooftops of old shophouses was priceless. It was to me the definition of peace.

But the peace that I enjoyed that day may not last long, if we continue to forget our history, and we continue with our diverted path.

When the people took their anger and frustration to the streets, it had to be for a reason. I am sure it must have been the most difficult decision of their lives. They were going to leave their comfortable lives, their families, children and friends behind.

They understood the risk of doing so, the threat and harassment from the authorities, the pain and suffering endured from the tear gas, the beatings and water cannon spray. They knew that they could be injured or captured or even tortured. They could lose their jobs, isolated from their friends, relatives and even from their own family for taking a stand so radical and different.

Yet against all such disadvantages, they rally forward for one thing and one thing only… to lend a united voice, that for the sake of this beloved country, the current leader must listen and take note of!

I am one of those people who felt the same (I just didn’t have the guts to join the celebration), who appreciate peace and harmony, who value the good things in life and who really want to do something good for my country.

I am against corruption, misuse and abuse of power. I want the tax money that I have religiously paid to the government that I have elected, to be properly used and distributed for the benefit of my generation and the generations to come.

I want peace most importantly, to be able to trust, to work and play together with my neighbours and friends regardless of their skin colour, economic status and faith. At the same time, I want an assurance that the status of the Malays and the status of Islam are guarded, while at the same time protecting the rights and freedom of others.

You see, I am a very simple Malaysian with very simple requests.

I believe I am not alone. The 6,000 or 50,000 who took their beliefs to the streets were truly the brave ones and I am jealous of them. I can almost guarantee that this country will remain free and prosperous if the brave ones continue to be seen and heard.

I want to remember the plight and fight of my ancestors who gave everything including their very own lives simply to ensure their freedom and the freedom of their generations (me included). Allahyarham Tok Janggut, Hj Abdul Rahman Limbung, Dol Said, Tok Gajah and so many others whom I am slowly forgetting, if it were not for you…

I am not alone.

There are many others like me and we are watching, so very closely…


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