Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Truely 1 Malaysia
I joined our country's biggest ever street rally of Bersih 3.0 on April 28, the day Nichiren Daishonin chanted his first Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I read so much about Bersih 2.0 on both main stream media and alternative media, I wanted to experience it myself.
For those non-Malaysian who read this blog, Bersih campaign is a campaign where the people is asking for a clean government via fair election. Knowing very well a rally like that will never be able to change things overnight, but I went ahead to state my determination on wanting to see a change in my country for a better tomorrow.
Frankly speaking I wasn't worried on the authority will do something silly and rough towards its own citizen especially after its mishandling of Bersih 2.0 using violence and force, the international media will be watching closely on what Malaysian government is going to do this time. Furthermore, from a rational point of view, as the general election is so close at the corner, the government will not do anything drastic to agitate the citizen's emotion. In fact, I will say they may even want to take this opportunity to win more supporters through their open and democratic policy. I went to the rally with a fairly light heart.
Even though the authority has got an injunction to prevent the rally supporters to enter the Dataran; the destination where the rally organizer planned to have all the supporters from all over places to gather; things were all well at the beginning, as the Bersih supporters were all having some fun by the street, near the Dataran. It was truly a peaceful rally on the street. All people smiles and greets each other for being part of the crowd to come to voice our stance. People from all walks of life sitting side-by-side wearing our official yellow and green t-shirt chatting and some, I would say, partying. It was like a carnival after all.
However, half and hour before the official time for the rally end, we saw a commotion of crowd moving towards us. People was passing words saying "tear gas! tear gas!" Never had any tear gas experience before, we all charged forward instead to see what is going on. Holding my camera high, trying to film and capture everything possible. Along the way, we saw people are running with their teary eyes and trying to catch their breath.
Summon up my courage, I went forward with my face mask on. I even went to the front row to take photos of those tear-gas firing squad. I was worried they could fire the second round of tear gas towards us anytime. After a few shots I retreated. Before I could go far, the second round of shooting starts. Everyone was running for shelter as the stinking gas gets into our eyes and nose. I raised my camera to start shooting. But I couldn't hold it for long. One tear gas canister landed probably 3m away from me, and the next thing I know, there was a guy ran towards the canister, picked it up and threw it back to the firing squad. Deep down in me, that is a truly heroic act. I was tearing non-stop and choking for breath. I coughed non-stop and find it hard to breathe. That moment of feeling was like I was trapped in a vacuum and trying to catch a breath. Being such an unexperienced person there, I wanted to squat down for a moment to take a break. A gentlemen behind me pulled me up, yelling at me telling me to keep moving, don't stop, to get out of this smokey zone. Eventually I managed to run out from that, and along the way, many others offering everybody water and salt to help each other from the tear gas effects.
Besides being really annoyed by the authority's despicable behavior, I was more touched by the behavior demonstrated by our fellow Malaysian especially during the moment everyone was running for their lives from the tear gas firing squad.
While everyone was running for shelter after the second round of tear gas, my sister and her friend who had one leg stuck into the drain cover got a helping hand from 3 other gentlemen who managed to block the in-coming running crowd from clashing into her and pull her out from the drain.
Another incident was my colleague who had no choice but to climb down a ledge to escape from the tear gas canisters firing at them got the help from everyone down there. Instead of running for their life, they stopped to help others to escape.
These are only three touching stories from what I experienced and from those people I know. I bet there are many more touching stories where we see the true spirit of humanity in this rally. They helped each other irregardless of race, color, religion and culture. That moment, I see the time we recognize each other as Malaysian has come. Even in this blog, I refrain myself from mentioning which races is helping which races. We are all 1 Malaysia after all.
Posted by Teck at 4:15 AM