Try moving goal posts with our kids or our friends and see what happens. In no time, trust is damaged and stress builds up. When my boy was younger, I'd give him work to do. He was able to complete it relatively fast in the beginning. Thinking that it would do him good if he were to do more, I'd pile more work after one is completed, even though it meant breaking my word about the amount that I would give him. In no time, he began wizened up. He took his time, copied answers from the back, argued.... all because I moved the goal posts. Things became rather strained very often. And that's what see in Bersih.... the government moving the goal posts, all the time. And that I find very worrying.
Bersih 2.0! Some say Bersih serves an agenda. Some say they are being manipulated. I think we only need to look at why Bersih is there. What they demand is clear for all to see, yet these last few days, Bersih has come to imply the negative. How can asking for a clean and fair electoral process be bad?
And finally Bersih Day! At 11.30 a.m. I passed the Alor Setar Utara toll entrance, and lo and behold, there was an unnecessary roadblock by the police. It looked ridiculous. Unless one drives at breakneck speed, one will never be able to make it it KL. What more with so many roadblocks along the highway and also at KL? At that moment it seemed to me that some people are even scared of their shadows.
So like many, I followed the development of Bersih. Protests ran in other countries too; Australia, Taiwan, England, Egypt, etc, etc... yet only in Malaysia the police used tear gas and water cannons on the protestors. Everywhere I read how orderly and law abiding the Bersih people were. It just didn't feel right; protestors who get water cannons aimed and fired at them are supposed to be rabble rousers, unruly, destructive, rowdy... but that was not seen. Yet the police fired tear gas too. Barricades were put up; the pics seem to show that KL looked battle ready. And police were everywhere. You know sometimes when we complain about how slow the police are at solving cases, they say they are short. Today it didn't feel like the police is understaff.
The people who went. My admiration for their guts. And in Bersih too I see more oneness in spirit than the government's 1Malaysia rhetoric. Malaysians are beginning to show a level of political and social sophistication never seen before. Perhaps that has always been there but the way we've been pitted against each other via religion and race have been the culprit of that diviseness.
At one point it seemed that the gods were smiling at the authorities, and urging the people to believe that Bersih is bad. Convenient caches of Molotov cocktails accompanied by incriminating yellow T-shirts were uncovered. I read in the news that some people saw suspicious characters at the cemetery back in my hometown, wearing you know what colour. And then! A discovery of homemade bombs again. I feels like an all too familiar script. Ad it makes me wonder too whether or not this script has been recycled many times.
Double standards... Some people can seem so blatant and ultra in their utterings, yet the authorities stand aside and let them be. I see double standards and goal posts which constantly seemed to be moved and on the move. I think everyone sees that. It's so shameful that we seem so like the backward African nations.
A city locked down for 24 hours when less than 4 hours of peaceful march was what all the protestors would do. And they blamed it on Bersih. Wonder who is afraid of who and what. It's worrying the reaction of the authorities. But still, they continue to move their goal posts......
Bersih 2.0.... indeed a day to remember in the history of Malaysia. Who knows what may come after this. I salute those who braved all the blocks and inconveniences, the jail time, the sting the tear gas, the water cannons, the intimidation.... To stand up and be counted for something they believe is good for the nation. If that is not courage, what is?