The PJ vigils go on regardless…

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Lighting up for the cause of justice Photos by [email protected]

Hope for the future

Rest for weary legs

[email protected] reports on the ninth PJ vigil on Sunday, 7 December 2008:

I cannot imagine we are now into our ninth weekly Sunday vigil. It’s something most of us are learning to adjust and get accustomed to it. A friend just called to find out if we are going for the vigil because the weather looks like it’s taking a turn for the worse and we might be better off relaxing indoors than standing in an open car park. But wait! We have braved even the FRU before; how is a little rain gonna stop our cause? Nope, we must continue; after all, it’s not just about ourselves but about others too, right? So come rain, shine, storm, FRU, and what-have-you, here we are again …

Just a handful of us, about 15 so far. Well, it doesn’t matter; the show will go on regardless. It’s a good chance to getting acquainted with familiar faces. Suddenly, groups of people just turn up and within ten minutes, there are about a hundred of us! You begin to lose focus on decent one-to-one conversations as people appear from every direction and greet you. Oh, better get out of here – better start work – journalist ma?

Since this is a post-mortem report, I shall spare you the minute-by-minute report instead and try to write in a different format, okay? Tonight we have eight “first-timers”; the crowd is pleased. In vigils like this, we always look out for each other, especially after our own “911” incident. We have six speakers- ordinary folks like you and me sharing their thoughts, experiences, and what it means to them to be Bangsa Malaysia.

Half-way through, a drizzle dampens the proceedings but not the spirit of the crowd. The sequence of events is by now almost an SOP ( Standard Operating Procedure). Councillor Richard Yeoh, being the responsible person he is, spells out the dos and don’ts of the event and hands over to Haris Ibrahim to kick off the event. A minute’s silence is observed for the tragedy that has befallen the residents of Bukit Antarabangsa.

‘Man of the hour’ Raja Petra Kamarudin takes the mic. You can watch his sharing on Youtube here. In summary, he dismissed the perception that RPK and Malaysia Today are for folks with a westernised outlook up and not reflective of the true Malays of Malaysia. What better way to prove it not only by speaking in fluent Bahasa but also by educating us on Islam and the Qur’an and putting many of the “hypocrites” to shame. As usual, he had the crowd wanting to hear more…

Peter Cheng, a Chinese Malaysian, presented a surprising sharing all the way from Macau. He brought back messages from over 300 Malaysians working in Macau, that they fully agree with and support the vigils. Through Peter, they let it be known that justice for Malaysian knows no boundaries around the globe. Peter too shared these heartfelt messages in fluent Bahasa. Applause greeted his meaningful sharing.

The next two speakers are sincere and hopeful about our nation and both agree that most of the rakyat still bear the symptoms of bondage and the scare tactics being used by the “goment”. How can we blame them? Nevertheless, messages like those heard at the vigils will need to be disseminated in a more creative manner. People still need to be educated and assured of their safety.

Another important message touched on Hindraf. “How come they are not at the vigil?” someone asked. You know what? Hindraf is not an association, building, society, group, or even race. Hindraf is about humans! It’s a concept. Its also about justice. All of us has some Hindraf in us. Haris made a point by asking each individual: You can smell it; you can feel it; you know its there! It’s about justice. Need you look for it?

Other sharings can also be heard over Youtube. So, what is new in the ninth vigil?

  • People brought their own foldable chairs for comfort now that it’s safe and protected.
  • The Negaraku can now be sung with the help of a recorded orchestra. Thanks to one of our Bangsa Rakyat bros and partner, Benz. I understand the lyrics for the Selangor and National anthems will be provided next week. This will be especially timely and useful for old folks like me… hee hee
  • More and more synthetic and battery-operated candles aare on display. (You learn how to be creative at these vigils!)
  • Folks of all ages are turning up. Who knows, you may even find your longlost twin bros or sisters here!  You never know, the cause of justice can re-unite such long-lost friends. No joke, my teacher of 20 years ago is here too.
  • The only woman speaker says she will bring in some very interesting speakers next week. Malay and Chinese senior citizens. You need to come and find out for yourself.

All in all, last night’s count was somewhere between 180 and 220. We would like to see more: can you or your friends come and be counted? A cheerful supporter of the vigil as well as a dear female friend of mine made a teasing remark: “Hey, you think you are waterproof?” Apparently, in the midst of enjoying our ‘work’, she forgot she was just like me. Holding our cameras, busy walking round the vigil, hoping to catch new faces… Who cares about the rain anyway? We are enjoying ourselves to the fullest. Isn’t that right, Lita? What a night it was!

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Rakyat@Work

Hi ppl, theres a good write up about Vigil Children, kindly visit http://thewhisperer-lonewolf.blogspot.com/
Cheers

johanssm / khun Pana

It is so nice , so good feeling to know that there are people who really cares. We don’t even know most of them the ISA detainees. Except for Hindraf 5 , Pete , reporter Ms. Tan and Teresa . We know what is right and we know what is wrong. ISA is wrong. Who can tolerate such abuses? If we can’t banishes the ISA or at least amend it . we must search the answer and plan the next step. Change the government. Convince those who voted for the bn to change. We all changes our underwear right? The… Read more »

Drachen

Truth, Yes, things can get nasty. That’s why you see very few kids there and not that many adults either. Everyone is afraid of trouble and that is an advantage for the authorities. As for the PJ vigils, there is a police permit. I didn’t see any uniformed police there the last time. Personally, if the police ask to disperse, I’ll obey. Nobody wants to spend the night at the police station. By the way, kids at the vigils is a clear demonstration that the people there are NOT interested in violence. We sing the state and national anthems after… Read more »

the truth

i was just suggesting that maybe educating them behind closed doors would be better rather thn risking the kids by bringing them out, where the authorities are unpredictable at times and could cause danger to them? Let us say one of the vigils/protests turns ugly. Theres a stampede and the authorities start using physical force to control the crowd. And an anti-riot police accidentally hits your child on the head with a baton, causing some serious head injuries resulting in your child permanently paralyzed or worse death? Is it worth it? I do not expect replies answering this question, but… Read more »

Drachen

Truth,

Kids are open to all kinds of influences whether we like it or not – gangs, drugs, Western culture, religion, sex, violence, etc. Frankly, I think a bit of exposure is better than ignorance. If you want your kids to be able to lead one day, they have to know a little about politics. The environment in this country is changing and maybe the people who will do well in the future are those who can stand up and express their opinions about issues. I doubt if isolation will help our kids.

Rakyat@Work

Ok ok, cool down ppl, here’s the take. What kinda parents you become is entire individuals perogative. Pls understand the objectives of the vigils, its about abolishing ISA not personal differences. No point coming to vigil issuing dos and donts as we already have one from the authority. I urged all to come as one and do understand that such vigils are entirely the onus of individual and family after examining the conditions of such gathering. Lets us all come,learned and exhibit the new Bangsa Rakyat of being united not divided? These vigils is bigger than any one individual!Cheers to… Read more »

the truth

@Peng

Please do what you think is right for your child. But make sure your child/children don’t school with the other kids and influence them into wasting their precious schooling years attending vigils and thinking about human rights. All these things are for adults, if you are so impatient as to pass these on to your child, thn pls do us all a favour by not letting your kids mix with ours. Please i beg you.

peng

It is never too early educating one’s child about human rights. And it is the prerogative of the parents to decide what is good for the child! I would definitely expose my child to such abuse of human rights at an early age. Moreover, the organizers has an approved police permit for this gathering. To each his own, so please keep your self-centered comments to yourself when it not asked for.

Angela Ooi

RPK said they are building a multi-storey block in Kemunting. Is the gomen preparing for mass arrests of political opponents?

Gomen better tarry awhile cos the building would serve its use when the next govt takes over… it would not be sufficient to herd these gomen crooks in. Give them a taste of ISA BEFORE we abolish it.

the truth

pls stop bringing children to vigils and protests lar. They should be thinking about studies and not politics at such a young age. Then when the police detain the kids don’t make noise! This is one example, and tht 6 year old Vaishnavi is another example. Wht kinda parents are these people?

Estrelita Soliano Grosse

Yes, that’s absolutely right! 🙂

Rakyat@Work

Thanks for the additional details that I missed,Drachen. Yes agreed, RPK help us to understand more about the plight of our nation and the rakyat. Being apolitical is an understatement, Ignorance is a better word. Someone once said: don’t be mistaken, although politics remains for politicians, it is the rakyat choice (whether apolitical or political) that determines these politicians that will eventually govern rakyat’s life. In other words, everything we speak of or read in newspaper today have everything to do with politics!! Even your everday stuff like petrol and food stuff have everything to do with politic. Do not… Read more »

Drachen

Haris said Hindraf is not a group, it’s a spirit – and I agree absolutely. … A guy called Jeya / Jega said that each and every person needs to know why he/she is opposing the ISA. We’re not fighting for what RPK said or what Haris wants. We won’t convince anyone else if we are unsure. RPK said they are building a multi-storey block in Kemunting. Is the gomen preparing for mass arrests of political opponents? Now that’s one good reason to stop the ISA. Richard Yeoh told the crowd not to abuse the SB agents watching the event.… Read more »