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!