[Governance] On Bersih, part 2

A follow-up to this post.

The cost is too high.

Marching for an idea and a concept carries sacrifices that are far too dear.

There are a number of people who say that the march is a bad idea because it inconveniences them. Those in support of the rally brush it off. Hey, so you face a delay in shopping and driving around for one day. Big deal, right?


I’m not talking the inconveniencing of daily lives. I know of at least one person for whom July 9, 2011 will be the biggest day of her life. She’s getting married.


That is NOT something you can tell other people to just bear with it this is just a small inconvenience. This march also affected my own plans. I wanted to go to KL to check out the Further Studies education fair in KLCC. I can’t now, mainly because 1. family obligations keep me at home, and 2. it’s unsafe for anyone to be in that area there.

Which brings me to my next point.

It’s easy to say that people will die for an idea. It’s easy for the individual to accept that death is a necessary component of defending that idea. That their physical death will somehow validate the idea and bring it to life. It’s easy to accept the death of strangers because you don’t know them.

It is much harder to accept the possible deaths of people you know.

I cannot condone the march, mainly for this single reason.

It puts lives at risk. Your deaths will not just affect you and your family, but everyone around you and those who have not. Are you all ready for that?

I know of at least three friends who will be marching tomorrow. Two of them are very dear to me. I know that if they die, their deaths would be on my shoulder. I have, in some way or other, supported their decision to walk. It may not have been my support alone, but I would be carrying the fact that they died with me till the day I die. If you’re alive you can still do something. Death is permanent. Seeking death to defend an idea, in my opinion, is the cause of much misery in the world today.

Some people may argue that this is for a future, a better future for all of Malaysia.

Is Malaysia going to bring my friends back should anything happen to them?

Is Malaysia going to take the burden of knowing her children died in her name?

Which parent can live with the fact that their children died for a bloody idea?

I will hate you all forever if you die.

4 thoughts on “[Governance] On Bersih, part 2”

  1. People have died for ideas before, it’s pretty much a running theme through history. You want to be angry? Be angry at the people who would *KILL OTHERS* because they find their ideas incompatible.

    Let the parents be pissed. Be pissed off at your friends. But it’s their choice to march, to speak up, to go in and risk it all. Because for many of them – not speaking up is just as bad. Or even worse.

    Without people like them the rest of you may end up being killed too, one way or another.

  2. I’m copying and pasting this from an online conversation I had with Yvonne:

    When I was back in Malaysia, there was guy in my former church named Peter. He used to be an accountant working in a government-linked company. He discovered some financial irregularities, and he blew the whistle on the corruption.

    Not long after, he was kidnapped and beaten close to death. He survived, just barely, but part of his brain had to be removed because the head injuries were so traumatic. Today, he’s in a semi-conscious state in a wheelchair, unable to speak, unable to feed or clothe himself.

    To this day, his family bring him to church, praying for a miracle. But no miracle is forthcoming. And his wife is incredibly bitter over the whole experience, and his children are still so young.

    The Pakatan people who encouraged him to make a stand and blow the whistle first place have all either vanished or distanced themselves, and Peter’s family is left to pick up the pieces and care for him.

    So when people say they are willing to stand to bullies like Perkasa, to people are ready and willing to cripple and kill, they better be damn sure they know what they are doing and why. Because if someone cracks your head open, there’s no rewind button.

  3. I posted this in response to a friend well after the Bersih rally:

    I’m not saying people should not support Pakatan or vote for Pakatan. But be rational and informed about it and don’t be so quick to get caught up in emotion.

    For example, Pakatan is now publicising the death of the taxi driver. Treating him as a shahid. A martyr. Getting his family to declare that his sacrifice is worthwhile in the name of the cause. And this propels outrage to feverish levels.

    The danger here is what psychologists call ‘force drift’. It’s when practitioners of death and violence believe that if some death and violence is good, then more is better. And, incrementally, more and more force is applied until everything spirals into esclation. The usual checks and balances are abandoned.

    I’ve always been concerned about this aspect, especially when I was briefly involved in the Pakatan cause back in 2004/2005. Back then, they were already talking of mass street demonstrations to blunt Barisan’s power and re-energise the Pakatan base. But this would put innocent people in harm’s way, and I felt uncomfortable with it.

    I suggested a safer and more non-violent method of protest — Pakatan supporters staying home for a week and not showing up at work. This would cut to the core of Barisan’s corrupt business practices, recruit supporters who would otherwise not march and safeguard the lives of those who would march. It would sent the most potent of messages.

    The response I got was revealing. ‘John, we can’t do that. It’ll harm the interests of the richer segments of Pakatan. The business owners. The tycoons. The heavy hitters. We need them for logistic and financial support once we eventually boot Barisan out of power.’

    So say I was shocked would be an understatement. So lives of the poorer segments of Pakatan — the gullible — are expendable, while the profits of the rich cannot even be sacrificed for one week to make a positive statement.

    This truly opened my eyes to a great many things that is well and truly happening in Malaysia.

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