Last weekend over Twitter, I said that I would be joining fellow Malaysians and supporters in Newcastle for a meaningful and peaceful demonstration.
- WHAT’S IT CALLED: BERSIH 3.0 [‘Bersih’ means ‘clean’ in the Malay language, and the 3.0 stands for the 3rd time the demonstration is happening]
- BY WHOM: It is a genuine people’s movement
- PURPOSE: For FREE and FAIR elections in Malaysia
- LOCATION: Primarily in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Malaysians around the whole hold the same demos in support
- DATE: 28th April 2012
- COLOUR: Supporters wear YELLOW
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk about this on the blog, but maybe it would give our readers some insight about what has been happening across the ocean in South East Asia. Most of our readers come from the USA and Europe and a lot of things that come out of Malaysia isn’t always the full picture.
I wanted to support the demo that was happening in Newcastle, because numbers mean everything. In fact, when I went along with some of my Malaysian friends who are also doing the Bar with me – it was a great feeling. There was a patriotic, determined and brave feeling in the air where we stood at the steps of Monument. We stood and sang our national song, we gave our salutes, and we cheered a lot. Passerbys stopped to look, smiling at our enthusiasm, and taking pictures of (and with) us.
There were approximately 130 of us there that day, small in comparison to the >80,000 that filled the streets of Kuala Lumpur:
Though here in Newcastle we were small in number, we had strength.
Different races coming together to make it worthwhile. This is what our generation wants. This is for our future. As citizens of Malaysia, one has a right to make an informed decision on who to vote as their right to vote is a basic right.
Here are some pictures from the day in Newcastle:
BERSIH 3.0 demonstration at Monument in Newcastle, UK
The 8 demands:
- #2: Currently only overseas students, Government servants working overseas, and military serving overseas are allowed postal voting. A majority of overseas Malaysians (working adults) actually fall out of the limited criteria and would have to FLY back to Malaysia just to vote. Reason being: One is not patriotic if they are working OUTSIDE Malaysia.
- #3: There have been cases where vote slips are tampered with while in transit.
- #4: If I am not mistaken, the maximum campaign period is 10 days. This is simply NOT enough for campaigners to campaign, nor does it give enough time to voters to make an informed decision.
And oh, because this is a *ahem* fashion blog… I dugged deep into my drawers to find something yellow and came up with this:
Shorts: H&M; Yellow shirt with cut out sleeves: New Look
Back home, demonstrations started out peacefully but it became violent with people getting tear gassed and watter cannon-ed by the police. A few of my friends who were in the rally recount their tales of being tear gassed.
For me, the official press release by The Malaysian Bar is the least biased. Read it here in which they state that the police response during the BERSIH 3.0 rally was disproportionate and excessive.
Note: The demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia did NOT amount to rioting.
Overall Experience: I found the demonstration in Newcastle peaceful, and to be honest, fun. It was my first time doing something like this 😀
Most importantly, if you are a Malaysian and eligible – have YOU registered to be a voter? Know your rights and register at your nearest post office!
Have you ever, in your younger years (or not) taken part in a good cause? Let me know your experience I’d love to know!
♥ P E A C H E S