KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Where do I start? How about when I saw the protesters surge towards me as the tear gas canisters fell! It was a sight to see: a sea of humanity coming towards you as you’re pinned against a lamp post and a drinks van in front of CIMB Bank about 50m from the barricade. I did not join in the mêlée and was able to usher the masses past me and remind them to stay calm and move away from the area in an orderly fashion.
Exactly when the s*** hit the fan, I do not know. But what riled me up was how a supposed peaceful mass gathering with a noble cause quickly turned ugly and violent. I guess it was wishful thinking of me thinking that this act of civil disobedience would end up uneventfully! I should have known that some anarchists amongst us would not let this pass without a physical fight with the authorities. After all that was and always will be their raison d’etre —to create chaos when there is none! But there I still was. In the sweltering midday heat with thousands others because we wanted to be there, to send out a clear and unambiguous signal to the powers that be that we will no longer be cowed and controlled and play by “their” rules.
And that is the fundamentality of what we as citizens of this country and perhaps humanity crave for. Our freedom to be where we want to be, when we want it to be, without restrictions being placed on us. This self awareness, self awakening is what we need to encourage ourselves and others who are perhaps still “slumbering” amidst the mismanagement of this great country of ours by the government of the day. We must realise that we are the ones who put the government in power and we have the right and ability to remove them through a clean and fair electoral process, if they misbehave. Unfortunately this process is currently in disrepute, hence the purpose of this latest round of mass protest.
But will the current executive take heed of this “message” and reform itself voluntarily? My gut says NO because when you have had a taste of absolute power for so long, distinguishing what is right from wrong becomes blurred. That is the nature of the beast, the human condition in all of us, me included. However, we must never let that be an excuse to allow the current sorry state of affairs continue unabated. There has to be checks and balances to ensure, nay, demand that the government works for the people and not against it. And we are, and should be, that check and balance. Because we want freedom back in every aspect of our lives, freedom of thought, freedom of movement, freedom of choice and most of all freedom from tyranny and injustice. And THIS is where it all starts... in the sweltering midday heat with thousands others who want the same thing.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.