Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia roadshow- Taking back our country
Yesterday, on the 23rd of January 2010, the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Roadshow came to KL, at the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
I came, I saw, I went back Inspired...
and here is a summary of the event, to be completed tomorrow (today is 24th)and the pictures will be loaded in around the 26 when I have access to my own computer.
It has since been completed. Photos Tomorrow
!!! There is an alternative to the “official warped version of our Nation’s Independence History”- Sepuloh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka- by Fahmi Reza!
Although I arrived at the screening 20 minutes late, here are my impressions
1) PUTERA-AMCJA fought for our independence as hard if not harder than our textbook version of UMNO-MCA-MIC coalition (UMMC)
They were more Left-Wing and thus The British picked the UMMC to lead instead.
There was an alternative Constitution for Malaysia and the Malaya’s people rejected the Reid Commission’s version through a nationwide “hartal”. A voluntary stop work protest involving the whole of peninsular Malaya. The Alternative Constitution was ignored by the British. It was better as it was written by the populace, much fairer, and just.
The Left-wing statesmen were silenced when their influence unsettled our colonialists. The silencing was done through the veil that was named “The communist Emergency” where 28000++ people were arrested and dibuang negeri etc for
Being a communist
Colluding with communists
Involved in suspicious activities, communist sympathizers
In which over 10000 of those were Malays. The communist emergency was an excuse to remove these nationalists who were doing too good a job at awaking our sleeping populace about their rights and the colonialist’s wrongs.
2) The Mainstream Media- exactly like what we have today, have bootlicking policies and thus painted a bad picture of PUTERA-AMCJA. The Racist agenda have been subliminally planted by these ppl who claimed
Chinese and Indian immigrants are only here for the ride- to grab what they can and send everything back home to China and India. NONE of them plan to stay so why plan our country’s constitution with them in mind
That these immigrants, being here, stripped the “hujan emas di tanah Melayu” from reaching the Tempayans of the Malays… siphoned it away…
The sowed mistrust, further consolidating the British’ ‘Divide and Rule’ policy. ( this policy ensures the 3 races will never unite, and without unity, the British will continue to rule with impunity)
( The British’s pre-requisite to allow independence was: Only if there was unity of the races—ahhhh, how ironic eh?)
3) Dato Onn’s attempt to Change UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) to United Malayans National Organisation which will enable non-Malays to enter.. did not receive support from the members, and he stepped down. (this was in our history texts, but was not significant when not interpreted in context)
These are some of the messages---
But the take home message: Learn about the True History of our Nation. Not the glossed over –snipped edges one
Fahmi Reza is a first time director and his efforts must be commended. The Movie was interesting and the subtitles helped a lot. But the length and myriad of topics covered are not necessarily in chronological order and tends to confuse me. Maybe an edited short 5 minute version may pique the interest of the masses to see the full length version.
Human Beings, All born free and Equal
This part of presented by Jahaberdeen Mohd Yunoos and pastor Sivin Kit. (the name intrigues me to no-end and in fact I can’t get the name out of my head! What-the…)
Quotations from the Quran dominated Mr Jaha's presentation and while the content was clear, It did bore me-
I think part of it had to do with my discomfort and disagreement with Islam’s and Christianity’s holy scriptures that state that
- Their creator created earth and all beings on it for Mankind’s use- and we are entitled to use whatever we set our eyes upon, all the natural resources, all the animals are for our consumption. The Creator offered Animals to lead. But they declined, so mankind stepped forward and took charge instead.
Being an Agnostic, I disagree.
First, the concept that earth was ‘created’ is moot. Second, that we are stewards of mother earth and we have responsibility to care for it is not highlighted, instead, we are told to use all that we see.
Where lies prudence? Consideration for our progeny? Sustainability?
The environmentalist in me is considerably irked whenever I hear such statements
“ all flora and fauna are created for men’s use. “
ditto when The Selangor Department of Environment- Puan Che Asmah Ibrahim, gave her Keynote address during the See Green, See Life Environmental Carnival
Therefore I made my exit 10 minutes into the presentation to view the stands outside, only to comeback midway into Sivin Kit’s Presentation. His slide presentation was unique and technologically appealing, (note to self- must learn what programme was he using) but regrettably, I phased out and didn’t quite grasp the message.
Edit 27/1/10 His slides can be found here
After having a full look at his presentation, I find his slides very meaningful and it makes me regret not being there throughout. Thus I have removed my comments from previously
Art Harun: Dispelling myths of the constitution (if does have another title, I think)
First we are enlightened on the principles of a constitution. (written here with my layman understanding of it)
A constitution or Perlembagaan is a document of a country where all laws and ordinance are enacted with the constitution as a blueprint, as a template… A suitable analogy for the scientifically inclined is it is just as how proteins are encoded based on genes imprinted in our DNA
Such a document is not static. It is not set in stone. It is subject to revision, to amendments, to fortifications, to repeals- by parliamental debate and voting. So far around 600 different alterations have been made to our constitution. It is intended to be revised, intended to be so by Lord Reid, by the British, by our Late Tunku
With that In mind, lets come to what Articulations Harun has to bring to the fore
A few Articles of the constitution are laid bare here
1) Article 153 – Special rights of the Malays and the Indigenous people
Where the rights are actually special positions.. to be looked after by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who merely acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. So when people claim debating the constitution (as in the Perak Constitutional crisis) is an ACT of TREASON or menderhaka, it is incorrect.
4 points of Article 153 is with regards to
the giving of scholarships
the placement in civil service
the entrance to institutions of learning
the giving of contracts and tenders
one key point to note here that the entrance to institutions of learning only applies to academic placements after MCE. That is, after SPM. So the MRSM system for Secondary school education where only a quota of 10% are given to Non-bumis entrance is contravening the constitution. So, should that be revised?
By questioning the suitability of the articles, we promote debate on whether such an article is still relevant in this day and date.. because the constitution was set up more than half a century ago. And as said before, It is intended to be revised. In fact, the British had in mind to repeal Article 153 fifteen years post independence, where they believed our Malay citizens have reached equal footing with the rest of Malaysians. That is by 1971 or 72, this article should have undergone revision and removed should it be appropriate.
Harun is of the opinion that now, almost 40 years after the intended date of revision, where our Malays have reached economic superiority…… why should the so called tuan Tanah still require protection, why are they thought to require crutches?
2) Article 11 (if not mistaken) Islam as the official Religion of Malaysia
Here, Harun shows that in no way should article 11 be interpreted to mean that Malaysia is not a secular state.
Islam is the official religion Malaysia means: It is the official religion for official ceremonies, for Islamic prayers to start begin during fuctions, for Islamic holidays to be national holidays, and many more interpretations, but all within this understanding.
No where does it say that Malaysia is a Religion based Country with Islamic Laws overseeing Common Law and all its peoples must profess one religion. That would be contravening article 12 (once again if not mistaken) that grants the right of religion to every citizen of Malaysia.
Many other people would be able to explain this better than I can but this is the gist of it.
The confusion arised because our dear Dr M told the Parlimentarians that Malaysia is an Islamic state and many jumped the gun to give fantastic spin to its interpretation.
Previously (and some say they still do) PAS was adamant on making Malaysia an Islamic Nation. As per the constitution it is not possible, but that doesn’t stop people from harping over it.
(I’ll be taking off at a tangent here, skip this part if you want to stay on course )
I don’t really see what benefits one can gain, Islamic state or not. Civilian laws are quite adequate to police our peace. Syariah law may put some people off, but I for one, and I speak for myself only, favour Hudud laws. Chop the thief’s hand off and he is very unlikely to steal for the rest of his life.
Yes, yes you may argue its uncivilised, barbaric and such. But laws from western nations are not that perfect. Civilised laws did nothing to prevent school shootings to occur. On the other hand, School Canings and other forms of capital punishment, which our parents were brought up with, served the nation well.
Too many young children of today are much too sheltered and protected in bubble wraps that they grow up indifferent, unapologetic, demanding, materialistic and individualistic, if you ask me
note: I do have double standards. I don’t think Karthika deserve to be whipped. But I really hope snatch thieves can have some of their appendages separated from them. It may not be the answer to the root cause of the issue, but it certainly works as a deterrent.
Tea break: Observations
1) The food was tasty! I like the corn pudding very much!
2) A big Thank you to the organizers for choosing a caterer that avoids the use
of polystyrene. The white coffins are in my sights far too often.
3) The crowd didn’t mingle that much- hmmm, make that I didn’t mingle that much-
- I felt out of depth, somewhat shy because everyone seemed to know at least someone else in the crowd, me being an exception. There’s no need to be shy, I know- I’m not that shy actually but somehow I didn’t know how to start a conversation with this crowd. Felt I was too young and knew too little.
Musicians: 5 minute breaks serve to break the monotony; where a busker (street musician) and one of the Voter registrars (Danny) gave a political pop entertainment!
1) the musicians were obscured becaused they didn’t take centre stage. Literally, they were given a spot just at the left side of the hall where they were not very conspicuous.
2) the PA system experienced technical faults on both occasions… the audience were not captured in the first few crucial minutes so many left the hall during this interlude
3)The Drums Session:
I don’t know the name of the coordinator, but I met him once during a Jom Tangani Stress Carnival At Sekolah Menengah Taman Permaisuri passing percussion instruments into young hands and coordinating a fruitful musical session. He is back here today, apt at ‘making noise’ and making that racket tuneful!
This session was fun, somewhat too loud if you’re in the front ten rows, can’t see the performers that well if you’re beyond ten but it made at least 3 quarters of the audience stamp their feet or clap their hands! And just as the organizers intended it to be- it is a wake up session for the attendees! My ears rang for 10 minutes into the next presentation though hehe.
Haris Ibrahim from the People’s Parliament
Haris Managed to drive the message home strongly, straight to the heart. I felt my heart sink, and saw an elderly gentleman take off his glasses and ran his arm beneath his brow…
Haris’ Title was Are we a nation in distress?
I say: "The Hell we are."
- We are the world’s laughing stock for so many reasons!
We’re at war over a single word.
We are caning a woman,
We lost two jet engines,
We’re buying decade old train carriages for astronomical prices,
We are now on the way to the international courts for debt on the loan of THE EYE ON MALAYSIA,
We could not accept Chin Peng, but open arms wide and gave almost state burial for the terrorist, Nordin bin Md Top
We’ve slipped off the ladder of transparency international, our ex-PM claims “a few” corrupt politicians have been given the boot by the current PM, but wouldn’t say who are the rest?
- Mat rempits are given offers to journey to the north pole and rehabilitated while our indigenous people are being trampled
- Our education system is going nowhere. We’re still debating on the medium of instruction, flippity-flappity-flap. Our graduates have no motivation nor direction in life.
- Religious harmony wise, after the cephalic bovine incident, we are now dealing with arsons, some idiots are stoking the fire by burning THEIR own place of worship
- The poor are poorer, the rich aren’t that well off, the very rich are moving their businesses overseas.. they claim its just too volatile here
- Our ministers claim that we have eradicated poverty. We have a poverty percentage of 3% country wide. But that’s based on the cut off point of RM760/mth. Jayanath recommended any family of 5 who survives on that paltry sum to be the advisor of our Economic Planning Unit.
Are WE not a nation in distress?
DID WE LET IT HAPPEN?
Haris drove the message that the state of the nation, all its failures, all its institutions’ failures (the police, the executive, the judiciary, the Elections commission, the civil service) are to be borne by us, its citizens.
When A. Kugan Died- with 1805 others in a span of 7 years (averaging at 23 deaths per month under police custody) we pointed fingers at the men in blue.
When Teoh Beng Hock Died we pointed our fingers at MACC
When PKFZ happened we point our fingers at the Public Accounts Committee, and so many others
When corruption occurs we point our fingers at the police, at the bureaucratic red tape, at the greedy officials…
We sought to distance ourselves from these events, saying:
“It’s their fault, not ours.”
“Those greedy pigs, only know how to fill their pockets”
“those ma-ta only want duit kopi and never catch criminals”
But the failure of the system is our failure. Why is it our failure?
It’s our failure to push for change
It’s our failure for not ensuring check and balance occurred
It’s our failure for giving duit kopi when we are arrested, instead of letting the law take its course.
It’s our failure to voice our dissatisfaction, to show that we, the people will take no more shit.
We gave up the chance to show that we the citizens care, we take notice and we will take the matter into our votes; when we did not join the Bersih rally, the Bar council March, The anti-ISA candlelight vigil…
If 200 000 gathered in a peaceful rally- (its enshrined in the constitution as a freedom of expression, provided it is done peacefully)
The authorities would certainly get the message that people are angry, that they can no longer act aloof as though nothing happened, that we are watching, that we will kick them out should they continue.
Here’s my imagination of a typical rally
People come in the hundreds, the FRU and police come with their batons and tear gas,
The people run, or they stand, but in the end they disperse, a few get arrested, maybe one gets charged in court. Should it be done on a weekday, the authorities will say don’t disrupt the economy, people will complain about traffic jams that occurred, Economic losses will exaggerated out of proportion and the PM will say” don’t la go rally, stay at home la and be good citizen”. The Mainstream media downplays the protest of 500 people into “50 ignorant troublemakers”
Now imagine a Ideal Rally.
On a Weekend, with a permit if possible, with a suitably titled agenda
“ We want ISA abolished”, for example
-People gather in the number of two hundred thousand, 200,000.
-(It’s not impossible- KL has the population of 1-2 million)
-All the police and FRUs will be outnumbered, in fact if the whole crowd stamped
their feet at once KL will experience a Richter 3.0 earthquake,
-The Lockups of the whole KL will not be able to fit 1% of the crowd
-The Magistrates will have a headache trying to charge 100 people.
-The Blogs and facebook and the internet will be a flurry of activity and the
mainstream media will be forced to report the truth as the evidence is too much to be
In the end, the police and FRU stand and watch, the protesters get their message across. The politicians will be afraid, very afraid that the protestors will translate this action into votes come the next election-----
AND THEY WILL MAKE NECESSARY AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW AND CONSTITUTION.
Should you think this is impossible, Think about the Everyone Connects event at Jalan Bukit Bintang just 2 months ago featuring the hit song ‘Through my Window’, by the group bunkface. Multiply the turnout by a couple of times, and we have a perfect rally.
PART 5: THIS IS MY HOME. I CARE. I WANT TO MAKE IT BETTER
Mr Jaya brought the audience down memory lane into nostalgic café, he told us why he loves this country, and invites everyone to think of their children.
The take home message: “CAN/ DO YOU WANT TO TELL THE CHILDREN OF THE NATION THAT MALAYSIA IS A LOST CAUSE?
Question and Answer
The Q&A session to me was very fruitful, and it lasted around an hour, if not for the time, 7.45pm, we could have continued on…. But we overshot the time by a whole hour, skipping the film screening of Gadoh
Everyone felt the roadshow was a success, but everyone chipped in to make it better
A question from the audience took everyone by surprise: “how did you all fund this?”
I guess that part escaped most of our minds …
the answer to that was, funds are only raised through donations and the sales of SABM merchandise- such as the T-shirts and badges.
So someone suggested “let’s get a donation box going!” and most chipped in generously.
Food for thought:
It seemed very appropriate when a member of the audience suggested it, but I’m not quite sure it would have been very nice if the organizers started passing the donation box around from the outset.
Some Questions and Suggestions exchanged
1) The medium of the roadshow should be in Bahasa or English? According to Mr Jaya, the organizers tried using Bahasa in Penang, and it did not work out too well.
I think a healthy mix of both would be fine. Since all screenings are subtitled, they are not a problem. Also, since the whole event is videotaped, SABM can store it in their website archive for people to download, and subtitled inserted where appropriate. That way, the topics discussed in coming roadshows can by dynamic and continuously evolving, since the public can refer to previous topics online, or through CDs.
alternatively, when the public registers for the roadshow, probably the organizers can ask them to include the preferred language medium- and they can adjust the presentation accordingly, at different localities.
2) The time- someone felt the whole roadshow was too long. It should be more concise, and to the point.
I THINK- each topic attracts different people - the length may be maintained, but have a thorough overview of each topic/ event of presentation and let the audience decide which particular event attracts them, and they can come for that.
That said, The Q&A session should be right after each presentation, with a review at the end of the day. Lumping it all at the end of the roadshow risks the presenter being not around, or the audience that sat for that event has already left.
Probably SABM can have a FAQ section on understanding MALAYSIA on their website too.
Having the recordings also solve part of the problem.
3) Another interesting question was: Can the Voter’s vote be tracked by the SPR?
The answer – IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN. Haris himself found a polling officer scribbling something down when he was registering to vote, he confronted him and the guy tried to downplay it. Haris remained firm and said- “if its nothing, erase it now “
I THINK – many Aunties and Uncles fear for their safety, and Ricebowls. They are not assured that their votes are not tracked, and they do not know the consequence should it occur. I guess, “it should not happen” is not a good enough answer for many, as their concerns lie with “what if it does”. I don’t know the answer- and I’ll let the organizers answer this.
4) It appears this roadshow only appeals to the educated professionals, how can the roadshow appeal to kampong-folk, and would they be interested?
The panellists’ answer
- kampong folk may be more enlightened and brave compared to urban folk, and
Haris cited a very humorous example!
- They are going for roadshows all over the country, the next one- February 6 in Ipoh
- the public can help by urging their relatives, friends and colleagues to attend the
roadshows slated to happen in other parts of the country.
- if there is a kenduri/ wedding somewhere in Sekinchan/ Sungai Petani- try to gather round the community over there and do ask the organizers to make an appearance.. they will definitely try to make it there
- The audience can pass what they learned from the roadshow to their friends, and the campaign to “balik kampong bawa berita” must go on to enlighten the masses who have been brainwashed by the mainstream media. SABM and the bloggers will be coming up with printable articles that the public can bring home during festive seasons- this coming CNY is a good opportunity. Let the atuks and neneks read the articles from the MSM and the alternative source and make their own comparison.
I THINK- THIS IS GREAT! I have nothing to add :-)
5) “How to appeal to the masses.” “All the talk is great- but not all can relate the problem to their rice bowl and thus not many are keen to act”. -Others don’t know how to act.
The proposed solution offered by members of the floor - Make the presentation more related to the public’s everyday life- make the examples heartfelt, “it could happen to you”, relatable
For SABM to list down the 10 things for people to do- easy simple things that can help spread the message.
- 10 tahun sebelum merdeka did a good job of comparing the effect of the People’s Constitution in comparison with our current Constitution
- Interfaith Dialogues to follow up on the discussion on religion
- Art Harun’s discourse of the Constitution’s articles- how does it relate to our current issues.. why should we be concerned, what are SABM’s following up action- proposing an amendment to the constitution? This is a good time to garner support
- Haris Ibrahim told us that by supporting the rallies we are making a difference. Many Chinese (I feel ashamed for my brethren) are not willing to put their necks out on the chopping board, they try to avoid trouble… how to change this mentality? Is there any other way for the public to show their support for a cause… something more concrete than a petition but less ‘risky’ than a demonstration?
- Mr Jayanath- try to beef up the presentation so that many Malaysians feel the warmth of the country, that patriotism isn’t that demanding, that we can make things happen—give examples of things that we MADE HAPPEN, so that people are inspired. Once again- the Chinese have the tendency to abandon ship when there’s any signs of failure… utterly ashamed of this: How do I convince them that we are not a lost cause?
- Q&A: before the start of the Q&A: the Mc can probably recap the questions from previous roadshows, so the audience would be aware of overlap.
6) This will be my section on the whole event, probably some repeats what I have mentioned above, briefly
The event was a success! My estimated audience turnout was aroud 300 people
The panellists were good! The content was good! We learnt a lot
The hall arena was air-conditioned, but just behind it, some members of the audience and some of the organizers smoked… that wasn’t very nice. My dad was wondering whether I have a newfound habit when he caught a whiff
How to make it better:
- More details on the content of the speakers, to interest the public
- Topics should have clear goals and objectives,
- Q&A should be after each event, with a concluding Q&A session at the end
- Based on this Q&A- an FAQ section can be posted on the SABM website, thus avoiding repeats
- The screen at the Chinese assembly hall was small, but most likely it couldn’t be helped.
- Depending on the location and venue- ushers may be needed to fill up the blank space
- The anti-ISA booth and voter registration booth was in a cramped position, also I don’t think the organizers had a choice
- Attendees really shouldn’t smoke in a non-smoking area
- To encourage people to vote- cite concrete examples on how important each individual vote is. Have simple calculations of “what could have been” in so many states? Let the voters do the math and know what influence and power they could have. I’m only one person- why should I matter is a mentality that must be tackled with in so many different issues- Global Warming, Recycling, Voting, Rukun Tetangga, Gotong-royong… Let everyone come up with suggestions on how to address this.
Finally I want to congratulate the organizers for doing such a great job!!
Thank you guys for giving your time, money and energy for such a noble cause.
It will not be thankless, and we will help see the effort through~
Because of you, MALAYSIA IS NOT A LOST CAUSE.
P.s- Let us all help to promote the subsequent roadshows!