The Rakyat Remembers

10 days after the historical day of May 9 and Malaysians are slowly easing back to their daily routines. Not too sure about others but there seem to be spring in my steps now. The atmosphere seemed to have changed. I see less angry people on the roads on my daily commute to work. Strangers seem to smile more freely at me and pleasantries exchanged in the elevator to work, etc. People seem to be more patient while lining up at the popular chicken rice shop, and people actually clean up after themselves when they finished their food, placing trays after eating and clearing the table for other to use. Simply wow. Hopefully, this feeling of togetherness would continue to prosper and do not let anything divide us any longer.

In the midst of such euphoria, we must never forget the ordinary citizens who have done extraordinary things to place our dignity back in the eyes of the world. People like Mr Lim Kit Siang, the late Mr Karpal Singh, En Adam Adli, En Hishamuddin Rais, En Fahmi Reza, En Zunar the Cartoonist, Mdm Ambiga, Mdm Maria Chin, Datuk Munirah from Pertiwi Soup Kitchen, the Bersih supporters, etc. Malaysians do have good people who fight for justice and freedom of the nation!

I am pretty sure Mr Lim Kit Siang wouldn’t have thought he would live to see this day! I believe this is probably one of his many dreams of Malaysia coming true! Unfortunately his comrade, the late Mr Karpal Singh did not live to see this.

For Malaysian like Adam Adli, Hishamuddin Rais, Zunar, Fahmi Reza, Ambiga, Maria Chin, Bersih… they were subject to police harassment, abuse of laws, etc just to silence their dissent. Going in and out of the prison, court, banned from traveling overseas, etc. I could only imagine the mental anguish and torture they have been through just because they believe in justice and accountability of the government of the day for the rakyat.

Thanks to Datuk Munirah from Pertiwi Kitchen for fighting the plight of the homeless people in Malaysia and the right for basic needs of fellow human beings, that is not to starve. The previous government was so heartless that they simply say the homeless are eye sore for the tourists and blamed the soup kitchen for encouraging them to remain homeless. Only after uproar of the public only, the government began to changed its tune and eventually, as usual, everything just died down without any further solutions to assist the homeless.

Thank you and utmost gratitude to these individuals who forgo their own comfort and livelihood to fight for the rakyat, without expecting anything in return.

And of course, Mr Anwar Ibrahim who was jailed for made up charges, for no apparent reason, spent many years behind the bars and having his family lived without a father figure for two decades. I still remember the day of reformasi in the year 1998. I believe I was commuting home from working part time at a market research firm or from my part time studies college, when I saw a huge group of people heading towards Masjid Jamek. During that time, mobile phones were still at its stage of infancy, so I was in the dark of what was happening till the news in papers were out in the next morning.

It surely takes an extraordinary benevolence of a man to forgive his first jailor and worked hand in hand to bring down the obscenely corrupted government who jailed him the second time. The formula, despite not palatable at first – I must admit I was furious! But slowly, as the election day inches closer, I thought, we might perhaps really win this time. And we all did! Thanks to all Malaysians who voted and of course, the entire group of volunteers, PACAs, the people who flew from all over the world just to deliver ballots (miracles!) and the villagers who guarded the votes like they are their lives to prevent phantom ballots, etc.

Now we have a new government. We must not rest in our laurels in giving our full support to the new government to implementing reforms of the institution which promote corruption free, unity and check and balance. And if they do things wrongly, we must voice out. I am glad this time round, we no longer have to go to jail for having our own voice.

Setting a world benchmark in reclaiming democracy

Probably the best written commentary of the recent PRU14.

Setting a world benchmark in reclaiming democracy
William de Cruz
10 May 2018, 4:20 pm (Updated 10 May 2018, 4:52 pm)

COMMENT | Malaysians set a world benchmark, a gold standard in how to reclaim democracy against all odds yesterday.

The government coalition that had lorded over a country with various alliances for 61 years threw everything against its citizens for the 14th general election – the judiciary, the police, the universities system, the election commission, its very parliament, race and religion.

Gerrymandering and malapportionment saw some federal constituencies with as little as a few thousand voters sit side-by-side with seats that housed more than 150,000 registered voters.

The ‘apa lagi Cina mahu’ politics of endless division

This was a voting population that saw its very government as adversary.

Yet, like no other country in modern history, millions turned up yesterday and overthrew a murderous, corrupt regime without shedding one drop of blood.

There were no riots, no looting, burning of cars, homes or shops, ugly manifestations of religious or racial bigotry, ignorance or intolerance.

Instead, the people of a multi-racial country that is home to the world’s fastest-growing religion, Islam, as well as the two biggest races on the planet, Chinese and Indians, embraced one another to rise above despots, division, discrimination and the albatross of the voting system itself, to unseat a prime minister and coalition that would have sold Malaysian down the drain in return for self-preservation, enrichment and aggrandisement.

The plot twists and ironies that led Malaysia to this historic day could not have been better scripted by the best of Hollywood.

Two men, powerfully galvanising individuals who were each nemesis to the other for nearly two decades – Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir Mohamad – forged the most unlikely of political alliances.

One remains a prisoner, the other put him there in shameful circumstances that were played out under the glare of world media spotlights.

The prisoner has shown how the sheer power of forgiveness can transcend the most painful of pasts. The image of Anwar and Mahathir shaking hands as allies, at one of Anwar’s more recent court appearances, is now regarded by many as the turning point for the alliance that is now government-in-waiting.

The jailor and nation-builder declares he has now to free Anwar.

The most honourable Lim Kit Siang, Malaysia’s longest-standing patriot, a walking symbol of long-standing and unrelenting parliamentary opposition, and the epitome of statesmanship, has carried magnanimity and self-sacrifice to another plane entirely.

Lim has embraced Mahathir, who had also thrown him into jail, and placed his aspirations for Malaysia centre stage for the sake of a pact the likes of which no other country has seen.

And yesterday, out of racism, corruption and bigotry emerged unity, determination and a sense of purpose – to forge a new future, a new hope, a new country for ourselves and our children.

Malaysians have shown a uniqueness that is as palpable as it is inspiring, and we must give ourselves the time and space to be very, very proud of what we have achieved today.

We have snatched back democracy from the jaws of destruction, so Malaysia may be rebuilt all over, with the multi-racial, democratic and egalitarian ideals of its founding fathers and earliest patriots.

We have come from the race riots of May 13, 1969, to the multi-racial juggernaut of May 9, 2018. We fought back without bloodshed or violence.

We have returned “Merdeka” – freedom, independence – to our shores. The future is now full of promise, and it’s a promise we made to ourselves.

The singular event of May 9 will powerfully resonate forever in our history as a glorious chapter in a people’s tenacity.

Yesterday, Malaysians became a beacon to the rest of the world, and delivered a new lesson in non-violent opposition.

The world has not seen such a reversal of fortune as Malaysia’s. We are a walking, living legacy.

This is Malaysia, like no other country in the world.

WILLIAM DE CRUZ is former Global Bersih president

Link here.

Renewal of Passport Malaysia

I finally dragged my lazy ass to the immigration today. I took a short notice leave since my boss is not in town. Been searching on another place to renew my passport as I was told, the Wangsa Maju branch is always packed now. Not sure if it’s because so many people went there after reading reviews on blogs.

Here’s a really good write up on the renewal of passport Malaysia by Ciki of CCfoodtravel. However, as of March 2014, there’s no need to take photographs anymore. It will be like applying for a new IC. Our photos would be taken on the spot! How nifty is that?

I read on when to avoid applying for passport and it was mentioned to avoid Mondays, Fridays, eve of Public Holidays and a day after Public Holidays and during school holidays. Since today is the eve of Wesak Day, I was apprehensive to go. But I’ve been having nightmares literally every night… dreams of not having valid passport to travel (I am traveling to Bandung this July) and also, immigration dept is closed down forever.. So, I guess I have to go today to avoid all the nonsense nightmares. Haha.

I arrived at the turning into KDN at 6.35 am and found a long stretch of cars lining up to go into the gate. I haven’t been to this place before so I drove up to check it out only to find that, there were so many cars stopping in front of me, so I shouldn’t be cutting queue and double parked my car. So, I took a U Turn from the Istana at the end of the road to go back to the line behind all the cars. I asked an immigration officer on a motorbike what time the gate would open, he politely told me 7.00 am and told me to queue up.

Since I was wee early, I just sat in the car, enjoying the air conditioning and praying really hard that nobody would come and hit my car on the back.. since I was already at the junction of the very long “car” queue! So I put on double signal to alert passing cars that I am stopping at the edge of the junction.

Thankfully, at 6.50 am, they opened the gates for us. We just followed and tailed the cars to go inside the main complex. It was a good thing that Ciki took photo of the building so I could identify the building. I parked right in front of the building. As I was parking, I could see people literally RUNNING to the main building! It felt like a movie – some disaster movie or some kind of Hunger Games going on. Haha.

So, I also ran like the rest.. more like took hurried steps into the building. I knew the immigration dept is on 1st floor so I went straight to 1st floor. I was shocked to see the beeline of people and cursed myself silently for not taking advice on the internet seriously on not to go on Monday! A girl in front of me asked a lady if the line was to apply for passport. The lady said no and told us to go downstairs. So I followed the girl downstairs. Mana tau… we bumped into two other ladies who also asked around where to go to renew passport and was told to go up to first floor again!

We followed the two other ladies to go upstairs. True enough. We should go to the other office right opposite the beeline of people! Am so glad that it was still empty! There were only a handful of people as opposed to the beeline of people who are there to renew their foreign workers visa!

So people, at the escalator from the main door, just go up first floor and turn left. You will get to the immigration door!

I waited there with others, lining up when a gentleman and a lady came to line up behind me. They asked if they should get photographs after taking number or would they need a photocopy of IC? Is there any forms required? I told them, you don’t need such things anymore. You only need:-

1. Your IC.

2. Your old passport.

3. RM300 cash (for 5 years and RM100 for 2 years).

Thanks, Ciki!! It’s good to come prepared!

So we chatted while in the line till we get our respective numbers. I got number 1006! Way to go! Number 6!

By the time we got our numbers and seated, it was already 7.41 am. I think the office opened a little late today. There weren’t many officers working as I guess they probably took the day off as well to get a long, extended weekend till tomorrow! So I prayed that this won’t hampered the flow of the service.

I got all things done by 8.03 am – Get ready your passport, your queue number, your IC and the officer would processed your application. NO NEED to fill up any forms. They used your passport and IC to verify your identity, get your both thumbprints and then, automatically, they printed out the application forms with your photo on your IC together with a new photo taken with an attached camera at the counter! One downside though… you will guarantee looking like crap! I think 9/10 of my friends complained about their new passport photographs. Haha!

Please note to wear dark colored clothes – since the background would be white. Those wearing head scarves and tudungs, should be wearing darker colored ones as well. They provided a dark colored tudungs for you if you are not prepared. They even have a mirror at their desk for you to check out your hair or for you to freshen up! Haha!

And then, the payment counter was opened and numbers were called rather swiftly to pay. After payment, they would return your IC to you and told you to come back in a hour’s time to collect your passport. So, I went to the cafeteria with my new friends and had a good chat about travels, cultures and traditions. It was quite a good thing to learn from others. How time flies. In about 40 minutes, we decided to go back to check on our passports. Indeed, I managed to collect my passport by 9.10 am!

All in all, it was indeed a good experience today at KDN Hartamas. The parking was rather full today. So I guess it’s true that many people would come on a Monday… so if you want to get your passport faster than me – perhaps you can try to go on non peak seasons like middle of the week or after school holidays! Good luck!

For more read up on terms and conditions, you can check out this website.

Tumpang

My colleague reminisced the past few elections, during polling day, there would be plenty of cars driven by volunteers to polling stations. The cars would be donning either parties’ flags. Generally, everybody would just car pool if they don’t have their own transport. So far, she has voted probably 4x and she and her mom would hitch a ride from these volunteers because they do not drive or own a car.

With the current escalating crimes spiraling out of control the past five years, she’s too wary to hitch a ride from strangers anymore! It’s too risky! Even if the cars do have stickers or flags on them, she wouldn’t want to hitch a ride anymore. I guess I will offer her and her mom a ride to the polling station – even if it meant, not the same as mine on 5/5/2013!

So you have it… the perception of crimes in our country. It’s indeed dark and too scary.

Vote wisely, fellow Malaysians. Vote for safety and security. Vote for peace of mind. Vote for justice.

Champion of Loose Morals

On Saturday afternoon I was having a nap when I was awaken rudely by shouting and unruliness, followed by sounds of a group of motorcycles.

I went to my porch to check out who was that, and was shocked to see a group of rempits, donning identical black shirts, carrying the blue flags – shouting and screaming, honking all the way. I am not sure what their special PR people going to say about this? Since they have paid millions to hire some angmoh company to handle their “image”. *Shake head*

How can a ruling party condone such act? Probably want to give them something to do, since most likely, these rempits are unemployed! So, are we supposed to thank the ruling party for reducing unemployment rate? These people have the same opportunity to pursue their studies, the same opportunity to get a decent job but they chose not to. Probably work only once every 5 years as flag bearers and riding dangerously on the road putting unnecessary risks on other road users.

I guess this rot of the society started in school. I saw a group of school children, hanging around the backyard of my office during schooling hours, sniffing glue and smoking. Some students were seen lighting up cigarettes the moment they got out from school. They think it’s really cool to smoke. If you earn your own money to buy your cigarettes, then congratulations lah. But you are still in school and live on your parents’ hard earned money and you feel so proud? Shame on you.

You may say, we must blame the parents for not keeping an eye on their children. It’s quite true also.. in a way. Most parents now are too busy at work. Both moms and dads have to pull their socks to bring food to the table and sometimes, even with both sides working, they could hardly make ends meet. They just live from one pay check to another, if they are lucky.. but what more if they are also being heavily in debt. With the rising in food costs, utilities, petrol, housing prices etc – who are we to blame when we elected the wrong representative to spend our hard earned money in form of tax – which supposedly help the people, instead they put the country into deeper debts?

So, what is the root of all the rot in our society? A corrupted government. A corrupted government which spent unnecessarily – to spoon feed their mindless minions once every five years, implementing infeasible programs which do not benefit the society in general but lining pockets of their cronies, turning a blind eye on escalating crimes by labeling them as “perception”. etc.

My fellow Malaysians, we must stem the rot from its roots. So I urge you to please vote wisely.

PS. If you ask, why didn’t I call the police whenever these kids are hanging about at my office backyard? Believe me. We did.. many times. But they keep coming back.