The Fat Bidin Vlog
Ep 5 – We had a baby and missed BERSIH 4.0 (but had a correspondent there!).
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I don’t want to generalise, but there is this perception that Malays are a group of people who seem to be inclined to violence.
I am a Malay too because my father is one and it says so on my birth certificate, even though on my maternal side, I’m Chinese.
I don’t mean to criticise the ethnic group that I belong to. But I need to call out and say something is wrong when I see it. I take it as my responsibility (so self-righteous!).
And who else better to criticise the Malays if not a Malay himself (although technically, a half-breed!)? If anyone else from another ethnic group does so, he would be called a racist.
Now that I’m done with the disclaimers, let’s refocus on the point I am trying to make.
On Tuesday, a coalition of Malay NGOs led by one Datuk Jamal Md Yunos dressed up in red and started beating themselves up in front of the Sogo shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur.
It was a sight to be seen! Men were hitting each other with pieces of wood and smashing heavy roof tiles on their heads and backs to show how strong and tough they are.
It was like a big kungfu demonstration by Shaolin monks to show off their strength and mental abilities. Alamak! Wait a minute! Shaolin monks aren’t Malay!
The group’s leader reportedly stated that they are anti-Bersih, referring to the Bersih 4.0 rally this weekend.
The reason for the violent display of strength is to show that they will be ready to ‘defend’ themselves if any ‘problems’ were to arise between them and Bersih 4.0 participants.
I find it absolutely funny how this group of Malay NGOs can quickly jump to the assumption that problems would equate to violence. What would be their reasoning?
Bersih is led by a middle-aged woman and it’s icons are an old lady who walks around holding flowers (aka Aunty Bersih), and an elderly man who likes to write poetry (Pak Samad).
And this makes me wonder who is leading in the game of positive perception here? The saying goes, ‘fight fire with fire’. Not fight elderly people with pieces wood and huge roof tiles!
This is just one example of why I can’t help but entertain the thought that Malays are inclined to violence. Remember the Low Yat incident? The first people to arrive were Malay thugs.
And whenever Malay politicians talk about fighting and preserving Malay rights, they always seem to choose a weapon (the keris) to wave around for maximum effect.
As a member of the Malay community, I would like to say “Come on lah wei!”. What is wrong with you people? Can’t you learn to be more dignified and refined?
Bak kata orang tua-tua, “Buat malu aje!”.
I am all for people power because I believe that those who are in authoritative positions would naturally already have more power than an ordinary citizen.
Like that quote by Haruki Murakami: “If there is hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.”
So, anything that empowers the people will have my support. Be it a proper democratic government system, or even tools such as crowdsourcing platforms and social media.
I have attended as a citizen and covered as a journalist, all the rallies organised by Bersih from the first one in 2011, and hopefully, the fourth one this Merdeka weekend.
One of the key challenges for participants and journalists covering to ensure that they can all operate smoothly and safely is good and clear communication.
A crowd that can grow into the tens of thousands can get overwhelming for the organisers to control, and difficult for the people to feel calm and relaxed.
Keeping in constant contact with others becomes difficult because of the huge number of people who attend using smartphones which clog up the phone reception.
Also, from my observations, there will be vehicles stationed around the area with big antennae and dishes that, I can only assume, are signal jammers.
That’s why I got excited when I started hearing about Firechat, a chatting app for smartphones that allow users to communicate with each other even without Internet connection.
How it works is that it can seamlessly change its mode of communication from the Internet to Bluetooth or even local WiFi connections without interruption.
So even if you lose Internet, as long as you have your Bluetooth or WiFi function on, you will still be in communication. But, the people you talk to need to be in your group of followers.
Technically, your range will start increasing as long as more people continue to join the network, from different but connecting geographical locations.
This is pretty cool, and if you study the credentials of this app, you will learn that it was used successfully by the participants of the 2014 Hong Kong sit-in protest.
Although it is a good tool to allow people to stay in touch in situations where communication is difficult, one must still be cautious about the information.
Firechat allows users to also communicate and spread information anonymously if they choose to. And that could be a problem – the issue of credible and legit information. As is with all social media platforms, as much as it empowers people and allows them to organise themselves, it is still open to abuse and manipulation.
So be mindful when you are communicating. Always be aware of who you are communicating with and best of all is to remain with people you know and trust.
Good luck and stay safe.
Apparently there’s a BN MP who’s planning to sign some Statutory Declaration and vote against the Prime Minister in a vote of no confidence in Parliament. And apparently that’s undemocratic?
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The 13th General Election is finally here in Malaysia after a long wait! I’m a different person now than I was many years ago. I have covered every single BERSIH event and nothing has changed me more than Bersih 3.0. It changed me as a father, as a journalist and as a Malaysian! My friend and fellow journalist, Oon Yeoh, edited a book titled ‘Clean Sweep – The global triumph of Bersih 3.0’ last year and he asked me to contribute an essay about my experience. The book is now available in all major bookstores. And if you would like to read my essay, you can do so by not being a cheapskate and just buying the book! But if you’re still adamant about being a cheapskate… then click here to read it lah! Hahaha!