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Bersih 3.0 – I wasn’t there… again.

28 May

Last year, I blogged about Bersih 2.0 and vowed to be present at Bersih 3.0. As fate would have it, I had a trip planned that weekend and couldn’t make it back to KL. Instead, I was bound for Phuket.

Yet, I knew I had to be a part of Bersih 3.0 in some way.

In the weeks leading up to the big event, I stumbled upon Global Bersih, a website dedicated to the Bersih cause and featured links to Bersih gatherings all over the world. It gave me an idea. If I couldn’t be at Bersih KL, I will be Bersih Wherever-I-Am.

So I downloaded the list of 8 demands and asked a friend to turn them into nice posters:

The 8 demands

I printed them and carried them with me as I staged my own sit-in protest from Singapore to Phuket.

My sit-in protest started at the lobby of our residence in Jurong East, Singapore:

Bersih – Demand 1

And continued on the plane.

Bersih – Demand 2

And at the Phuket International Airport. (This was my favourite location because my sign confused some tourists who were looking for their hotel pick-up. Haha!)

Bersih – Demand 3

Followed by various spots around Phuket like the beach, the mall and the market.

Bersih – Demand 4

Bersih – Demand 5

Bersih – Demand 6

Bersih – Demand 7

Bersih – Demand 8

Some may say that I achieved nothing because I wasn’t gassed like those who were in KL but I disagree. I didn’t participate in Bersih 3.0 to “achieve” something for myself. It’s not my intention to add an imaginary yellow feather to my hypothetical cap. No. I merely wanted to voice out my dissent and make a stand against dirty tactics that have been plaguing our country for years.

Some may say that it’s useless to protest against these injustices because nothing is going to change. Again, I disagree. Change is happening as we speak. More people are becoming aware of the situation and are taking ownership of the country through various civic initiatives. We just need to remind ourselves that change will not happen overnight, and nothing worth doing is ever easy.

I spent most of the day in the hotel, using the Wi-Fi connection to follow what’s happening back in KL. While I was horrified (but not surprised) at the treatment given to those who gathered around Dataran Merdeka, I was, at the same time, immensely proud of my fellow Malaysians who gathered across over 100 cities globally to make a stand. I have never seen solidarity on this scale for any Malaysian cause before and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it in my own little way.

Indeed, there are so many reasons to participate in the Bersih movement. But if I had to pick one, it’s this:  My vote is my voice and I’d be damned if I let it be manipulated for someone else’s gain!

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2011. The year of epic change.

7 Jan

It’s been 1 week into 2012 and I have yet to pen down my thoughts on the previous year. Since the hubby is at work, I can finally hog the laptop and write. 😛

So how was 2011 an epic change for me?

I got married!

Yes, I will blog about the whole wedding planning process in due time but that was no doubt the biggest event of my life to date. After planning my own wedding, I can clearly see the wisdom in having just one wedding in your lifetime.

Apart from getting hitched, I also moved to Singapore together with the hubby. Although I landed back in BBDO/Proximity once again, the vibe was certainly different from the KL office. Adapting to life in Singapore was quite an experience. Although there are many similarities between Singapore and Malaysia, there is also a vast difference in lifestyle.

First thing I had to get used to was the endless walking. Seriously, it is ridiculous. I had sore feet for the first 2 weeks just by commuting to work and back. Also had to say goodbye to my heels and wear flats ALL THE TIME. *sobs*

Second thing was the food. Now I don’t want to start a war on who has better tasting food — because we all know who does, right? — but I almost cried when I tasted my first bowl of peppery bak kut teh. Never again. I’ve learnt to avoid certain dishes that I know can never taste like the ones back home (although the name of the dish is the same). That said, there is good food to be found in Singapore…you just have to look harder… And of course, I missed my mum’s home cooked food. Good thing Ian is a pretty awesome cook, or else I would Miserable. (Yes, with a capital M.)

And lastly, was adapting to the omnipresence of The Crowd. There is always a crowd. The malls are always crowded regardless of the time of day. It really seems like people live to shop. And never ever go to MNG when a sale is on. It is impossible to walk!

In between coping with these changes plus the madness of planning a wedding from afar, I also experienced the occasional bout of homesickness. But it was not the physical city of KL that I missed. Hell no. But rather the company of the people I left behind. Family meals and gathering with friends have now become more of an occasion than the norm. I miss being able to call someone up and go “Hey, let’s go for brunch this weekend.” Now, every gathering has to be planned weeks in advance.

So with 2011 out of the way, what do I hope for in 2012?

While people are going about town proclaiming that the world will end this year (which is probably not a bad thing seeing how we, as a human race, are such a bunch of ninnies), I shall vow to make 2012 a year worth living.

How?

I will make an effort to keep in touch

With the proliferation of communication tools at our disposal these days, it is ironic that I still feel out of touch with people I care about. It has become all too easy to assume that whatever I post on Facebook/Twitter will be seen and read by all my nearest and dearest. That’s hardly the case. So, this year I will make the effort to maintain personal contact with my friends and family.

I will find a passion outside my job

The problem with doing what you love, as a job, is that eventually it becomes something you don’t love anymore, or simply something you do to earn money to sustain your other not-so-marketable pursuits (like daydreaming). I realised that I have allowed my job to define who I am and I think that’s not going to work out well in the event of a career hiatus. At the end of 2012, I don’t want to be introduced as “This is Joanne, she is a writer.” but rather “This is Joanne, she loves writing/taking pictures/dancing/travelling/volunteering/educating/singing off-key…”. I want to be known for my passion, and not my occupation.

I will learn to love numbers

I was never terribly bad at math. To be honest, I did pretty well, consistently scoring above 90 for most tests. However, the numbers I’m always challenged by are those that make the world go round – money. Ever since I picked up the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, I have been fascinated by the notion of retiring young and rich. As I’m turning 27 this year, it’s about time I gave serious thought to that because I sure as hell do not want to be clearing tables at the food court when I’m old. So I will improve my financial literacy, be wise with my money, and shop only when I’m in Bangkok. Haha.

I will enjoy being 27

Although I consistently get told that I look really young, I’m actually on the better side of 30. (Get it? That’s a nicer way of saying the wrong side of 20. Not funny ah? Never mind. Writer’s joke.) I will be thankful that I can still pull off the student look, but at the same time, I will treat my body right, sleep well, eat well, and take care of my aging self.

I will live in the present

I have a bad habit of planning for the future way too much in advance. If you ask me for a 5 year plan, I got it. A 10 year plan, I got that too. But if you asked me what I want for lunch later, I ain’t got it. I’m always looking out to the distant future and missing out on the beautiful moments in the present. Of course having a plan is great. In fact, I am currently living the 10-year plan I had when I was 20. However, these grand plans tend to take up too much of my brain power which makes me feel tired about the present. Well, not anymore. I shall live in the moment. (This is going to be a challenge because even as I’m typing this, I’m already thinking about what my next post should be, when am I going to write it, and should I include more pictures. -___-“)

And that concludes this post. Good luck to all of you who have resolutions and may 2012 be a year worth living for you too.

 

Bersih 2.0: I wasn’t there

12 Jul

 

It’s been 3 days since Malaysians from all walks of life took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to demand electoral reforms.

 

I wasn’t there, but I don’t feel any less proud of my fellow Malaysians who stood up for what’s right. As I followed the endless live tweets and FB updates, I felt an emotion I’ve never felt before… I think I felt proud to be Malaysian – for the first time ever.

 

Many have said that Bersih 2.0 will not change anything – the government will still be corrupt, they will still buy votes, and the upcoming election will see the same phantom voters that popped up in the previous polls.

 

I beg to differ.

 

Because for me, Bersih 2.0 has changed us, the people. It gave us hope. It woke us up. It enlightened a long apathetic generation that democracy is not just about choosing our leaders once every 4 or 5 years, but also about active participation in the day-to-day governance of the country. We have been taking our nation for granted for far too long. We have closed one eye to the blatant corruption for years, and enough is enough! It’s time we showed that we, as a people, are better than our current crop of shameful leaders. And we deserve better.

 

So I hereby salute my fellow countrymen who had the courage to walk for the nation. Hopefully we won’t need a Bersih 3.0. But if we did, I’ll be there.