Today I’m proud of my country
The following paragraphs were written by one my friend, HW, it was shared in the FB. It reminds me of those days, includes sweet and sour memories. It reminds me what we were fighting for, why we were fighting and what makes us continue to fight. It also reminds me that how much I love my country.
Today we see the new hope of change, though it will not be guaranteed to change in better direction, at least there is hope, which we sought for more than half a decade to end the racist and heavily corrupted government.
Today we exercise our rights of democracy and change the government without shedding blood and without violence. We have done what we never imagine of and we have crossed the hurdle which is so high that set by the ex-government.
However, our fighting will not end here, this is just the beginning of another chapter, there are tons of new challenges and bad debts that are waiting for us to overcome and make it right again.
Nonetheless, today, I’m proud of my country, we made it!!
Day 1 of a new nation.
I imagine the multitude of emotions echoing amongst us: hope, elation, euphoria, anticipation, excitement, apprehension….
I choose “inspired”.
Because for me, it wasn’t only a story of triumph for our nation.
It was something more personal, as I bear witness to a 20-year journey of a friend.
It started back in those days when we were labeled as “underground political extremist” in UTM (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia). Student activist was the right, but an unrecognized term. Of course, we only considered ourselves idealist…or when we were in the mood, intellectuals. To be fair, we were breaking university regulations and doing illegal stuff like “having a gathering of more than 5 people”. We ran “illegal” student societies, held philosophical debates in lecture halls without permits, went from dorm to dorm spreading our ideologies of liberalism, human rights, and change. One student at a time, one lecture hall at a time. We didn’t know if we would ever move the needle, we only knew it had to start somewhere by someone.
We got a good taste of politics back then and probably saw it all. How “magical” votes get added, how party factions turn tides and witness in shock comrades getting bought over. We were fighting with our hands tied to our back.
But you, my friend. You were fighting an even longer battle. And a lonely one.
If we had idealisms, you had convictions. Convictions on ending race-based politics. On Chinese needing to lean forward by learning to speak Malay fluently. These convictions still stand till today.
And of all the convictions you had, I remembered that counter the best.
You had an idea of a Help counter. It was unheard of and even bold during then. You went around getting the faculty to donate a table, chair, and a whiteboard. Miraculously, you got permission to set it up in the Management Faculty corridor. The whiteboard posted questions for debate. You sat at your counter, most of the time alone, tirelessly every day, talking to any students/lecturers who had time and a listening ear. So you could gather and solve real student issues one by one. Even if it’s as simple as subject registration or lack of drinking fountains. It was your little democracy, that 5×5 square meter of hope.
I recalled that last day in UTM as you looked at your counter with sadness, wondering if it was all for nothing.
That counter appeared in Simpang Pulai.
And now Alor Setar.
So, on day 1 of our new nation, I am reminded of great emotion and believe, that big changes can happen, slowly, persistently and with the humblest of efforts. Even if one needs to start with the tiniest of ideas in the form of a 5×5 little counter.
Chan Ming Kai, it wasn’t all for nothing. The sky is yours. YB, just remember your one other conviction – that you swore to drive around in the simplest of a vehicle (I think you said Kancil), even when you are a Minister. 🙂
As to my dear fellow Malaysians, we wake up today with great hope for a new world. But a new world takes time and patience. We have had enough apathy, enough wait-and-see, enough of saying nothing-will-change. May we all take the tiniest and humblest of efforts, one by one, each in our own capacity with steadfast conviction, towards a new Malaysia.
(P/S: of course, the congrats not limited to YB Chan, there are other a lot of our comrades that have already succeeded in this election, which include YB Yeo Tun Siong, YB Tan Hong Pin, YB Cheo Yee How, YB Lee Khai Loon and YB Sim Tze Tzin)