Thursday, September 18, 2008

THE NIGHT A NEW MALAYSIA WAS BORN (Letter to Malaysiakini)

(courtesy of TV Smith)

I was extremely touched by this eyewitness report from a young Malaysian who attended Pakatan Rakyat's Malaysia Day Rally at Kelana Jaya Stadium on 15 September 2008. Judging by the video footage and photos uploaded on various blogs, one can only conclude with joy and optimism that the SOUL OF MALAYSIA has finally awakened!

The night a new Malaysia was born
Yee | Sep 17, 08 8:12pm

There was something very different at Monday night’s celebration of Malaysia Day [held at] Kelana Jaya Stadium. It was much more than a political rally.

Something very significant was hatching. It was thick in the air. It was magical. It was infectious. I wish everybody was there to share those magical moments with me.

I arrived at Kelana Jaya Stadium seething with anger over the totally unreasonable detention of our fearless hero RPK and respected MP Teresa Kok under the draconian Internal Security Act. The first sight that greeted me the moment I entered the stadium was hundreds of people in prayer.

The serene voice of the imam transported me to a calmer place almost immediately. I followed in the prayer although I did not understand the language. I silently prayed for Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa. I also prayed for peace and unity in our beloved homeland.

I would like to offer my highest praise to the imam who conducted the prayers. I really appreciate his devotion to God and his peaceful voice permeated the whole stadium with serenity. I was really grateful to be reminded of my connection to the divine, which set the tone for the rest of the night.

Religion has always been a big part of my life. It was never in doubt that our moral strength lies in our adherence to the divine. My true wish is that one day we will look beyond the superficial differences in how we relate to God and come together as one nation.

I have been to a few rallies by Pakatan Rakyat. But this one was different, very different. What made it different was the lack of negative emotions. This time we didn’t feel hatred for the Barisan Nasional government. We didn’t even feel that it was a tremendous struggle to topple a big bad evil empire.

There was hardly any smearing of the Barisan Nasional government. It was as if everybody already knew that the toppling of the present government was inevitable. The rally was about the celebration of unity and a better future for all. The amount of light and happiness in the atmosphere was truly infectious and uplifting.

As I said earlier, I walked into the stadium with seething anger, but halfway through the prayer, I was already seeing things in a different light. I began to realise that the behaviour of the BN government was so unbelievably ridiculous that it was almost comical.

Despite the anguish of the ISA detentions and the thinly veiled threat of May 13 repeating, something very significant happened to our collective psyche on Monday night.

The message delivered by our leaders was clear – unity must be upheld at all cost and justice and the rule of law must be restored. Pakatan leaders also emphasised the need for equal opportunities for all, regardless of race and religion.

The voices of the people were equally resounding and unequivocal. The spirit of unity was overwhelming. It was a remarkable demonstration of people power. The veil of darkness finally lifted. Malaysia has finally come of age.

When the national anthem was played, I was moved to tears. I understood for the first time the meaning of the lyrics. I felt for the first time a deep sense of purpose for this piece of land that we called home.

916 has already happened. The transformation has already happened in the collective consciousness of the people. The rest is only a matter of time. This is the birth of a new Malaysia. Of that I am certain.

"Reformasi" by Zulkifli Yusof (217cm x 307cm, oil on canvas, 1997)