Monday, November 10, 2008

EYEWITNESS REPORT: Orc Attack @ The PJ Uncivic Center

"None are more hopelessely enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Had a brand new pack of 6 candles ready & an improvised windproof holder, but arriving at Amcorp Mall around 9:15 I saw no activity on the padang. People were gathered in front of the Mall and it was great to be greeted immediately by a few fellow bloggers who recognized me. That's the nicest feature of physically attending these community events - every face you see, even if you haven't been introduced, is already a friend.

Of course a few could be undercover Mat Rempit, SB officers, or plainclothes defectives - I mean detectives - but they are easily sniffed out. Look out for the tell-tale signs: no sign of human vitality behind those humorless eyes. I bear them no ill will because their minds have been implanted during their rigorous and inhuman training, and the poor fellows had their empathy circuits removed so they are quite incapable of independent thought and lack human biofields. One could easily mistake them for Orcs or Uruk-hai .

Haris Ibrahim suddenly appeared and, this being our very first physical meeting, I just had to give him a big hug for inspiring so many with his gigantic spirit and outstanding mind.

Got a call from a friend who said the cops had forced her to turn back at a roadblock, so she decided to go home. She added that a few other buddies were with RPK at a club further down the street so I decided it would make my 3-hour commute to PJ worthwhile if I at least got to say hello to the national superhero in person. True enough, there he was, looking mellow and benign, a digital-age version of man-for-all-seasons Sir Thomas More, being interviewed by a couple of people with videocams. When they finished I gave him a very heartfelt hug (I've only met RPK once before, briefly, in 1999 when he was coordinating the KeADILan website, but after I dropped a hint he did remember our meeting).

Magnificent Marina was there too but got only a quick hug from me because Polis patrol cars were cruising up & down and the crowd started walking slowly towards the PJ Civic Center. Decided to WALK WITH RPK (literally) and when I got to the Civic Center, the Red Helmets were already lined up and beating their shields to scare people. Polis sirens were wailing just for effect. It appeared they had been instructed to intimidate & terrorize the peaceful rakyat gathered there simply because we value democracy and love this nation too much to allow it to be turned into a pirates' lair by a bunch of Scumno scoundrels.

I could sense the FRU guys pumping up their adrenaline - and for a moment thought it would be wise to not linger. But RPK was speaking under a cluster of yellow balloons and I moved closer to hear him describe what an emotional torture it is for some ISA detainees who don't even get one visit from family in 3 months - because the families are too poor or live too far to make regular trips to Kamunting.

We felt a ripple of aggression emanating from the Red Helmets - some Polis officer must have received a call with instructions to nab a truckload of law-abiding taxpayers just to show the Rakyat you can't mess with the Biggest Bodoh in Bodohland. A voice said, "Let's sing Negaraku before we disperse!" and with surprising sweetness & authentic sincerity, the national anthem was sung wholeheartedly by the 250-300 souls gathered around RPK. Before we could finish, I heard batons banging on shields and knew the Red Helmets were about to charge.

"Let's split," I said to my companion, "it's rather inconvenient to spend the night in the copshop!" As we turned to walk away, what sounded like Orcs on the rampage reached our ears. I turned around and saw the crowd being shoved around like waters in a lake being churned up by a descending helicopter. Good thing I was wearing a black shirt over my red No Holds Barred T-shirt. I remembered to blow out my candle so as not to draw unwanted attention and vanished into the shadows between some large bushes and then got back onto the path leading towards the main road. I could hear harsh voices and the sound of batons smashing on shields (or heads, I couldn't be sure and wasn't inclined to turn around and find out).

We managed to get safely back to New Town and found a coffee shop still open - a few of my friend's friends were already there. They, too, had been at the vigil and were outraged and shaken at the unnecessarily violent turn it had taken.

Home minister Hamid Albar vehemently denied any knowledge of the heavy-handed Polis action until this morning. What an incompetent home minister, to be entirely clueless about an event so politically significant - and to have so little control over the behavior of his own Polis force! Deserves to be sacked on the spot! Everybody knows that only a couple of days ago Hamid Albar suffered the humiliation of being ticked off by an honest judge, when the home minister was accused of abusing his power and bending the law to malicious and partisan political ends. It was nothing less than a public slap in his fat face.

No doubt the Usual Suspects were frothing at the mouth because RPK had the audacity to even exist - what more as a free man and evidently the most beloved, respected and celebrated Son of Malaysia!

Within 15 minutes I was receiving SMSes filling me in on the details - two DAP MPs pulled in (heard Tony Pua and Lau Weng San had been roughed up). Abolish-the-ISA activist Angela Ooi nabbed, along with a Malaysiakini videographer, and around 20 others, including Ashok Kandiah, a member of the legal team that had sprung RPK on Friday. One guy had apparently made a run for it but was chased by eight Red Helmets who knocked him down and pinned him to the ground before whacking him up. Now this is what the public would like to see being done to child rapists, snatch thieves and kidnappers - not to peace-loving citizens doing their democratic duty; assembling to call for the repeal of a tyrannical & oppressive law by lighting candles and singing the national anthem.

This video reveals that the red-helmeted Orcs not only failed to show respect for the national anthem by standing to attention - they actually attacked unarmed citizens in the middle of expressing their patriotism and rudely clobbered some of them, arresting others. I know a few of us did sing Negaraku offkey but is there a law that says the punishment is to be kicked in the stomach and truncheoned in public? Selangor Chief Police Officer Khalid Abu Bakar stated that those arrested were wearing red and yellow T-shirts. I know those are the colors of the Selangor state flag - but since when has it been a crime to wear those colors on a Sunday night?

What now, Malaysia? From Bodowiland to Mahathirville via Najibia? Or will the Sun break through the clouds sooner than we expect, signalling a New Dawn?