Monday, April 6, 2009

A Rousing Ceramah at Simpang

Photos by Shanghaifish

On the spur of the moment I decided to poke my nose into the by-election festivities in Bukit Gantang instead of leaving it glued to my computer screen. It so happened that a couple of really cool friends were heading up to Taiping in the evening, so I hitched a ride with them. I'm now reporting from the Cherry Inn where the Barisan Rakyat Bloggers led by Haris Ibrahim and Bernard Khoo are holed up on several floors. We just returned from a massive ceramah hosted by the DAP in Simpang where the entire Pakatan Rakyat pantheon was present. We arrived minutes after Nizar Jamaluddin left, but were just in time for Anwar Ibrahim's soon-to-be-famous Tun Perak speech.

Photo by Antares

At the main table were Zaid Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Ronnie Liu, Teresa Kok, Karpal Singh (accompanied by Gobind Deo), Liew Chin Tong, and several others I didn't recognize. There were more than 5,000 seated by some estimates and a non-dining crowd that spilled over the entire area. Thunderous applause greeted Karpal when his wheelchair was lifted onto the stage, and another tumultuous eruption of spontaneous welcome signaled Tok Guru Nik Aziz's turn to address the receptive crowd.

"Nizar is a modern day Tun Perak whose actions serve the public good, not self-interest." (Photo by Antares)

Photo by Shanghaifish

It's a very different feeling to be in the thick of the action instead of just reading other bloggers' reports. The noise and confusion in the inostentatious Chinese restaurant where the ceramah was held, the sea of expectant faces, the palpable sense of solidarity in the air. And the sheer incongruity of seeing clusters of skull-capped PAS members mingling so easily with the predominantly Chinese crowd, focused on and united by a common goal - regime change in the immediate future, not one generation from now!

Photo by Shanghaifish

But for now it was enough to ensure a massive victory for Nizar Jamaluddin, even if his winning the Bukit Gantang seat may make it more complicated for him to return to being the one and only legitimate Mentri Besar of Perak, unless he manages to clone himself.

Photos by Shanghaifish

The energy at the ceramah was electric. Making our way through the throng who had paid RM300 per table to show support and listen to the featured speakers, I could sense the quiet resolve in their hearts and the warm camaraderie of souls conjoined in a shared determination to, once and for all, liberate our beloved country from unjust laws and outlaws in high office.

Photos by Antares

Earlier, as we entered the Bukit Gantang district, we were greeted by the surreal sight of dozens of police trucks and riot squad vehicles parked along an entire stretch of road and in the middle of roundabouts. Totally unnecessary. An efficient contingent of traffic police plus a couple dozen uniformed officers would have been more than adequate to ensure peaceful proceedings. In any event, the police were well-behaved tonight - as they ought to be every night.

Photo by Antares

My Sony CyberShot failed to perform (it only works properly in the day) so I've borrowed a few shots snapped by Shanghaifish. Thanks, bro!

Photo by Antares

The groundswell of optimism I felt just before the 12th general election was very much alive at the Simpang ceramah. It's a glorious experience to be surrounded by friendly faces aglow with the passion of their desire for a Malaysia renewed and transformed, cleansed of tyranny at last and free from the disease of dishonorable misrule.

Photo by Shanghaifish

There was much talk of BN's underhanded tactics. When you have access to a bottomless purse, you automatically assume everybody has a price and can be bought. The millions dangled before Pakatan MPs (in Kedah, Perak and Selangor) in a desperate attempt to induce them to switch sides... absolutely obscene!

Photo by Shanghaifish

It's truly heartening to know there are still some politicians committed to serving the people who voted them in; who will not betray the rakyat's trust. I salute all the Pakatan MPs who have resisted temptation and emerged with their conscience clear and their honor intact.

All right, people, let's roll up our sleeves and finish what we started on March 8th, 2008....


Shanghai Fish said...


Anytime, bro anytime and be my guest !And a nicely worded post here !
Cheers !

Anonymous said...

got video ah, pls !

SFGEMS said...

Could feel the sentiment from where I am. Great piece of work!


Anonymous said...

the spirit of the democracy tree is reverberating in the land where all the true anak bangsa malaysia are yearning for CHANGE!


Anonymous said...

Dear Antares

Do not all these images
of solidarity and racial and religious harmony
make you (and I)
"Proud to be Malaysian"?

Phua Kai Lit

backStreetGluttons said...

Another simple , straight & truthful article . we can feel your pulse !

Are you still in taiping tonight ?

peng said...

I missed the action with all the big guns! Left on Sunday evening around 4pm. The Changkat Jering exit took forever to clear!
Thanks for the update here, and all the people who traveled to Bukit Gantang to show support and give us the real news!

erniejean said...

Thanks for the ground zero report Antares........ :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks Antares. I will be praying very hard for Pakatan.

Unknown said...

Great work, Antares. Wish I could be there too...All the best to you guys.