Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mooza Mohd ~ Notes from #OccupyDataran

The following was lifted from blog entries posted by my young friend Mooza Mohd who beautifully embodies the brilliant exuberance, courage and idealism of Malaysian youth in the Age of Aquarius...

19th April, 2012
2.36am @ Dataran Merdeka

Me & Temme came back from the ‘toilet’ behind the generator of Dataran Merdeka, and as we were walking back, there was shouting and we immediately saw the tents were being kicked and destroyed. Several of these tents had people sleeping in them, including a petite girl in tudung - who later verified she was kicked several times before she got out. She stood there, probably traumatised & crying for like about 5 minutes. Nobody came to check if she was alright for that duration because the gangsters were too busy destroying and abusing the occupiers & friends. A lot of shouting & verbal abuse. Not to mention really rough continuous physical attacks.

When I came to the site running with Temme, about 3 Malay men (they were ALL Malay) took my camera before I could do anything with it - wrangled it away from me, pushing & pulling me until they smashed it onto the floor, then smashed it with their feet.

At the same time I saw Temme getting pushed by about 10 or so men, surrounding her until she fell back. They were pulling her camera, and pulling her bag very roughly. I actually tried to get to her, but saw the girl who was kicked in her tent still sobbing and standing there alone. I got to her, and Kris was already there trying to pull her to safety, we took her aside and I turned to look at what’s happening. It was clear, the occupiers were being harassed continuously, shouted at, pushed, provoked & attacked to the sides. Temme fell backwards when she was being pushed/pulled & surrounded by 10 or so men - also they stole her new camera, along with the pictures in it.

By this time we all knew they were targeting people with recording devices. I stood there watching to witness as many incidents and trying to recognise their faces, when suddenly a man in his 40s looked at me, shouting, “Kau tengok apa? Blah! Kau nak kena?!” (What are you looking at? Get out! You want to get it!?”). Of course, I clocked that this man was a total idiot, a primitive creature. I looked at him, just in my head asking WHY? (Okay, I was thinking, “Why are you such an IDIOT and so ugly?).

This man must’ve totally heard what I thought and came closer to my face, repeatedly provoking me. When he came close, I told him several times, “Jangan sentuh saya!” (“Don’t touch me!”) but he continued to threaten me and shoved his index finger to my forehead until I almost fell back. At the same time, several dudes pointed towards me saying I have the camera, and aggressively shouting to take my camera and my phone from my bag. All of this happened very quickly and I suddenly found myself surrounded by 5 or 6 men pushing and pulling me from all sides, roughly grabbing my bag until it tore. Edwin was there too, and he helped me out - and then I was finally taken away to the sides.

I was in shock and also very pissed off. What I saw 30 metres away from me, 10 or so policemen who had a good view of the entire thing, THEY DID NOTHING. Another group of cops on the other side, about 20 of them scattered at the sides. I stared at these policemen, and they only watched. I saw there were already 5 patrol cars (one just screeched in loudly at the side stylishly) but still, THEY DID NOTHING. I saw none of the policemen trying to ‘calm the situation’ as they so proudly declared on the papers.

Only in the last 5 minutes of the whole attack did they come in & try to negotiate. Negotiate? Yes, that course of action makes a lot of sense when people are getting attacked and harassed for 15 minutes.

When I finally remembered to breathe all of this in, I saw a man surrounded by two gangsters, and then later 5 and later 10, and it came to about 20. I didn’t get a good look but I clearly saw there was kicking. And this happened at the very end, about two policemen became part of that crowd, again, trying to ‘negotiate’ things.

The gangsters left. A handful policemen stayed.

Time to transmute the tragedy of history into pure comedy!

When everything was finally a little bit calmer, it was already 3.34am on my clock. What #OccupyDataran did was quick and brilliant when Fahmi suggested everyone to participate in the Sidang Rakyat to recollect the timeline of what happened in recording. After most of the accounts have been shared, the occupiers & friends came to a decision to collectively stay in Dataran and continue to occupy peacefully.

Police reports were made the whole day by the various individuals who got attacked, hurt, abused & their property damaged/stolen.

Dataran Merdeka will remain occupied.

p/s: Most pissed off that the gangster in his 40s contaminated my third eye with his finger. Need to do a thorough cleansing to dispose his ugliness. What an asshole.

TEXT POST FRI, APR. 20, 2012
thoughts: occupying our space

They’ve planned the city well. Surrounding Dataran Merdeka - the symbol of the people’s independence - you can see buildings of Ministry of Culture & Communication, Federal Court, DBKL, Royal Selangor Club and also banks in the likes of AGRO Bank (seriously, that’s its name), HSBC, CIMB, Bank Rakyat (People’s Bank). Nearby there’s a huge fortress called the Dang Wangi Police Station, MARA building, Bank Negara & other capitalistic institutions. Buildings for the people? Oh yes, they’re there too. It’s called shopping malls and food courts.

Why #OccupyDataran? People need to reclaim their space. It’s been too long that our space have been determined by the government & elitist. Free space is hard to come by, and without it expression of the free minds & ideas could not materialise collectively. Occupiers of Dataran Merdeka are there for a simple reason. They know this is not the best possible condition to live in, governed & ruled by a small percentage whose voice & reason monopolise the country, and they are there to provide alternative ways to organise our community.

Reclaiming the space is the first step into shaping ideas by the people for the people. Dataran Merdeka is free for anyone, including the rulers, and there, people can introduce different alternative methods which could take shape in a project. I disagree to the notion that the occupiers only stands for protesting against the government. That they only stand for rebelling, negation & sourcing more angst. Yes, there is resentment, despair & and the feeling of being cheated continuously, but they do not dominate the main reason why they are there. What it stands for is a new idea. A collective of ideas that could replace the decaying ones that has been jeopardising the rights of the people repeatedly.

The presence of different groups in Dataran Merdeka (#OccupyDataran, #MansuhPTPTN, Lynas, Bersih 3.0 & other parties) suggests clearly that there is something wrong with this government. It suggests corruption, unfreedom, censorship, and compromised justice. These issues are brought to light when these groups create a united community in the encampment.

[Read the full post here.]

Images courtesy of Mooza Mohd and Peter Jackson