Tuesday, 13 November 2007

BERSIH March for Electoral Justice 2007

For those of you who don't already know, the BERSIH March for justice in the electorate system was held on 10 November 2007, despite a ban on the march by the government and the Prime Minister himself. You can find news about it all over the place:


Rally - Yellow Yellow eh why got red wan

In light of this latest event, I began thinking of whether it is right for Christians to participate in such events. After all, are we not told to "submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."? (1 Peter 2:13)

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." [NIV]

Do we rally for electorate justice whilst Christians elsewhere suffer in silence and don't even rally for the right to live? The largest "rally" they had, so to speak, was the Right To Justice petition by the Barnabas Fund.

I'm not saying that we should be indifferent to any social, political or economic event in the country, for it is better for us to be well-informed than to be like katak di bawah tempurung.

But should we be partakers of such demonstrations?

What of living at peace with everyone?

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
(Romans 12:18) [NIV]

Or is that verse applicable only when the disturbance of peace has to do with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Does that mean we're free to not live peaceably with the-other-"everyone"s-out-there-who-are-not-Christians? Does holding the demonstration in a peaceful manner justify the nature of the demonstration?

Come on, hwei, I mean, look at these guys! The current government doesn't commend the right and punish evildoers! What - are you blind?

Nope. I'm most definitely not blind. And I'm not here to brainwash you with answers. I am one who is looking for answers myself.

...For the Apartheid rule would have lingered had Nelson Mandela not led the anti-apartheid movement.
...For India would be nowhere today had Mahatma Gandhi not "led nationwide campaigns for the alleviation of poverty, for the liberation of women, for brotherhood amongst differing religions and ethnicities, for an end to untouchability and caste discrimination, and for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation, but above all for Swaraj - the independence of India from foreign domination*"

And the corruption and lack of ethics in the judiciary system do stick out like a sore thumb (or thumbs). My friends in law schools have been telling me for eons that the biggest contributors to the drop-out rate in law schools are those who plunge in with dreams and visions of upholding justice.

But the Tragedy of 13 May still troubles us.

This riot was a tragedy indeed. What if a demonstration which started out peacefully was thwarted somewhere along the way and produced a similiar outcome? Nay, some loudly protest. Some say 13 May would never happen again. It was a set-up by the government, and it may well be true. Some deny it vigourously, and some say you don't have to think hard to know why. Scams by the government. Set-ups. Journalists unable to write without fear or favour (to quote Beth Yahp). Media manipulation. Media control. A government for the powerful few. And of course the ever-important issue of preferential treatment.

Bad, bad government.

If we have reason to grapple the government in our relentless hold, and spit our steaming and honest accusations on it (or her), who is to say that we do not and cannot have reason to do the same to those who go against the government?

Do we really think that were Mr. Anwar Ibrahim in the place of the current Prime Minister, there would have been no such demonstration on 10 November 2007? Let's rewind to before 10 November 2007 for a minute. There are other questions to ask:

Would he allow the demonstration to proceed?
Would he hack the BERSIH website?
Would he allow the police to fire tear-gas and chemical-laced water at the crowd?
Would he be just?
Would he be democratic?
Would there be substantial eradication of poverty and corruption?
Would there be electoral justice?
Would he deny electoral injustice?
Would we surely have religious freedom?
Would we finally be able to claim the rights we have been deprived of for so long?
Would the International Herald Tribune finally have something nice to say about our leadership?
Would things really be different?

How different?

Now, Tse Hwei, this is not the way to blog. The rally wasn't all about Anwar Ibrahim. You're being totally irrelevant. You PMS kah?

If we can deduce that the government rushed the election date to early 2008 to keep Anwar out of the elections, I don't see why we cannot deduce that Anwar Ibrahim had more than a small part to play, and probably a hidden agenda in all of this.

Forgive me for being judgmental, but aren't we all? We may spurt words and churn blog entries and letters and call them opinions, but as always, God does the best name-calling, and He does always give the best names.

After all, are we not pushing for liberalisation? I am liberal indeed.

Back to my confusion.

Is it alright to "shy away" from things like this (as one friend describes the attitude)? To say "I'm a Christian, so I'm supposed to submit to the authorities. You non-Christian guys go ahead. Heartiest congratulations and heartfelt sympathy in advance, whichever may be relevant to the outcome. Goodbye!"?

On the other hand, were we to take part in such demonstrations, who are we to say for sure that the people we're backing (good and right as our intentions may be) will do good for the country? That they do not have hidden agendas? That we are not merely pawns and batu loncatan's for them to gain power? If they manipulate us, then manipulate the media after they gain power through the elections (democratically, as they say), no one would be the wiser.

What, exactly, are we hoping to gain from all this? Meritocracy? Democracy? Justice?

Perhaps we would be the justice-hopefuls who eventually drop out.

Enough with the debates and speculations about the motives of the rally organizers and the government. They know very well what their motives and purposes are. The question is whether we, who are vital in either of them achieving their goals, realize where we are headed when we do the things we do, and whether we hold a substantial amount of truth when we back someone in their campaigns. Once a pawn, always a pawn. Until you make it to the other end. And who knows where that is?

The way I see it, God Himself will determine the outcome of this movement (yeah tear me apart, all you people who wince at this word).

I suppose I shall have to wait and see if this event becomes a topic in Malaysian history books, or merely a page in Wikipedia and the like.

Then I will know for sure if the writers of all those letters, blog entries and articles who enthusiastically embraced the gift of discernment and visions really knew what they were talking about when they claimed nobly to know what is best for the country.

*Wikipedia - Mahatma Gandhi

No Mushy Titles Here

I went to SK St. Francis to pick Ken up from school today (dodged here and there to get past the little kids who were running about everywhere).

A long line of parents and older siblings lined the railing outside. It was still only 15 minutes before the dismissal bell. One would ask:
Nothing better to do ar? Never pick your kids up before ar? So early for what?
Yeah. One would think that parents who picked their kids up everyday would be able to time their arrival time just right by now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not thinking that. There's a reason why I was there to see that line of people waiting 15 minutes before school dismissed. Duh.

When you're in the sort of situation where it gets awkward when you make the slightest movement because then everyone looks at you, there's really nothing better to do than to observe stuff. And in that sort of situation, you
really get to observe stuff... Like the 2 secondary school boys (one would question that, based on their behaviour) shooting imaginary bullets into the air and throwing imaginary buckets of water over the fence.

Screw the irrelevant details. Let's start again.


...Like the fact that there were probably 2 kinds of kids there today.
  1. The "I can't wait to go home, dad where are you? I'd better get ready to run, woohoo!" kid
  2. The "Dad's not coming anytime soon, I'll just play in the canteen first, woohoo!"kid

Ooo~ The bell. (may have been overdramatized)

Kid #1 sprints towards the school gate with a burst of energy that prompts the 2 boys to exclaim:
Wahhhhh never go home before izzit?
I do wonder. Have they forgotten what it was like to rush towards the school gates when the bell rings?

The adrenaline. The joy. The excitement. The anticipation.
A long day at school is too much. I want to go home!!

And when you pass through the gates, you realize that your heart's pumping like it's never pumped before (or so you think. It pumps like that all through your childhood days of running around). Or maybe they'd never experienced it before. Pitiful people.

Then there is the kid who nervously clutches his bag and strains his neck for a glimpse of his parent or sibling. Whichever. The one who'd take him home, anyway. The awful moments of waiting and watching for Dad comes to mind. Brrrr. The longest wait was 4 hours, by the way.

Then I see a little boy with rabbit teeth and a yellow-red bag, not near the fence, but a distance away, trying to peer over the fence from his rather distant position from the fence itself. Of course he doesn't see the one who can bring him home. He's too far away. I watch as he turns and mopes away. I take after him and push my way through the string of kids, trying to keep my eyes on him for as long as I can.

When I finally push through the crowd, I realize I've lost sight of him. I walk towards the canteen anyway, and see him searching his pockets, for a RM0.20 probably (=D so cute!), near the payphone. I call to him -

P&P. Pause and Ponder. It's amazing how it always happens the same way -
Little head turns. Little face smiles. Little feet start running.

The call. The turn. The smile. The feet.

But only if I call his name. And only if he knows my voice.

If I called out "oi!" to you, would you turn? If a stranger called out your name, you'd turn, but would you smile?

How interesting to note that we learn the most valuable lessons from little children.

When the Lord calls, He calls you by name. And He expects you to turn, smile, and move your little feet. But sometimes we miss out on the call. We don't recognize His voice. We answer a stranger's call instead.

And sometimes... we don't even listen for His voice.

Like kid #2, who, by the way, was crouched on the ground in a circle with a bunch of friends. Crouched and distracted from the moment the bell rang to the moment Ken and I walked hand in hand out the school gates.

There's no way He can't find you when you wander further than you should. For He looked for you before you were born, and He seeks you out still. There's no possibility of Him being 4 hours late. For He waited before the world began, and waits for you still. There's no excuse for not hearing His voice. For the familiar voice rings loud and clear above the noise of the world. There's no reason for not knowing it is Him. For He calls you by name.

When the Lord calls, turn, smile... and run. Run like you've never run before.

And after all that adrenaline, joy, excitement and anticipation, slow down and take a walk, your hand in His, and walk on home.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Nutty Nuttiness

Sis was recently harassed by a Malay girl. She got a few smses and not a few 'silent' phone calls from the devastated girl. The first sms went something like this:

"Aku tau... abang aku ada perempuan lain..."

I carried out a survey on the different kinds of reactions people would give to this fact. Some of them are:

Äiyo kesian!
Har? Really ar?
Abang as in brother or boyfriend? Boyfriend not pakwe meh?
Then? Then?
Is CK dating a Malay girl?????????

Guess who?

Nutty Mark
mark la ...