(first published by The Malaysian Insider on November 30, 2010)
NOV 30 — I remember the March elections in 2008. It was supposedly the first elections where I was eligible (or old and wise enough) to vote, but a few friends and I opted to be in Jakarta for the Java International Jazz Festival. So while waiting for the constant updates from home by our friends, we all sat together at the food court, laughing at the fact that we’re not there to contribute to the crazy waves of a tsunami hitting the shores of Malaysian politics.
Much has happened since then. These include my ongoing battle with friends on why I didn’t register myself as a voter and, of course, the ups, downs, sideways, inwards, twirling typhoon that comes after. We see everyone’s true colours, their rudeness, immature responses, some indecent sexual scandals and not to mentioned people being thrown off buildings and blown up.
Coming from the younger generation who practically grew up under a single premiership, it being Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure as prime minister, I couldn’t see a lot of wrong things happening as I was either naïve at that time or I was just simply ignorant. I witnessed what was progress — Malaysia on the world map and becoming one of the fastest developing nations. We were not as fast as Singapore, but we took only 50 years to achieve what Mexico did to achieve in 200 years, and Europe, or even United States for that matter. I’ve seen universities grow like mushrooms, the modernisation of culture, the urbanisation of the people and much more. I was privileged enough to get the education I needed. I had no problems obtaining my first degree. I also get to watch world-class television broadcasts and films only a few days after its premiere screenings world wide.
But what has happened for the past two years has been eye-opening. No one represents the voice of the masses anymore. It’s just MY personal agenda (be it hidden or obvious), it’s MY party, it’s MY following, it’s MY post, it’s MY constituency. Heck, I don’t even know who my MP or ADUN is, and I have just recently registered myself as a voter. Will I know who I’m voting for, the party, the person, or someone who shares my belief in how this country should be governed?
What’s currently happening right now is considered a big joke to the younger generation. It’s like young adults discovering the mistakes made by their parents. Growing up, we always think that our parents make the best decisions for us, we’ve been told why this is wrong and why they did that. We get scared whenever we see our parents fight, thinking would this be the end of our family, will they get divorced, will we be sent to orphanages, how are we going to cope with our new adopted families or new step-siblings, etc. But now, we see how silly their arguments are actually, how they fought over glances at younger women, or maybe something stupid like “Why didn’t you listen to my story?” or, “Why did you fall asleep when I’m talking to you?”
I have seen a lot of younger people organising activities of their own. Activities that allow them to unite through passion and mutual interests. I’ve seen people work for no money at all just because they believe in something. And all these activities have one thing in common. The absence of government or political involvement, which have made them purer.
I also have seen efforts being made by these communities to propose their activities to government officials. This effort received wide media coverage but sadly, there was little media follow-up after the events. It is sad to see invited officials only wanting publicity, but there’s nothing that they can do if we’re not willing to provide financial gain to them in return. I know these things because I’m one of them, a young entrepreneur who has only her passion to back her up, and nothing else. No matter how thick our proposals are, we can never get through the bureaucracy and nepotism practised in the government and its agencies.
For whatever it’s worth, regardless of what’s happening, we all love our country, and we have hope and faith for the best. And unlike most people who have lost faith in the system, I won’t be migrating to another country, because I still love the drastic heat and crazy sudden rains of this country I call home.