After so many days, and reading so many stories on the march, I thought that I should pen a few of my own thoughts and observations on some interesting things that happened on that day.
Instead of the expected rioting and looting that was expected, the rally goers did the exact opposite. I witnessed people queuing up and paying for bottles of water amid all that violence. Those establishments that were open that day, made a lot of money off the rally goers. And everyone actually queued – a rarity in Malaysia!
The shop owners, many of whom were very supportive. When the police started lobbing tear-gas into the crowd, some of the shop owners were herding people through their shops for safety and also a quick escape into the back alleys. While they were not in the crowd, they were definitely with it.
There were all kinds of chants that the crowd shouted including “Hidup Rakyat”, “Bersih Bersih” and others. However, when someone shouted “Hidup Anwar”, the volume of the chant was obviously muted. Most people were very clear on why they were there and it was not for Anwar who is becoming largely irrelevant.
People helped people. The sensation of being part of something bigger than ourselves, united people across religions and race. It is just ironic that the most 1Malaysia event of the year drew out the worst suppression that our government could throw at its own people. Instead of celebration, it was suppressed.
KL is Small
I actually wondered why, instead of driving, I have not walked more within the city. KL is actually very walk-able. One can cross the heart of the city from one end to another in just about half an hour. There are actually so many back-alleys and side-streets that can be used to short-cut the distance.
While many parents can remember the atrocities of 1969 and were very worried about how this rally may turn out, many were still quite supportive of their children’s need to march – Marina Mahathir joined the rally to keep an eye on her daughter. Some bid their kids to have a good time and stay safe!
Everyone had their own personal reasons for joining the rally. However, there were some who joined simply because the government told them not to – natural trouble-makers – and some even spent the prior night in their offices. Honestly, I think that the turn-out might have been less if the government had actually played everything down.
I hope that I did not miss anything. If I did, I will update this entry later.