For me personally when the ruling authorities start telling blatant lies and oppressing the ordinary citizens in the country, they lose their moral authority to govern the nation. Once they lose the moral authority to govern, they can only do it through sheer brutal physical force which is what we witnessed last Saturday.
It was a very liberating experience for me personally to have taken that Walk for Freedom last Saturday. It was all the more satisfying to walk together with my wife and daughter as well as our friends.
It was truly experiencing Malaysia at its best, walking in unity without concern for race or religion but only as Malaysians. The presence of many young people was very heart-warming a sight to behold which augurs well for our country. Walking together and shouting in unison was an experience that is hard to express in words.
I was in the group that started from the old train station walking beside the Klang River pathway next to the Post Office and Dayabumi. Then we encountered the first FRU road-block along Leboh Pasar Besar. All I heard was some bell-ringing (was that the FRU warning??) and suddenly volleys of tear gas came flying over our heads. Confusion for a while but the best of human nature became evident. People scrambled back as orderly as possible — nearly all were coughing and tearing. Water bottles were freely shared and salt packets were opened and offers came freely and openly. Hands were freely extended to those who needed help to climb over obstacles. There was a comradeship that drew everyone together. I dare say that there and then we all CRIED FOR MALAYSIA together and it was a very good feeling that broke all barriers and divisions that our government have been trying to tell and remind us is there – it all evaporated in that instant.
I met many elderly people especially the Paciks and Maciks whose health I can see is not good, some walking with the help of walking sticks and even crutches — people who could easily be excused if they choose to stay at home but no, they choose to walk with the rest of their countrymen for freedom in this nation. Some brought their young children hand in hand — reckless? irresponsible? — I do not think so. They said they wanted their children to know, to understand what is happening in this nation and the price that will need to be paid for true freedom in the nation.
We made our way to Petaling Street onto the Menara Maybank junction where more tear gas were fired. We then walked back up Petaling Street — in a very orderly fashion even in the falling rain. All were drenched but no one was complaining and all were in good spirits and mood. We turned into Jalan Hang Jebat before turning into Cangkat Stadium. By then it was pouring but everyone looked happy knowing the the rain was God’s answer to the tear gas. After a long standoff and making no headway we headed back to Central Market.
Everyone was happy and singing, shouting and thoroughly enjoying themselves — truly this is Malaysia at its best and to me, it signified Hope for this nation, Hope for the people and Hope for the future. You could not find a more happy and contented crowd than what I saw and experienced that afternoon — it had a carnival-like atmosphere.
As I passed the Gospel Hall on the way back along Jalan Hang Jebat I commented to my wife how good it would have been if the church had organised and open her doors offering free drinks to the people for this occasion. It would have been so meaningful, so relevant and so Christ-like but alas it was just a dream. (PS – Please forgive me if it sounds ‘judgmental’, do not mean to be but it was just a thought that I had and am sharing)
We continued down Jalan Sultan, near the Klang bus station where once again we encountered tear gas volleys — three in all. Because we had brought spray bottles filled with clean water, all of us were happily helping those affected by the tear gas by spraying the water into their eyes irrespective of race or religion. All were thankful and grateful and when I mentioned it was “Air Bersih” — they all smiled. By then, we decided to leave since we had achieved our objective and won a moral victory for the many common people who turned up in spite of and despite all the threats, intimidation and media bias. There remained only the game of playing hide and seek with the FRU which I did not think was worth playing at that time. We trekked all the way back to Brickfields and drove back home — tired, weary but very joyful, thankful and hopeful.
At no time during the entire period walking with the thousands all around me did I sense any fear from the people around me but only from the FRU/Police. People were extremely kind, thoughtful and helpful sharing what they had — willingly and joyfully.
I gave extra facemask to those with none, my wife exchanged facemask giving the better N95 one to the old pacik limping along with a walking stick, shared my asam boi with people around me and they took it happily and thankfully.
At no time in that massive crowd did I see any acts of violence against any property or people. The only people who appeared fearful were the workers in the various shops that quickly and hastily shut their doors – not sure why frankly. They lost a great business opportunity. One 7-eleven store that remained open did a roaring business.
All in I think the fear instilled and perpetuated by the government that gripped the people have been broken. All the lies and deception so beautifully crafted and disseminated by the government over the years have been exposed for what they truly are.
I end with what I started — a government that can blatantly lie, oppress and divide the people of the nation for their own selfish interests and the benefit of a select few, in my humble opinion has lost its legitimacy to govern and as Christians we must stand together with the common people of this land to uphold righteousness, truth and integrity and see it come to pass not only for the sake of this nation but also the next generation and the generations yet to be born.
we have walked together… thanks Bersih 2.0 for bringing it all together
we have suffered together… thanks to all the high-handed ways of the police
we have cried together… courtesy of the FRU but paid for by our tax money – sigh
we can now hope together… to all those who participated in the 9th July walk of freedom, I salute you as true Malaysians.
A Malaysian Pastor.