07 December 2008

PJ Candlelight Vigil Take 9 - Looking Fine!

Recently, I saw a blog comment that said the people who attend the candlelight anti-I.S.A. vigils are so out of touch with life. I thought about that statement for awhile now. I didn't want to dismiss it straightaway as I think it's good to understand where these ideas are coming from. However, I cannot, for the life of me, equate the vigils to being "out of touch" with life.

On the contrary, I think it's really a case of being in touch with life. Real life and real people accepting a situation, assessing it and doing what can be done to deal with it.
Rather than sitting at home and thinking, "oh, that doesn't concern me!", it's simply a case of "this concerns a fellow human being and I am, therefore, going to give my support".

This truly concerns everybody.

Those who aren't concerned shouldn't stand in judgement of the people who are showing up for what they believe in.

Raja Petra Kamarudin
(he walks the talk)

Husband and Wife Mother and daughter
Brothers Whole families New Friends
Old friends
and a whole bunch of other caring Malaysians!

Fr. O. C. LimJames NakasonYoung Malaysians - Jared and Jarod
Young Women (ahem!)
Young Men!

Blogger - Stephen Francis

Lawyer - Haris Ibrahim
Queen(ie) bee

One of the worker bees - Benz!

and the other worker bee - indefatigable Pat Lu.

I missed getting good shots of Zorro, Lokeman, Dave and Mrs Dave, Gus, Sunny, Mark, Rodi, Boom, Ambrose and many many others. These are all the caring Malaysians, who hold their heads up high and stand, with all those pictured here, together in unity! I am so proud to be one of them.

What was my Sunday like before 12 October 2008? I cannot remember! I do know now that since that day, I've felt more a part of Malaysia than I've ever felt before!

Read more here:


Zaharan Razak said...

I'd tend to agree with you rather than the person who says vigils represent being out of touch with reality. It is a peaceful rally in the cool of the night to advance a cause of public concern. Of course whenever people congregate peacefully not as spectators to watch an event but to highlight an issue there are many motives from the highly committed and passionate to the just more for socializing, being curious, having nothing better to do, being dragged along and people who just happen to be there and just join in to savor the atmosphere.

Vigil as a means of highlighting an issue has a long tradition but only recently taken root among Malaysians, I think.

The issue itself, ISA, is a double-edged thingy, afaiac. The best strategists and lawmakers of the land hammer it on the anvil of law and order, one more tool to govern a country. It is not a recent invention or ours. We inherit it from the British. Most countries of the world if not all have it in one form or another even the most liberal have it in the form of war or emergency laws.

To ask for it to be abolished is perhaps what is meant by not being in touch with reality.

Its potential for abuse is, I think, a separate issue from its need and efficacy in certain cases as provided for by the law.

To protest or express opinions against it should not be barred provided it does not get out of hand.

But equally those who agree to its standing has a right to an opinion.

This is the so-called market place of ideas and opinions in a democracy. At the end of the day the government of the day elected by the majority has the power and right to make a stand as much as some may disagree.

This is putting it in perspective before anyone thinks everyone agrees with them. they are right, others are wrong or uncaring. A vigil may give this impression to its members - a sense of self-righteousness and we-care-others-don't. After all a vigil is only one way of expression. Caught in the spirit of the day and carried by the occasion, things can sometimes get, er, surreal ...

I've no quarrel against it, just an appeal for a sense of proportion, perspective and realism - ugh that ugly word rearing its head again!

One more note. An open and unstructured gathering like a vigil is just like the ISA which it purports to address - open to abuse or grinding of axes. The history of open expressions of opinion whether a mere static pacifist vigil or a violent street protest or occupation of public amenities such as airports shows things can and do get out of hand. Grabbing in the dark, so to speak, is common. Thefts happened during the Bangkok protests. The yippie march to the White House in mid-60s turned ugly.

This is an example of a consideration which would-be taket-to-the-street-streakers should also consider.

Some people who are antagonistic might also take covert actions like the burning of the Jerit bicycles.

Lastly, I think people who are sincere and conduct vigils are more in touch with life and kindred spirits than bloggers like me who moan and carp from a safe distance. Haha!

Eyes Wide Open said...

Hi Lita

If any idiot still thinks ISA is a good idea, or that it's no big deal, you can ask then to visit my blog to read Malek Hussin's account to malaysiakini of his ISA detention. Find it under the ISA tag.


MALEK HUSSIN: My ISA Detention Horror

People often forget incidents of the past but for former ISA detainee Abdul Malek Hussin, one horror event will forever be etched in his mind - his 57 days of living hell in detention.

Abdul Malek Hussin, 51, was awarded RM2.5 million in damages against the government over his arrest and torture in 1998. This was the result of a civil suit he filed in March 1999, naming special branch officer Borhan Daud, the then Inspector General of Police Abdul Rahim Noor and the government as respondents.

It has been nine years since the chairperson of polls watchdog Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) was detained under the obnoxious Internal Security Act and he recollects every moment of it in an interview with Malaysiakini.

Jarod said...

Hi lita,

Thanks for the photos. However, the photo I took together with your son make my eyes so small when I smile! hahaha!


Antares said...

Such a gem you are, Lita! Sundays I usually have guests so I can't leave... but your vigil reports invariably make me feel like I really missed something! Nevertheless my spirit is ALWAYS with anyone who's making a stand for justice, human rights & freedom. I've always wondered how to make composite images using Photoshop... will you please explain how via email? You do such gorgeous composites, I'm so impressed :-) Lots of love to you & everybody present at the vigils. Beautiful to see the spirit as strong as ever!

peng said...

You are right Lita, those who chose not to be in touch with the real life out there, has no right to judge those who chose to! Can we then judge them in return and say they are self-centred? No we don't. We continue to do what is right and by persuasion, try to win them over! That's the beauty of us, right?

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Zaharan: Two comments in one night! I am so thrilled.

Thank you for such a well-rounded description of the I.S.A. and your take on the vigil.

I admit that to savour the social atmosphere is one of the attractions. People come for various reasons but if they don't it would mean that an opportunity is missed to become aware of what needs to be addressed.

Like in my case, I first went just to show my support for a night, then I saw the passion of those who organised it and maybe, I sensed a little of their desperation about so little being done. That desperation hooked me. I felt it too.

Since then, it's been really wonderful. I've met so many lovely Malaysians. I never would have been able to do that sitting at home watching TV on a Sunday night.

I feel satisfied to drop my little grain of sand to the little hill of hope.

It's the least I can do.

Thank you for giving your thoughts on this. I appreciate it very much.


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Eyes Wide Open: It was, indeed, Malek Hussin's account of his horror that got me on this bandwagon.

I just think that those who don't agree shouldn't stand in the way of those that do oppose the I.S.A.

The air is free, isn't it? So we can choose to breathe it wherever we like! I choose to go check the air out at the PJ Civic Centre on Sundays at 8 pm! :)

Thank you for your visit and comments.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Jarod: No one sees your eyes in the pictures lah, dear! It is your great presence and your big heart that counts.

Nothing else matters! :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Antares: Hee hee hee. I was nervous, for the first time since I started blogging, when I did the post last night. I kept thinking of your previous comment!

Phew! so glad I got over that one! Thanks for your kind words once again.

More thanks for sharing your feelings here. It means I did capture the spirit right!

I'll send you an email about the photos thingy. I owe you for the advice you gave me not too long ago! :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Peng: My dear, your sense of fairness is so welcome. Yes, you are right! We aim to draw them over by continuing to do what we do. Isn't that just fun?

They'll come around. And if they don't, it doesn't matter really. We can't be responsible for anybody else but ourselves even if we wish to.


hijau-kiri said...

Dear Lita ,
I know your postings this week will also not disappoint.When I start my green blog,I may also seek your advice on Phtoshop.

I also follow your hubby's blog.

Best Regards and God Bless


Baby, looks like we have lots to when we retire, besides taking care of our "future grandkids" (Jared if you're reading this, hint hint). Just to inform the other bloggers, fans, friends, kakis, that I will be at the next vigil this coming Sunday (God willing). Such lovely pictures taken. I miss the atmosphere and the buzz at the vigils. Till I see you guys again, God bless and stay safe.

Anonymous said...

love what u did with the pix!!!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

I can't wait to see your green blog. I'll also be glad to help in whatever way that I can. But you know I'm also new. Not even passed my first trimester.

Stephen will be so happy to know you follow his blog. Thank you for saying so.

Next time, say hello okay!


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...


Ahhhhhhhhh my greatest fan dropped by to comment. How sweet is that?

The 10th vigil will be a milestone for everyone and with you around it will be even more meaningful to be there as a family!

Love you lots! :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

delcapo: Thanks dear. So glad you like it. Didn't realise I could be so creative in writing and photography until now:


TheWhisperer said...

Wah! So many positive comments already. I am usually one of the earliest stalker of your blog. This time I could not make it for some good reasons which may appear soon on my blog.

Nevertheless, a good report from your part. Interesting convictions too. Looked like more and more people know where to click for a good report on vigil.

Well done, Yin.

Jong said...

Just drop by. Wow another refreshing blog! Thanks for the pictures and for sharing with those far away not able to attend the vigil!

Hope to join you guys one day.

LChuah said...

Hi, Lita - thought you were making studies of candles when your camera zeroed in onto my solitary flame. Didn't know it was to be part of a montage! And in a sense you WERE making studies of candles, except that, besides the aesthetic, there's also the socio-political aspect. And indeed, we cannot escape the religious as well.

The many shapes and colors and angles and lighting of your montage reflect the rich, multiethnic tapestry of Malaysian life. In a sense we typify what Bakhtin variously termed as "carnivalesque," "dialogic" "polyphonic" or "heteroglossic" - the many voices and tongues raised against what we all see as man's inhumanity to man. This is the distinction between freedom of speech for God and freedom of speech for Satan. Each flickering candle seems insignificant, but together they bring warmth to those unjustly locked-up, when they realize that they've not been forgotten.

Good job, and hope to see more each coming week.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

TheWhisperer: Thanks for your loyal support and wonderful words. I can always count on you to lift my spirits.

You've been busy, I see! Great pictures on your blog. Missed two great sessions! hmmmmm! Never mind lah, enjoyed the pictures, that'll have to do for now.

:) Yin

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Jong: Hello, thanks for dropping by. All are welcome and especially those that leave nice comments!

We'll be waiting for you at the vigils, but make it soon! One never knows when it will be the last! :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

LChuah: Hello to you! Thanks for the thumbs up! Appreciate your comment very much.

Next time, say hello okay! I'm slowly getting this brain to work better at remembering more names and faces! ;)

LChuah said...

ok, Lita, will do. You'd probably seen me before - been to all vigils except one. Next time you see a bald fella with a slingbag and an umbrella (serves also as a crutch for my arthritic limbs), you'll know.

One joke: I was at a KL pasar malam when a vegetable seller complimented me on my looks. Flattered, I asked, "How old do you think I look?"

"At the most, in the 60s," he replied (in Cantonese, "loke sub lang sui").

"Thanks," I smiled.

I AM in my 60s! He must've thought I was in my 70s!!! :)


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

LChuah: So nice to see you here again. Well, first, age is just a number! Second, we should have said "hello" long ago! ;)

I'm told I have a fierce face, hence it may be difficult for someone to say hello first. Plus I usually gravitate to those I know since it's safer! So say hello and we can cross that barrier! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lita,
Yet, another masterpiece of work! Its really vibrant in both pics and rakyat you captured. Keep it rolling! Trust you had a wonderful trip to Singapore.

Glad to know Stephen may be joining us this Sunday.A lot of changes for you since his last vigil at Amcorp, ya?

C U soon

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Rakyat@work: It's wonderful how you heap praises for my post when you deserve just the same.

I've been admiring your work and dedication for a while now and I'm glad we are friends.

Yes, Stephen will be with us this Sunday. I am sure he'll be amazed at how much more tightly-knit the people have become since his last participation.

The 10th vigil! It's a milestone. Could it be a turning point? Why not? We can hope!

Cheers buddy! :)