30 November 2008

PJ Candlelight Vigil Take 8 - Eight is not Enough

Tonight's candlelight vigil drew a bigger crowd and they came from as far as Seremban! Some came by car, some came by bus, some came on foot from the Taman Jaya LRT Station but the the one who came on his bicycle took the first prize in my mind!

The brave speakers of the night!
Mrs Norlaila, Mariel, Angie, Lokman and Pinto

The crowd listening attentively!

The crowd from the other side! So many huh!

You can even sit if you want to!
The permit didn't touch on this! :)

It was the first time that I noticed a
tee-shirt with Chinese characters
and one with tamil characters too!

Faces of Malaysia standing side by side!

The faithful hearted guys!

Other than Zorro, we have a lone ranger!

More variations of the candles!

The freedom to sit in front of bars!
Isn't this what it's all about?
weather 10/10
turnout 10/10
crowd participation 10/10
peaceful assembly 10/10
feeling of unity and strength 10/10

Overal medal tally: 5 Golds tonight!

28 November 2008

A One-Night Stand became a Full-Blown Affair

Attending the first candlelight vigil on 12 October 2008, I had no pre-determined illusions about what to expect. It was a rather spur of the moment decision, only made possible because my son, Jared could accompany me. That day, as I’ve said before, I read something that Antares had written which shocked me completely.
While my first vigil was only meant to be a one-night stand, I have to admit that it didn’t end there.
I’ll explain here:
That night, no one knew me. In all fairness, I didn’t know anyone either. I scanned the faces to see if I could recognize anybody and I think the only one was possibly, Zorro. I was too timid then to even say ‘hi’. Anyway, while just standing there with our candles trying to look “cool” and like “one of the gang”, this tall guy came forward to say “hello”. Of course, when he introduced himself, I knew immediately who he was, from his name, as I had been following his blog for some time. I was pretty much bowled over by his humility. Most personalities wait to be approached, he didn’t. I noticed when I arrived that he was talking to a small group and then another and finally he came to my group. He welcomed us and told us he was happy we were there and he hoped we would continue to give our support. Such a simple and straightforward invitation to join them, made it all the more real and genuine.
Haris needs no introduction to those who have access to the internet, and he certainly has no need for lessons in PR charm. He’s a natural. He’s as ferocious about our rights as he is authentic about being a good person! (more on that, possibly in the future!)
Now why did I continue to go for the vigils? The answer is simple yet complex.
First, definitively is because the I.S.A. goes against the natural order of human rights.
Then following very closely behind would be the kind of people giving their support.
Sometimes when we have an opinion about something, a fair share of uncertainties also plagues us. After all, we are bombarded by the MSM about the ramifications of the I.S.A. and that it is for our own protection! However, when I look at the quality of the Malaysians who come together, I have to believe that these people (and I am not talking about the Mat Rempits type) know about the intricacies of this Act. As for me, I’m not a lawyer neither am I a politician and I’m just there because I shudder to think that another human being can be so callously removed from society, on a whim, for an indefinite period. Let’s let them have their day in court!
So my decision to have a full-fledged “affair” with the anti-I.S.A. vigil stems very much from the fact that the people there are cultured, educated, civilized, intelligent, and well informed. You only have to look at a cross-section of the supporters and you can get a clear idea that this vigil, although small but growing in numbers, reaches out to all classes of people.
This vigil touches the hearts of professionals, retirees, teenagers, homemakers, and the clergy – a wide spectrum of society. How can so many of us be wrong?
If you are still doubtful, check it out this Sunday! It's the school holiday, folks! Be there or be square!
Date: 30 November 2008
Time: 8.00 pm
Venue: Tarmac (next to car park)
opposite the Civic Centre, PJ New Town

24 November 2008

A dedication to Eric

Receiving a poem dedication today, I remembered writing one myself, way back in January 1993. I've written many but never published any. Now that I have a blog, it's only fitting that the first ever poem I post, should be dedicated to this little fella who left such a dent in our lives.

Eric (March 1990 - July 1992)

Once upon a time, there was a little boy
with curly brown hair, who gave me such joy

He was my son. I called him Eric
cute as could be, but then he was sick

He was delightful with his cheeky ways
keeping me busy through all of his days

He had a hole in his heart, known as VSD
not many knew, except for the family

At two, he had to have open-heart surgery
how painful for him and for me such misery

But he was brave and smiled even in the ICU
My precious child, experiencing something new

He recovered from the ordeal and came back
Then he had a hypertension attack

He collapsed at home, near his brother and I
We both panicked and feared that he would die

With terror in our hearts and such pain in mine
I suddenly felt he would leave us behind

I relived again all the tension and stress
realising that I could have one person less

I held my son and whispered a prayer
"Don’t take him, Lord, just don’t you dare!"

How could I endure some more pain?
Would I survive it? Would I be sane?

Six months later, I'm still grieving inside,
so much to let go off and so much to hide

I love you, Eric Joseph, and I always will
and life for me is like walking uphill

It's so difficult, not having you now
but I have to manage, someway, somehow

I had you dear Eric, for only two years
now all I have left, are just my tears

You've gone somewhere better, that I know
But it's hard to be happy when I miss you so

My "Once upon a time", is just a short chapter
Without the "they lived happily ever after."
-17 January 1993-
The 2 brothers, Jared John and Eric Joseph in 1991

23 November 2008

PJ Candlelight Vigil Take 7 - Q & A

Where were we at 8.00 pm
on Sunday,
23 November 2008?

Why were we there?

Was he all alone, with his umbrella
and tea light, there?
Who else was there?
Aren't these some beautiful new supporters?
Were these some of the
brave Malaysians there?
Haven't I seen these handsome regulars before?
Why did so many come despite the rain?
What were they doing there?
If you need answers to the above-mentioned questions,
send me a comment! :)

Bonus Question 1: Guess what is this?

Answer: It's an unpatented battery-powered candlelight
(modified torch with 2 papercups, stuck with tape one on top of the other)
Just brilliant!

Bonus Question 2: Why was this perfect stranger giving it to me?
Answer: I don't know! He just did.
He made me happy. He made himself happy.
(I was so excited I didn't even ask his name. Anyone knows?)

That's one of the lovely side effects
of being at the anti-I.S.A. vigil.

People give their best,
do their best,
are at their best!

If you think that was the best moment,
you are wrong!
This last picture is the one
that touched my heart.

Two Malaysian beauties
with the Jalur Gemilang
painted on their cheeks!
Cheeky? Yes.
Patriotic? Yes.
Kodak moment? Yes.

I couldn't rush home fast enough
to see if this picture came out nice!
(credit to Zorro for pointing them out to me!)

Hope more of you will come to share the nice atmosphere of peace, joy, solidarity and unity!

22 November 2008

"Yesterday is not ours to recover.....

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but
tomorrow is ours to win or to lose."

- Lyndon B. Johnson

I've been asked by some people about my attendance at the vigils and about why I have taken an active interest in this cause. I understand where these are all coming from. In my first post, I said that I would not be highlighting my political inclinations and I stand by it. There is a difference between the two, at least, in my mind.

I attend the vigils to give support to what I believe in. What stirred me to get out of my home, and go stand with others against the I.S.A., was a blog post by Antares. That same night, I went for my first vigil. I haven't looked back since.

There isn't much that I can do about what's already done. However, I can look to tomorrow as President Lyndon B. Johnson says. I can either win or lose. Until and unless I do, I'll never know. My conscience will not allow me to do nothing. This is why I attend the candlelight vigils.

In the course of doing so, I've discovered that all the emotions I feel, while sitting at home browsing the sopo blogs, were also what many others are feeling.

There are many people just like me, in the real world as well as in the cyber world who feel just as outraged at what has happened, what is continuing to happen and more worryingly, what may happen.

We never know when something we see or read or hear will touch us and prompt us to get up, get out and get involved in something that we believe in. Just as when Antares posted his blog, he would never have known that it was the catalyst for changes to my mindset and lifestyle. I haven't been the same since!

Therefore, when tomorrow comes, I will do my part.

Date : 23rd November, 2008

Time : 8.00pm

Venue : Tarmac (next to carpark)

opposite the Civic Centre, PJ New Town

20 November 2008

Of Bouquets, Brickbats and Birthdays

First, the bouquet:
He’s my best friend. He’s the first to cheer me on when I’m down. He’s a staunch supporter of my blog. He’s kind, cheerful and generous. In short, he’s a good man, from whichever way you see him.
Then, the brickbat:
He can be my worst critic. He can be crude too (which I disapprove of). He can sometimes have a devil-may-care attitude. He won’t pull punches if you step on his toes. In short, don’t mess with him.
Now, the birthday:
Happy Birthday, Baby!
I just think that it is appropriate for me to declare, to all my blog readers, that I love you. Sort of like a cyber gift! Don’t be embarrassed okay! I know you are smiling!

May God continue to bless my dearest husband with abundant love, joy and happiness forever and a day.

16 November 2008

Candlelight Vigil Take 6 - The Calm After the Storm

Updated with some new photos!
Updated again with link to youtube (courtesy of Pahlawan Volunteers) re: PJ anti-I.S.A. vigil
Candlelights: courtesy of PJ Civic Centre

For reasons beyond my control, I wasn't able to participate in last weekend's vigil, which, everyone knows, ended so badly. However, Stephen (in Singapore) and I (in Malaysia) followed the status of the peaceful vigil right up to the point where the 23 arrested were in the police station. While skyping (is that a word?), we were shocked to learn that a harmless vigil of peace-loving people could be made out into something sinister. In all fairness, I didn’t blog about it, as I was not there.

Tonight, however, is a different story. I managed to return from Singapore, just in time, for the 6th PJ vigil. I heard that we weren’t allowed to wear tee shirts nor carry candles. I found it absurd but in life, sometimes we just have to go with the flow. After being alerted around 7.45 pm that only about 30 people were there, my son (driver) decided to cruise by and see if we could lend our support. By the time we got there, the crowd had swelled to perhaps 70 and counting. Even in the first location, people were slowly trickling by with family in tow. Some were even sporting the “infamous” tee shirts. Some also came with their candles. It is heartening to see the spirit of unity and integrity. Many new faces were seen together with the die-hard supporters (too many to name here).

Then the awaited man-of-the-year arrived, Raja Petra together with his ever-loyal wife, Marina. People gravitate to him, even me. I find myself at a loss for words when I see him. There’s so much I want to say but cannot find the words. He’s used to it, I’m sure.

Marina takes a back seat but there is a look of satisfaction to be doing what she does best, standing by for him. I cannot say how pleased I am that she remembers me. She always gives me a hug. I feel I’ve known her for years. Nice feeling!

When we relocated to another area, just two minutes from where we were, people started showing up in droves. Suddenly the group became a crowd and it was impossible to take a picture of the entire group with my HP camera. The usual speeches were made and I didn’t get to hear any of them. It didn’t matter. My objective was to lend my physical presence and that of my son to the “I thought would be less people tonight” vigil. I was so wrong again. The turnout has been the highest of the four that I had participated in. Old friends met up, surprised to see each other there. New friends made contacts. Families came, the young with the old, people from all walks of life. This is the Malaysia that I know and love. This is the Malaysia I remember as I was growing up. Without prejudice for racial background, colour discrimination, or religious ideologies, is how we should meet and greet one another - not only at vigils but every time.

Let’s hope that the people who were present today carry with them the knowledge that we should be able to meet in solidarity "anytime" for those that cannot speak for themselves. I also hope that like me, they will share with others about the peace and harmony in the vigils and that making a difference does not mean being a nuisance.

Enjoy these pictures taken and see if you can stop yourself from smiling when you see the last one!

First location: Haris at work

Second Location: 2 minute walk from where we started
and Haris at work again
The crowd getting bigger by the minute

Loads of cameramen: Highlighting Malaysians at work;
showing up for what they believe in

The speeches!

More speeches!

Happy people exercising their freedom to be
where they want to be.
The bravest couple!

!More speeches 1
More Speeches 2
Why we were there? No I.S.A.
Loud and Clear:
No! No! No! to I.S.A.

The one who stole the limelight. This little cutie pie. I'm sure I saw many taking her picture. Hope they do her better justice than my camera phone.

Peace and out for now, good night Malaysia!

Read more : Shanghaifish, Anil Netto, Haris Ibrahim, Del Capo, Zorro, Sivin Kit, The Whisperer, kkitsam

10 November 2008

Of being Number 4

All through my school life, I had my fair share of forms to fill and each time I get to the part that said "race", I had to choose between (1) Malay, (2) Chinese, (3) Indian and (4) Others. I am always number 4. I don't really know how the forms are for school-going children today but I suspect that not much has changed.

I did have moments when I felt like ticking the box numbered (1). Just for fun! However, brought up by a rather strict mom and a very strict Convent school, I never did. Only once in my life did I play truant. Moreover, I was caught! That's a story for another day. 

Anyway, back to being number 4. It wasn't all too bad back then. Being the minority, did make me feel a little special. The 1s, 2s and 3s were so many. The Number 4s stood out, in some way. We were noticed more easily. People remembered us better too.

Now at almost half a century, yeah, almost but not quite there, I look back and see how advantageous it has been. Every single member of my family, the 4s has married either a 1, 2 or 3. Hahahaha. Typing this seems like a mathematical equation. Now the outcome of this 4 + 1 or 4 + 2 or 4 + 3 has resulted in a lovely concoction of a truly Malaysian child.

These "products" of mixed numbers have grown up with each other, never knowing anything except being from the same family. Now isn't that nice! Until, of course, they grow older, enter school and find out that they are “numbers” which exist in our system. For what purpose? Until now, I cannot fathom it. "Statistics", you say! Ahhhhhhhh , but whatever for? Can't we just call ourselves Malaysians?

When we were young, we used to joke about the mixture our kids would be when we marry. We came up with rather hilarious made up words. I’ll share them with you here
Indian + Filipino = Indipino
Chinese + Filipino = Chilipino or Chinipino
Malay + Filipino = Milipino
Consider also Singaporean + Filipino = Silipino (go tease your Silipino friends, now)

(Note: I’m Malaysian and my Singaporean husband has been called a “Singalaysian” by rakyat@work!). So funny!

Therefore, I think, being Number four isn’t half-bad. We have a great mixture of unity. We respect and celebrate each other’s beliefs. We accept that we are not the same but neither are we that different. We inherited common genes and came from a similar blood pool. At every festive occasion, we have somewhere to go. In our minds and hearts, there is no distinction between races. As someone once said, we all belong to the human race.

Bersih & Anti I.S.a. vs Anti-Unity & Peaceful Vigil

In my view, last night's final game score is 23 - 0

Bersih & Anti I.S.A. 23
Anti-unity & -Peaceful Vigil 0

07 November 2008

Seremban Candlelight Vigil 2

My day started with an early sms from a blogger friend informing me that he was already making his way to the Shah Alam High Court. It was a great reminder to send a special prayer to heaven for Raja Petra Kamarudin before leaving home for the office.

At the office, my morning was riddled with smses from this blogger/good friend, malaysiakini and other friends about the release of RPK. It was an exciting morning for me. Being at work hampered me from browsing all the news online but the news did put a spring in my step and spurred me to quickly get on with what I had to do so that I could go home early to catch up on the latest development.

I was, however, able to share in the euphoria through the smses from a fellow blogger, The Whisperer, who was there. The constant smses that trickled in enabled me to visualise the joy and jubilation over the welcomed surprise but anticipated decision. From what I gathered, people cried openly, hugged each other, lifted their hands in victory and danced in pure joy at the incredibly brave but fair judgement.

It would be remiss of me to have missed the Seremban vigil tonight after not having been able to share the glorious moments this morning.

Dependable as always, my ever-obliging son drove me there. Here are some pictures to share:

The street lights look so much like
the candles we light at the vigils
- like a prelude to what I will soon see

The early crowd
The Park is like a fairyland with all the lights
The loyal supporters with their candles, add to the surrealism
Some stand together
Some stand alone
Some stand in pairs

Pre RPK's arrival
RPK in the flesh All eyes and ears are on the "man of the day"
Finally, I "really" am with RPK

RPK's message tonight is loud and clear, we need to press on. Only half the battle is won. We have to remember the others and champion their freedom. We will carry on until all of them are safely back home with loved ones.

With so much pride and love for all that happened today
- Goodnight Malaysia -