There’s a reason we separate military and the police: one fights the enemy of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.
(William Adama - Battlestar Galactica)
Was a little skeptical after knowing the government would be sending in the army to 'look after' us for and during the protes rally.
Got up very early on 6th July 2008, not for church, but headed towards the Stadium Kelana Jaya with much enthusiasm knowing I will be part of another history again.
Undecided should I drive or take the ever 'reliable' public transport after knowing there will be police blocks on those main roads. One can wonder why they spend so much of resources which is causing nothing, but pure nuisance to the public, instead combatting the up and rising crime rates!. Anway, decided to take a Sunday drive from Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur through SS2, Petaling Jaya eventhough I can go straight via the federal highway.
Traffic was suprisingly smooth flowing.
Park my car and walked quite a distance to the stadium, by then, approx 1015 hours hundreds of cars can be seen parked along the stadium. Tens of stalls with many vendors can be seen doing brisk business, food, drinks, souveniers, books, posters, shirts, caps, etc., I think that's a brilliant idea to encourage traders to make some extra money for their living, especially with the tougher times lately. What a festive/carnival type of atmosphere!. A handful of men in blue can also be seen wandering around aka 'on duty'. Yes, when they are on duty for this kind of event/s, they don't do much, but to wander around. Surprisingly no Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel can be seen. Probably they got the real meaning of peaceful assembly/rally, finally!.
One party I must acknowledge is the ever reliable and responsible Unit Amal, they did a brilliant job again in controlling the traffic and te crowd! Think the Anggota Muda Keadilan (AMK) still have a pretty long way to go to be on par with the Unit Amal. Kudos Unit Amal!.
Made a few phones calls, went in and look for a couple of my friends/bloggers. Quite an impossible task when 90% of the crowd were in red and the phone lines just went berserk. With so many reds around, perhaps we just also celebrated an early Chinese New Year!
Part of the stadium was filling up fast, the opposite side was quite empty due the sunrise and understand it was burning hot over there. One after another group walked in to the stadium, the most obvious was perhaps the Hindraf group. You can see dissapointment, anger and sadness, over the marginalisation of Indians and the Internal Security Act (ISA) issue, via their eyes and at the same time they are certainly enthusiastic about the event!.
Not long after that, Badrul Hisham, Ginie Lim and Kohila welcomed the crowd which was estimated to be approx 10,000 with loud shouts of Reformasi, Hidup Rakyat, Jahanam BN, Turun Harga, Turun Pak Lah, etc., not forgetting the takbir. That could have probably woke the neighbours up, heck, we would want to wake the entire nation up if possible, especially those irresponsible 'leaders' sitting in Putrajaya!.
Hatta Ramli was up next for his speech, he certainly delievered a powerful speech and he stayed focused on the purposes of the event, which is to protest the price hike. Irene Fernandez gave an emotional and stinging speech, before that it was Ronnie Liu's turn, he presented a very blunt speech hitting the present federal government. Tian Chua followed up next with another powerful speech.
More programmes after that were lined up for the whole day affair. By then, approx 1200 hours, the crowd grew to an estimation of 20,000.
Left the place then to run some errands and back in the evening with some members of the Democratic Action Party (DAP).
Got there approx 1900 hours, realised the crowd were not as big as the morning/noon crowd. Understand 700 of the Unit Amal personnel pulled out of the rally due to some 'indecent-act' by some punk/rock group and some chaos happened. Did not want to judge anything until I get a clear picture what exactly happened. The showing of behind by the Carburetor Dung lead singer was pretty unnecessary. I thought to myself the press going to have a whale of a time reporting this and not the main objective of the entire event, true enough!. Syed Hamid Albar condemned almost immediately on the act, but think he have forgotten what kind of indecent acts and evil deeds he/they are doing. The saying, holier than thou, ring a bell?!?.
Still have loads of time until the speeches by the key leaders, got something to bite and ended up in the stadium which was again filling up fast. This time not the seats, but nearly the entire field is filled with a sea of reds.
Proclamation of Reformasi-Reformasi-Reformasi-Reformasi can be heard again, one can actually sense the people wants a real reformasi desperately due to the fact the federal government is screwing up big time, from the almost irrepairable judiciary to the highly corrupted police to the mismanaging of the economy to the up-rising crime rates to so many other issues. The people are being sodomised by the federal government, big time!.
Hatta Ramli again took the stage to welcome the crowd once again. The 'main attraction' for the night, Anwar Ibrahim, arrived. Before that the arrival of Lim Kit Siang shook the stadium. The crowd estimated to be approx 25,000 by then. Speeches after speeches and finally Anwar Ibrahim get to speak and got the crowd all hyped up again with louder proclamation of Reformasi!. Goose bumps in many of us, one will need to be in the thick of the action to know what I am saying. The people don't proclaim Reformasi for nothing, the people really wants a change desperately!.
From my personal point of view, this rally will have better and greater effects if the organiser could have held it in a public place/open space and just for a certain period of time. I kind of echoed what Badrul Hisham said, it went something like, "Ini adalah kali terakhir kita akan ada perhimpunan aman di stadium yang tertutup". That statement received a thunderous support from the people.
People power can be felt through out the day. Young and old and from all walks of life went there for a purpose, to protest the price hike that is.
The crowd of approx 25,000 certainly represented the voice of 25 million people in Malaysia!.
Bersih walked, Hindraf rocked and let's send the same kind of reminders if needed again!.
P/s ; Pretty comprehensive photos by the Malaysiakini team, (http://photos.malaysiakini.com/protes_petrol_hike_20080706/)...