Our people on the street

“If there is an illegal assembly, who can tell what is going to happen?”

Deputy home minister Chor Chee Heung encapsulated everything perverse in this country with his killer defence on why it is ok to break-up peaceful assemblies and arrest people indiscriminately.

Does Chor think the Barisan Nasional will remain in power indefinitely during his political career, and does he not think when the end comes for BN, all these people – Chor, his boss Syed Hamid Albar and cohorts – will not face the music?

You don’t imprison people for years no end, on the basis of them disagreeing with your politics and not expect to pay a price later.

The right not to assemble

It is not odd that there is a restriction on assembly in Malaysia – undemocratic countries tend to have them.

What is odd, is that those who enforce them are completely at ease with their decisions and are least bit bothered about the effects of prohibition.

They are convinced it is good for us, to live like this, to live without having the right to congregate with fellow citizens to express our political feelings.

It is a natural extension of the patriarchal think enveloping the party in power.

To them it is right to replicate previous actions, since there is precedence.

Precedence is about the only rationale on display, and a docile nation dips in the nauseating drool from the Umno run government.

The acceptance trap

The spate of assemblies are not going to disappear to suit the fancy of the home minister.

Something stupid might just happen.

If the police spend time and effort to refuse people from assembling, and when they do create a level of tension and fear, then they are setting themselves for a fall.

The Rodney King episode in 1991 started a city wide riot – over the beating of one individual.

The police think here is, if they can just end the concept of political expression and just leave one party in power, then relative peace will result.

It is overly simple.

Activism is on the rise nationwide and people are going to be on the streets more and more.

The tipping point has been reached. I would not venture to predict this means a wave that leads to the immediate collapse of Umno,

We have however arrived at a point where most Malaysians believe they can have an opinion about their government, and express it – irrespective of the repressive laws or the oppressive police.

I am unsure at what stage of the snowball effect we are in, are we just a heartbeat from a revolution, or just in the gestation period.

As the numbers increase and as neophytes put them together – with absolutely no interest from the police to facilitate, rather focussing on how to scupper it – there is an increased chance of a stupid mistake from either side.

And when that mistake happens, events will take over, and all of us will just be actors in an unscripted but familiar script.

But that won’t melt the hearts of those who rule, if anything it might whet their appetite as they see it as an opportunity to prove why a strong authoritarian government is necessary.

I might be in the minority here, but I think the lie is wearing off and people have wisened up. The way people respond to government billboards showing reformasi vandalism in 99′ and now the Hindraf and Bersih ones are quite different.

They don’t buy absolutism. I just wonder if anyone is going to buy a LRT ticket to PWTC, walk across past to Menara Dato’ Onn – and tell Umno that.

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