(Praba Ganesan and Yow Hong Chieh)
Welcome to the future.
When the first Portuguese sailors arrived in Malacca, they had no idea about the chain reaction they would have on a whole continent, let alone a later fledgling nation of Malaysia.
For centuries, and appropriately in the last decades, it has been a flat story.
About immigrants, about natives and about freedom. But 60 years of independence has shown that just being free won’t solve all our problems.
The solving takes time.
But I should have learnt from the guy by the burger stall in Seri Manjung who told me that things were grim in Lumut. That while the standing chief minister Abdul Zambry Kadir was contesting, there were 26,000 people who moved out since companies left and, in fact, left the Pangkor native exposed. That I spent the day in Lumut and the locals were, despite military voting, indifferent to Zambry. And he lost by 400 votes.
Or the guy by Bikam around Kampung Ayet Itam who spoke about the superiority of Nga Kor Ming but refused to testify to me. That may be the Malaysian way, to speak in the local context and to clam up when there are outsiders.
I should have sensed the laissez faire manner in which the Teluk Intan folks, the Indians especially, held Chittarai celebrations three days before voting day.
There were many signs, and I ignored way too many of them.
But here we are, with the reality of change.
Not to overstate, but as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the peaceful revolutions of eastern Europe, the victory of Jokowi, we have overcome. Overcome the cycle of hope, disappointment and despair, and most importantly, our own fears of the unknown.
These are uncharted waters – here be monsters – but we have chosen, as a nation, to be here. And like the Portuguese sailors who first sailed past the Cape of Good Hope, we venture forth with little more than conviction borne on faith.
Faith that we are the masters of our own destiny, faith that we will overcome any obstacles that may arise, faith that we will find our way to the promised land. We have our hands on the till and we won’t let go.
And that is the most potent outcome from this night. Not the seat count, not the majorities, not the candidates. Tonight, we dared to vote for ourselves, and we have been rewarded with a glimpse of a new, different future where the country is led not by Barisan or Pakatan, but by a coalition of the people.
We have exceeded our horizons and the world will never be the same again.