These are just plain opinions; they can be rejected, refuted, argued against or accepted. These words are not meant to impose my ideals upon anybody , and they are not going against the law of the diversity of thoughts~~

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Romanticized Rallies and Brainwashed Comrades

               My hands hurt, my back aches and my eyes are heavy. I've had too many cups of coffees, and am currently demoralized because I have to take exams while my fellow Malaysians had the chance to join the Mayday rally. I have the thought that studying overseas is definitely boring because the student movements here have no initiative whatsoever to do protests in the street, and even if there is , they are of things which are none of my concern. What is happening? Have I became one of Pakatan’s blinded sheep?

         I have to agree that the UK streets are too cold for mobs, and the winds can make you cry in the nights, but I felt that my life is incomplete and annoyingly normal when the student movement does nothing other than giving long talks that can make your ears bleed and speak continuously of cheesy wonderfulness of marriage between brainwashed comrades. I have the rights to an interesting radical life, and as it is now, it isn't interesting in the slightest. Perhaps this is what you could call a first world problem, but I digress that if you could make life better, then by any means you should.

       I went to almost every protests held in KL during my two years in preparation at Mantin, and I even skipped an exam to join the Black 501 rally. I feel extreme jealousy towards my friends who had the pleasure to be with the proletariats yesterday in the capital, and much more towards those who have the chance but stayed home. I shall demand the explanation for your absence.

            Many reformists and revolutionaries had spent their time as students either organizing street rallies, protests or simply participating in somewhat radical movements. Such was the life of Mandela,  Ghannouchi, and Anwar during their university days, Ghannouchi entered socialists, Islamists, tabligh and democratic movements one after another as he studies, while Anwar led students to a rally against the injustices done to the poor in Kedah. Mandela joined the fight against apartheid while he was studying law and working at a law firm at the same time. I read Dr Ridhuan Mohd Noor’s book about the history of student movements in Malaysia, where students held protests even for things that doesn’t need protesting. When I saw that my father had led UTM students in a rally during his younger days, I felt embarrassed and challenged that I haven’t done anything to rival that achievement.

                Shimogamo Yasaburou, the main character of the show Uchouten Kazoku lived his life with the motto that ‘there is no time to feel bored, as life around him is too interesting’. He was a tanuki, a being which has the ability to transform into any form of objects and living things at will. With such powers, one have no reason to feel bored with life. I had lived my life in pursuit of making things interesting, mainly by doing stupid and unreasonable things. Many of these pursuits backfired, such as the decision not to do any homework for two years at school, or my stupidly heroic action to catch a snake with bare hands and parade it around during primary school. Radical actions can have meaning and can contribute to the society, even though the actions might be abhorred by the government or the public.

             Murakami’s protagonist in Norwegian Wood is a guy who alternates between his lectures and visiting his crazy girlfriend at a rural mental sanctuary. In the background, the student movement at his university ran amok and even took over the campus, disrupted lectures and conducted boycotts against the university, but he never ever cared about them. His life in the story was sad and depressing, and I figured that if he joined some of the unorthodox students, his life would have been slightly interesting. Better than just a crazy girlfriend.

           I missed the heavy but harmonized energy present during the Bersih rallies, the way the big crowd  masses in strength like a big Genkidama, waiting to be thrown against the Frieza-like dictator of a  government. I missed the exhilaration of running from tear gas and water cannons, the  feeling of solidarity and of the peace of mind. The rallies were a schmuck of heat and smell, and the number of people around you might induce claustrophobic tendencies, but they were fun, and more importantly , they made life interesting.

            Then it dawned on me that perhaps, I had not have the urge to join street protests in order to protest against government policies and the like, but simply for the sake of the rally itself. While Ghannouchi sees protests simply as an instrument of democracy, when he decided to join the popularity of the labour uprisings in Tunisia, I had been addicted with the atmosphere and the energy of the rallies, instead of the original cause.
          To be involved in such movements had been almost a common trait among extraordinary people, except Najib Razak during his times as an undergraduate at Nottingham, because he wasn't exactly extraordinary.  It would seem  that, in order to make life interesting, a student must undergo such phases of rebelliousness and anti- establishment  vibes. I believe some of us students had joined rallies simply for the sake of the rally, instead of voicing for the original cause. How many of the protesters actually understand what GST is, and how does it affect their lives?

                  Street protests had been romanticized as the epitome of a rebellious student life, similar to how Luffy romanticized adventures throughout the wide seas as a pirate, calling it as otoko no roman, without any justification for his actions at all. The reason for his radical actions are purely individualistic; he seeks adventure in order to be the Pirate King, while I only wish to make life interesting. Is that too big of a wish?

       The rallies are a platform for the poor and the oppressed to voice out their resistance. Those who only have enough to feed their families, those who are tired of discrimination and the corrupted bureaucracy. A student who has everything in his disposal , rich sponsorship and had never experienced discrimination would have two options before joining the huge masses. The first is to join the protests simply for the sake of following the intellectual fashion, and the second is to understand and recognize the cause, and to empathize with it. Other than that, we have no business with large mobs of sweaty people.
Happy Labour's Day

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