Everyone whether they’re vocal about it or not, has their own opinions on BERSIH 3.0. Everyone, or at least almost everyone I know.
Most don’t even hide their preferences. Well I don’t either. I too have my opinions on BERSIH 3.0. and I have my own strong reasons for my opinions. I have close friends who don’t agree with me, and oppose my views too. But that’s okay, because our opinions are our own. My friendships are not directly proportional to my political or personal views. No one has to agree with me. In fact I may sometimes oppose those who may share the same political views as me but have an argument for it that I may feel is silly. In fact I don’t even want to influence people to agree to my opinion, cause its mine. If they agree, I do not want it to be because I influence it, it is because they have their own prior personal judgments that mirror mine – for if I have influenced and done so wrongly, I am answerable to my sins of fitnah and subahah.
It is important at this point for people from both sides of the divide to understand this. People will believe what they want to believe. They have reasons and a myriad of justifications for their beliefs. And if others do not share the same belief you do, there is no need to call people stupid or dumb or unthinking, or whatever ill thoughts you have in your minds, for other people who have opposing views. No one is superior to anyone else on both sides of the divide. I don’t think I have better judgments than my friends who oppose my views. I just have a judgement. Chances are, they don’t know some of the things I know, and similarly I don’t know some of the things they know. Therefore, there is no way we can come to the same judgments if the entirety of what we know is already so different. You see, truth is everywhere, even in opposing sides. And not everything you know is the truth – even if you believe or were made to believe they are true. I may not be right all the time but its okay cause I am a homo sapien. We all are. We are not meant to be right all the time. You who don’t agree with me cannot be right all the time too. Your opinions are not the divine revelation from God. They’re just opinions from another homo sapien that you are.
I have made no secret about my feelings for BERSIH. I think the end is relatable, but the means do not justify it. I have no problems with people demanding fair and clean elections. God knows, human created systems are never perfect, there are bound to be loopholes and weaknesses. But whether or not I agree that what has been done to achieve the ends is justified? Well I don’t. The end DOES NOT justify the means. Muslims should know this – it is what ISLAM teaches us.
First of all I have a problem with BERSIH simply for the fact that the organization itself is not bersih. BERSIH wants to portray themselves as a neutral peace-loving body calling for upholding of interests for the common majority. But seriously guys, let us all be honest. They’re not NEUTRAL. Tepuk dada tanya selera. Everyone knows it so don’t act all dumb and pretend that is not the case. They’re purely a political driven initiative. Its opposition vs the government – pure and simple. That is why all who are for BERSIH, constitutes majority of those for the opposition. Those who are against it, are those majority for the government. I am not for the opposition (for many many I-don’t-want-to-argue-with-you-cause-you-wont-agree-with-me-anyway reasons), and even though I don’t always agree with the current government, I disagree even more with the opposition.
So naturally, being more in disagreement with the opposition than I am with BN, I am against the BERSIH initiative – okay, well not entirely. I do understand the needs for the demands, seriously, I do. I just don’t think their intentions and the game of perceptions they play and the organizational ideas of the body in question is all that pure. BERSIH my peeps, is just another name for PAKATAN RAKYAT (if you don’t know this already and have to gape in mock horror when I said it). BERSIH is a front for another opposition campaign against the government in a different, more politically correct name, under a more politically correct cause in language terms.
Their main agenda is not for fair and clean elections – its for winning the election. You can deny it all you want, but that is the truth. Even Ambiga admitted it, the ultimate success of BERSIH is when the opposition wins the GE. So with that in mind, BERSIH then is not so bersih after all. Even the pakatan rakyat component party level elections are fraught with corruptions and manipulations to a shameful extent. No one party is totally BERSIH – PR or BN alike. Therefore, BERSIH in essence is not even bersih to begin with.
You think I don’t want a clean and fair elections? I have learnt of the DAP and PKR initiatives in Penang on flogging DAP voters in close-win areas of the state by transferring the addresses of those supporting for the opposition in clear-loss areas into the close-win areas in order to tip the table in their favour in these areas for the next GE. The very same things the opposition is blaming the BN is doing, they are doing the exact same thing too. In fact, they did it so much earlier in Penang that by the time UMNO and MCA folks found out about it, they’re struggling to plan let alone catch up. They are hoping the many corruption that the state government’s doing will change the people’s minds instead. Not that the old ruling state government was free from corruption either. So fair and clean elections are not just for the BN government to uphold, it is for the PR opposition too. I demand BERSIH from both sides of the divide.
But of course like I said, the BERSIH movement is not exactly about fair and clean elections. It’s the PR’s political campaign for winning the elections via a game of perception. These folks clearly know psychology. They bank on the humans’ ‘HERD MENTALITY’ so very well. They plant the perception they want their supporters to have without them knowing it and with them thinking they own that perception to begin with. And the perception attacks all authoritative bodies that may hamper their chances of winning the election so that when they finally don’t win it, they have their supporters believe its not because they couldn’t, its because everyone else conspire against them. And who is everyone? Well not just the BN government. BN government is not strong enough to do it on its own they know it. So they blame the SPR, the Police and the Army and the Judicial System too. Even neutral, and peace-keeping law-enforcing bodies got dragged into the perception. A herd mentality mechanism at work.
Friedrich Nietzsche once quoted “A politician divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies.”.Well the psychology of the humans’ HERD MENTALITY potential among their supporter become their tool against their enemies. The brain stormers in the PR clearly deserve some credit. The US so-called democracy-advocators have taught them well in the political psych-war.
What is HERD MENTALITY you ask. Well, I found a Raja Petra Kamaruddin article which describes it most perfectly – have a read:
It’s quite interesting that people see what they want to see. And what is even more interesting is that you can make them see what you want them to see. In the end, they do not actually see what they should but what you want them to. Basically, as what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is fond of saying, people have this herd mentality similar to any other creature, two- or four-legged. And herds can be led in any direction you want it to go.
Before we dwell into that, allow me to relate the story of Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles who turned this Liverpool quartet into one of the world’s greatest bands and who introduced the ‘Mersey Sound’ to the world. Brian, son of a Jewish furniture store proprietor, was the manager of a record shop who ‘discovered’ The Beatles. One day, some kids came into his record shop and asked whether they carried the record ‘My Bonnie’ (lies over the ocean) by The Beatles. The Beatles? No, they do not carry that record and neither has he ever heard of The Beatles.
Brian decided to find out who the hell The Beatles are and he discovered them playing at a tiny club called The Cavern. He immediately realised their potential and got them to agree that he manage them. The first concert that he organised, he planted some girls in the front row with instructions that as soon as The Beatles start singing they are to scream, swoon, go berserk, faint, etc. They did just that and the entire hall was soon caught up in a frenzy. Since then, no live concert is the same without the screaming, tearing at the singers’ clothes, fainting, crying, and all manner of emotion. Yes, Brian started this pop-rock ‘culture’ and it has remained ever since and is still part and parcel of a live show almost 50 years on.
In short, you can make people respond the way you would like them to, and if there are enough people acting in a certain manner, then others will follow suit: the ‘herd’ mentality syndrome. Yes, people are emotional, at least most people are, but you can control their emotions and make them do what you want them to and yet make them feel that they are doing what they have themselves chosen to do. People do not really have control over their emotions as much as they think they do. They just don’t realize it.
My second problem with BERSIH is the logics. Logic dictates if the system is so corrupted and manipulated to an extent that is untouchable, it means that there is no way in hell or high water, the opposition will win anything. This is of course the perception the PR wants the people to have, that they haven’t won because its so unfair and dirty. But you see, if that really is the case, it doesn’t make sense then that they did win, and for the first time in a very long time, robbed BN of their comfortable 2/3rd majority in the last GE, does it? On top of that, they won (initially) 5 states – including the richest ones. Selangor and Penang and for a while Perak. These constitutes the golden triangle of Malaysia – the richest states in the country! If BN (and SPR like they said is unfair) has had such dirty manipulative controls over the polls, how stupid are they to have given up on top of their 2’3rd majority loss, 3 of the country’s richest states too??!! You see, the system may be flawed and has rooms for improvements, but BN and SPR hands are not that powerful at the polls. But the perception that PR wants planted in the peoples’ minds is just that – and for those who prefer hear says and can’t really be bothered with logics, it’s an easy perception to swallow.
Logic also dictates that, if you want to make a stand in a mass gathering for DUDUK&BANTAH, the place isn’t really an issue isn’t it? I mean an enclosed stadium is a good place as any (if not better) to have a gathering – just as long as you can gather and show your stand. That’s logic – a more logical place for a more logical DUDUK&BANTAH. You don’t need separate groups in all directions scattering all over the city center at all the prime public spots where gathering can be made difficult because the organizer will have an even harder time and task to give a speech, to disperse orders and to control and be responsible for the big crowd. In fact I imagine it is a lot harder and potentially a lot less comfortable to DUDUK in the streets compared to a stadium – logically speaking la.
Logic also tells you that if you are unhappy with the SPR primarily, you go to the SPR office and demand they come and meet you and hear your protests. Because SPR is not exactly scattered in the streets you see. They do have a HQ. What does gathering a mob in the streets have to do with SPR accommodating your demands? The SPR has had a commission set up that constitutes of representatives from the ruling and opposition parties alike to discuss and improve the going ons of the next GE. Why protest in the streets? If you’re unhappy with what SPR has done so far to improve things go protest against the commission then. I mean, you have your representation already there and if they’re not doing a good job on your behalf, mess with them, why the open public?
Logic also tells you that when a large number of people by the hundreds and thousands gather together for a call of PROTESTS – where a majority (if not all) of them are unhappy, angry and emotionally volatile, there is no such thing as peaceful assembly. Its not a love campaign or Earth Hour. It’s a hate campaign – that’s what protests cater. You protest when you hate something. Haters don’t sit and smile and wave and sing songs. They shout and run and make full use of their limbs, energy, emotions and their feelings of rancour. They combust in numbers! I mean, logically, do we honestly, seriously think a large group of unhappy, protesting, and angry people to keep the atmosphere peaceful? Seriously? Oh yes, of course, there really are peaceful and well meaning people in the crowd, but they’re not the majority are they? Come on, this is not the first time such a rally has occurred. This is BERSIH number THREE. They swore peace in the last two, and we knew how those turned out. And then in order to wash their hands clean and run from the responsibility, they plant more perceptions, that the violence is not from them. It’s essentially the police. As if they can vouch for every single soul in the crowd out that day that none, not a single one of them has got malicious plans for chaos embedded in their minds and hearts. Remember unhappy? Angry? Volatile? These are creativity inducers. Thousands of them together is not exactly a safe thing. Even online, where no one is face to face, people throw insults and harsh words and provocations back and forth in a fiesta of finger-pointing, and virtual fist fighting, you can feel the tension just by reading them – who’s to say the atmosphere is not doubly or triply or even more so intensified when face to face? No need a group, put two persons from opposing sides together in a room and ask them to face off and debate and let the tension run high enough it could slice the air – it is not impossible there will be injuries incurred in a fist fighting among the two – possibly even death. Many a couple’s fight have ended up with a homicide. Humans are emotionally variable. This is all logic you see. But no, the haters justify it by saying “it isn’t us! It’s the authorities!”. In the first place, if you are not there to begin with, logically, the authorities will not be there to exercise force either. In fact if you are there in an enclosed stadium where the authorities are not required to be responsible for the publics’ safety in all other public areas and all they do is just wait outside and prepare ambulance, all the violence can be avoided too. In fact maybe all they have had to do was put up first aid/medical stations around the stadiums in case some people got angry enough he punched his fellow protestors around him. If you had to be violent and provocative and throw things and punch walls, it would have at least been confined to the perimeters of the stadium. But of course, it is no fun if you provoke when the subject of your provocations are not there, right?
Oh, let’s not forget, there were garbage littering the streets all over town after the rally – [how ironic is it that BERSIH is causing so much kekotoran?] Logically if it has been confined to an enclosed stadium, wouldn’t it have been easier to clean the kekotoran from BERSIH? DBKL staffs would have had a significantly easier job of cleaning up after the mess of irresponsible litterers.
There are also people who argue that there is no such thing as loss of income for business owners around the city centers because the McDs and the Nasi kandar outlets are so full that foods run out. Well logically, of course food outlets will profit because angry, screaming people under the hot sun with kids in tow [oh don’t even get me started on dragging the kids along], they will stop to refuel on drinks and food. But logically, they don’t take to the streets in an angry mob to buy books in a bulk, or to survey watches or purchase tudungs. In case you forgot, the shops in the cities are not all exclusively food outlets only. People who don’t rally don’t leave their house to be where the rally is just to go shopping because they know they’re not part of the angry mob and prefers to stay home instead than bumping shoulders in a sea of riled up crowd amidst sweats and cigarette smokes. This is also logic. So the loss of income is not about the food outlets, its about the other outlets who sell things other than food because rallyers don’t stop to refuel on a new watch, or a new tudung, or a new pair of pants. If they DUDUK&BANTAH in the stadiums, the streets of the cities would have been free for other non-rallying citizens to roam and go shopping in outlets other than those selling food and drinks. But WHY then are public places against all logics are more appealing than an enclosed area like a stadium? – they, the organizers know the answer. Because they know by logic, an enclosed stadium avoids so much opportunity for violence and takes off the excitement from the ultimate goal of finger-pointing the authorities and inciting hatred and distrust among the people towards the peace-keepers and law-enforcers that are the police. So they tell, it was too short a notice to reorganize at a new place. What a bull of crap. I have read FB updates of new gathering points at KLCC in the early morning of the very same day of the rally. It is not too short a notice, that was just an excuse for insubordination. And a lame one at that.
From old experiences, it does seem like much more fun to have a rally and blame the police for violence afterwards. [you knew it was coming before it happened. You knew the police will get the blame. Everyone knew. Everyone had their camera on the ready to capture a one sided version – the after videos – omitting the before]. Heck logically, if they put themselves in the shoes of the police force, they would have had more prudent imaginations of what it probably feels like to be a police officer who have had their leaves frozen and stationed all across the cities facing an angry mob that potentially outnumbers the whole force put together out to observe the peace for the day. Its unnecessary and unfair for the policemen too. They are citizens of Malaysia, they should have the rights to be safe with their families too. Instead they are required to be there to do their job, to keep people including the protestors safe and then to have been blamed instead unjustly for every act of violence that occurred as if the protestors can do no wrong. Okay so you may argue, there are some policemen who provoked the crowd. Well, maybe you are right, maybe they are. But, logically, how many would purposely do it? Would 3 policemen facing 60 angry rallyers mock them into hitting them back? Logically, more rallyers would have provoked the policemen, because the force in a given area is always outnumbered by the rallying public. Policemen are humans too, they’re not deaf. They have feelings. You cant expect them to hug and kiss you when you call them stupid. Logically, a bigger crowd tends to mock a smaller one, especially when the bigger crowd’s aim is to wreak chaos while the smaller crowd’s is to keep the peace and enforce laws. Can anyone of you vouch that none, not a single soul of the protestors have initiated a provocation? Can you? Logically, no one can. But as Socrates once said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers”.
So say what you may, I am sorry, the only logic I can see BERSIH rallying in the public streets of the country is so that a bunch of (if not all) selfish people who thinks only of their own bloody rights with absolute disregards to other peoples’ rights; can wreak havoc and chaos and solidify the hatred they planted in the minds of their supporters on the authorities like the police. Heck, they probably anticipated violence so they can blame the police and spread the rancour – for without the violence, there’s not much hatred to spread. You know, I can only guess, probably. That seems like the main purpose; for if the main purpose is like they said just to SIT&PROTEST, the stadiums would have been much more logical. You see, there are so many logics at loss here. So many…
My third problem with BERSIH is the hate and finger pointing culture they promote. The classic pots calling the kettles black syndrome. I really have a problem with that because it divides families, it destroys unity among races, it eliminates friendships, it spreads sinful acts amongst Muslims in the country, it disperses shallow judgments and harsh condemnations, it widens the circulations of fitnah and proliferate subahat. Not all but the majority of people I have in my FB list who are for the opposition seems to be quicker in their assumptions too, always more emotional and critical of all things opposing their views. But that’s only in my list – your may be different. I am not saying the BN is flawless, we know the government has its many faults and the opposition loves pointing them out. It’s a good thing, it puts BN on their toes, it lessens the misfits. But to act as if the opposition is all the better, is glaringly naïve. They are not any better, and in some places, if you know where to look, the PR is behaving much worse. Having said that, they’re not all bad eggs either. The PR is full with intelligent, well meaning people too. They just have different priorities, different views, and maybe different informations. I do believe in the need for an opposition, an effective one, and the one we have right now is not it. I don’t mind the ruling government losing 2/3rd majority, its probably better, but the PR is not the ideal opposition I have in mind to rule the country whole.
The past few days, on FB alone, I have read my Muslim friends from both ends of the divide, engage themselves in an endless battle of fitnah and mass subahat, of spreading videos and influencing hatred based on hear says and misinformed stories and clipped videos. They believe so fervently in what they want to believe that they discount the possibility that there might not be truth in what they spread. It’s a careless attitude. So much has been said and spread and influenced in just 48hours. So much deeds in turn we will owe our enemies in the afterlife and on judgment day for every untruth we spread and influence others to believe with us. So many pahala kebajikan up for slander debt repayments. Lets hope that at least not so many of us end up in hell for it.
I refrain from commenting much, (though not always successful) because I know some people with the oppositions and supports the BERSIH movement are genuinely there to demand fair and clean elections. I mean I want a fair and clean elections too. I understand some of their frustrations even when I don’t agree with the arguments. I may never understand their fascination with the opposition, just like they don’t understand my displeasure with the opposition, but I know their discontent for the government, and sometimes I share some of it too. When reading on FB, I try to take more steps back and try to give a less emotional approach when commenting, trying on more logics and feelings. I watch every BERSIH 3.0 video, for and against the police with a pinch of salt because I realized the police and the protestors, are humans. To blame just the police is unfair. Orang kata, tepuk sebelah tangan tak berbunyi. Some police may provoke the crowd, yes, but who’s to say the crowd did not provoke the police first or back? No one can tell that fact for sure, so it is best to not assume just one side. Logic tells more likely the crowd would have provoked the police, there is that possibility, but at the end of the day, ONLY GOD KNOWS. But apparently, in Malaysia, for the past few days, a lot of people are ALL-KNOWING, all based only on hear says. So, I urge my Muslim brothers and sisters (myself included), no matter what you think and who you believe is wrong or right, refrain from possibly spreading fitnah and ensconce in subahah, just in case, you might be wrong. JUST IN CASE. I also know there is no point in saying things that people against your views will not accept because PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE no matter what you say. So if you know a person has a strong and dogged view that is against your own, don’t piss him off, for it will be an endless battle. If you have to say anything, pick a neutral words of wisdom so he may reflect, or a comment less condemning, more reflecting, not so he can bash you back for taking what he thinks is the wrong side, because he WILL believe what he wants to believe. So if you see people have opposing views and is so vocal and unfair about that it angers you, stop, take a deep breath or pinch your nose – whatever you do to keep calm, and move on. If it doesn’t work, stop, take a wudhu’, read a page of the Quran or something, and then find other things to do. If you can’t help feeling angry way too often, maybe its best you avoid the FB for a while until a new hype comes up like the coming MU vs MC which most probably would spark a football debate. Be at peace with the differences or stay away from it if you can’t – and you will have your peace.
On BERSIH as a whole, I think they should be allowed to gather and protest. People will have their arguments, you have to let them have it, whether you agree to them or not. But the organizers should have been more responsible at it. Take credit for when they think it goes well for them but also take responsibility for when things go wrong. Don’t just blame the authoritative peace-keeping law-enforcing bodies when you shouldn’t even be there in the first place. No matter what some police officers may do to anger a crowd, it is not cool have your supporters retaliate violently back and have nothing to say about it. There is no excuse for violence. Attacking police back even if you say the police started it first did not make you any better. It makes you equally violent. This is not a backyard kindy fight, we are all adults, we take responsibilities. The police force on the whole is there to keep the peace as their primary objective. If a few bad eggs spoil the plan, it isn’t the whole force’s fault. Similarly, a few bad crowds of protestors spoiling the peace, does not make the whole unhappy crowd violent perpetrators.
Take an example, an angry kid, you can’t suppress his anger, you got to hear him out and let him give his anger an outlet. But you give him a controlled opportunity to do so, and it is expected of him to oblige if he wants you to hear him out. If he doesn’t, a little firmness is acceptable. You are afterall, the peace-keeping elements in his life. You could let him rave and rage on his own without paying any attention to him, but that is hardly responsible parenting now is it. In his frustrations he could damage the house for your ignorance. So give him attention, allow him to express his rage, but impose a little discipline when he goes overboard. If BERSIH organizers have agreed to the stadium, I suppose the outcome would have been much more in control as opposed to all chaotic. I mean , this is not the first rally. Should we be so childish all the time? I am sure most (if not all) of the policemen on duty that day would have rather sit this one out and been elsewhere but there because I am sure they too have expected the outcome. They knew whether they do it right or wrong, careless people will still blame them. But it is their responsibility to be there whether they want to or not. I would hate to be the police now, so much negative perceptions have been planted against the profession, all it leaves is frustrations and distrust among them and the people at whole. We have to remember, at the end of the day, in crunch time, you will have to depend on the police at some points in your life. Have some respects for them. Don’t eat back your words. It is your integrity.