THE STAR METRO
10th May, 2013
I am struggling to write my article this month; not because I have writer’s block or don’t have enough time on my hands. It’s simply because my column is due right after the 13th General Election and it is almost impossible to not write my response to the whole aftermath which concluded a few days back.
I have mixed feelings to the whole fiasco.
The last time I felt so emotionally charged up was when Datuk Lee Chong Wei met his opponent Lin Dan during their badminton match in the 2012 Olympics. The only difference to that and my feelings post-GE13 is this; I felt Chong Wei’s silver medal win brought all Malaysians together and not further apart.
At 4:53pm last Sunday, I updated my status “I can’t wait for elections to be over. There’s too much bickering and hatred on my timeline of late, time to start loving and being a country again”.
Results have been officially announced and some winners have been sworn in to their respective posts. But the bickering has not stopped and neither has the nasty comments. I recall a tweet from a friend, “Enough already. This election is bringing out the worst in everyone. Kawan boleh jadi musuh (Friends can become enemies)”.
And this was unfortunately true.
I know friends who blocked and ‘unfriend-ed’ each other due to political differences. I have not gone this far although many a time, I’ve been tempted to do so towards (rude) strangers who follow me on twitter.
I am grateful my parents taught me that we should be civilized and polite to each other, even though we share different opinions. What happened to tact and courtesy? Why must we squabble with below-the-belt mudslinging, or with profanity and name-calling? (Again, if you want to “address” me by my race, it’s Kadazan Dusun, not Dayak Iban).
When I brought this up, someone tweeted back, “we live in a democratic country where freedom of speech is allowed. Suka hati kita macam mana kita nak express (it’s our perogative to express ourselves as how we like it).” (There was more to that, but as liberal as I am, I don’t condone the F-word).
Despite this aggravating pebble in my shoe, I see a light, silver lining to it. I am glad to see that social media has generated more interest amongst my generation, the youths and future leaders of our beloved Malaysia. There is more ‘ownership’ towards our nation and it provokes us to want to know our rights as citizens of Malaysia. For sure, there is definitely more room for mature and intelligent forums and discussions – be it on social media or during dialogues - but it’s a start. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I wish to congratulate the winners and to wish them good luck in keeping up to their promises of delivering the best to the rakyat. I pray that all elected leaders will work together in making our country a better, safer place. My wish is to see a new government that is intelligent, compassionate, corrupt-free, non-racist and non-sexist.
I won’t be depending on them and my prayers alone though. Communication works best when there’s a two-way commune. After much thought, I have decided to move my polling station in Penampang, to where my new home is.
Someone told me not to.
“Sabah needs your vote more”
But I’m going with my conscience. I want to be a more pro-active citizen and get involved in my own area- the area that my husband, children and I currently are living in. I have 5 years to see if my DUN and MP does his job in my area, so instead of being ‘highly interested’ with their capabilities only when election is near, I am going to start monitoring their progress from today onwards.
Although I can’t stop the (childish) bickering that’s taking place over virtual space, I can choose instead, to focus my energy and emotions into concrete actions. How can I, an average person on the street, make a difference in contributing to the betterment of our nation?
For starters, I will be more active in the causes I believe in. I will volunteer my time and effort in helping my community. And with so much that is being said over mainstream media and the internet, I have decided to see things for myself and not be swayed by the spin doctors of ‘journalism’. Thanks to the democracy we strive to have, I will attend dialogues and events that piques my interest and I refuse to be threatened in any way or by anyone, if someone dislikes or finds discomfort in my decision. This is my prerogative.
Casting hate on others with different perspectives than your own, is not just emotionally draining but time consuming too. Best we use that energy and time to calmly find solutions and ways to build a healthier nation. TOGETHER.
Daphne says no to racism, sexism and corruption. Read the list of some organizations that you can volunteer your time and energy to on her blog: daphneiking.blogspot.com and follow her pictorial rants on instagram: daphneiking to see her irks and fancies.