When I was in school, August was always a month we'd look forward to. Our independence day was a day of national pride, and eager students like myself would happily sacrifice time in the classroom to participate in patriotic activities and celebrations. Yes, really.
But that was a decade ago. It's 2015, and things have changed. I failed to see flags scattered liberally around the city centre; My street was equally devoid of the Jalur Gemilang. I didn't see creatively decorated taxicabs, or cars festooned with flags in every shape and size. Somehow, Malaysians weren't in a celebratory mood.
I wonder what caused it. Our slumping economy, perhaps. Though many will try to blame it on the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, and then follow up by saying that the whole region has been affected, the continued descent of the Malaysian Ringgit has nothing to do with China, and everything to do with Seri Perdana. You know how national economies slump a bit whenever there's an election, to account for the possibly drastic change in policies following the (possible) introduction of a new administration? Yeah. Think about that for a second, and then wonder why the Ringgit continues to plummet. Kalau AG pun boleh dibuang kerja dengan sekelip mata...
Maybe it was the denunciation of the BERSIH rallies. They called the demonstrators 'unpatriotic' and 'troublemakers.' Though I admit, a handful got a tad rowdy and crossed some lines (sorry la, it's never okay to step on someone's face, even if you have 2.6 billion reasons to do so), BERSIH4 was the most peaceful rally organised by the Malaysians in Yellow there has ever been. I personally commend the Malaysian police force and other emergency services for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of BERSIH participants throughout the 36hr demonstration. Many of my friends slept on the streets of KL that Saturday night, and never once did they feel vulnerable or at risk. That's a big thing, especially in that part of town.
Or possibly, it's the brazen idiocy of our ministers. Some will tell you that it isn't a big deal, while others share recipes for 'tax-free rice.' There are always a few that are a sandwich short of a full picnic, but never have I seen a cabinet filled with empty bowls. Yes, bowls. Sebab depa semua mangkuk. In the meantime, the handful of good eggs scattered here and there are getting pummeled and squashed by the majority who insist on 'towing the party line' like the good brown-nosers that they are. Maybe if they all pulled their heads out of the one massive ass, they'd realise how full of shit they seem (and for good reason).
I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Malaysia was feeling incredibly patriotic. Maybe it was the love of the country that made 200,000 people take to the streets of KL, from every corner of the country, to fight for a freer, cleaner, more transparent Negara.
Or maybe I'm really stupid, and only 25,000 turned up. Who knows, really?
"I'll be pro-government once you give me a cabinet that's pro at governing."