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ahem! ok not really. if i am, so are thousands others all over the world. hundreds in penang. well time magazine has picked 'lhe protester' as person of the year 2011' and since i often join protests, so i consider myself as time's person of the year. comprehendo?
yes, i had been to lots of protests within this year and past years. the most recent one was the peaceful assembly bill protest and the best and most memorable one has to be, now simply known as '709', i.e. july 9 – the bersih 2.0 protest in KL!!
hmm… being a protester pays off eh. we are recognised. unfortunately though, not in our own country. our un-democratic, police state country. nevertheless, it is precisely that reason that many people protests!
it was the ISA (internal security act) protests that i attended the most number of times and experienced lots of excitement. there was even one in penang that i was one of the organiser… and our MC was detained by the police. another one that i attended in penang, saw several pro-umno and pro isa people coming to disturb us and i witnessed 2, 3, people (friends i know casually) being hauled by the police onto the black maria (police van).
i will not forget the ISA protest i attended in KL too as two of my friends were arrested. four of us from penang left for KL and we joined one of the friend's son in KL, and all 5 of us went to the protest. two were arrested by police and we had to go to the police station to wait for them. i remember spending almost the whole night in front of the police station, and early morning inside the police station.
why do i like to go for protest? do i fear being arrested? yes sure i do but since mostly i'm not involved in the organising and i didn't go forward to speak…. well… like… i'm trying to be inconspicuous, i was not a good target for arrest i guess (being a super small fry too)..
several of my friends knows that i like to join protests/demonstrations/rally (and attending forum, workshop, ceramah), and some of them do express concern for me (including my family). one of them, once said to my mother "auntie, one day you will see your daughter end up in prison". haha. don't think so. well… er… there is a teeny weeny possibility but most probably not since i'm only a small fry and i usually join large protests not small group protests. oh speaking of which, it was good that penang had speakers square, where we can freely be seen in public and protest. (although there was one time during the ISA protest at the speakers square, the police had stopped us and arrested a few people).
some of my friends had say to me i wish i could be as brave as you" but strange i didn't feel brave. i felt it was just one of the thing i want to do or had to do.
however there were times when i felt proud when people, especially those of higher authority than me, commanded me for taking part in a protest. for example the famous bersih 2.0. my 'second' boss (work) called me up 3 times during the protest day 709. first it was in the morning to check that o had arrived in KL second time he happened to call just after i was tear-gassed (just a little). he gave me some advised to wipe my face with wet cloth then asked me to take care. then surprisingly, he called again later in the evening, when the protest had ended and the first thing he said to me was "lucia, i'm so proud ouf you!". wah!! yeah i felt proud…. and wonders of all wonders, he said i can take off on monday. so good of him.
on tuesday when i returned to work, one of our board of directors, when he walked into the office, the first thing he did was came up to me, shook my hands and said "congratulation!". i was stunned for a moment and thought what was it he was congratulating me for, then he said for taking part in bersih 2.0.
why do i like to join in protests? simply for the reason to stand up for my rights. to 'speak up'. or to be in solidarity with others (esp. the marginalised, the 'voiceless') who are standing up for their rights. when was it that i started to immersed myself in protests? i really couldn't remember. maybe it was after the perak state grab fiasco… the time when we started wearing black t-shirts. hmm… that was in 2009. the election was in 2008. i could well started my interest before the infamous march 8 election. it could be the time when i first started to known well known penang activist, bk ong (the long white beard guy!)… and that was before 2008.
will i continue to join protests? you bet! joining 'em makes life more interesting! 🙂 oh dear!… but with the stupid peaceful assembly bill being passed, soon my life will not be interesting enough. 🙁 ….. or maybe…. it'll get even more interesting?? 😛