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MOTIVATIONAL FORCE: Success could well be the panacea to the rally-induced despair
IT had been a weekend of shrillness and weird reasoning, preceded by the high-visibility Dataran Merdeka sit-in by a group said to be students, and by a similar protest last year, which was in turn a culmination of incessant arguments on many things following the March 2008 general election.
Even as we try to remember what had sparked off this polemic, the political roster now dictates that another inquiry be held -- to investigate alleged police brutality at the rally on Saturday.
Last year's Bersih rally led to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms, which convened sessions up and down the country. This was a six-month bipartisan exercise by a panel, including ironically, Mohamed Azmin Ali, the Gombak member of parliament and Parti Keadilan Rakyat No. 2, who was making sign-language with his boss, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, on the periphery of Dataran Merdeka, after which a group of protesters pushed through the barricades.
As cries of "rempuh" (charge) reverberated that day, the original intentions of Bersih seemed to have left centre stage.
Hence a natural reaction would be to consult quotes, ancient and recent, on "despair".
The outcome was kind of reassuring in a morbid way -- mankind has been battling despair and claiming to have triumphed over it for a long time.
By extension this "cleansing" process we are enduring must be about deepening of democratic processes and civil liberties.
It is not immediately obvious if a great number of people is troubled by the fact that this showcase of democracy could have interfered with the clarity of what we wish to achieve as a nation.
The greatest gifts of freedom are economic empowerment, to give the kids the best education and surroundings, space to express themselves, a proper house that does not make them a non-starter. Improving the well-being of 40 per cent of society at the bottom is an expressed national strategy.
It is not the intention of any moderate Malaysian to produce arguments that offend the sensibilities of others.
This reporter shall apologise to those offended by a reference about sit-ins and stall tactics "must be the plaything of the fabulously rich individuals -- and the unbelievably contented and rudderless followers -- taking liberties with other people's space and entitlement" in last week's piece.
It was argued in the context of the struggle to better one's life and that those demands by Bersih had been comprehensively addressed by the PSC on electoral reforms.
Still, the sensible crowd is duty-bound to confront the subterfuge in the conduct of politics. The facts are:
ONE'S right to express his thoughts is sacred;
THE core issue about the electoral rolls is the presence of doubtful voters, some of whom could have died. The Election Commission could not unilaterally delete their names unless family members produced the death certificate. It has been explained for a good two years now. The "cleansing movement" should rightly get family members of deceased voters to show up at the National Registration Department to put the facts right;
THE protesters were given alternative sites. They persisted with Dataran Merdeka, among others for "logistical reasons". Police are then expected, in fact required, to keep things orderly. This is baffling;
SEGMENTS of the protesters -- there were those who genuinely wished to gather for peaceful reasons -- were bent on securing a scene of police firing tear gas, for the benefit of the international media, among others;
CERTAIN Parti Keadilan Rakyat leaders have since said those who broke through the barricades are "heroes";
CERTAIN organisers and backers of the Bersih rally appear to be saying the same things over and over again -- that police were more brutal this time.
Now, will the outcome of the inquiry into police brutality appease anyone? In any case, the nation has been warned, more Bersih rallies are coming our way.
While we shall not dwell on the frailties of democracy, the question is exactly which model of democracy are we looking at? Obviously, this has to be more about empathy, consultations, and home-grown.
A means of managing negative energies, therefore, is to motivate entire populations to pursue success at home and abroad. The stage is set to go express oneself in areas where it really counts.
The moment the bottom 40 per cent enjoys a better life, we should be able to argue louder and on a fine equilibrium.