Monday, May 6, 2013

Democracy Is Not Dead, You Just Haven't Found It Yet

Dear all,

I must say that I'm as appalled as anyone else about the allegations of massive electoral fraud. So many people are incredibly upset and I understand. But mourning and being angry is not enough. In fact, I find all the black profile pictures in a sad way rather amusing. And I do not know whether to laugh or cry when I see people giving up, or looking ahead to the next elections in another five years to push for change.

I find all this rather morbidly amusing because the people being incredibly upset, many are also the ones who on a normal day, would rather go to a music concert than a protest, would rather watch the Sports news than update themselves on Malaysiakini, would rather stay at comfy urban homes lamenting the "stupidity" of the rural folk while never bothering to visit them or reach out to understand. 

Even better yet are those who look forward to next elections in 2018, resigning themselves to “Lain Kali Lah”, as if democracy consists of a once-in-five-year vote and nothing else. 

For god's sake wake up. Democracy is messy. Democracy can be deeply flawed or a tyranny of the ignorant masses. But one thing democracy is not is a hollow, rare concept. 

Democracy happens every day around us. Start caring about the issues, start advocating and educating people about them. And I don't mean clicktivism. The urban-rural divide needs more than Facebook statuses and black profile pictures (though it doesn't hurt). Go to Sabah and Sarawak and feel just how separated and marginalized they feel when they speak of the Peninsular. Go to the kampongs and help the folk realise why even though all seems hunky dory and life goes on, change could mean longer term benefits for all. If you’re not the activist type, then do something else. Volunteer for PACABA and get everybody you know to register as a voter. A cook? Bring some food for the PACABAs and campaigners. Do anything but do something! And come on, demos kratos, people power is not contained in a tampered, delible ink-stained, pencil written ballot paper! 

"Democracy is dead!" some proclaim. No, Democracy is very alive. You just haven't discovered what it really is yet.

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