It's barely 36 more hours only to THE day - the polling day of Malaysia's 12th General Elections. Mine is not a SoPo (social-political) blog so no, I'm not here to give any political commentary.. but for such a big, significant event that occurs only once every 4-5 years, remaining mum on it won't do as well.
This will be the 4th time I'm going to the poll. While my `track record' (ahem) could make me feel proud, I must confess I had not been a wise voter in the past. In fact, the first and second time I voted quite blindly you can say. The first time, I voted the candidate because I wanted to support a woman. The second time, I voted out of sympathy for the candidate for I know he would get the lowest number of votes (and the fact that I covered him during the election for my newspaper then). The third time round, I was a bit wiser, and knew who was a better candidate and could do the job.
I got the chance to cover the 1999 General Elections as I was attached with the news desk of The Malay Mail then. Somehow my race or my ability to speak Chinese meant that I was asked to cover most of the MCA and Chinese oppositions candidates. It was quite an eye-opening and interesting experience - getting to meet many of the Wakil Rakyat (some won, some didn't) although it was tiring. On polling day itself I remember we all had to stay back till like 2am in the newsroom waiting for all the results to be out.
For 2004, I was already doing entertainment and wasn't one of the `lucky' ones who got roped in to cover the elections. I remember although quite relief, I was somehow also feeling a little bit `left out'. Not that I was that political conscious nor had a clear political stand... although I know who I would like to support.
I guess now no longer being part of the mainstream media, I'm even more of a spectator. However, as a blogger and one active on the Net, I have been `bombarded' by all types of information and articles ranging from political commentaries to personal accounts that has everything to do with the elections.. Many of such info was enlightening, and I also kept abreast with news from the SoPo blogs as well. Also, from what I've come across, I guess the Internet has become the Opposition's voice and `campaign platform' while `big brother' BN has basically monopolised the electronic and print media.
Personally I think BN is over-doing it. Who are they trying to kid with their `cangih' advertisements on TV and radio and huge well-designed billboards and banners? All these publicity stunts need lots and lots of MONEY and whose money are they using? It just sickened me to hear all those poetically-sounding promises and self-praises over their ads, accompanying images of patriotic and harmonious undertone. Hello, you're far from providing utopia here!
The poster-war (also include buntings, banners, flags etc..) is another pretty ridiculous aspect of the G.E. if you ask me. At most places, these `decorations' are just a big mess - with both contesting parties trying to grab up the spaces available. So sometimes you have a opposition candidate's photo right on top of a BN flag and vice versa.. and even as early as last week, so many of those posters and flags had fell off and turned in bad shape. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is such a blatant and grotesque WASTE of resources.. totally environmental unfriendly!
Anyway, this time round, it's a great thing to see a number of new candidates who are young in age, and many of them are women! These are people who really want to see a change in the way things are run in our country and avail themselves for it.. and many are intellectuals as well - quite a contrast to some of the older (almost good-for-nothing) MPs I've come across. And most of these `new breeds' are in the opposition parties - for they know that Malaysia do need a change!
While it is still impossible for any Opposition party to win the election, one can't deny that there is a wind of change blowing. Last year, protests like Bersih and Hindraf, and many issues from crime to religious rights to corruptions etc. etc.. have increasingly sparked off people's disgruntle towards the government. They have raised awareness and prodded even those who have been lackadaisical and contented with their lives..
So, to all my Malaysian friends who are eligible to vote, remember to go and exercise your right this Saturday! And for those who are still not registered, shame on you. You better do so soon for the next General Election.
Like what I was telling my cousin Viv who said she's not political, it doesn't take one who is political minded to vote. Voting is the basic right and responsibility of a citizen.