Sunday, May 5, 2013

This is about us!

This is about us!

By Joan Lau
Managing Editor
May 05, 2013
People wave flags of Pakatan Rakyat parties during the election rally at the Kelana Jaya Stadium in Petaling Jaya on May 4, 2013. This general election is not about Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. This is about us. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Polling Day. It’s here at last. Today, we — the 13.3 million of us who are eligible to vote anyway — are going to determine what the next five years will be.
The last two weeks of campaigning has brought out the best and worst in not just the candidates but in us. The ones who were being wooed.
Some people say this has been the most contentious election ever because friends and even family members have fought with each other because of opposing views.
This has always been the case but now with Facebook and other social media available, the “fighting” just gets bigger and is spread faster.
But this, this is true democracy in action. Even before a single ballot has been cast, we already bear witness to the messy disagreements and ugly unfriendings on Facebook and elsewhere but it’s perfectly okay.
Finally, we are learning to voice out our opinions. We are learning to speak up. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with what your friend is saying. It really is okay that you think he is an idiot for supporting a certain candidate.
Out of this, we will hopefully learn how to disagree with each other. Living in harmony is a dream we were sold by our leaders for so many years. We were told that harmony means being quiet, swallowing our disagreements, eating our anger.
But there can be harmony even when there are loud disagreements. We just have to remember everybody has a right to an opinion, a choice. Then shout away.
GE13 also saw many Malaysians getting involved in droves: middle-class citizens signing up to be polling agents and volunteers, giving up precious family time to get trained for this important “job”; neighbours gathering together to make and “plant” multi-coloured flags all over the city and in Petaling Jaya to show they cared about these elections, this country.
For the first time. middle-class chatter was transformed into action. People broke out of their comfort zone to engage with each other. To do something for the greater good.
So no matter what happens today, the winner has already been determined: it is us.
And as we go to cast our votes today, let us remember just that. This is not about Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. This is about us.

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