Ethnic evaluation of issues, the bane of Malaysian politics, will be more difficult to engage in following the success of the Bersih 4 gathering over the last weekend.
DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran, who travelled from Ipoh to take part in the march, said he felt exhilarated by the sight of Malaysians of different races and age groups congregating in Kuala Lumpur to project their hopes for the creation of more just order.
“Rarely before have I felt my identity as a Malaysian a strongly as I did while walking and mingling with the crowds that assembled around Dataran Merdeka last Saturday and Sunday,” recalled the MP for Ipoh Timor.
“I was born in the year of Merdeka (1957) and that would make me particularly sensitive to the similarity between my age and the span of our existence as an independent nation,” mused the lawyer-legislator.
“Frankly, it has been a struggle all these years trying to feel that this conjunction between my chronological age and the nation’s is something worth treasuring,” he continued.
“But walking with the crowds at the Bersih 4 gathering, most of whom were much younger than me, I felt a surge of pride at the similarity in mine and the country’s age as if that had placed a responsibility on me to ensure that the hopes that attended our country's birth must be fulfilled no matter the obstacles,” asserted Kulasegaran.
He said seldom in his four terms as a parliamentarian had he felt a comparable sense of optimism that those ‘hopes’ are attainable.
“Given the youth and vibrancy of the crowds with whom I marched and mingled with, I could not hep but feel that however formidable the obstacles to the fulfilment of the fond hopes that the country's founders had for it, the future will be won by the forces for progress rather than retrogression,” opined this father of two children, with another one on the way, which was partly indicative of his new-found optimism.
Kulasegaran said he felt that Bersih 4's biggest achievement would be that the reflexive evaluation of national issues using racial criteria is on the way to being a thing of the past.
“There are going to be more voices urging that national issues be evaluated by a Malaysian perspective rather than through an ethnic lens.
“I have a feeling that this is going to be the case. I may be wrong but virtually throughout the two-day gathering that adrenalin coursed through my veins making me feel that the future belongs to the forces for change rather than those for retrogression,” he commented.