This is an anecdoctal and onservational account, so it's not to be treated as a news report -- readers are advised to read as many accounts as possible and form a composite picture of a "historic" event.
I arrived at 12.15pm early for a 1.00pm AP with fellow blogger Helen (all the way from Ipoh, further than from my Furong nest .. .and even as I went to Youssof Curry Fishhead to queue to pee, she sms-ed me she had arrived at the Kopitiam just 20 meters away.
It was drizzling, but my heart was warmed as I saw quite a good crowd of fellow PKR and PAS buddies chatting in groups, though few were in "yellow" as it was a mite too early to don the distinctive attire of that colour (denoting an important date with ROYALTY:) In less than 10 minutes I joined Helen and her significant other, Mr John Lee, and I made small talk as they slowly finished some bread and butter to energise after their 15-minute Lovers' walk from a hotel nearby. I told them some secrets about myself which I held them to secrecy except to the ears of Howsy -- another Ipohlang who was running sked and ran off to the US to be as far as possible away from the FRU in dark blue, quite many of them hanging around., hey this is jest a joke,OK! -- and MaverickDr sm yeoh. (Whenever Howsy is mentioned, SM is next in line but one AM is still hyde-ing in Seremban! VVVVe apparently maketh up the Four Muskitdears in blogsworld: wonder are we equivalent to wan "V"?)
Back from diversion, we (as a trio) decided to survey the scene near Dataran Merdeka. We already guessed access to the field of independence was unilaterally blocked off by soem blockheads, and I had a ground-level view of a helicopter flying above DM. I surmised the pilot was taking pictures of the "empty" field below to show to his political masters later -- see,no one showed up for the "V" Rally!
But don't believe the usual BN-UMNO and MSM crap. I led my two Ipoh mates down Jalan Tun Perak, but we were not allowed down the last 20 meters leading to the intersection with Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. So Helen and her significant other had to be guided by Desi via the backlane to emerge at Jalan TAR some 20 meters away from the said intersection, so Helen's and John's camera shots in the direction of DM -- that's 4 Dataran Merdeka -- only captured the heads of our comrades straining to see over the blue-shirted men to see if there was any action on DM. Above DM we could see of course the droning helicopter-- couldn't see any "Nuri" sign, otherwise I wouldn't go to DM even if they paid me my 20million!
It was difficult to estimate numbers of people who answered BERSIH's call to spend Saturday afternoon in the neighbourhood fronting the Court complex at Jalan Raja, but I think the Police did not underestimate the numbers present, and I told Helen it would be goode if the number reached 50,000, since the weather was not too kind. As we were all dispersed over FOUR rallying points since DM was out of reach (as anticipated by the BERSIH organisers), but the spirit of solidarity was clearly in the air. I wished inside me that there could have been more Malaysians of Chinese and Indian descendancy (I am reluctant to note this "ethnic" reference, but I said this because later Helen did raise a relevant point...come to this later***) present as a quick guesstimate they amounted to less than 10%! (hey, it's just one person Desi's figure okay!)
As it was still an hour before 3pm, we then popped over to Coliseum for chicken chop lunch (I told the host John my CON BF came early by 12 hours today!:). Helen was educating Desi about her USD-paying PayPerPost posts she started severalmonths back and this got Desi excited -- ah,my 20mil seemed nearer on the horizon, and I don't have to ham-burgger moo_t so much for auction quotes at eBoy for desiderata2000.BC!
Exiting back into Jln TAR after gaining some Satisfaction from Helen's PPP efforts, we were greeted by a downpour. Despite protesting that I could stand the heat -- or the cold naked -- Mr Helen raced across the busy Jln TAR to buy us three umbrellas. No,I think they did not raise the price -- thee vendors are sympathetic to us concerned citizens walking for fair and free elections, and also, justice.
We headed towards the direction of Wisma Tun Abdul Razak, and that was when we had some excitement -- at about 2.45pm. As we joined the crowd -- with 3/4 of them displaying proudly their Yellow T-shirts with BERSIH objectives well displayed -- suddenly there was shouting and people turning toards us and running. John, Helen and Desi slowed down and only after some minutes, we realised ahead of us by some 100 meters along Jalan Kuching (?) near City Hall, the FRU force had fired several rounds of tear gas. Soem among the yellow-shirted comrades were seen chatting with "fellow coordinators" and shouting instructions, and the running in the opposite direction stopped. I stopped a yellow shirt and he confirmed Yes, the FRU were firing tears gas to disperse the gathering. Helen and hubby who were about 10 mteres in front of Desi "felt" the chemical effect, and she reported seeing some "red" faces. Desi at a cowardly distance behind did not taste the action, but why should this writHer complain? It's better to be in one whole piece to be able to file this report for my ER, 'rite?
On the way back to Central Market, where I boasted to my "ignorant" friends from Ipoh we could have a good Vantage point to see the participants in Yellow heading towards the Istana Negara, I voiced aloud my earlier lament ***. Helen opined that Chinoserie Malaysians were quite "apolitical" as long as they could "cari makan" and many adopt the attitude of "less political noseying, the better for us-lah". Now this is not a research finding so don't blast her okay, but I nodded my head anyway, and the "free lunch" assisted in the nodding Okay, I admit. As for the community with too many problems besieging them because they have to put up with a "leader" who over-stayed his time by some 50% more than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad -- which is always "disastrous", which is why the US President's terms are limted to two consisting of eight years only but our BN compnentparty leaders think they are God's gifts to mankind, hence indispensable. But Desi whispered to Helen -- "Most are more useful when they are six feet under -- look at how Ijok people got development worth 10 years in ONE MONTH after the last SA said an early goodbuy...:( Of course, those BN wakil rakyat can beg to differ -- as Desi is a diehard promoter of democracy, that's why we are spending Saturday afternoon at Jalan Tar, yes? -- butt do you think I'll defer?
We took a tea-break at the CM Kopitiam -- VVVe had covered at least 3km by now? so I insisted we deserve an iced limau teh-O -- and we surmised the PAS, PKR, DAP leaders like Sdr Awang Hadi, Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng,must be leading their troops towards Istana Negara by now. We prayed there would not be road blocks along the way like the FRU did towards DM! I told Helen that she could have a good bird's eye view from her hubby's hotel room,so we headed away from CM towards the Jalan Syed Putra direction.
promised to keep in touch by HP. Some 10minutes later, Helen rang to inform Desi: "Yes, we could see thousands of yellow shirts around the perimeter of the Istana grounds!"
That really lifted my heart. It was then about 3.45pm. Some 20 minutes later, I stopped some brudder returning from the Istana to enquire if the People"s Memorandum was handed over, and it was a glad sound of "YES, " and their estimates of crowds who turned up varied from 50,000 to 100,000. I can't blame anyone for such a wide range of numbers for VVee were not congregated at one point. The Prime Minister's yes-men made sure we did not rally at Dataran Merdeka. But we achieved our date with the Yang diPertuan Agong.
We sent a resounding message which will reverberate throughout our beloved Malaysia. We the RAKYAT want free and fair elections!
BACK TO THIS POINT EARLIER ***, Desi adds that "Anyway, in the long term, it's a good start that we have a multi-racial rally today -- hence I term it historic." We must continue to struggle for a NegaraKu regardless of race, creed or colour or gender. We have made an important step on November 10, 2007. For a fictional Englande, it was a November 5 "V"ictory. For NegaraKu, it's the start of a "V"OTE4CHANGE VICTORY. There is HOPE yet.
GoodNight, GBless, now buy Desi another lamb chop 12 hours from now with goblets of tehtarik, will you!