I thought when I left high school, I left behind my days as a military cadet brandishing a weapon on my shoulder. But no, that was not to be. Though the weight of the new weapon I use is not as heavy as the m16, or the HK33, or even the SLR, it can be an unnecessary burden especially when one has to march double quick time over a distance of what, 2-3 kilometers? Except now, instead of shooting blanks or live bullets, I shoot footages of film with a video camera that is as large and cumbersome as holding a baby hippopotamus. And with the rain that drops at its own fancy - sometimes heavy, sometimes a drizzle - I have very little choice but to shoulder it like in a real military drill. Hmm...I definitely need to learn how to be an armchair general after this. But for now...
Several of the participants agreed that this has to be one of the best Syawal! No, really! I mean, for many of us there, we've never been to the Istana's open house. Suddenly today, there we were by the thousands in a sea of yellow that drowned the assortment of other colours worn by several. This, despite the threats of action by the Police and Paklah himself; despite the sms and email fabrication of either the postponement or change of venue sent by quarters wanting to fail this march! And let's not forget the truly frightening presence of the Police all dressed in battle fatigues and (the FRUs' especially) looking like a legion of time-warped samurais! Brrr...I suddenly shiver not with the cold of the persistent rain, but the thoughts of unwanted incidents that could have developed.
By 2.30 pm when the march reached Masjid Negara, Wak - my newspartner and the livewire of webtv8 - had handed to me one of the 2 large video cameras. And so off we went our separate ways with him covering the front section of the march and me, being the a regular Tail-end Charlie that I am, the middle to rear.
The song 'Malaysia Ku Berjaya', would have been most apt were it to be adapted to honour this march - the participants having come from every state in Malaysia, with a particular Cikgu Bard making a trip all the way from South Korea! And the march itself, it did not start from one particular venue as planned, but from several places which include The Sogo, Central Market, Masjid Jamek, and off course, Masjid Negara. When they converged, they measured nearly a kilometer long body of people marching for the democratic rights of a fair and open election! A truly magnificent sight of unity and bravery moulded into place by men, women and even children of different race, belief, and walk of life; one that was forged not out any rewards but the want of a truly fair and free election as promised under the constitution, and not tarnished as it has been for the many elections prior.
Rocky reported the event was covered by many local and international media houses including AlJazeera. Many bloggers such as Sheih, alkerohi, DSAI, Elizabeth Wong, Jeff Ooi, Ust Nash Tantawi who looked like a rocker yesterday, Ancient Mariner too joined the march and have already blogged it, while many others will follow suit soon (blogger and activist bakaq suffered minor injuries resulting from the chemical-laced water canon). Apart from the provoke fracas at the Masjid Jamek, the march went on peacefully right up to the Istana where the petition was handed over to an official there. Thus, in many ways, it was a resounding successful march, one that was served only as an appetiser...leaving me with littles else to report. The main meal, has yet to be decided upon!
In a way it was rather disappointing. I, for one, had thought this day would mark my first experience in a police lock-up. A frightening thought it may sound to some, but hey, I was thinking, with the extra weight I put up during Raya-ing, the meager food ration of the police lock-up would trim my body to a somewhat impressive physique by December 10! But it was not to be, and now I have to start some light workouts so that by that date, this important person I would dearly like to meet will not think I am an overstuffed potato jacket! Hmm....but I can't get to working out as yet.
In my subconscious mind, I still think I am teen-ager. Thus yesterday, I was like running, walking double quick time, jumping and clambering all over to get to vantage spots for the video shots...until we started to make our way back to Masjid Negara, that is. Only then I realised I must have sprained my left ankle(again!) and could only hobble back like a wounded soldier limping back from a battle where the distance must have been over one thousand steps...one thousand agonising steps! This morning, that very same left ankle is swollen and my right shoulder blades is aching no end. What, juggling between the camera and an umbrella, I must have looked like a bloody jester in a royal court! If by chance you notice from the many pictures and video-shots of the march, a video cameraman shooting with one hand and holding a blue Celcom umbrella with the other, well, that's the cakapaje jester guy :)
Like I mentioned in the previous posting, sorry no pics guys! But there'll a heck lot of videos, I'm pretty sure. Just scroll down the list in readscentral, and I'm sure you'll some.
Till the next event whatever it may be, this is cakapaje reporting from talkonly :)
Update 5.45pm: After reading Roslan_S and harakahdaily,
I fully agree that the real heroes for the are the members of Unit Amal. They were amongst the first to arrive and were the last to leave. Apart from forming human chain and even barriers between the Police and participants, they directed pedestrians and traffic to ensure a smooth flow of both, assisted any one in distress, and last but not least, made a sweep of the meet points as well as along the whole stretch of the streets used, to collect any rubbish that might have been unwittingly thrown by the participants. Kudos to them, the volunteers of Unit Amal! May Allah s.w.t. bless and guide them to the righteous path.