Time to reach out, folks

Posted on July 8, 2012


Arrived in Labuan on Saturday morning.

Took the 7.35am flight out from the LCCT.

7 hours earlier, bored and knowing I could not sleep lest I oversleep and miss the cab that was scheduled to pick me up at 5.30am, I headed out to the teh tarik stall nearby.

There were 5 police officers at the stall when I got there.

Sipping my teh si kosong, I could not help overhearing their conversation.

It was about the price of the Proton, how much was the down payment on a new car, and how much the salesman earned on a sale.

Quite unexpectedly, the one nearest to me asked me if I knew how much a salesman got on the sale of a new Proton.

I laughed and answered that I did not know that, but I knew why the Proton cost buyers less in London than it did us Malaysians.

The copper asked if I was joking.

I said I was not.

One of the others asked me to explain why.

I asked if I could join them.

With the usual hospitality of Malaysians, they made room for me at their table.

4 hours later, after they had found out that I was on the Bersih steering committee in the run up to BERSIH 2.0 last year, and was now part of the ABU initiative, and why I was determined to see UMNO and BN removed from Putrajaya, they took my phone number with a promise to call the next time they were free for a late night chat.

I had to deal with difficult questions, ranging from will the Malays suffer with a change of government, to whether Pakatan can be trusted.

I had to address strong criticisms of the BERSIH rallies.

Yet, I felt that much was gained by both sides.

I got to see the BERSIH rallies from their perspective and, hopefully, they got a glimpse of ours.

And of the five, I was left with a sense that at least one, a young officer, was giving some thought to why the Malays in Singapore, having no bumiputra status, having no hak isitmewa Melayu, and having no UMNO to safeguard their welfare, or, as the case is here, rob them blind, fared better than most Malays here.

Everyday, folks, we meet people who need to hear the message of ABU.

In my “getting down to the ABU business” post on 1st June, I shared with you that the ABU secretariat is working on initiatives for phase 2 that all of you can involve yourselves in.

We hope to be ready in about 2 weeks.

It is essentially a media war that we will take to ground.

The website is being readied, as are the material.

We need you to ready yourselves to carry these initiatives to ground.