On Saturday I sat down with some recently found friends in Adelaide and talked about home. A place some of us left three, seven, and ten or like me, over thirty years ago. We talked about BERSIH, LYNAS, about the Taib Mahmud Square in University South Australia, UMNO and corruption, BN and corruption and about Pakatan Rakyat. We asked ourselves who would be Prime Minister designate for Pakatan Rakyat? Who could be DPM designate? And like conversation amongst recently acquired friends it was not as robust as I would have liked it to be. Guarded at times in order to not intrude too much into each other’s sentiments, polite, respectful and mindful that each of us will surely have our own thoughts about what was happening back in Malaysia. We agreed on one thing - “What can we do to make Malaysia better?”
Seven Malaysian, thousand of kilometres from home, sitting down in a Café in Rundle Mall in Adelaide talking about what WE can do to make Malaysia better! Not about how good life was for us all in Australia. Not about how we can get Permanent Resident status or citizenship in Australia. Not even about the ongoing Adelaide festival with buskers and free entertainment in the Rundle Mall all around us!
We talked about going home to work, to live and to be with our loved ones again. And home is Malaysia. We know that the outcome of the 13th general election would be crucial to what we will do with our future and with our lives in the years to come. Whether we want to go back to a Malaysia under an UMNO led Barisan Nasional government and put up with living under a corrupt and irresponsible regime or do we try now to do what we can to ensure that the Malaysia we come back to will be one where government is by the people, for the people and of the people.
As I looked at their faces and listen to what they have to say I wondered if other Malaysian in other parts of the world would be doing the same thing? I know that in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and even Wagga Wagga (a town somewhere in the interior of Australia) anywhere where there are Malaysians in Australia – they are asking each other the same question: “What they can do to make change happen in Malaysia”. And if it happens here in Oz then I am sure it will happen in UK, in America, In Russia, in Japan, in the Middle East and possibly even in Putrajaya. Malaysian wanting change from this UMNO led Barisan Nasional. As of yesterday I now know that there are seven of us of the same ilk here in Adelaide……what about elsewhere?
It is now almost 4.30 am here in Adelaide and about 2 am in KL. I have been writing this for the past one hour…unable to sleep because I want to post this on my blog tomorrow to let you all know that there were seven of us here in Adelaide yesterday who got together in our own time, on our won initiative and without any ‘suggestion’ from anybody from Malaysia to talk about what we can do to make Malaysia better!
We are all asking what can we do to make change happen? To make Malaysia a better place to go back to. To make Malaysia a place where civil liberties, racial discrimination and our own dignity as a citizen of Malaysia is respected and given due deference by our so-called leaders in the government.
Every one had something to say. We might all not agree with what every one had to say but we listened. As I listened I knew that these are the kind of people needed to come back and work in Malaysia. They were educated, articulate and had a passion for life. Malaysia needed them more then they need Malaysia….but who amongst them would really want to return to Malaysia if there is so much uncertainty about the future we will have? Even as we discussed what we could do to make change possible in Malaysia we are all uncertain about the ramifications of what we wanted to do.
We talked about the recent BERSIH gathering at Victoria Square in the centre of Adelaide. They expected maybe 20 Malaysian to turn up. 150 did! We joked about how most of the activist made sure that the BERSIH placards they were carrying covered their faces. Cover their faces so that prying eyes from Malaysia will not be able to identify those who took part in the rally. Now if we in Adelaide talk about PDRM’s ‘interest’ in those who took part in that rally, how much more stifling would it be for those in Malaysia itself? And we gave thanks to those bloggers in Malaysia who continued to write fearlessly and without any reagard for their personal safety……and someone mentioned “Uncle Benard from Zorro Unmasked….and I could not help but say “Yes that Bernard is old….very old!” Sorry Bernard but the devil made me say that! Anybody older then me (at 65 years) must be old….very old! Petra is a spring chicken compared to us!
This is what our country has come to. Even Malaysians living thousand and thousands of miles away are aware that ‘big bad brother’ might be watching them! This is not the Malaysia that we want! This is one of the changes that we want to happen now before it gets worse. Before this BN government starts to think that they can control even what we do outside Malaysia….though I am sure there are many who will argue that they already do!
From my own perspective I now know what steadyaku47 really means to Malaysians in Adelaide. Only TWO out of the SEVEN present have ever heard of steadyaku47….aisehman my waterface fall down one! So much for being too full of myself thinking that they would all want to know what would be the next posting on my blog. Instead I had to spell out s-t-e-a-d-y-a-k-u-4-7 so they would know what I am talking about. My ego was a bit dented but I was comforted by the fact that Malaysia Today too did not score a 100%... but definitely much more then me! Zorro Unmasked trumped us all!
At the end of it all we were agreed that we would meet again soon to firm out the structure of our group and to plan how we could involve and meet with other Malaysians in South Australia.….and then we will talk to other Malaysian in other parts of Australia…and the hope is that we will be able to do our part towards change in Malaysia. We believe passionately that is the only way forward if we are to bring back the many Malaysian who are now abroad because home to all of us, will always be Malaysia.
If there are any Malaysians in South Australia who would want to join us at our next meet – possibly around the last Saturday of March please get in touch with Allan Ooi :
"Allan Ooi" firstname.lastname@example.org
For now all that we can tell you about this meet is that you will be amongst friends who have the interest of Malaysia at heart. It will be a celebration of our diversity in unity.
As for that all important ingredient of any Malaysian meet anywhere in the World – FOOD – we will most probably do the Malaysian thing as done anywhere else outside Malaysia – BYO (Bring Your Own). If you do decide to join us please leave your ethnicity and your prejudices by the door!
And for every other groupings of Malaysians in Australia and elsewhere please let us connect with each other and start to ‘talk’ about what we would like to do and what we aspire to do. It is really about letting each other know about what is happening in our neck of the woods and more important, about ‘HOME’ - whether your home is Yong Peng, Jitra, Pengkalan Chepa, Kuala Lipis, Pontianak, ….put in some towns in Sarawak and Sabah……HIDUP MALAYSIA!
As one of the guys said….we all ‘rindu’ Malaysia!