I am proud of you, many many Indians in the country. You have finally stood up to reclaim your rights.
I reached KLCC 7 something in the morning. I reached, without expecting such a big crowd. Thousands of your faces passed me by, every face seems to have something to tell. Life has never been easy for you, I know. And so you came, bringing pictures of Gandhi and banners claiming your own rights, as a Malaysian, and as a humanbeing with dignity.
You stood peacefully under some billboards of Petronas. Children from different races playing happily together in the advertisements. "One legacy, one destiny", one of the billboards said. A peaceful multiracial country, this is the image they always try to portrait. There was happiness projected in the images. However it seems to me boring, and surreal. There you stood peacefully below those images. Your dark skin, your smiles, your courage and even your fear deep inside your heart making you so real, and so energetic.
To tell the truth, I was in fear standing among you, thousands of you. But after a while I knew that that feeling had no justification. Each and everyone of you I met was so nice to me, you talked to me in such a way that you never ever worried I was not a real journalist but someone from special branch. You were just simple and nice. And yet, people call you thugs.
Hi guys, I did not enjoy much peaceful moments with you, for the water cannon and tear gase came fiercefully after a while. Doses of tear gase fired directly toward your bodies. My tears dropped seeing you been dispersed in such a manner, it must be a result of the mixture of tear gase, anger and feeling of simpathy.
In a few occasions, I caught too much tear gase and could not stand properly. You offered help without hesitation. You could spare water in your bottle for yourself but you chose to pass it to me without asking who I am, where I come from. I must thank you. Thank you for treating me nice, without looking at the colour of my skin. Certainly, I felt more secure among you, than among the police.
The police fired tear gases again. Again, and again. Are those doses of tear gase going to expired? I heard someone wondered. I rather believe that it was, because I see no reason the police had to use such heavy force to disperse you, and me.
It was a sad day for me. And after reading newspapers the next day, I know there are many sad things to come. Are you going to run away from this? No, I think you are going to prove me that you are going to face this with courage and wisdom, together with other ethnic groups in the country.
P/S: I understand that some people are uneasy with the rally for it only focuses on Indian rights in the country. I do not see problem minority groups stand up for their own rights. Just as I do not think there is any problem the indigenius come out and fight for their land. If there are problems of discrimination in the country and there are certain groups being marginalised in this country, let us admit it. Let us be realistic also, if this is another rally calling for equality of all Malaysians, Indians' problems can never be highlighted.
However I do agree that HINDRAF the organiser of the rally should engage other civil society groups and other races to join and support the appeals of the Indians. If the appeals are rational and put properly, it can surely gain supports from other ethnic groups. My point is that, if there is a way to stop politicians from labelling you as a racist, why not? Nevertheless leadership of HINDRAF seems does not really care about choosing a better strategy. The Sunday rally also seems to me less organised.
Question now: how is HINDRAF going to lead such a big crowd? I hope HINDRAF can guide its followers to the root of the problems and find out facts about other ethnic groups in the country. While a big number of Indians living in poor conditions, a number of Malays and Chinese also not living easily. Besides discriminative policies of the government, problems lie on selfish government politicians who utilise such policies for their own purposes (money, power, women etc).
The leadership of the country is the problem creator, not the Malay people, HINDRAF, please make this very clear to those nice people I met in the rally.