Monday, September 29, 2008

Candle Vigil at Dataran Merdeka - An exprience shared by Naragan

I have just returned from the Hindraf ANTI-ISA Candle Light Vigil . It was a great feeling to speak in unison with the mass of people gathered there to let our voices be heard, loud and clear.
The event began with the Hindraf group numbering several hundreds walking from the Jamek Masjid LRT station to the Dataran at about 7.15 pm or so. They gathered at the entrance to the Dataran Merdeka on the Jalan Tun Perak entrance and were blocked off by Police cordon. Negotiations did not help for the group to gather on Dataran Merdeka.
The Vigil group on Tun Perak kept swelling by the minute and soon there was probably over one thousand protestors gathered - chanting "MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA" with a thousand candles high above their heads. What a beautiful sight. The chants continued louder and louder. The Hindraf group was surprisingly now joined by ' I would say about several Hundred Anti ISA Chinese supporters all with candles. I am not sure which NGO they belonged to, if they did.
Seeing the Dataran blocked, and the police unrelenting and the crowd swelling, Hindraf leaders decided to take the Vigil group on a march to the Kortu Malai Pillayar Temple on Pudu. This was a wonderful move. What would have been a short stand at Dataran turned into a high visibility and extended peace march for the full view of the nation. The crowd in various sections independently chanting"MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA.
Then there were many Malay Citizens who were spotted in the march.I could not guess at a number. I was offered a candle by a Chinese participant when my candle nearly finished, who said, brother, here take this, do not burn your fingers.This was a multiracial march. A multi-racial -march led by Hindraf. The truth always has a way of expressing itself. "Valga Truth."
The group marched very peacefully along Jalan Tun Perak. Such marches are always peaceful, unless there are agent provocateurs or the police take a high handed approach.Sometimes I wonder what the need was for all the FRUs and the water cannons and tear gases and the arrests, in the last one year or so. - what for, why Dato Syed Albar? Allow the people to speak, hear them out, act on their requests and the country runs very well, the people are wise, just listen to the people with some humility.
It was an exhilarating feeling - though fleeting, to feel the strength of the people in this united expression.
The marching group, which I estimate about 3,000 now reached the temple junction after about the one kilometer march - chanting in unison all the way "MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA."The group slowly ascended the little hill to the Kortu Malai Pillayar Temple. There prayers were offered by a group while the rest just filled up the road up the hill entirely and kept up with their chants. Agal Vilakku's were lit and offerred around. Banners were raised, Hindraf Anthem 'Tholvi' was sung and speeches were made. Then around 9.45 pm or so the march and the candle light vigil ended.
What a wonderful night!
The message was abundantly clear - the people are increasingly tiring of the arrogant and deaf ways of the UMNO led BN government. The people are not cowed down so much by the government.s bullying tactics of sending in the police and their Special Branch, using the draconian ISA law , so they can keep the real issues of the people swept under the carpet.
The people are clamouring for a more open, transparent, fair and just system and are now more willing to show it. Note the fact that Chinese Malaysian citizens who typically shy away from such events are beginning to show up. Note also the multiracial character of the group - this is a historical development. People are willing to show their feelings together - not afraid of harassments, not afraid of arrests, not afraid of being associated with or led by groups portrayed by the media of the BN regime to be radical.
The other significant fact to note is how Hindraf continues to lead the change movement in our country. As I keep saying Hindraf is the Vanguard for change in our country. It has and continues to navigate through many, many obstacles to do this. The fact that Hindraf can do this despite the major obstacles it faces, is testimony to the objectives of Hindraf - NATIONAL POLICY CHANGE - to bring about national change for a more just , democratic, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia. for all Malaysians, though expressed in the context of the Marginalisation of the Indians.
It is therefore in the interst of the nation that the BN regime hear this loud expression and immediately release all the ISA detainees. Continuing to hold them unlawfully, will be acting in total disregard of the wishes of the people which resounded so loudly yesterday . and a continuation of national policy whose time has come.


Let the people speak!Let the people be heard!