Sunday, September 28, 2008

Peaceful birthday, dear Pete. We love you.

Peaceful birthday, dear Pete. We love you.
September 28, 2008

Star online reports today that Dang Wangi police chief Asst Comm Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said police had received information that a gathering was scheduled to be held at Dataran Merdeka last night.

“But we had placed our people at various roads leading to Dataran Merdeka and this had caused the group to change the location of the gathering to an area near Puduraya”, Star quotes Zulkarnain.

Malaysiakini reports today that last night, there were two separate groups ( Hindraf and a coalition of NGOs led by WAMI ) that had initially planned a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka at about 7.30pm, but that did not materialise due to police cordons, so that the Hindraf group re-routed to the Hindu temple opposite Puduraya.

When they came across a police cordon at Dataran Merdeka, the Hindraf-led group numbering about 500 decided to march to the temple opposite the Puduraya bus terminal about 1km away.

Both reports give the impression that there was no candlelight vigil at Dataran last night.

Well, not quite true.

A motley crew of about 50 did manage to get to Dataran Merdeka to hold that candlelight vigil, even if it was only for about a half hour.

At about 7.15pm, people started to trickle on to Dataran close to that flagpole that is the pride of Dr M, light candles and to mingle.

The numbers quickly grew.

And just as quickly, we were joined by the men in blue.

From where we were, we could see a lot of activity at the junction of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Tun Perak. In fact, we could hear the Hindraf crowd that we were sure was building up there and that we thought might soon be joining us.

It did not happen. The Malaysiakini report narrates why.

A birthday card to RPK was put up

and everyone joined in to sing ‘Peaceful birthday, Dear RPK’.

Close to 8pm, the police ordered us to disperse, or to risk arrest. Some of us thought that we should not disperse, and not resist arrest if that was what the police were minded to do. However, we were literally ‘pushed’ and ‘dragged’ and ‘pulled away’ by friends and family.

Not content, we headed out hoping to join up with the Hindraf group, believing that they were still at the Jalan TAR- Jalan Tun Perak junction.

As we neared the junction, there was no crowd. They had dispersed towards the temple in Pudu, we were told.

And so we decided to do a second vigil on the road side, encouraged by the honking of passing motorists.

Word got to us that the crowd that had dispersed earlier had re-grouped at the temple in Pudu. Some of us decided to make our way there. Said our bye-byes to those who were calling it a night.

I leave you with the photos taken at the Pudu temple.

Got to say that I too was pleasantly surprised at the restraint demonstrated by the police last night.

To those who made it out there last night, proud of you.

Michelle, the candle that I carried was for you, your family and every other anak Bangsa Malaysia who is not in the country but who are praying for the rest of us.

Posted by Haris Ibrahim
Filed in People Power

17 Responses to “Peaceful birthday, dear Pete. We love you.”
su Says:
September 28, 2008 at 12:17 pm
So glad you remembered us. Thank you.

And thanks too to those who made it to the vigil last night.

kkitsam Says:
September 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm
Haha Haris i was there, the one holding the transparent cup with the message “WE WALK WITH RPK” & NO TO ISA!!! but the picture i took is quite blur, coz holding the candle on the other hand. but proud to be there

donplaypuks Says:
September 28, 2008 at 12:39 pm
One step at a time. More haste less speed, more gatherings and we’ll get there for sure.

Paul Warren Says:
September 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm
Sad that I was unable to attend.

I guess the police must be quite confused themselves. Especially the men in blue and red helmets.

I don’t think in their training manuals they had any anticiaption of their rough ways on the kind of people taking part in the vigils. Anyone of htem could be their sons, daughters, brothers or sisters….or fathers and mothers too.

SAJ Says:
September 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm
Dear Haris,

Sincere apologies for being one of those responsible for the “pushing.. dragging..pulling”.
We only ‘lost’ a tactical battle.
We need you, zorro and others on the “outside” to win the strategic war!


koolgeek Says:
September 28, 2008 at 2:40 pm
police busy buka puasa ah?

ngski Says:
September 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm
Police moved in swiftly to disrupt a peaceful candlelight vigil by Hindraf and other supporters. Assistant Commissioner Zulkarnain was quoted as saying that police had received prior information (well done) and “had our people at various road.” Such efficiency and good intelligence when it involved the Opposition and a licence to do anything they like for BN thugs and arsonists. Cry for me, Malaysia.
Teresa Kok’s family home was firebombed. A warning note says “don’t create trouble” or her family members would be roasted. Who is creating trouble? No comment, no action, no arrests, no intelligence from Special Branch. Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. Listen to Tengku Razaleigh: Malaysia has become a laughing stock.
Cry for me, People’s Parliament.

Hornet Says:
September 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm
Congratulations to all the good people out there last night good work and that’s what true citizens of Malaysia must show when fighting for justice for all regardless of race and religion. RPK is indeed a true example yet he is being put behind bars for fighting for all of us. My heart aches seeing what his family is going thru. We must continue to support him, fight for his release, fight for a change in the Govt, fight for a clean country free from corruption so that all Malaysians can leave without fear only than we can attract investors and MM2H program will be a success. HIDUP RPK, HIDUP RAKYAT, HAPUSKAN ISA!! GODS SAVES……

Farida Says:
September 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

A beautiful, wondrous thing happened last night that none of us must forget!

While some of us waited patiently at Dataran Merdeka for the group outside to somehow make their way in, and we sang for Raja Petra, the larger group outside the cordoned area were chanting ‘No to Isa’ etc.

We saw the flickering lights from their candles and knew their number was growing but a police-created barrier separated us.

We were chased out by a very, very rude police personnel who obviously felt he had to practise his kindergarten numbers in front of us and, yes, you had to be dragged away ‘to fight another day’ and also because of what RPK had said.

And so we left to join the others only to find that group had moved on.

But you know what? And this is that beautiful, wondrous thing. Hindraf and the others in that group chose to think out of the box. They could not be contained - not by the police, not by the government , not by anyone.

They didn’t disperse. They moved. Malaysianinsider has a beautifully apt description of that act:

“Eventually, what was planned to be an hour-long gathering in an already cordoned-off area turned into a moving roadblock that disrupted traffic for twice as long.”


Hindraf’s roadblock was unmatchable! Nothing like the police roadblock. Didn’t we hear sirens and see police cars leaving the Dataran area, swinging round the corner for some unseen target?

Little did I know then that Hindraf and Company had taken Vigils a notch higher and stumped the police.

How do you stop a moving roadblock? You don’t and you can’t. You go along with it, caught in the birth of a new moment never created before.

For some of us who had left the group to head back to Central Market, a lovely surprise awaited us along the way. we had blown out our candles but one persisted in keeping the flame burning as we walked along the Benteng area.

Lo and behold! A young voice haled us in our tracks. ” Aunty! Aunty!’

We turned and saw three innocent-looking faces smiling at us. All of Malay origin. The lone flickering candle was the giveaway of where we had been.

“What happened? Was there a riot? Why the candle?” We told them.
“We noticed there were not many Malays in the group,” one said.
Wonderful opportunity : we explained there were quite a number of Malays who had participated but all who were at the event thought of themselves as Anak Bangsa Malaysia, not as Malays, Chinese or Indians.

We talked about the internet, encouraged them to read the blogs and told them the future of Malaysia lay with them.

And then we said our goodbyes.

We didn’t look Malay, yet these young ones - two still in school and one in college had stopped us - had called out ‘Auntie’.

They are out of the box and so are we.

Perhaps no more Dataran Merdeka for the moment, Haris. Every new candle vigil should be a new ‘Think out of the Box’ moment. Moving Roadblock means greater visibility and we pick up many along the way.

Power To The Poeple

heartbroken Says:
September 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm
Dear RPK.
Not a day passes without me and my family think and talk about you! My belated Happy Birthday!!
Remember that you will never be alone. We will stand united and fight this evil government and ISA together.
God bless your soul!

storm62 Says:
September 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm
A million thanks to all at the candle light vigil,

i’m so proud to see Malaysians of all races gathering peacefully, especially outside the Hindu Temple.

so Syed Botak, where is the tension you mentioned among the Rakyats? how did RPK create racial disorder among the Rakyats?

open up your eyes Botak! stop hidding behind your Islam Hadhari Botak and RELEASE RAJA PETRA IMMEDIATELY !!!


you traitor of Agama,Bangsa dan Negara.

ash Says:
September 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm
ooh am giddy that i can see my mum in the ‘motley crue’ pics. i was on the way, haris!! but taking the LRT wasn’t the best of ideas… apparently the march was coming up the road at Masjid Jamek by about half past 7…

i have so much to say! but enough for now…
peace and love to everyone holding the fort!

mei1 Says:
September 28, 2008 at 4:56 pm
It’s a good sign that FRU / police didn’t really “interupt” the candlelight vigil? or because PL is under the pressure to quit early, hence the authority has slowly not to “bother” about the rally / vigil.

Just look at the recent 916 rally at Kelana Jaya as compared to the rally for Protes, there’s no visible (I don’t see any, so I assume that there’s none) FRU unit at the surrounding at all, what’s the message behind it? Are we slowly progress to a more “democratic” stage or there’s other implication?

Sha Says:
September 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm
Thank you.

Angela Ooi Says:
September 28, 2008 at 5:35 pm
The subdued police action may be cos Badawi, a better man than Najis, is now Minister of Defense??

delcapo Says:
September 28, 2008 at 5:41 pm
managed to post my own vids & pix…

what a night!
!!! Mansuhkan ISA !!! Bebaskan RPK !!!


shar101 Says:
September 28, 2008 at 5:57 pm

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