Thursday, November 13, 2008

'An Angry Night to Remember' by The JourneyMan...

The Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigil gathering on the 9th.November 2008 was a meaningful and memorable one for those who were present. But, it was marred by the sudden arrest of some participants at the field of MBPJ in the midst of singing Negaraku. I was one of them detained. My name is Sunny Lim and let me take you with me, no rather with us (those who were detained on the same night with me) for an unprecedented experience in that memorable night.

The weather was kind and the night air was filled with patriotism. The national anthem was heard loud and clear sung by all present in unison. Before it was over, my arm was grabbed by a plainclothes officer. I suffered shock for a moment and wondering what had gone wrong. I remained composed and walked along with him. This particular officer was kind to me perhaps it was my age. I am a 58-year old man who only wanted to play a societal role to call for the abolishment of ISA in a peaceful way. Lighting a candle to show us the way will not even hurt a fly. However, I could not hold a candle because the video cam in my hand will help me to record all the wonderful moments and the peace-loving people around.

The Melee when The Police charged in

This particular officer allowed me to my requests – to walk with him (no doubt he was still holding on my arm), to leave my video cam alone, and let me climb up the truck by myself.

It was pitch-dark inside and I moved to where I could see with the help of the light shinning in from the road. I was not alone! Someone had beaten me to it. I sat down oblivious to whoever was in there. The first thing that surged in my mind was my daughter who came with her boyfriend. I called her and was happy that they did not have to share the same predicament. Then, my voice rang out. “Girl I have been arrested. I am fine, please tell mum not to worry.”

Well, it is the usual endearment you and I will say when a situation like this arises. Of course, she will worry like hell or perhaps will go hysteria by the news of my arrest or ballistic for not heeding her advice not to go. However, my beloved wife has none as such except to allow me to my decision and with her caring words that I should look after myself. Well, what are spouses for anyway? Perhaps, I failed to look after myself well that night and had caused the tears of anguish to fill her eyes instead.

Yes, I failed to look after myself because I refused to budge while singing the National Anthem. Yes, I failed to look after myself because I showed my patriotism, and Yes, I failed to look after myself to be with the other peace-loving Malaysians. This was how a 58-year old Malaysian man had finally failed himself!

I remained composed but not for long because one by one arrested was hauled in. A young man in his early twenties was disorientated with both his hands cuffed behind him. We told him that he was not alone and no one would leave him behind. It was not our assurance but our promise.

Abruptly, a man was pushed in and he fell on his back with his hands cuffed behind him. He could not get up and yelled for our help to lift him up, and in a jiffy uncountable hands were all over him. He screamed at the police to loosen his handcuffs but was shouted back by the police to shut up. I was as helpless and unable to help him except to give a few words of encouragement to hold on. He had to bear the agony inflicted around his wrists for nearly an hour.

Then, a woman entered with her hands cuffed behind her back too. Later, I got to know her name. She is Angela and of my age. Her son was not under arrest at that point of time but to accompany his mother to the truck. He was arrested too for doing so. Arresting her with handcuff behind her back had made me a very very angry man. However, I was blessed that I had a newfound younger sister.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw a priest in white robe was helped up into the truck. He could not hear me calling him “Father” because I had a lump in my throat looking at what I should not be seeing. But at least, I had the honour to hold on his elbow to help him up.

Then, I saw a few Yang Berhormat(s) and lawyers were not spared too. For the lawyers to ask the police why we were arrested, they were arrested as well for asking. Just fantastic! It was a pandemonium actually and everyone was busy making calls with their hand phones.

As we cruised along, I began to feel like we were the cattle being taken to a slaughter house. You may wonder why I chose such figures of speech. The truth is because of the way how those unlucky ones were manhandled.

We reached our destination and were kept for some 20 minutes in the stuffy truck. Then the FRU officers arrived to encircle the area meant to be a parking lot to ensure that none of us would depict the movie - The Great Escape. But none of us was Charles Bronson in the making that night but peaceful Malaysians as ourselves.

We were asked to sit while the FRU officers were watching us like a hawk. The first hour, everyone was busy either answering incoming calls or to respond to “sms(es)”. We got to know each other and we had a tale to tell.

Then, fireworks took to the sky and we acknowledged spontaneously with claps and cheers. Bersih had announced its first anniversary! Many of us were not amused. It was because by having to share the same venue that the police took such action.

I sat by myself after getting to know everyone because my anger refused to leave my system. Each person I got to know I could see their eyes were telling me a story. The police offered us a carton of cupped drinks and my parched throat had no complaint.

Then, I spoke to my wife and she was calm, but her voice betrayed her. It cracked with concern and kept asking about the well-being of those who were with me. Whose spouse would not ask and be concerned may I ask?

As dawn was about to break, my vision blurred because looking at those with me, the silent message of solidarity emerged to harness my belief that Malaysians are beginning to stand up and be counted for the reason they believed in. I released a pretentious yawn to hide my emotion and wiped away the angry tears accumulated in my eyes. I shed my silent tears for a reason - the reason that I believe in our Jalur Gemilang!

Exhaustion seeped in as the clock ticked away.

Friends and sympathizers gathered and sang the National Anthem outside the police station. They stayed on expecting that we would be released around 4.00 a.m. but were disappointed. So were we. Some found their way into the adjacent building and gave us the roar of support that they were with us. It was very touching and we all waved back to acknowledge their kind gesture at such a time of need.

ADUN LauWeng San was assaulted by the police

What have gone wrong with our system? For a Member of Parliament to be subjugated to such uncalled for treatment is horrendous! Shouldn’t the police be mobilized to provide protection rather than to make blatant arrest? Man, woman and child were about to disperse after singing the National Anthem and such mayhem was downright unnecessary.

15 lawyers from the Selangor Bar Council arrived within an hour. They advised us how to go about making the statement and our right to remain silent. They did not come empty handed. Fried chickens and drinks were sufficient for all of us and were the welcomed sight. We thank you sir, for your compassion.

The bailers came after our statements were recorded. Many shook our hands instead. For what I wondered. Simple. If it is not you, it will be us to be arrested too. Strangers became friends and friends became brothers and sisters among Malaysians that brought forth the unity for a good cause with just a little white candle to burn brilliantly in the dark under the Malaysian starry sky.

In jubilant mood despite the long wait

I reached home and silently sneaked into my room. On the half-empty bed laid my beloved wife snuggling under the comforter not realizing I was home. I knew she could not sleep and perhaps her exhaustion had taken the toil. Refusing to wake her up, I left the room leaving the hiss escaping from the air-conditioner dart to sing her the lullaby.


TheWhisperer said...

Thanks, brother, for sharing this experience with all of us.

I am sure your contribution will drive us further in seeking justice for all Malaysians.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

What an incredible sharing! Truly inspirational!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I failed to look after myself because I refused to butch while singing the National Anthem....
Since school, we all were taught that the "uncle policeman" will look after RAkYAT...

But in real life, that was all bullshit. I guess those kids whose parents brought them to PJ vigil that night should know better now. They can't believe 100% what they learn at school.

chuchueey said...

Good write, bruder. I shall your feelings and emotions. All these vigils are about the basis of human bonding and emphaties plus exercising our rights under Article 10 of the Constitution of Malaysia which guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.
Keep up the good work, BRUDER, em...em... I don't mean getting detained again.

Antares said...

One by one the stories are being recorded and shared. This is important as I feel all who were arrested so rudely last Sunday night have a very strong case against the police and the home ministry. I've been following the Apcet II case and now that one of the Umno Youth leaders has joined PKR, his testimony as a star witness casts the late Megat Junid (then deputy home minister) in a very sinister light. What the Umno-led goons did at Apcet II was a clear-cut case of hostile intimidation & outright hooliganism, pretty much the same as what the police did - except they were in uniforms paid for by the rakyat!

peng said...

Now it's your turn, Whisperer to tug at my heart strings. I am teary-eyed after reading this post and ANGRY!
Angry that peace-loving people are being treated like criminals.
We will continue to seek justice and we won't stop till we are free. Free from oppression from the state.

de minimis said...


This post made me angry and sad at the same time. Ordinary folk in a peaceful gathering, singing the national anthem being harrassed and herded by the law enforcers without rhyme of reason. It's an act calculated to anger the general populace. Stories like these will energise the people again to do the right thing against such an overt act of tyranny.

Anonymous said...

A great inspiring experience. Make no mistake. Times changed.

"To ALL PARENTS, CHILDRENS,ALL PRIVATE EMPLOYERS, pls understand that your childrens, your mon and Dad, Your Grand Mom and Dad, Your employees is doing you a favour if they take part in any candles Vigils. They believed and are willing to make a stand for what is Rakyat's Right including yours.

And these are the people who are leading changed in our nation which YOU HAVE FAILED TO DO!".

So, pls do not reprimand but provide support and encouragement least we all will revert back to decronian laws or police state and by then it will be too late.

Anonymous said...

This is to set records straight.. I was the 2nd inside the van since I was unable to climb inside without help.
I think there were only 2/3 persons handcuffed..myself cuffed on 1 side only and the very scared young guy from Alor Star who had the unfortunate luck of being handcuffed behind him and was screaming in pain when they chucked him into the van. angela

lucia said...

thanks for the interesting account.

i was there at the police station from 11.00pm to 3.30am! my friend, bk ong and my friend's son, andrew were arrested. i only left after a lawyer advised that no point waiting as you all will be released only early morning. so i went to the nearby PJ inn for some 40 winks (but only managed to get 10 winks due to the excitement). went back to the police station at 6.00am to post bail.

this saturday, we in penang will be having our vigil. hopefully nothing untoward happen.

MAHAGURU58 said...

My sympathies to you and others sir.

Your words betray their truth and sincerity.

May those who abuse their powers and positions answer for it in both this world and in the hereafter.

I quote Hermann Keyserling on this episode:

" Every man who believes in himself, no matter who he be, stands on a higher level than the wobbler".

I am bookmarking your blog sir out of my respect for your stand.


Anonymous said...

Uncle, you are bravo. And I salute your spirit to seek for peace and human rights. You didn't fail to take care of yourself, YOU MADE YR FAMILY & THE MALAYSIAN PROUD. Stand firm and Vigil PJ shall lives on. I promised I will playing my role as part of you too. Well done.

Rwindraj said...

At 58 u suffered for the people and at 32 I m Suffering to make my group of people realise that this is Our Contribution to the Society and we have nothing to loose in this BATTLE, lets continue the fight for the betterment of the society in the future! HUman Rights is always Right in many part of the world xcept Msia!.. Thank You Brothers!