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.
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.
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.