Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Vigils, Different Fortune...

Another dramatic day.. I chose to lend my support to the Ipoh's vigil to the one at the Padang. Since this vigil is going to be the maiden vigil we bring to Ipoh, I thought it was the right thing to do to show solidarity with good people of Ipoh. One decision which I later regretted deeply.
Started my journey in the company of Bruce and Mark Smith. Thought A&W would be the best place to meet up hoping that we can later rush back from Ipoh's vigil to catch up with PJ's countdown. Brilliant idea, eh? Trying to have the best of both world...
We left PJ at around 3:30pm and headed toward Taiping to meet up with an old friend who offered to buy us dinner days earlier. While having dinner, texts kept coming in to update us with the ongoing events that was going on at the Padang. Roadblocks have been set up to stop people from going in. And scores police personnel have been deployed around the vicinity to discourage people from gathering there. Wished our police personnel are this efficient in handling criminals.

Was it the bumper sticker or was it us
that get these Penang Ah Lians
so excited

While we were on our way back to Ipoh vigil, more texts came in. Our comrades were forced into Amcorp Mall's foyer numbering close to 200. They sang the national anthem, Negara Ku.
Meanwhile over at Ipoh vigil, at least 300 people turned up for the vigil. Quite an encouraging crowd in high spirit. Zorro was there with Din Merican minus Marina and RPK. I could understand as RPK has a sedition trial to attend tomorrow.
Only managed to meet up with Jong, the lady who volunteer her services to perfect this vigil. Truly dedicated. She was still lively and in high spirits when I was introduced to her. I admire her energy.
All in all, it was quite an energized vigil with YB Lim Kit Siang giving life to the atmosphere with his usual speech style. But not quite to what I would have expected. There is this shift... a shift from family orientated one to a political one. Different atmosphere, different feel. Totally out but the common cause remains: Abolish ISA!! Mansuhkan ISA!!
Maybe, I was affected by the situation in PJ. Apparently, they were trapped inside Amcorp Mall for about an hour before the FRU allowed them to leave with those business operators and their employees as it was closing time. Many took the opportunity to head home while those who remained, waited patiently for further instruction. At that time, we were already heading back toward KL.
Then in a short span of time, a flurries of updating texts came through our phones. From regrouping at PJ civic centre to being detained. It happened so quickly. My immediate concern was for the safety of those peaceful brothers and sisters of mine out there. 25 detained according to one of the text. The Devil got unlucky tonight. So was Angela and her son. One was badly beaten up for trying to run. They must have targeted him as 8 FRU personnel pounced on him with brutality. What about Haris? What about RPK? came to my thoughts. Claire confirmed to me that Haris was safe as they both eloped together to safety.
We reached PJ after midnight. So, we decided to stake a look-out from the coffee shop just opposite the States police station. Came Antares to give us a first hand account of what actually happened at the Civic Centre. According to him, Pete gave a short speech and then the singing of our national anthem before dispersing. While they were singing Negara Ku. the FRU personnel went on their warrior dance, banging on their shield to boost up their adrenalin and psyched themselves up by making funny animal sound. They charged even before the national anthem could echo off. Many ran and escape but some stood their ground to allow time for Pete to escape. Another said while she was running away from the mayhem, she could hear people crying out in pain behind her.

Singing NegaraKu with immense love

I could feel the patriotism in each and everyone of them when they sang the national anthem. Many for the first time in their lives sang it with such an emotion... a love for the land they call home and at the same time crying out for the sorry state that has been brought about by a minority group that administrate this land we call home. I know I would have felt the same.

It's a Shame!! A very sad day indeed.

My friends are all safely home now, Thanks to the support from lawyers and politicians who stayed there with them till the wee hours just to seek their release. Thank you...