Hope Springs Eternal: One Malaysian’s Dream

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Photo courtesy of Ng Seksan

OVER the last two weeks, an ‘installation’ of sorts has taken shape in various suburbs about town. Thousands of tiny colourful flags have sprouted from the grassy roadside slopes in Bangsar to Damansara Heights, Sri Hartamas and, last I saw, near the Section 16 intersection in Petaling Jaya.

This ever-growing citizen’s initiative, or ‘flowers’ as they are fondly known by the Malaysian Spring movement, were first planted at the Jalan Tempinis roundabout in Lucky Gardens, Bangsar.

I actually think they’re quite pretty. And, certainly striking in their simplicity, especially against the backdrop of the glossy, propaganda-laden posters and political flags that have blanketed the Malaysian landscape of late.

Credit goes to movement founder Ng Seksan and his team who have been hard at work planting the ‘flowers’ since April 14.

Sadly, though, sourpusses have poured cold water over their efforts. An article in an online media news portal reported that detractors had lodged police reports claiming the flags “disturb the eyes” and are an “obstruction of the road”.

Clearly, this flag phenomenon is fast becoming a pain in the EC’s behind. It’s certainly flagging up the growing resentment and restlessness amongst the Malaysian people.

According to Ng, an architect and art collector, the flags symbolise hope for Malaysia. But at the very least, they are a work of art – creative, aesthetically pleasing and hold significance to both creator and audience.

So I can’t help but feel disappointed at the narrow mindedness of those who have decried the Malaysian Spring effort. Surely, freedom of expression is not a crime? Surely, there is equality in visual campaigning. Surely, one can see that those flags are neither an eyesore nor an obstruction to traffic!

Truth be told, I do not profess to campaign for any political party in particular – and am not about to start.

There are days that I mull over the rampant corruption in the country, the glaring inconsistencies of the ruling government, the opacity of business transactions at so many different levels, and the injustice that lies within affirmative policies. I wonder if the deeply entrenched culture of patronage will ever be shattered. I wonder if BN will ever change.

Then there are days when I consider the issues within the Opposition: their inability to agree, the power struggles that drive their disunity. And find myself wondering whether, if given the mandate, they will be able to transform Malaysia into the country that I – and so many Malaysians – hope for it to be. I wonder if they can and will effectively stem the outflow of talent and funds, and reinstate integrity, equality and justice within our systems.

I suppose this effectively puts me in the category of fence sitters that now comprise some 48% of voters in the country.

Ultimately, who we choose to govern the country is our prerogative. But, the choice we make will have a far reaching effect. And come May 5, I know I will weigh my decision wisely. For my hope is for an open, fair and transparent government that will bring peace and prosperity to my country.

Which brings me back to the story of the flags. I hope the Malaysian Spring movement continues unimpeded till polling day. I hope to see more ‘flowers’ springing up in cities across the country. I hope this citizen’s initiative will not be in vain.

At the very least, and as Ng says, “What we’re planting for is hope and the betterment of Malaysia.”

I hope for a better Malaysia.

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