When I woke up this morning, there was a fresh change in the air. Rays of sunlight shot through the windows; a bright day, signifying the start of a new dawn in Malaysia.
Finally, victory had come to us. The people had won. Makkal sakthi! For those who had bravely cast their vote, we are the ones who had made the change. We voted, not driven by emotion, nor driven by fear - but by hope and longing for a better Malaysia, for a better governance. For those who voted this election, we made history by changing the playing rules of the game.
There will always be cynics. There will always be people who have been brainwashed by the media and by that "perfect" picture that they live in. There will always be people who try to undermine your efforts. There will always be people who don't care, don't wish to accept, and don't even dare to hope for a change. What can I say? There will always be complainers, yet there will always be go-getters! I woke up with a smile because I am glad that today, I can proudly announce that I am a Malaysian, our voters have matured, and we are on our way to join the rest of the democratic world, and we as a nation are ready to progress forward, no longer based on race, no longer based on creed, no longer based on religion!
After taking down posters and banners...
Sim Tze Tzin won the state seat with a majority of 1258 votes to incumbent Wong Mun Hoe. From the election results, it was so evident that every single vote counts, especially when pitched against a very strong incumbent! Our daily door-to-door visits at Pantai Jerejak had not gone to waste. The hardwork and dedication of each and everyone who helped out, especially the few campaign managers, paid off beautifully. I felt so happy to have had the opportunity to work with such dedicated, optimistic individuals, united through a single common belief that we could make a change happen!
Anyway, here's a recap of the events which I went through, on one of the most defining moments of Malaysian history -- Polling Day 2008.
Sekolah Seri Ampang
I woke up at 8a.m., feeling extremely excited for my first election day! Together with my parents, we arrived at our polling station - Sekolah Seri Ampang by 9a.m. We found parking easily, I'd expected the place to be jammed, but it was not! :-)
I got my first feeling that the elections were no joking matter when I saw several policemen manning each classroom (saluran). I was at Saluran 6; each saluran is defined according to age groups (saluran 1 oldest; saluran 6 youngest) so if you're a PACA (polling agent/ counting agent), beware when you suddenly see an old man in the saluran belakang you might wanna take extra caution.
Polling from 8a.m. to 5p.m. only
I was tingling with excitement (coupled with the innard fear of seeing so many policemen around) as I stood third in line at my saluran. Amazingly, there were so few people at my saluran! Could it be a) most people my age are overseas/outstation? b) most people my age don't bother to vote? c) most people my age come to cast their votes in the afternoon?
One more thing I can't understand: the voting process seems so easy!! I had thought it would be a hassle... I really can't understand why people (especially young working adults) my age don't bother to spend just a LITTLE time to register and vote. Voting is our responsibility.
Like I said, I was so darn excited when it was my turn to receive the blank ballot paper, I stood there like an idiot, not knowing where to go to!! The PACA said, go behind that shaded box, there's pencil for you there. Feeling foolish, haha, I went behind the shade and looked clearly at the party logos on the orange and yellow sheets before marking 2 big 'X's there with a decisive intensity. I was done! So I went to look for my parents.
My mom casting her holy vote!
My dad waiting in that longggg line at saluran depan
Dad in red shirt
After casting our votes, we went for dimsum at Foh San then I had to hurry back to Penang together with Hong and Hau to become PACA at Sekolah Bayan Baru.
Pondok KeADILan at Sek. Bayan Baru
We reached Penang at approximately 1.30p.m. After taking my bath I rushed to the pondok, only to be told that I was only needed to be on standby. That's our pondok chief in white. He's younger than me btw. :P Hong and Hau had went to catch hantu... we received information that there might be 3 phantom buses in the area... geli...
'Business' was brisk in our pondok, 'business' meaning that many voters came to check their saluran at our booth instead of the 'other' side! Around 3.30p.m., rain came peltering down on us as we huddled inside the tent, while the voters kept on coming, unfazed by the sudden change of weather.
At 5p.m., the schoolgates were closed by police and so we went home to bathe and wait for the election results. When we reached the operation room, we were greeted by great news of Zahrain and Sim leading the race! Good news continued to pour in as we waited in nail-biting tension, first to fall was Penang! Then Kelantan! Then KL! Then Selangor! Then Kedah! Then Perak! OMG!!!
Nearing midnight, we all gathered at PISA because that was the place where the opposition leaders would hold a press conference. We arrived there late, after the police had put up the police line, so we were not allowed to enter. The opposition leaders kept urging us to wait patiently and orderly, and to contain our excitement. Without any TV to watch the election results, rumours flew through the air as we heard that so-and-so lost, and so-and-so asked for recount... and some rumours that there were fighting somewhere... and my parents phoned me to ask me to be careful and go home quickly. It was really an experience for us, yet it was so happy to see that people of all races gathered there patiently to celebrate the good news.
However, after a veryy long wait, what we saw were the arrival of FRU at a what-was-supposingly-seen-to-be-peaceful gathering. Therefore, some leaders called us to just disperse, just to make the FRU look awkward. So we all dispersed and went to Kayu for a mamak-style celebration.
The rest of the night was spent in front of the TV and Merdekareview.com, together with hoops of joy every few intervals, we denied BN 2/3 in Parliament! I was soooo excited at this dramatic change of political climate, I couldn't really sleep well... that's the end of Polling Day 2008.