Monday, September 08, 2008

When Malaysia Woke Up

Am extremely happy to hear that Kee Thuan Chye has a new book out (and he's a bit of a dark horse because I heard nothing about it pre-publication). He writes of course of the election result that shifted the ground beneath out feet.

The blurb reads :
March 8, 2008, Malaysians dealt a blow to the Barisan Nasional government that had held almost absolute power for 50 years by denying it the all-important two-thirds majority in Parliament and the control of five states. This book is about that historic day and the change that has come with it. It is also an expression of hope for a brighter future, with many Malaysians speaking their thoughts frankly and without fear. If you feel that March 8 was really something, this is the book to help you remember it for years to come.
The book was reviewed in Starmag on Sunday by R. Lim and apparently comprises personal accounts, essays and interviews ... including pieces by Kam Raslan and Animah Kosai.


More information from Chye :
The day of the underdogs, the real Merdeka, a political tsunami, the perfect storm—by any name, March 8, 2008, will go down in history as a turning point in Malaysian politics. With their votes, Malaysians dealt a blow to the Barisan Nasional government that had held almost absolute power for 50 years. Denying it the all-important two-thirds majority in Parliament and the control of five states has certainly made the political scenario more vibrant.

Although surprised that there was such power in the vote they cast, Malaysians woke up to the true meaning and practice of democracy. They now face the present reasonably free from fear, free from the spectre of May 13.

This book is about that historic day and the change that came with it—an expression of hope for a brighter future, with many Malaysian voices speaking their thoughts frankly. There are also eyewitness accounts, interviews with key people, and articles never published before, written by fledgling and established writers.

Includes exclusive hard-hitting interviews with Raja Petra Kamarudin, Zaid Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Dr Lim Teck Ghee and Dr S. Subramaniam.


- How Big Are Your Balls? - an interview with Raja Petra Kamarudin
- The Racial Bias of Utusan Malaysia - a report by Yip Wai Fong, Centre of Independent Journalism
- One Hundred-Odd Days After March 8 - a comprehensive record of events
- Enough of the NEP - an interview with Dr Lim Teck Ghee
- Just Call Me Guan Eng an interview with Lim Guan Eng


Anonymous said...

I'm definitely going to read this book, and I agree that March 8 was an important date for revealing -- as the review says -- hope and courage. But can I just ask (maybe there's someone out there who can give me a succint answer) what really has changed in *concrete* terms? What has the new coalition done that the old government wouldn't have been able to do?

I'm not asking to be pessimistic or controversial -- I'm actually curious to hear what people think, and chances are, there are changes of which I'm not aware....

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

I doubt you will hear many. The rise of the PR is more evidence of the declining relevance of the English language.

If elections were decided on the basis of language skills alone, the BN would have won handily -- just compare, for instance, KJ's blog with LKS'.

I'm keeping an open mind though, and hoping someone will come up with a laundry list of welcome changes they've made as well.

Anonymous said...

But there *have* been a few concrete changes. Doesn't Penang have an open tender system now, for example? Why isn't anyone listing these changes? It wasn't a rhetorical question....

still waiting,

Anonymous said...

Well, that's fine then. According to the PR spent Rm85,000 to publish 20,000 copies of a magazine. Has anyone seen a copy ?

Anonymous said...

What are they going to do about Penang's infamous meterless taxis? what are they going to do about the pollution ? and what are they going to do about all the rats that feast on the rubbish in town?

Anonymous said...

No, of course it's not "fine then" but maybe it's a start. Better than *no* open tender system. What other changes have actually been implemented so far? I try to find out and I get different answers from different people.

(I agree, though, that the meterless taxis are a SCOURGE. I hate them. I've walked 5 miles in the midday sun to avoid being fleeced by one of those bastards. It's the principle of the thing. They know they're cheating you but they also know they can get away with it most of the time.... I almost picked a fist fight with one of them but my poor mum was about ready to have a heart attack so I stopped.)

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

"Better than *no* open tender system"

Would you prefer a closed tender system, or an open tender system for a magazine no one I know seems to have read? six of one I think isn't it? :) it IS odd that no one's seen it, isn't it? oh, and who won the tender? aren't the results supposed to be announced? that's what "open tender" means right? or does it mean only that anyone can tender. If that's the only thing it means then how does it stop corruption?

Yes, I've done the same thing myself. Walked from Gurney Drive to Komtar to avoid them. Why doesn't he do something about that ? if I was CM, that's the first thing I'd do. Then I'd be think about a proper waste disposal system. But they're more interested in printing magazines apparently. Magazines that cost Rm85,000, and no one seems to have read.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question, Anonymous: I have to say I do still prefer the open tender system. I completely agree that actions speak louder than words, etc. etc., but at least the open tender system has the *potential* to be fair. It seems that it's not working yet, but having a fair law is a good beginning, as opposed to an unfair law. Now there needs to be a way for the people to let the state government know just how they'd like that law to be implemented. You and me sitting here talking about what *we'd* do if we were CM, well, ultimately that's not so effective because the CM probably doesn't read this blog (I'm not pointing fingers, I'm guilty of the same, but....)..

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

"the CM probably doesn't read this blog"

You'd be surprised who does. I've had stuff happen to countries some time after I said things about them or us, which I'm sure are coincidences, but sometimes I have to wonder.

You'd think no one reads blogs, but then, it's just because you never see anyone read them,