Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Rape of My Mind and Body. Thank you Bersih. Now I know in order to feel clean, I must get dirty.

Visual Spectacle
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My objective for the day was very simple. Get a bread toast and drink at my favourite place at the city centre. Full stop. It was your typical free and easy, think nothing, do nothing sort of day....but woooah, as it turns out, that day happened to be a Saturday, where a large gathering called Bersih 3.0 was marching on the streets! I was in my usual cocoon-angelic-virginal-not-a-care-in-this-stupid-world mode, not even knowing what loomed before me, until I took the train and saw hordes of Yellow shirted folks came pouring in. Why the colour Yellow, I wonder? Bright colours have that curious effect on my mind. It flashes across suddenly and fill my head with images. I remembered I became famous in Malaysian Idol back in 2004, dancing in my Yellow Shorts video that went viral worldwide. Witnessing these people, brought back memories.

Now, my mind suddenly connects one with two. I changed my mind about stopping at the city centre, and let the train takes me further and deeper into the heart. When the train came up from the ground, the view of the streets were filled with folks in their Yellow Shirts bearing the word "Bersih", means "clean" in English. You see, I need to have my toast and drink (iced milked tea) for my lunch was a very very simple one - not filling. I was beginning to feel weak from my lack of food intake, when my mind began to ignite to see how "passionate" some of the Yellow shirt folks are in the train, talking among themselves.

EXCLUSIVE PIC: My Yellow Shorts 
ignited a fashion trend? Crazy, literally.
Visual Spectacle
I began to see the appeal of large public gatherings such as these. The last one was back in July, after my birthday. Large gatherings like these caused quite a spectacle. It's a visual delight for some, an eyesore for others, but still a spectacle. It caused normal, peace-loving, lazy folks like myself to stop for a while and look. It has this magnetic force that pulls you in, even though you are partially starving like me, with valid reasons why I am lazy. My stomach is growling for the toast and drink but my mind is curious for more adventure in the street. I am torn apart. The second appeal of a large gathering is it encourages talk among folks.

Rush Talk
In Malaysia, we have so many races and different sorts of psychologically malnourished mentalities (myself included), that we hardly talked seriously among ourselves. As a Communications Strategy Coach, I've observed this many times among Malaysians. What we call communication here is actually "rush talk". It's simply one person giving an opinion, and the other one adding his/her own opinion, and voila, you call this "talk".  Strangely, this kind of talk appeals to normal folks. Even educated folks from universities talk like this. I am not from any high masters degree background, yet, I enjoy observing people talking this way - because it is another form of abnormality in communication. Click the links below to read my past success stories in "curing" these abnormalities:
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Grand Purpose - beyond ourselves.
Public gatherings also give the individual a sense of grand purpose beyond themselves. It's seriously addictive stuff - a dose of the grandiose. It's the common purpose that binds the public together. This has been my fifth time witnessing such a public spectacle, my first being Anwar captured for his sodomy case, so I can actually testify what a feeling it can be to strive towards a common purpose with others, thousands of others with you, on the street. Personally, I never participate such a large crowd gathering for I have no political affiliations with any political party - I'm neutral. But as a common folk, you'll surely stumbled across people who do for we are all connected in spirit.

People with Money vs People Without
The story is still the same. If you simplify and quantify all these public outrage on the streets, it all still boils down to money. The poor against the rich. People with money who refuses to spread the money around. For this, I felt it necessary and healthy even to have public gatherings such as Bersih 3.0, because it's a grandiose show of a symptom of how ill our country's governing system has become. Corruption. Segregation. Cronyism. All that stuff. As a business owner, there were so many overdue payments and employers expecting dirt cheap prices for over-the-hill demands. It's unfair practices. Downright unprofessional. If you're an employee, you might be forced to resign instead of the company firing you, all that political jazz. It's a crazy world we're living in. And surely, it would eventually grows its outrage to the streets. Simply because, no one is listening. This is expected to happen. Nobody can stop it. Not even God. Not even you. Heck, I'm so piss poor now, I might even hop in the bandwagon next time.

"All that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."

The Lost Art of Conversation
The problem is still fundamentally a communications one. I came across this insightful internet platform called TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talks, highly-recommended where all the best ideas are shared online.In one of the talks by Sheery Turkle titled "Connected, but Alone"- it highlights our overtly-connected, tablets and electronics saturated world until we lost the joy of having a simple conversation. In Asian homes, children are taught to listen to their elders. This same giving and receiving thread is passed on until we're working adults, where we are expected to follow orders from our bosses. What happen to conversation? A conversation is more organic, unorganised and spontaneous. I remembered I went for a job interview before, and a HR manager commented how emotional I can be. Why, aren't we all emotional beings? In other words, to work in an office environment, you have to numb yourself to the work handed to you - no matter how heavy the load is? You think I'm so stupid? If I am, then I would be a robot instead.

Numb Your Emotions - Healthy or Destructive?
Hence, another reason to get emotional. Witnessing the thousands of folks marching on the streets today, I sympathised with them all. The world wants you to numb your emotions, be emotion-less. It's like we've been conditioned all along to think in a certain way, with no freedom or free will for an individual to express his/her true self. These "children" has grown up, and began to rebel against, subconsciously, on our parents and teachers who taught us all the values only to benefit their own selfish self-satisfaction. Our hearts are hissing: "They have lied to us! Tricked us into believing this so-called peaceful country" Even the teachers and parents are just as bad as we are, and why are we to be blamed? Thankfully, in my Artiste Training Course coaching, you'll learn how to channel your raging emotions more productively into:

The nail tweezer I used to pull the
cotton ball out from my ear. Ouch.
Feel the Pain to Learn
This is a crazy world we lived in today. Firstly because, nobody is accepting the responsibility for their own actions. Nobody wants to admit that they are wrong, and stop to re-evaluate what they had done. And worst of all, we only want people who shares the same belief systems as we do, and separate others who are different. I'm talking about the gays and straight people, religious and non-religious groups, fat and skinny people. I noticed all these when my eyes were tearing up quite painfully from the tear gas. I was only just a passers-by trying to get my way through the crazy crowd, when the tear gas was released.  Just yesterday, I managed to pull out a cotton ball from my left ear using a nail tweezer after a day of hearing loss, pain and discomfort. Now this! Water running down from my eyes. And choking. Gosh, the next pain - child bearing from all this "rape"? Learning is painful.

Results from "The Rape"
I wanted to curse sometimes, at all this people chanting and marching on the street - spoiling my supposedly tranquil Saturday stroll in the city. But wait, doesn't everybody deserves their voices to be heard? I must admit that these people are braver than myself, to wake up early in the morning to march and protest on the streets. I shouldn't be criticizing and condemning these people who are doing what their hearts are calling them to do. Artistes do that too. Their marching has valid reasons. They wanted to be heard. So I took the monorail and stopped all the way back to the last station. Then I got down and change my route to get to the city centre, Bukit Bintang. Upon reaching, it's like my mind and hearts have been cleared away from the foggy smoke and showered with the light. The streets were peaceful and not as crowded as it should, like its usual crowded Saturday. I was having an easy stroll actually, and finally stopped at my favourite shop for my toast and iced milked tea. As I sat there resting my tired, aching body from all the adventures and rape of my mind and body, I came into 3 very simple (and important) lessons everyone, from the ugly street vendor to the Prime Minister need to adhere to:
1. Accepting responsibility. 
2. Admit when in the wrong. 
3. Everyone got their place in this world. And that means everyone from the gays (who are just as imperfect as the straight) to the street protesters. Objective accomplished. Now, where's my toast?

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