“I am a first time voter in GE14. This is my story.”

May 20, 2018


“I am a first time voter in GE14. This is my story.”

Cerita Undi by Mei Chia.

I am a first time voter in GE14.

This is my story.

I became more aware of what’s going on around me and less apolitical since Trump won the US election.

Not that I was surprised that he won but the way he won the election was an insightful learning for me. I got intrigued with US politics ever since Obama the first non-white got elected and re-elected.

Ironically, I was more enthused with global politics on Twitter but not so with my own country’s political affair & development.

I tuned Malaysia out. I tuned the ugly politicians out. The 1MDB and anti-Chinese rhetorics made me sick to my stomach. I was angry. I felt oppressed. I felt shortchanged. I felt powerless.

I wasn’t given a choice to be born a non-Malay in this country. Why was I denied the privileges they enjoy? How dare they called me a pendatang asing on a national daily frontpage?

I thought joining Bersih rallies in solidarity with other fellow Malaysians would revive me or at least subdue my anger….as a release outlet. It didn’t. It confused me further and drained me up even more. Was I ever ideological? I questioned my motivation in joining the rallies.

Then came #auntybersih, #occupywallstreet, #umbrella movement in HK, #blacklivesmatter, #metoo campaign, #neveragain Parkland…waves after waves of news seeing normal citizens young and old taking matters into their own hands fighting hard for what they believe in, pushing back the governments who were unjust & corrupted and actually affecting positive change. Change was materialised because they do not want to be compromised anymore.

I thought, so this is how ordinary people participated to make a difference. To make themselves heard & seen relentlessly. To fight even when they are disempowered.

And I wasn’t participating with my rights to vote. It was a glaring contrast. I started to change my mindset.

Listening to BFM especially Shaarad Kuttan, helped inspired me to care more of what’s going on around me in Malaysia.

Then came the global media coverage on 1MDB and naming the MO1 as the culprit behind the world’s largest kleptocracy the US DOJ has ever witnessed. I felt doomed.

Was so anxious to vote that I slept for 3 hours before waking up to leave the house and reach the voting center around 7.30am, thinking that I would be one of the first few in line.

Then came Mahathir joining forces with PKR to form Pakatan Harapan. Wait, what?!

Kak Wan Azizah did what?!

I was convicted by her resolution to collaborate with the man that jailed her husband in the first place. She is motivated by her love for her husband and the country, I thought.

Kak Wan Azizah. I don’t think I need Tun M as my new PM. We needed him to win but not lead. For christ sake, he is over 90. We would do just fine without his leadership (the stock market would disagree with me) Trial and error, it’s ok. I prefer Kak Wan to lead. She is an inspiration on love and forgiveness.

And then, as I turned to Tun M, I thought o myself why am I letting a 92 year-old man fighting my battles for me?

I felt ashamed.

And so, I would be damned if I continue to sit out from participating if I claim to love my country just as much as my penangites friends whom have changed their state government since 2008 out of love for the state and the country. They are just as passionate for their choice of government as they are with food.

So this time, I decided to participate as a voter. I voted because I realized that I am on the verge of loosing this beautiful country to corruption and I needed to do my bid before it’s too late, before I loose my country for good.

On voting day, the community board in where I stay gets political too.

And oh boy, the #pulangmengundi gang and self-organizing troopers to assist overseas voters to make their votes count….for once, Malaysians unite for a different cause other than sports, food and durian.

Malaysia boleh, kan?

I was hopeful but realistic about PH winning big. But, I never thought the Malays majority would finally be voting against BN.

The Malays are finally with us and they came crushing BN like the tsunami waves.

To serve as a reminder to myself that as I enjoy the fruits of my labour, social mobility and freedom to travel the world, I should always believe that change comes from within and not elsewhere. And, positive momentum of change should be rallied and passed on from one generation to the next. No more being a selfish and ignorant citizen.

I am so proud of them. So proud of every single one who voted for change.

I went over to Singapore the same weekend and I felt great visiting the country as a Malaysian because we can finally level ourselves with Singapore and become a first world country, in due time.

I no longer need to be envious of Singaporeans or any other people from other countries for we have done the impossible without bloodshed and violence. Who knew we are capable of such feat? Malaysians wor? Can meh?

Actually, we can.

I still find it surreal at times to think that we the Malaysians could set the world’s precedence in a peaceful power transition from a 61 year-old regime to a first-time federal government party.

So glad & proud to be able to participate and be part of this historical change.

For this change initiated a long term commitment to my country, protecting it, loving it and building it.

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