Friday, July 29, 2011

The 'power' of walking!

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


"Do not spy on one another,
nor let any of you backbite others..." (Hujurat 49:12)

ALHAMDULILLAH (praise to God, The Almighty) I was able to reach Kuala Lumpur city centre on Bersih's big day (9th July) before noon by using the light rail transit (LRT). But in the late afternoon when I was on my way to Plaza Rakyat station from Menara Maybank to catch a train, several passersby told me that the train service was suspended .

'Ya Allah' (Oh, my God), what am I going to do because had to fetch my daughter in Gombak by 6.00 on that evening? My daughter was waiting for me; I had to think hard for a fast solution, I could not imagine my daughter's nervousness and fear if I did not turn up.

Time was runnning out fast and I have no one to consult. The friend who I came with had went his own separate way after police fired tear gas onto the crowd and to add to misery, my cell phone was beeping with a 'low battery' signal and then just went off (kaput).

While standing in front of 'Hentian Puduraya', a Malay 'pakcik' (uncle) who was munching his 60 sen 'roti krim' (long bun with cream), politely offered me his 'share' with the usual introductory - 'sudah makan?' (have you eaten) to which I nooded. I understood his intention, he was just trying to break the ice; he wanted to talk to me.

The veteran 'lone ranger' who I thought would be more than 60 years told me he was from Temerloh, Pahang. He came to Kuala Lumpur a few days before 'the big day'; and he stayed at his son's house di Cheras.

"I came here this morning by LRT and now on my way back but the authorities had closed entrance to the station," he said. He told me he had not taken his lunch; the 'roti krim' was his first food since he had breakfast at his son's home.

I just lent my ears when the 'pakcik' poured words from his heart: "This is not my first demonstration. I have attented the first Bersih rally in 2007 and the anti PPSM (Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) demonstration in 2009. There are things that I am not happy with the government; for example they (those in power in the villagers) discrimate people who openly showed their support to non Umno parties."

Regarding the latest rally; the 'pakcik' said he was for the total transformation of the 'Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya' (Elections Commission).

"I want to give my full support to those 'brave' people who spearhead this movement. Hopefully they would succeed; they had seen the Agong, haven't they?"

Eventhough I was with the 'pakcik', my mind was not there. I was thinking hard to get out of the city centre.

After saying goodbye to him, I walked hurriedly to next LRT station heading north; the Masjid Jamek station. Upon reaching the station, I saw tens of police personnel standing guard at its entrance. There were tens others on the main road and in front of Masjid Jamek.

Since the Masjid Jamek station was out of bounds for the people, I slowly walked to Jalan Masjid India and its back lanes; my mind told me to walk to the nearest point where I could get a public transport so that I could meet my daughter in Gombak.

I passed two elderly women, one of them was cursing the security forces for making life miserable for her; she had to walk as public transportation was nil on that late afternoon.

I then walked along a small road leading to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman but was stopped by uniformed personnel. I showed my press card, they let me go. At Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, I saw troups of FRU and policemen at strategic locations along the road.

Near the Sogo shopping complex, there were several police trucks; several uniformed men were seen walking up and down the road, but the majority of them were resting at open spaces and corners of buildings. Not a single vehicle was seen on that section of the road other than the police trucks.

After passing the Jalan Sultan Ismail road intersection, I saw some people on the streets though there were still many policemen on the road sides. I walked on until I reached the Chow Kit Monorail station and while stopping for rest under the station, I was fortunate to catch a taxi and then continue my journey to Gombak.

Alhamdulillah, on that evening, I could not believe it; I had the energy and stamina to walk from Puduraya to Chow Kit which is not far away from my office which is situated at Jalan Pahang Barat. Imagine on normal days, I would take the LRT that passes four stations on that route from the Titiwangsa station which is near my office to Plaza Rakyat (Puduraya) station.

Perhaps next time, if the train service fails, it should not be a great problem to me because I had the experience walking from Puduraya to Chow Kit!

Also perhaps I had passed ‘the examination’ in walking! In my everyday journey from my home in Melaka to Kuala Lumpur by using public transport, I would have to walk several times. From the ‘Terminal Bersepadu Selatan’ (Southern Integrated Terminal) in Bandar Tasik Selatan, I had to walk a distance of about 800 meters to get to the LRT station which is situated at the farthest end and from the Titiwangsa station, I have to walk another 800 meters to my office. I also cover the same distance when going home. So my daily activities also involve much walking.

An office mate, who also went to that Saturday demonstration, was seen in a ‘sarong’ when I turned up in office on Monday morning.

“What happened?” I asked him. He answered: “There are bruises on the lower parts of my body including around the loins!”

He then told a few friends who had gathered around his desk that he walked up and down Kuala Lumpur city centre following demonstators on that fateful day and ended up in Kampung Baru where his son pick him up in a car.

So to my beloved brothers and sisters (readers), from today ‘make full use’ of your legs including exercizing, jogging and walking, who knows one day, you need to ‘use’ them to the maximum, for examples in demonstration or when public transport breaks down or even your own car fails to start.

Even when you perform ‘umrah’ (small hajj) whats more ‘hajj’, you have to be ‘super fit’ because these ‘ibadat’ (acts of worshipping God) require ones to walk a lot; for example from the hotel rooms (imagine if you were put into a hotel a kilometer away from the Haram Masjid) to the masjids and from the tents in Mina to the Jamrat at which pilgrims would throw stones at its three stations, Ula, Wusta and Aqabah.

Some pilgrims have to walk about seven kilometers from their tents to these stations and if one is eager to finish his hajj ‘manasik’ (rituals) fast, one could walk 15 kilometers from Mina to the Haram Masjid to perform ones ‘tawaf’ (circumambulating seven times around the Kaabah) and ‘saie’ (walking seven times tru and fro from the hills of Safa and Marwa). Perhaps nowadays the situation might be different because the authorities had put a train service along all these sites for rituals.

I had put a few examples about the ‘power’ of walking; so the next time when there is a demonstration, you should ready your ‘legs’ and body to walk ‘the unfixed distance’ without much problem.

During demonstrations, people WALK, they don’t drive cars. You too have to use your legs to run away from the police and their tear gas. So get ready to use the power of your LEGS!

There are a lot of articles on the power and benefits of walking either in books or in the internet; I recommend readers to read them and to ‘future’ demonstrators (for example Bersih 3.0), practice this routine at the earlieast possible date because it is time to get walking (moving): “Stop driving around a parking lot for 10 minutes just to get a spot next to the front door! Park at the opposite end of the parking lot and walk! Stop taking elevators and escalators, and start taking the stairs! If you need more vitality in your life, climbing a few stairs whenever possible will be a big step (literally) in the right direction. Also, if you ever have the opportunity to go for a walk or a hike in nature, you will be reaping even more benefit from the uneven terrain and chance to breathe fresh air, not to mention the benefits to your Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual well-being!”

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