Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Winning women’s hearts, votes…

************************* In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ************************* Reflection The Declining Day (Al-'Asr) 1. By the declining day, 2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss, 3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. *************************** I noticed women close to my heart were not keen in reading Harakah. Perhaps it is true amongst women in general; and to overcome my curiosity I asked my wife. She said it was because of the paper’s contents which were almost 100 percent on heavy political issues, made the fairer sex shy away from it. ************** Almost half (more than 49 percent) of the voters in Malaysia are women, thus their contributions and votes are very significant and crucial to both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional in the up coming 13th general election. Perhaps the team that could capture the hearts of women would have the edge. ****************** Regarding this, all parties in Pakatan Rakyat, especially PAS and its auxiliaries including those in the publishing houses such as Harakah have to think fast on how to win the hearts of women. Perhaps Harakah should take the lead in handling women’s issue because any shortcoming in winning women’s heart could jeorpodise the party’s and Pakatan Rakyat’s struggle to reform the political atmosphere of the country and of course to move on ‘the road to Putrajaya’. ******************** Perhaps PAS had moved forward in naming a few ‘Muslimat’ (women) leaders as it’s candidates in the last general election and during the Tenang (Johor) by-election in early 2011, it chose a local woman teacher, Puan Normala Sudirman; but there are still many loop holes that needed urgent remedy. ********************* Only women know women’s hearts and needs. Regarding this, perhaps Harakah has lagged behind, those hard political stuff has turned off the women-folk; they needed something dear to their hearts – do not forget the so called ‘main stream media’ including TV stations had special programs and slots on women. Sadly Harakah, does not have any…perhaps once a while there would be writings by ‘Muslimat’ top leaders and reports on women’s activities and gatherings. ********************** Regarding women’s activities, I received this emel from a reader, writing about the ‘Himpunan Aman 10,000 Wanita (Peaceful Gathering of 10,000 Women)’ which was held in Petaling Jaya on the 18th March in conjuction with the International Women’s Day. *********************** Thank you for “listening” (reading) to my expressions. Having mentioned your blog (, I suppose that is what I should also be doing. I hope that I am able to do so in the near future. Meanwhile, I would like to share a little more. Actually, I started writing this on the 21st of March but have just finished editing it today sitting in the open area designated “smoking zone” here at the “Daya-Tun-Mahathir” (read Dayabumi) building. ********************** My experience at the ‘Himpunan Aman 10,000 Wanita’. *********************** The march on Sunday 18th March from Masjid Bulat Section 14, Petaling Jaya was impressive. For it was from here that I witnessed it. (Another gathering was scheduled to leave from Taman Jaya.) Coincidentally, on the other side of the road was an Utusan building. Since it was a Sunday, no employees of Utusan were there to have a glimpse of this august parade to back its noble demands. ************************* Printed on a little sheet of paper they were as follows: 1. Kerajaan yang bebas daripada rasuah dan penyelewengan (A government free of corruption). 2. Akta gaji minimum (A decent living wage). 3. Kualiti kehidupan yang lebih baik (A better quality of life). 4. Hapuskan keganasan terhadap wanita dan semua gender (An end to violence against women and all genders). 5. Batalkan Akta Perhimpunan Aman 2011 (Repeal the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011) 6. Pilihan raya yang bebas dan adil (A free and fair election). ****************************** The demand, ‘Wanita menolak rasuah’ (Women against corruption) almost instantly brought to mind Dato’ Seri Shahrizat Jalil. Rhetorically speaking, or perhaps in principle, the entire Umno-BN leadership is committed in wanting to eradicate corruption. ************************ So, why was Dato’ Seri Shahrizat not here? Then I couldn’t help wondering if any members of Wanita Umno had quietly crept amongst the assembled multitude to secretly vent their sheer frustration against intra-Umno corruption (Extra-Umno corruption is yet another story). ********************** From the Masjid Bulat to the Padang Astaka, I learnt, as it was later announced, was a three kilometre journey. They had begun assembling a little before 1.30pm and at sharp 2.30pm the masses began their exodus. ********************** Many a Muslim participant I believe, had had completed their afternoon prayers at the mosque (masjid). I think it took almost an hour and a half before all finally arrived at the Padang Astaka. ************************ It was slow moving and some of the way either on-coming traffic had to be negotiated or at some stretches traffic flowing long the same direction had to be guided to squeeze into one lane. ********************** Traffic guidance was provided mainly by members of Jabatan Amal (of PAS) thanks to whom the traffic police personnel were left with nothing to do. *********************** Many aspects of this significant march and the subsequent gathering at the Padang Astaka can be elaborated about. Well, let me tell what got my attention from the very beginning. ******************* The gathering was very densely packed despite the heat of the day. The enthusiasm was high. At 2.30pm the drums began to sound accompanying the singing out or perhaps chanting of the demands listed out on the little sheet of paper that had been generously distributed. ********************** But in my mind, or perhaps in my imagination, I could swear I heard another sound. My mind had drifted elsewhere. ********************* It was at the scene from the Ten Commandments movie when the Israeli multitudes were given the “go” signal after the Passover, (when the Angel of Death Passed over Egypt and killed every first born, be it animal or even human, including the first born of the Pharaoh) beginning their exodus out of the land of oppression and slavery. ********************* And I looked hard to see who it was blowing the horn. Of course there was no horn. These weren’t the slave multitudes of Egypt, the children of Abraham. And so, the multitudes moved. The multitudes of 21st century Malaysia. *********************** Concerned womenfolk of our country, having gathered in numbers to express their dissatisfaction together with their rightful and legitimate needs. By right this indignant expression was meant for the ears of the ruling government. ********************** But we all know that the ruling government is very much a dead government, incapacitated by unbelievable depths of corruption and totally drowned in self-indulgence and self-interests. So, it is now up to the voting public to take note and listen with ears wide open to what the government has gone deaf to. *********************** Anyway, my imaginary trip to Goshen, the name of the land where the Israeli slaves worked, has given me this idea that perhaps a horn could be added into future processions and gatherings to complement the drum beat. It is after all such processional music that emboldens the heart. ************************ I will stop just short of suggesting a marching band (please don’t read that as a military band; the FRU will be there faster than the Fire Department responding to a fire). *********************** Let us just remember the Biblical exodus of the unarmed, defenceless ex-slaves with their women, children, supplies and livestock. ************************* And the Pharaoh then still sent his “FRU” after the defenceless fleeing multitude but was met with God’s “FRU”. – Your comrade in PAS.

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