Thursday, February 14, 2013

Side stories while marching to Stadium Merdeka

**************************** In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. **************************** Reflection **************************** "Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80) *************************** I planned this narration about my ‘encounter’ with the ‘events’ and peoples during my ‘walk’ to Stadium Merdeka during the ‘kebangkitan rakyat’ (peoples' awakening) rally on 12 January to be published earlier but it had to give way to an article which attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in conjuction with his birthday on 12 Rabiulawal 1434 Hegira or on the 24th January 2013. ********************** During that historic day, I alighted at the Masjid Jamek LRT station at about 11.00 am and marched with hundreds and then thousands of Pakatan Rakyat supporters to Stadium Merdeka via Jalan Petaling. ******************* While in the vicinity of Jalan Petaling, I saw a few buntings and banners with words such as ‘Mari Rampas Tanah’ (MRT – Let’s confiscate land). Clearly residents and shop-owners there were against the government’s move to build an MRT (Mass Rail Transit) station and having an underground line in their area. ********************** I saw a huge poster with these words penned on it: “Kami dan kroni bergandingan. Hari ini warisan kami dimusnahkan. Esok, kami halau kalian.” (Yesterday we treasured our cronies. Today, we accept the heritage erased. Tomorrow we celebrate neighbourhood destroyed). *********************** Looking at the gestures of the mostly Chinese shop owners and helpers there, I guessed they were totally against removing or reallocating their premises there. A Chinese who was walking alongside me, said businessmen in that area were furious and eager to give a good lesson to those politicians involved directly or behind the project in the coming general election. ********************** While walking on a ‘kaki lima’ (five foot way) of the shops in Petaling Street, a Malay middle-aged man suddenly stopped me and asked whether I was LanH, the columnist in Harakah. When I replied ‘yes’, he gave me a warm handshake and then started ‘pouring out his heart’. He said he was a fan of LanH who came from a far-away ‘kampung’ in Terengganu; “so please LanH highlight my plight.” ******************** “I am very concerned with the large number of immigrants in the country. Because of this situation I was without a job; employers even those running palm oil estates in rural areas in Terengganu preferred them to locals. ******************** “I then went to Kuala Lumpur to search for jobs. It was worse here. Almost all sectors such as construction is dominated by foreigners. Even helpers in restaurants and ‘gerai’ (stalls) are immigrants. ******************* “A word of caution to Muslims; beware the restaurant and ‘gerai’ that you patronize, not all those so called ‘mamak’ premises are run by Muslims. Even those eateries which employ ‘tudung clad’ Indonesian helpers must be checked first because a few are non-Muslim what’s more some of their employers are non-Muslim.” ****************** Regarding this issue pointed out by this fan of mine, I remembered receiving an e-mail from a family member stating: “During our routine travel from my home town Melaka to Parit Buntar or vise versa, we usually took a rest at of the many R&R along the highway. At one time, we could see there was a stall which had at its top the name of a non Muslim owner but the workers were Indonesian wearing tudung selling various type of food and surprisingly many Muslims including one ‘purdah’ donning family bought food from that stall!” ******************** Near a road junction, about 200 meters from the main gate of Stadium Merdeka, a group of Indians who identified themselves as members of Dewan Himpunan Penyokong PAS (PAS Supporters Wing) of Perak stopped and asked me to make contribution to help Pakatan’s struggle to Putrajaya. Their willingness to work hard stole my heart; if non-Muslims have high faith in PAS, then it would be a shame if Muslims themselves distanced themselves from the Islamic party. ******************** Well the peoples’ rally attracted a wide spectrum of society. There were punk groups, guys with Mohican hairstyles and participants wearing masks with smiling faces. A man with his monkey pet on his motorcycle was seen moving up and down the road along Stadium Merdeka. ******************* One good development was that policemen on patrol were seen smiling and having good conversation with the people. Some were seen willingly posing with participants to have their photos snapped. A group of youth was seen posing in front of the police station near the entrance of Stadium Merdeka with a banner which read: “Kami sayang polis” (We love the police). ******************* The event in Stadium Merdeka was scheduled to begin at 2.00 pm. I planned to perform my ‘jamak’ (combine) ‘zuhur’ (midday) and ‘asar’ (late afternoon) prayers before entering the stadium. Thus I headed for Masjid Al-Bukhary at Jalan Hang Tuah which was about a kilometer away from Stadium Merdeka. ********************* The masjid was jammed with participants of the rally. I guessed that more than 5,000 people where there. Before taking my ablution, I went to the toilet area and was caught off guard as the queue waiting to use the restrooms was more than a 100 meters. It took me more than an hour to ‘finish my business’. ******************* After prayers, I followed participants who moved in groups to Stadium Merdeka. While walking up the hills and passing Stadium Negara, I saw traders on both sides of the road having brisk business. People were seen flocking food stalls; a ‘kambing bakar’ (grilled mutton) station was pulling a huge crowd. ********************* It was also the first time during rally organised by the Opposition that traders were left alone in peace to run their businesses. Some were seen selling commodities such as sound ratters and whistles which were normally ‘banned items’ during rallies. ********************* While ‘inching’ my way to the stadium, I saw a touchy sight – a group of women were seen performing their ‘solat’ under the shade of trees. A few were in their white ‘telekung’, while the rest in their ‘daily attire’ which covered their ‘aurat’. ******************** At the gate, I jostled my way through and how lucky I was as I managed to have a seat on the terrace of the stadium. Well, it was a great feeling; witnessing the the uprising of the rakyat. Looking at the faces around me, I could feel the rakyat’s determination and spirit to lead the way to bringing change for the best for all Malaysians!

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