The election has ended, and people’s hearts are broken. Evidences of cheating were circulated in social media. Though PR has won a lot of seats (more importantly, the hot ones), the winning margin was so small when compared to the last election. This, despite the awareness being so spread out now, despite more people have registered to vote than ever before.
A few commentators have highlighted a very interesting and eye-opening point about why PR lost. It wasn’t about racial disparity (of course), but socioeconomic. Hence the whole gerrymandering thingamajig (I still have trouble pronouncing it).
People on the rural areas weren’t as informed as their urban counterparts. Even if they were, they needed the governmental support much more that we did. What choices did they have? Who are we to call out on them for receiving money when it was money that they needed to feed themselves?
It also highlighted how self-congratulatory we could be. We lived in this small circle of friends, with other like-minded individuals agreeing on each other’s opinions, chanting each other’s battle cry. Then we felt good about it. We felt like the job was done, we were confident that the battle could be won this time around.
Then, poof, GE 13 results came out, and we had this “Duuuude, there’s actually a lot of poor people in Malaysia hor~~” revelation.
But we did have a revelation nevertheless. Revelation is a good thing. It could change the way we do things, it could shift our paradigm, it could make us a better person.
So what could we do next? For a start, let’s stop being ignorant about what’s happening in our country. This is actually a stern reminder to myself, because I used to think that politics was not my thing. But heck, it’s everybody’s thing. No matter who you are and what you do, it’s everybody’s responsibilities to choose their leader.
So educate yourself, your friends, and your families. Go back to hometown once in a while and have conversation with your orang kampung.
Then what could we do, beyond talking and sharing Facebook post? Contribute something to the society. If we empathize the poor, do everything in our power to help them. Volunteer at Soup Kitchen, spend time in an orphanage, plant some trees. It’s a small gesture, but it’s the first step towards care. Only by caring that we can lessen the gap between the rich and poor, between the haves and have-nots.
(Shameless plug: I work in a non-profit organization called Teach For Malaysia, where we strive to help kids from lower income families to get an excellent education – www.teachformalaysia.org)
Do whatever it is that you do best. If you are good at writing, share your opinions. If you are good at coding, develop apps that make people’s lives easier. If you are good at planning, bring people together.
Another post on Facebook (this FB status sharing thing is really effective huh) mentioned that change starts with us as an individual. If we demand fairness and justice from the country, practice fairness and justice in our daily life. If we demand unity and harmony, start being nice to our colleagues and neighbors. If we demand smoother traffics and better roads, start using public transportation. Just kidding on the last part. Or am I.
I’m gonna end this post with two words that was shared by my colleague, Melissa: incremental change. Often times we desire a live-turning event so much that we overlook the smaller ones. But it is the smaller ones that last longer.
So never underestimate the power of small. Change doesn’t happen every 4/5 years, it happens every single day.
We have faith.