Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing?

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

I have always liked this song "Do you hear the people sing?" since I first watched Les Misérables musical many years ago. I bought the CDs of the musical and used to frequently listen to the song. It has been a long time. Along the way, I stopped listening to the song while I got busy with my work and my livelihood. Les Misérables is in French language and it means The Miserable Ones.

This song has become popular in recent weeks with the debut of the Les Misérables movie. The story is about the sufferings of French ordinary people in the 1800's which led to French revolution against the ruling regime. The movie started showing in Kuala Lumpur just weeks before the #KL112 rally, Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat or People's Uprising Rally. It brought a link between French revolution and People's Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur on 12 January 2013. The Malaysian People's Uprising Rally happened some 200 years after French revolution. Unlike French revolution which involved armed struggles, this
Malaysian People's Uprising was only a rally to create awareness. The participants and the people intended to use ballot boxes to change the ruling regime in a democratic way.

I find the chorus of this song particularly applicable to this People's Uprising Rally. 

"Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?"

This is very true to some 100,000 to 150,000 people who join the rally. They used their own money to travel and to buy food & drinks when they attended the rally. They sacrificed time that could have been spent on work or with their families. They were upset with several things that are happening in this country:
  1. Electoral rolls has still  not been cleaned up. Clean and fair election is still out of our people's reach. We probably still have 160 years old Malaysian voter, but she is not recognized for her old age in national or worldwide platform.
  2. Lynas rare earth plant, near Kuantan, Pahang, still does not have a viable waste disposal solution. The waste may contain radiation and can not be exported. Hence, the radiative problem remains at home.
  3. Kelantanese are still upset that the state does not get its 20% oil royalty from the oil drilling in Kelantan territory.
  4. Some Felda settlers are unhappy with the ways listing of Felda Global Venture, FGV, have been conducted. Many EPF contributing Malaysians are not happy that EPF funds are used to support share price of FGV.
  5. Malaysians want MRT line to be realigned to save Jalan Sultan’s heritage row. Government is going ahead with its plan regardless.
  6. Orang Asli are unhappy with the way they have been treated. They are still backward in living standard as compared to other communities.
  7. Our people are not happy with the education system. . Our graduates find themselves "unmarketable" despite their degrees. Further,  Maths and Science knowledge standard of Malaysian students has deteriorated internationally over the past years. Some groups want English to be used to teach Maths and Science as before.
  8. Crime rates and criminal incidences are still high in this country. The statistics provided by govt may show that Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia. This claim may turn out to be more like a joke to Singaporeans and Bruneians. Singapore is known worldwide for being safe. Bruneians are probably too well-off to commit crime.
  9. The list goes on and on if reported cases on possible corruptions are mentioned. I will just mention a few here. Eg Scorpene submarine, murder of Altantuya, Awan Megah's failure and Boustead's purchase, privatised AES, necessity and cost of MRT, 118 storey Menara Warisan, padi seed subsidy abuse, Sg Besi military base development, NFC cow condo and saga, Ampang LRT extension, etc. 

"It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!"

The rally participants were mostly ordinary Malaysians and not those social elitists or high society people. They sat and stood together with no social class difference. Many were sweating under the hot sun but none were complaining. They did not want to be oppressed, deprived or be the miserable ones in their own country. They wanted to have a small but fair share of the country's economic wealth. All of them were united in wanting to fight against oppression and corruptions. One could feel how passionate these people were when they sang 'Negaraku'. It was the mood of the people. It was the music of the people of Malaysia.

"When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums"

There was no drum performance during the #KL112 rally. There was no performance of any sort at all to entertain the massive crowd. There were speeches that touched the heart of participants. What could be felt was the heartbeat of the people. The pulse of the nation yearning to come together to move the country forward. The eagerness to change the status quo for betterment was thoroughly felt in every each heartbeat.

Inside Stadium Merdeka

"There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!"

All participants knew that general election for Malaysia was coming. It has to happen within the next few months. They were hopeful that things will be better after the general election. In a 'new life' after general election, they want to minimize if not to eliminate corruption, prevent abuse of power by authorities, reduce actual crime rates, have reasonable standard of living, clean and fair election to choose a clean, fair and responsible government, reject industries that are already not environmentally acceptable to other countries, etc. Again, the list can go on and on.

The people are hopeful that when tomorrow comes, there are enough legitimate Malaysians voters to elect a clean, fair and responsible government. We do not want the election result to be overwhelmed by those alleged 'imported' Malaysians from neighboring countries, with newly issued identity card. Election Commission can not  give assurance to our people. We can only remain hopeful that there are just enough of legitimate Malaysian voters out there who will come out to vote. We shall see if we get a chance to have better days ahead when tomorrow comes!

Bird's eye view around Stadium Merdeka

If you like  to listen to the song, a youtube link is attached.


1 comment:

  1. woowww...powerful lyric.bringing up spirit,expect for changes..good video and article.