Wow, many happenings have, uh, happened in the past two weeks. We have new "opposition" governments in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor. Malaysians have shown that we can vote for opposition parties and still survive. People voted across racial lines. We coloured out of the box. I think the best thing to come out of this general election is not that the opposition parties have won big-time, but that Malaysians have overcome the fear of change. So the next round, we can vote in whoever we want, whether BN or BR.
The spectre of May 13 has been decisively exorcised. OK, maybe there are still lingering vestiges of racial overtones and undercurrents in the socio-political landscape, but it's good to know that there were no riots in the so-called aftermath of the elections.
Come to think of it, the word aftermath only applies to the BN's colossal loss. To the BR coalition, the "aftermath" is in fact their victory. If not for the support from Sabah and Sarawak, Pak Lah would probably now be the Opposition leader in Parliament. Or maybe not. Food for thought.
The elections seemed quite "free and fair", considering that the opposition parties won so many seats. But there were still a number of dubious results and unbelievable winning majorities in certain constituencies. The postal votes still remain unaccountable.
Another interesting development is the fact that the Umno fellows have been demonstrating and protesting out in the streets. But weren't they the ones who condemned the Bersih and Hindraf folks for illegal assemblies? Hello? If peaceful public assembly is "not our culture" then they should just stay at home and wait four years for the next elections to voice their grievances through the "proper channels".
I am also astonished at the mainstream media's 180 degree change of tone. The difference is almost like night and day. Pre-March 8, they were ludicrously caustic towards the "opposition" parties, and denying them any coverage. Post-March 8, we suddenly see full page interviews with people like Lim Guan Eng. There's so much openness now. The mainstream media chiefs have proclaimed a time of "soul searching" for themselves. Like, duh, what do they think the rakyat has been doing all this while?! But, oh well, better late than never.
And it's interesting to note that the state with the most problems appointing their Menteri Besar is not the opposition-led states, but Terengganu, which is under BN. The bickering is within Umno itself, not so much among PKR-DAP-PAS. So much for the much touted "stability" of BN.
So, there's hope for a new dawn for Malaysia. But we still have ground to cover. The journey is not over.
Oh yea, on another note, I just came back from a whirlwind tour of Hanoi and Halong Bay. I have too many photos now. Maybe I'll tell some more stories later. Like, the Vietnamese drivers' Hanoi-ing (annoying) habit of honking every 30 seconds or at every junction. They seriously use the horn like nobody's business. They drive with one hand permanently glued to the horn button. I guess that's their way of communicating with other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians on the road. It's not to scold or tell off someone, but just to say "Hey, I'm here, watch out". But I don't really get it.
Halong Bay was nice, but I expected a bit more. Maybe it was the cloudy weather that dampened the photo opportunities. Hanoi was chaotic and interesting. A place of great contrasts. Old and new. Rich and poor. Gleaming BMWs jostling with old bicycles on the narrow streets. Bustling capitalism flourishing right under the nose of Communism. US Dollars are as widely accepted as Vietnamese Dongs. Oh, Vietnam has elections too, but there's only one party to vote for. Cool huh?