It's Surreal. Surprise Results, Shocking Ends, And Saving Grace

The last post on this blog was about my excitement for GE14. I finally have the time to jot down and process my feelings and thoughts for GE14.

Alright, I’ll admit I was procrastinating a little but since this is an extremely significant milestone… it warrants a post. Over the last one week or so, I've some stray thoughts I have here and there as I finally sit down and reflect, in the midst of all the ongoing political drama...


2013

During GE13, results were announced at the wee hours of the morning at about 2am. Millions probably went to sleep feeling disappointed. It was deemed as a close fight and one that the opposition coalition then claimed to have won if not for alleged electoral frauds. However, despite BN losing its two-thirds majority once again and even the popular votes, they secured a fairly good, comfortable margin over the opposition.

I personally thought the shouts of #IniKaliLah made it felt like it was now or never, and that it was the "last chance" if the people wanted a change. And that time has passed and it was over. The realist, or rather the pessimist in me said, 'No'. Nothing will change this time. Maybe yet another "close fight" but with all the things that have been going on, not a chance.



There had been massive corruption scandals and draconian policies introduced. I’ve been following local developments closely than ever due to the nature of my job. And then so as I’ve been keeping up, I read about that over the last year or so, election talks had been ongoing but there was a sense of fatigue, as some studies pointed out. Some of my closest friends were not bothered with what's going on politically. I for one, honestly, was getting tired of the politicking and endless bickering from one side to the other.

There were also whispers of lack of confidence in an opposition coalition that was led by the very person who architected of many of the country’s authoritarian institutions. The big BUT here is that the rakyat, at the very last minute, got fired up.


Arrogance VS. Anger

One of the leaders from the former government had openly declared that victory was at their fingertips except no one saw it coming that PH was going to win the election in what has been described as a surprise electoral upset. I bet even some officials from the current government didn't expect this.

The people have spoken. I don't know what are people's motivations when casting their ballots in GE14. Whether it is out of hope or desperation. Perhaps most that were affected by the day-to-day issues were fuelled by their discontent and strong desires to say, enough is enough.

It’s a fuzzy feeling 

I have to be honest, by the time I heard the last announcement by the EC on the final tally I was confused. So, did PH win or not? You have to forgive me as my mind was already going off that time without me even realising. Polling day was hectic. I woke up feeling extremely nervous. Got ready and went to my primary school to cast my ballot for the first time. My palms were sweaty all the time. Done, I made sure my vote counts. Also met some familiar faces while I was there queuing for an hour.

Came back, started working from home with my gung-ho colleagues. We remotely chased to deliver stories to our readers (thank you, on-ground reporters who've worked tirelessly). I signed off hours later, leaving for Bruno Mars’ concert. While I was there, I was judging everyone without an ink mark on their index finger. Sorry. It took all I have to ignore messages, I turned off my data at one point of the concert just so I can enjoy the guy’s amazing performance. I love Bruno Mars.



I came back hours later, a little tensed and frustrated. Resumed work with my amazing team who stayed up the whole day/night. When are the results out? Faster, please. One hour, two hours, three hours… then several hours later. The results were finally out at an ungodly hour after much delay. As I finished my last story for the day, I looked at the clock - almost 7am - and went to look out the window at my bedroom. Wait, is the sun out yet? It would be amazing if I can catch the sunrise. Of course, the view was obstructed (what was I thinking?). I just breathed a sigh of relief, gulped down a bottle of water, and closed my eyes, drifting to sleep almost immediately.

I woke up hours later at about 1pm. What did I miss? My phones were buzzing with post-GE14 messages. I was told no one’s conceding defeat yet. Fear crept in. What are they up to now? But as time passed by, it became clear and people knew that victory for PH was imminent.


Finally, Malaysia gets on international news for the right reasons 

Whether you're a supporter of the new government or not, I think we all should be proud that it's an astonishing victory for Malaysia. We are all part of this historic moment in Malaysian history because the extraordinary win means it's a win for democracy - and it speaks volumes especially since Malaysia has been viewed as a country with flawed democracy.

The fact is, the world has now turned their eyes to our nation, looking up to us for going against all odds to unseat a government that held on to power for more than 60 years. Prior to this, most international pollsters predicted another victory for the BN government. But the PH coalition defied each of these predictions, against all odds.

Some laws, which were bulldozed at the last minute, were said to be flawed and tilted the playing field. Allegations of electoral fraud have been rampant even down to affecting voters - us - but we've heard so many real life, inspiring stories about how Malaysians (all over the world) have rallied together to ensure that every single vote counts whether it is through the #pulangmengundi initiative or strangers passing on their ballot papers to their fellow countrymen that formed relay teams so that their ballots could be sent back on time for polling day. Such camaraderie that we’ve seen far lesser in recent times.

How many times we've heard in the past that made us fear there could be riots in the event there is a transition of power needed. That the country would go up in flames? We've proved that despite all these attempts of fear-mongering, we can remain civil.


We can hold those we put on top accountable 

As Malaysians overturned a government that ruled for over six decades, it's high time we make sure the new one is grounded that they'll keep the people's best interest at heart. They are the ones who made the promises. The changing of government since independence is the first step forward. We’ve learned that we have that power, we are the bosses. Now let’s use that power for checks and balances. Never forget.

Don't judge too quickly 

Guilty. I already raised my eyebrows over some stupid statements and decisions the current government has made, but it's always good to listen and view things from another perspective. I'm learning. I'm a firm believer that it's good to be critical and every voice should always be heard no matter how unpopular it is, that there is a place for dissent. While it's easy to criticise, it's better to put action to our words as the hard task ahead is to make sure reforms take place for the betterment of Malaysia. That is the real change. And we're on the right track.


I'll always remember 9 May 2018 as this: Even in all of my disbelief and supposed diminishing hope for change, I - you, we - all have the power to alter the course of our nation, our country. This realisation gives me some courage.

I don’t know about you, but I feel liberated.

Our prayers have been answered.

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