A Soapbox Saturday

Jottings of an accidental soapbox protagonist at the recent Urbanscapes festival.

King Chai UKM 4 Soapbox Urbanscapes

This is actually my first time writing for LoyarBurok (or any publication!) and I hope to share with you some of my own thoughts and observations, as a 22 year-old political science mahasiswa entering his final year at university who found himself catapulted into this roller coaster ride of being one-quarter of the UKM 4, on my day out at Urbanscapes, Busy Finding MyConsti.

Being a student of this discipline, it would also be good for me to put some of my theoretical knowledge to practice through applications and observation of our society. Going to Urbanscapes, in my opinion, is like being thrown right into a smelting pot of cultural assimilation, accommodation and affirmation. You get to mix and mingle with all sorts of people there, regardless of background, ethnicity or religion; simply because everyone is there to have fun and to check out what’s cool and hip in the local arts and music scene.

Projek Angkat

Projek Angkat Rumah - the very creative "gotong-royong" effort at Urbanscapes.

(Watch Liew Seng Tat kena angkat (literally) as he speaks about the motivation and inspiration behind this bizarre event, and his search for Mr.Universe, Malek Noor on The Fairly Current Show. Scroll down for the video or click here.)

film camera Urbanscapes

I bumped into this dude with a Nikon FM - my dream manual film camera that I've had my eyes on for a long long time.

For those who have read on till this point waiting for an expose on the disciplinary charges brought against us or the “low-down” on our constitutional case in court; there will be none of that here. I’m sure a quick search just within this site itself will tell you all you need to know.

This is simply about my experiences throughout Urbanscapes 2010 and especially with the MyConstitution team and LoyarBurokkers at Busy Finding MyConsti.

The team’s spot was under a raintree – which I fondly term as pokok demokrasi. They set-up a booth under the pokok demokrasi to promote and disseminate the Rakyat Guides on the Federal Constitution to the festival goers. The whole idea behind the Rakyat Guides is brilliant. They even had to fight to be heard (quite literally) with a concert playing in the next area when they started their skits.

MyConsti under the "pokok demokrasi"

MyConsti under the "pokok demokrasi"

Personally, what really stood out for me was the Speakers’ Corner – complete with makeshift soapbox. Edmund Bon, the host, played an important role in assuring everyone there of their rights to free speech as guaranteed by the Constitution, “Don’t worry about getting arrested, we have a whole team of lawyers here!”

That helped tremendously in easing the tension first created by announcing that anyone can actually take the stage that share about what’s on their mind. You can see that a lot of people actually didn’t know how to react when such an opportunity is presented to them because this is simply something that many of us rarely get to do: to speak freely in public, without fear.

Edmun soapbox

KC Edmund Speakers Corner Urbanscapes

(Courtesy of Raja Mahadi)

Yours sincerely, was given the good fortune to share with everyone a little background information on the UKM 4 and something I personally feel strongly about, the 5 basic principles of democracy: individual liberty, universal suffrage, rule of majority without sacrificing the minority, frequent elections amd Rule of Law v Rule by Law.

Since it was a MyConsti stage that I was borrowing to speak on that day, I tried to tie these principles to the Constitution and its application within a Malaysian context and the issues troubling her rakyat. If you were there with us at Urbanscapes, I hope you would’ve been able to judge for yourself as too how much does Malaysia actually put to practice these principles.

It was also really great seeing how others actually used this opportunity to touch on issues that bugs our society in general and yet rarely talked about in public, such as: views on the Federal Constitution, Article 153, Malay rights, racism, scholarship placements and hardships faced by families.

Many a time in our society, we tend to side-line and “hush-hush” such views “for the greater good” and to “avoid racial tension” but we need to understand that if these are the issues that is actually bugging society, like thorns in the flesh, then they have to be addressed in order for society to actually move forward together without leaving anyone behind.

There’s so much more that I want to share, but due to space constrains (and actual readability), I shall leave that for what I hope to be future pieces on LoyarBurok.

Inspired by the Rakyat Guides success in bringing the Constitution to the people, I hope to share with you more in the future regarding the basic fundamentals that underlies our local politics, in order for us to better understand politics (as difficult as it may be, sometimes) as the art of the possible.

(Photo by Seira Sacha)

(Photo by Seira Sacha)

Super LoyarBurok

Super LoyarBurok

MyConstitutionalist Seez belting out national anthems on demand. Seriously the guy can sing some 80+ national anthems.

MyConstitutionalist Seez belting out national anthems on demand. Seriously the guy can sing some 80+ national anthems.

Danny of SayaAnakBangsaMalaysia on the soapbox

Danny of SayaAnakBangsaMalaysia on the soapbox

Blogger of arrested fame, Nathaniel Tan

Blogger of arrested fame, Nathaniel Tan

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King Chai is a Chevening Scholar currently pursuing an MSc. in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Contrary to popular belief, he is still mindlessly a loyal minion of His Supreme Eminenceness Lord Bobo Barnabus, The Wonder Typewriting Monkey, who exists solely in cyberspace and is the simian behind LoyarBurok.com. King Chai is also one of the UKM4 and tweets at @woonkingchai.

Posted on 17 July 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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