Mei Yen narrates her (real) thoughts, despite marginally (as she claims) involved with UndiMalaysia and spreading the word of it’s importance.
Well, like I said a while back, I’m marginally involved in a new voters’ education initiative, UndiMalaysia. It’s so interesting that anyone slightly interested in local politics (being interested would include doing things like moaning periodically about the way our country is headed), should sit up and take notice.
Stolen from Zain HD’s facebook page, this is one of UndiMalaysia’s meetings, the only one I’ve been to so far. Am I the only one who has stopped reading local newspapers? They seem to be either filled with things I don’t really want to know about, or politicians making logically unsound arguments, and I don’t like working up my sense of indignation with my morning tea.
Local politicians, whichever side of the spectrum, are getting increasingly tiring (or perhaps they always were), with bile and lots of rubbish from both sides given center stage, and policy issues taking the back stage, while people like me can only wring their hands and tweet/blog/moan about the sillies engulfing politics. Do you know what Barisan Nasional, or Pakatan Rakyat, really represent? The policies they advocate? Their manifesto? Even when typing this, I don’t. Instead of the clear-cut Conservatives-versus-Liberal parties abroad, the urban perception seems to be that BN is the anachronistic party getting too complacent, that needs a firework lit beneath them to wake up, while PR is the ‘good’, ‘clean’ party that although imperfect, is a better choice for the country. Besides the fact that PR seems intent on increasing government subsidy and PAS wants an Islamic state, I don’t know anything about what either party represents (come to think of it, I don’t even know what an Islamic state is.)
UndiMalaysia is an initiative started by a bunch of hopeful people who want a change in the political dialogue in this country. Instead of focusing on personalities or perceptions of the parties themselves, they argue that maybe we should really be scrutinising, evaluating, and criticising political parties based on policy issues. Instead of fixating about the sex lives of our politicians, maybe we should evaluate them based on their political performance, and instead of relying on perceptions alone to favour any party, maybe we should choose them based on the policies that they advocate.
The group of volunteers (many familiar faces from the MyConstitution campaign or the LoyarBurok site) have already sketched out a range of issues UndiMalaysia will be focusing on: the right to housing, the right to water, the right to healthcare, the right to education, the right to food, and freedom of expression; but this range of issues is quite fluid and malleable.
UndiMalaysia is still in its early, conceptualisation stage, with possibly a string of Youtube videos, designed pamphlets, and workshops, to come, but they’ve already kick-started several programmes like the Hulu Langat constituency project, and a Mock Election at Central Market (an interesting form of publicity for UndiMalaysia). I’ve spoken to people more central to this, and they both sound more than very interesting. And they’re having a launch-party too, if I’m not mistaken!
Now, to the whole point of this blog post: I know UndiMalaysia would appreciate people who can help out any way they can. Like I said, it’s still at the initial, conceptual stage of development, so any ideas would help (I’m about to suggest that they take the manifestos of both parties when election comes, and distill them down to a form that’s anywhere interesting. And to find out what both parties think about the Islamic state issue once and for all). It is beneath me to mention that you’ll be hob-nobbing with very cool people in the legal industry/very cool people from many industries, but I suppose a sniffly thing like contacts is a fringe benefit if you’re still not convinced. Or if you’re too shy to help out, you can make a mental note to look out for what they’re doing next. UndiMalaysia would probably also appreciate some publicity, so spread the word if you found it interesting!
I see the appeal in politics of personality and perception – it’s easy, and it’s sensational. It’s like watching a reality show. But it really shouldn’t form the basis of how we vote. My understanding of democracy and elections tells me that it’s about choosing policies that would affect your life, not choosing who you like most to represent you. Instead of a sense of futility about where this country is headed, this project gives you a chance to turn politics into a creature that’s more desirable. I support UndiMalaysia and its efforts in changing the tenor of our political dialogue! .
To get a better representation from those more in-the-know than I am, click your mouse here.
UndiMalaysia’s Twitter feed.
If this manages to convince you, drop the lovely Ka Ee an email at undimalaysia [at] loyarburok.com . She’ll explain this better than I do, and add you to UndiMalaysia’s egroup.
Mei Yen is a law student who doesn’t like writing self-introductions.
She writes at: http://brownoxfordshoes.blogspot.com/ and (over)tweets at http://twitter.com/caffy_meiyen
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