If you have not been living under a rock for the past week, you would have heard about this raunchy mahasiswa group doing a street protest, followed by an encampment at Dataran Merdeka, pursuing “Mansuhkan PTPTN”. At the same time, there’s also #OccupyDataran.
At first, I was intrigued — how did the #OccupyDataran movement get involved with this mahasiswa group? Did they join and chip in with the cause or what?
As people become more aware of the #OccupyDataran movement and the mahasiswa group’s demands, a lot of negative views have been aired. As a fellow occupier, I felt very insulted. Here’s what I had to say about it on my Facebook status:
“You can only talk shit, when you know shit. You can talk about how unruly these kids are, or how rebel these activist are, making a fuss about things, want all things free. “Budak2 buang masa lepak dataran”. You can say what ever you want to say. But you dont even know what they are doing, what they did and what they are planning to do. Just by watching videos from your comfort home. Oh how judgmental pricks you are.
The spirit of Occupy Dataran is not making a fuss or create chaos. The spirit of Occupy Dataran is educating oneself, the spirit of discussion, learning how to appreciate others opinions. Its a movement to “redefine democratic participation beyond representative democracy, and imagine a new political culture beyond race, ideology and political affiliation”
Occupy Dataran is not only the assembly itself. Its the forums, the talks, the “Universiti Rakyat”, the “Pasar Percuma”, the classes, the debates, the arts, the musics, the foods, the relationship that bonds between fellow occupiers. We occupy not because we want to break the law. We occupy because we embrace the spirit of the constitution itself. We occupy because we appreciate the relationship that we have as human beings. We occupy because we want to learn to understand about each others.
You can say what you want to say, but if you dont even step to the ground, and experience what Occupy Dataran really is, then your words are nothing to me.”
Please excuse the grammatical errors and typos. It is a direct copy-paste, and I wrote the above Facebook status during an emotional state.
The thing is, why are people so quick to be judgmental about others, when they don’t even see what is really happening and understand the issue?
I am not going to comment about the mahasiswa group but I do have something to say about #OccupyDataran. First of all, do critics actually know what #OccupyDataran is all about?
For those who don’t know what #OccupyDataran is, at least Google it. Here’s a Wikipedia link. There you go.
Now, get your lazy bums off the comfort of your chairs, your couches, your beds, and come down to Dataran Merdeka and see what these people are doing.
The thing is, if you just go to the assembly once and try to embrace and understand what we do, you won’t think bad about it at all. It’s addictive and informative, you would want to come every week. FYI, #OccupyDataran had its first assembly on 30 July 2011, and has never missed a single assembly every week since.
I was part of the very first #OccupyDataran, and join the assembly every now and then, but have stopped of late as other commitments have come up. I’ve made friends. I’ve gained knowledge. I’ve learnt how to debate, deliberate, and discuss issues. I’ve learnt how to accept differences of opinions. I’ve learnt how to agree to disagree and best of all, I’ve come to appreciate the kind of bonds made with random people, good hearted men and women of all races, from different socio-economic background, of all ages.
I think the the most important lesson of all that I learnt at #OccupyDataran is to embrace the differences of others and to find that common ground, that one thing that binds us — that is, we are all human beings. We are the same.
I don’t believe that #OccupyDataran can make a direct change. I don’t believe that #OccupyDataran will promote world peace and eliminate world hunger. No. But I do believe that this movement is an experiment and a counter culture to the system, and to the current status quo that we live in. I believe that this movement with all its spirit and participation from people of all races, from all religions, from all genders, from all socio-economic backgrounds, and from all ages, can bring us together. We may have differences of ideologies and ways of thinking, but we can learn from each other and accept diversity.
I believe that we can sit together, lepak, and spend the night under the blanket of black sky and stars, and dream together for a better future. For a better society.
I’m 100% in solidarity with #OccupyDataran. God speed fellow occupiers. I bid you guys well.