Carmen sat at her desk and worked on diligently as I chatted with the aforementioned characters. I walked across the tiny office space and sat in front of her small but functioning office desk to get her story.
“I wasn’t into politics at all when I graduated last year.” Carmen said. Carmen is a petite, your average girl next door type but I detected a hint of determination and sense of purpose in her calm voice. “I was unemployed and the only vacancy available for me was being an executive secretary at this office. My mother, being a civil servant was uneasy with this and initially objected me from working with DAP.”
“I suppose I am a bit rebellious <aren’t we all when we were young and supple?> so I carried on and I am now a permanent member of the party. I am happy that I did. Now, if you are working for DAP, you don’t talk about earning big money. I am happy here because I get to learn things and get to meet so many people and help solve their problems. I also learn to be thankful as I know there are so many people much worse off than me.”
One thing I sense is the family-like environment between the Yang Berhormats and the rank and file in the office. There is no air of master-servant distinction. As I was talking, ADUN for Temiang, YB Ng Chin Tsai (another one who got arrested because he ran foul of Ipoh's latest law: you cannot order a cup of tea and drink it around the State Assembly Hall ;-P) walked past in plain T shirts and jeans, carrying a stack of paper work. Missing is all the red carpet and kompang brigade treatment. He looked business-like and got down to work with minimum of fuss. At the other end, YB Wong May May was chatting to everyone and anyone freely and in a friendly, relaxed manner. Information flows smoothly.
“After the mass arrest in Ipoh, my mother asked me if I was afraid. I replied that if I ever got arrested for wearing black, I would be thankful as I can finally take a few days’ off work as things are piling up.”
I won’t argue with that, would you?