1 August 2009 was a landmark day for me. It is the first time I ever got in up close to ground zero, got a little gas and sampled some invisible black pepper vapour. In a couple of hours, I had a good work out, walking around Daing Wangi, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan TAR area being a keen observer.
I kicked myself for not bringing my camera along as I worried it might get damage and my wife would kill me. There are some unforgettable images....that I wish I had captured in bytes.....
* I saw an old Chinese couple, dressed in black from top to bottom, walking as fast as their aged body allowed them to. The only thing not too black was their hair.
* I saw a young Chinese couple, the girl in a cute blue spaghetti strap and hot pants, joining her boy friend in the march when they looked more like heading to cinema or a mamak stall.
* I spoke to a young Malay man all the way from Kedah, spent time and money so that he could get gassed in KL.
* I heard an old Malay man, cursing at leaders of his own race and exclaiming excitedly, "Kit Siang, Kit Siang!" There goes the voting on race factor alone only.
* I saw a tubby Malay boy , who could not have been more than 12 years old, wearing swimming googles and enduring the ordeal and carry on marching. He looked like a handsome Jubba the Hunt though. ;-P
* I briefly spoke to a young Italian lass (pictured below in red) who identified herself as an activist. Before I could interest her in having a date with a not-so dashing foreigner, the trigger fingers started pumping the pepper shots away.
I wonder if a young person from overseas are so concerned about Malaysia, then how come our own people are so unconcerned? Italy and other developed countries are in such a state that their citizens are free to pursue their interests and need not worry about their livelihood. Why can't we Malaysians be free to pursue our hopes and dreams? Who are the neo-colonists that chain us up mentally and physically?
* I spoke to a PAS Unit Amal person who told me that this time, the trigger fingers were lot more brutal than before. They used to fire canister and water jets towards the sky but this time, they shot straight into the masses and this poor fellow got hit 4 times. In his state of distress, a group of Chinese undergraduates came and offered him salt and water....so much for the racial tension propagated by Che Det.
By the way, Raja Niong did a very quick and informed calculation and concluded that businesses there lost RM100 - RM200 millions in the space of 3 hours.
Sogo's food hawkers did damn good business as the braves needed their food before the march. The brave ladies were still ladies as they picked up bargains, stuff into their bags before they started marching and there were still a lot of oblivious, ignorant and don't-care-less who still shopped till they drop. Mind, some of them spent more time in the mall during the lock up time. So business in Sogo could have reached at least equal or even better levels compared to normal days before 2p.m.
When I was having smoke in my eyes, I approached a trader and asked for a bottle of drinking water. He asked for RM3. I walked away, declining to pay 300% inflated price and was happy when the smoke got blew over to his stall.
No damages were done to any properties. As I saw with my own limited vision on the ground, no cars were damaged, no windows were smashed. Football hooligans in Kelantan, UMNO delegates in Seremban and UMNO Bukit Bendera did more physical damages by pushing a bus, throwing chairs in meeting and tearing a certain Gerakan celebrity respectively.
If loss of profits can run up to RM100 million to RM200 million in 3 or 4 hours....what kind of economic down turn are we having?
Let's review Raja Niong's rapidly worked out claim. The GDP for whole of Malaysia for 2007 was USD359 billion
Perhaps real damages was done to the whore houses in Jalan Raja Laut....any respectable punters would lose their appetite smelling the pepper and seeing the FRU crowding around their favourite hound.
By the way, did any one see Pewaris around? Before the day, plenty of chest thumping etc....on the BIG day itself, you'll find more stray cats in Pasar Seni than determined and loud Pewaris chaps around. If the Minister says he want to review the Act, you chaps want to defend it so please go and protest against that Minister who wants to review it. Don't waste reporters' time, ok?
Other related links:http://papillon-liberte.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-it-is-not-show-of-might-then-what-is.html?zx=92474c1cda7bf69d