The Abolish ISA vigils: What brings them back?

Honestly, what brings them back, week after week?

This question, it seems, can be asked to both the public, and the police.

Every week, people still seem to be going back to attend the vigil demanding that the ISA be abolished. What goes on, perhaps those who attend such vigils can tell these stories. And there are plenty out there who do.

But every week, the police come to ask these people to disperse. Every week, that is, since November 10th last year.

It seems yesterday was no different. Nat Tan and Anil Netto have some stories to tell.

With the police coming to ask that they disperse before they can even do anything, I wonder what it is that brings these people back to these vigils week after week. Perhaps those who do would like to share your reasons with the rest of us who don’t (or are unable to).

And I also wonder, what is it that brings the police back to “disperse the crowd” who attend these vigils, week after week? Perhaps those who see this happening would also care to share their views. πŸ˜‰

What is it about these vigils that seems to bring people together, no matter what, and yet at the same time, brings the police to come and try keep them away?


9 Comments on “The Abolish ISA vigils: What brings them back?”

  1. Drachen says:

    How often do you get the chance to come face-to-face with true Malaysian heroes like Haris Ibrahim and RPK? πŸ™‚

  2. Antares says:

    Michelle, I’m sure you’re aware we have a terribly benighted & insecure home minister who’s only a first-generation Malaysian citizen (his father arrived from Indonesia & created a political niche for himself by becoming a rabid jingoist & espousing ‘Ketuanan Melayu’). Well, this guy (whom I prefer to call the Potatohead Gestapoman for obvious reasons) has taken the rakyat’s defiance as a personal insult – especially since his ill-advised attempt to do a Mahathir & nab 3 people under the ISA on 12 September 2008.

    His heavy-handed move backfired, as to be expected. Instead of cowering in fear the rakyat let out a deafening roar of outrage while the whole world shook its head sadly or sniggered, seeing Malaysia’s international standing go down the chute so tragically. Potatohead had been instructed by the Umno Supreme Council to silence RPK & his botched attempt to block MT yielded only a harvest of hysterical giggles from around the blogosphere. So he signed an orrder to detain RPK for two years.

    RPK was out in two months – thanks to a sharp legal team who convinced the judge that the home minister had gravely erred on procedure & had in fact grossly abused his power. More embarrassment!

    With RPK walking free & leading the rakyat’s call to abolish once & for all the repugnant ISA, these weekly candlelight vigils took on an almost religious aura as churches, temples & folksingers were galvanized into hosting these community events where kindred spirits could meet & network, creating robust, organic interfaces between the virtual & actual world.

    Unless nipped in the butt (I mean clipped in the bud) these Abolish-the-ISA gatherings would soon spread like candlefire across the nation & eventually attract thousands because they were so sweet & significant & Malaysians were always at their lovable best at these rallies.

    Everybody knows Umno is on its last legs. The only weapons it has left are its control of the PDRM & Petronas. Hindraf has shown that teargas & watercannons are a sheer waste of money (doesn’t stop people from marching by the thousands) & they make the police look really bad. In fact EVERYTHING they do or don’t do makes the police look bad. The only thing that can change their image is if all the uncorrupt officers staged an overnight coup & arrested all their senior officers who have been accepting bribes from criminal syndicates & who were promoted mainly because they performed dirty tricks & broke the law on behalf of Dr M.

    Anyway… these days it’s hard to tell apart the Umno government & the PDRM. They appear to be run by the same bunch of hardcore crooks. In their puny brains they have computed that once the ISA is abolished by popular demand, people will feel free to express their true feelings. That will ultimately result in all the races realizing they share a common destiny & possess similar values & in fact pretty much desire the same things in life.

    Ketuanan Melayu will become irrelevant & nonsensical, along with the purulent source of this poison, Umno. The ISA (they imagine) is their lifeline & insurance against being totally obliterated by the forces of evolution. In effect, Umno in its dementia senilis, perceives these harmless middle-class folks gathering every week with lighted candles as specters of its own imminent demise. They imagine people are celebrating the death of Ketuanan Melayu (which we all are, so what? :-)… which means, essentially, the end of the REIGN OF ROBBER BARONS! That, my dear, just about sums it up.
    That’s a lengthy reply Antares. Though I was expecting as much, especially from you. And I DO get your drift. πŸ˜‰

  3. What brings us back each Sunday evening is the same thing that brought us there on that very first night! Our conviction!
    I like that. Conviction. πŸ˜‰

  4. paul wong says:

    Michelle, if only you are back to experience the power of Makkal Sakthi of everyone who attends the weekly vigils… the anger and fire of rage dwells within each of us. An observation of the vigil attendees shows generally people who are intellectuals unlike the no so intellectuals in uniforms; our urinary pistols, eating plastic forks,spoons and plates against the truncheons of these unform men.(Pardon my language). I hope you will propragate MT’s cause to all Anak Bangsa Malaysia living abroad.

  5. Meimei says:

    Dear Antares,

    I luv the name “potatohead”! Stinky Potatohead!

  6. Taikohtai says:

    Actually, PDRM is still hoping to bring back their ‘glory days’ when their IGP was nicknamed Karate Kid for the Black Eye episode. Their words were LAW and their actions ABOVE LAW. How dare the rakyat question their motives, after all, C4 will always triumph over Candles, right? As Mao Tse Tung said: Power comes from the barrel of a gun. Also, we all know that the correct way to greet someone with a gun is SIR! YES SIR!!!!!

  7. zewt says:

    i have only been once… looking forward to go again…

  8. Paul Warren says:

    First they said they are not going to charge. Now on the 22nd January 2009 they are going to charge 23 vigilers they had detained on the 9th November 2008. Why now?

    Do they think that this will deter the other vigilers?

    There is one blogger who probably knows or has an educated estimate of the vigilers. After all until a few months ago he appeared to be one of them too. Now he has become a turncoat, meeting up with the types like Mukhriz and JJ in pubs like La Bodega. Is he providing insights into the kind of deterrent the cops can use? I wonder.
    They’re going to CHARGE them? That’s news to me. I wonder why.

  9. Gladfly says:

    Why the morbid intolerance of the soft glow of the candle light? It is all because the light looks like an eye, an eye that shines light onto the darkness of abuses of power. An eye that exposes shame must be destroyed, at all costs. Otherwise, the burning shame of cruelty acts revealed is unbearable. So, the ferocity of the water-canons to extinguish candle-lights.

    If the eyes are destroyed, the shame will be destroyed, so they assume.

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