Saturday, May 18, 2013

12 Days After GE

I would like to share with you here a beautiful write-up by Lauren Chew, my 17 year-old intern, about her internship with me. Lauren is in the middle in the photo, while her dad by her side. Mr Chew entrusted his daughter to me just a few months before she leaves for US to pursue her study in Political Science.

Do take some time to read this article. It's simply beautiful. This is from a 17 year-old Malaysian girl who witnessed the dirty GE13 and yet still believe that we can change and there is hope for this nation, because beauty outweighs the ugly - infinitely.

My Internship Experience in DAP - by Lauren Chew Hwei Yi

I haven't always been interested in Politics. In fact, I believe I've only ever been truly interested by it about a year ago when I was studying World History in Secondary School. History represents everything in the past, from its depth to its width. My interest with it though does not include working through archives or dealing with artifacts from archaeology digs, but everything that had to do with people; people who hoped, people who strived and people who loved. After time traveling through two war periods and one cold war between countries oceans away from one another, I found myself in the beautiful land of the United States and at once, I was entranced by the simple complexity of American Politics. Not too long after, I found my own hope, a politician named Robert (bobby) Kennedy. All of a sudden, I was swarmed into the 1960s and I suddenly ached for the hope Bobby managed to give the people. I saw faith in their eyes and passion in his.

This is the beautiful thing about politics; when a wave of hope washes over the people and it is as if all bad could be solved. But almost always, the ugly thing about politics will eventually come riding in like a knight in a shining armor, driven by lies, greed, fame and wealth.

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated a few months before the 46th presidential election and the wave reached a low tide. But beauty always outweighs the ugly and what he did, what he promised, was beautiful and will always be.

Ever since my journey with Kennedy's last campaign ended; I have always wanted to work in a political campaign and in a political office. It was the beginning of a newfound relationship of myself with politics.

My wish came true when I started my internship with the Democratic Action Party just a few days before Election was called and as the weeks progressed, something I never knew existed in Malaysia came alive. It was as loud as thunder, as bright as lightning and it pierced through the depths of the quietude. It is a feeling of none other; it is the feeling of hope, the feeling of passion, of strength, all felt out of love for our country and at that time, I knew.

From the days I was counting stocks, selling merchandises, editing documents and spreadsheets, managing the front desk and sharing short talks and laughter with strangers to the days when I was working specifically with Media, trying to reach out to people oblivious to the deceit and depravity our society has been put through, to the days when I witnessed my first Nomination Day and the slow etching tug of hope that surrounded us as we stood through hours of heat that drenched our skin with sweat and the ache that prickled at our feet.

From the days of travelling through town after town, greeting whomever we could greet, to the days of painfully organizing through hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who were willing to spend their Sunday helping out, to the days when I held a Spring Flag in my hand and finally believed in what it symbolized, to the nights that continued to shine as bright as day. And as I sat on the bleachers on the eve of the big day, it felt as if everything that I did in the past few weeks all built up to this one moment when my eyes were awaken by the energy of the crowd below me. It was a moment that overwhelmed me every minute, with every look I took to the crowd, with every pitchy noise that made it through my ears, with every clap of my hands, this was the moment I had read in books, seen in movies and finally, I felt it; I felt this moment.

I have been asked countless times on what I have learnt during the period of my internship and the answer is simple, everything. I finally learnt to have the guts to take public transport, I learnt the difference between a State Seat and a Member of Parliamentary seat, I learnt the perks of speaking to strangers, I learnt so much more about our ruling party and the 56 years reign it has had in Malaysia, I learnt about our election campaign process. I was not aware of how controlled our Media actually is, I was not aware of how corrupted our country has been, I was not aware of how oppressive our government is. I was not aware of this in its entirety, but now I am.

While I was at school, no one talked about politics and this was especially true in the case of Malaysian politics. The closest thing to Malaysian politics students talked about was how terrible Malaysia is and how we would all love to just hitch a plane ride to somewhere better and, I agreed - why stay in a country that is oblivious to my rights? Why live in a country that does not support me? That does not present me with the right opportunities? Why should I contribute to this country's economy when it does not appreciate me? When it does not see me as a rightful citizen? When it discriminates against me and everything that I stand for?

Because this country can change. And it will change; and I want to be there when it does. This is the main thing my internship has taught me so far. It made me realize just how corrupted Malaysia is and how deep we have fallen over the years but it also opened my eyes to the impenetrable fierceness of the people who genuinely wants to make a change for the better, it opened my eyes to a contagious array of hope and faith that I never knew existed, it opened my eyes to passion and that Malaysians do care, despite all the odds that are stacked against us.

People have questioned my interest in Politics; they say it’s a bad thing, that it’s a filthy field filled with ambitious people that only cares for themselves and that it will one day ruin my innocence. It is ugly; politics is ugly. We read of greedy politicians every day, we hear them lie to us, we see them take away our rights but, we fight back and we continue to fight back.

Because beauty outweighs the ugly - infinitely. My internship has been a great experience and it has taught me more than I expected to learn and for once in my life, I think, I am happy and sure of the path I want to take on.