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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Not going back

Since the Malaysia election seems to be the hottest topic now among fellow Malaysians and lots of anti-government posts and campaigning have gone viral on the FB and the Web, i am gonna write something about the election as well today.

No, no, i am not gonna write anything about politics here, for i seriously do not know that much about it to warrant writing a post on it. I mean, yeah, i do read the things posted on the Web and read some of the political news on-and-off, but i am definitely not an avid follower of Malaysian political scene. In fact, i'd say i only follow the development halfheartedly.

Well, i've never said I am a patriot. I am not, and i'm not afraid to say that i am not. I am not proud of it but nor do i feel ashamed about it. Judge me all you can and I couldn't care less about what you think. Unless and until you have done truly patriotic act to prove yourself, whatever you say or think about me is only the proverbial pot and kettle. At least my action and words are consistent, as i don't pretend to love my country and willing to die for it, bla bla bla. Yet, if you judge me but you aren't doing the opposite, then it only makes you a hypocrite.

And if you have truly done patriotic acts to show your love for the country, then i can only say kudos to you. I do have friends who are walking the talk, and i'd say good for them. The country definitely needs people more like them and less like me... and i hope whatever they do is worthwhile and whatever they hope to achieve will indeed come true one day (even if it is not in our lifetime).

Now, what i really am going to write about is what i've mentioned in my previous post on not going back in May for the election. Unfortunately, i missed the deadline of registering as overseas voter too. Hence, this means that i will not be casting my vote this election.

About the overseas postal voting, i gotta admit that it was my fault for not following up on the news and didn't take the initiative to find out more about it. I have always known that overseas citizens were not able to cast votes and this has been one of the points that was consistently brought up to the EC for improvement. I have also heard or read that there had been talk about making postal votes possible for the coming election, but i did not really follow up on the progress on this.

Just a few days after i arrived in NZ, i already registered myself online with the High Commission of Malaysia here. I have thought that the High Comm would have a list of citizens residing here and we would be informed to register as overseas voters if postal voting had been made possible. As i've heard nothing from them, i assumed it was still not happening this election. So it turned out that i made a wrong assumption. It was supposed to be our duty to find out about it, and i didn't know that it was already announced in January - that citizens residing overseas are to download and fill out a form to register themselves with the EC (in fact, none of my friends knew about it too).

I only found out about it when a FB friend posted the form on FB, which was the day after the parliament had been dissolved. The form must reached EC prior to the parliament dissolved and hence i was too late already. No overseas postal voting for me. :(

Then, the next option would of course be to fly back to vote. Did it cross my mind? Yes, it did, but only for a few minutes and i quickly dismissed it. My answer on this was quite clear - it is a "no".

You see, if i am now working in Singapore or Thailand or Indonesia, my answer would be a definite yes.

If i am working in China or Hong Kong or Taiwan and have not planned for a holiday yet, my answer will still be a definite yes. But if i've already planned for a holiday like i mentioned, then it would be a high probable yes (not a DEFINITE one).

If i'm in Australia, NZ, Europe or USA and have not planned for a holiday yet, i'd arranged my holiday to coincide with this election, so it will be killing two birds with one stone - i get to go back to vote as well as to have my holidays.

But now, it is the last scenario, and the answer seems clear to me.

Now, let's just pretend that you are me.

You have already had a confirmed air ticket and will be taking three weeks leave for returning home in July/August. The air ticket can of course be changed at some extra charges, but you must go back during that time because you want to coincide your return with two major events that are very dear and personal to you: the annual return of one of your best friends from Japan, and the one-in-a-lifetime centennial celebration of your high school anniversary (yes, my high school is 100 years old this year!). For me, these two events weigh far more than casting my vote.

Next, you must scoop out about NZD1K or more for a return ticket. Well, this isn't really a major consideration for me, as i'd probably be willing to do so if i choose to go back, but that is still a sum of money that you gotta be willing to spend for your country anyway.

Then here's the killer. Imagine that this is what you gotta do: fly off from Wellington on 3-May (Fri) evening, arrive in SG on 4-May (Sat), go back to JB and cast your vote on 5-May (Sun), and then return to SG to catch an evening flight back to Wellington. You will arrive in Wellington on 6-May (Mon), probably late afternoon, and the next day (Tue) will have to return to work. In total, due to the in-transit time and all, the to-and-fro travelling time including land and air transport will be more than 24 hours, all happening within three-day period, and you still gotta go back to work on your projects right after that. I don't know about you, but i'll be half-dead by then.

As i'm using most of my leave for the three-weeks holiday in July/August, i can't take long leave in May for this return, which is just two months before the holiday when i'd be flying back again. I have not even worked here for a year yet and can't be taking long leave all the time. This means if i indeed were to go back in May, i could only do what i described above, i.e. to just go back solely to vote for a day and then fly back again and back to work on the next day.

Now, after having imagined you are in my situation like this, and you are still willing to either cancel the July trip and go back in May for voting and holiday as well (and "sacrifice" the two major events you deem very important to you), or keep the July trip but go back for a day just for voting (and return to work half-dead), then again i'd say kudos, you do care for your country. Good for you.

As i've mentioned earlier, i am not a patriot and i'm not gonna pretend that i am. There is no way that i'm gonna put myself through this flying-here-and-there stun just for casting the vote. You may say that whatever i've written so far are just all excuses for not going back purposely to vote; if i have the heart, then i'd do it. Then i'd say this to you - yes, i do NOT have the heart to do it, for other things (such as my friends, my school, my work, etc.) are more important to me and hence i admit that i am not that patriotic at all. Now, bite me.

And so far, none of the Malaysians i've met here are gonna do that either. I have not seen a lot of people from USA, Europe or the Pacific posting on the Web claiming that they are doing it either. I guess that pretty much explains why the overseas voter registration was so much lower than expected. Of course, a high percentage of overseas voters are in Singapore or other Asian countries and a lot of them are going back to vote. Then for the rest who willingly left the country on their own accord and already applied for residency at the foreign countries (and some even converted or waiting to convert to the citizenship of that foreign country), they wouldn't have left Malaysia in the first place if they love their home country so much. If they so love Malaysia, they would have stayed on and fight for a better future in that land.

Yes, call me judgemental or whatever, but to stay at overseas for many years and have made up the mind to settle down at that foreign country and not return to Malaysia, and then still claim to be patriotic, i only find it incongruous and hypocritical. Of course, you may say that's because they need to make a better living elsewhere, or the quality of life is better elsewhere, yadda yadda yadda. Well, then they are still putting their personal life above the country, isn't it?

True patriotism and truly loving your country is to put the country before oneself and above anything else. I don't have to mention names of those internationally renown historical figures to prove my point. Even in our own country, people like Lim Kiat Siang who went through all the hardships to fight for a better Malaysia would have exemplified my point. If you can't do like what he or those people had done for the country, then just shut up. Otherwise, you are just the pot and i'm the kettle.

(But frankly, if we were to ask ourselves this, "would you die for your country?" How many would really say "yes" and really mean it and indeed do it when time comes? Don't ask me. My answer is "no".)

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Ha, you gotta drop by RPk site to really read how fanatical and hypocritical of some commenters - so contradicting and inconsistent. But then, they could be making it up but they're sure funny (election is no funny hor). Going through to the comments, how many do believe the postal votes are genuine and not another ruling gov machinery to increase votes, you know, by other means. Of course this allegation is unfair to SPR that worked hard for the facility, but judging the action and the independence, I will have doubt. So, for foreign voters they really should fly back until the day commissioner is fully revamped and truly earn the trust from the public.

You know, i opine that people who says they are not patriotic, selfish, bla bla are actually the one who doing quite the opposite. Just look around at workplace when it comes to behavioral observation. What right it gives for one to judge other people when he should reflect to himself first. It's unfair to call people unpatriotic when one places his/her own interest first above all for life of a commoner. That's so darn hypocritical. The fact that some people have better position or motivation but to force the same action from under privileged people is just wrong. Even if it's same, I believe one should advise, educate but not to jest, taunt or force. And that's what democracy is all about, the right to make and even abstain. Yup, it crosses my mind to abstain my vote, to follow the majority cause I'm quite pretty ignorant to political affair. And my MP is talking about policies that on theory it is good and benefits all, but .... being in working industry for so long, I'm strongly believe in action speaks louder than words. Well, who knows on that day the election fever takes the different path. At least you went for the march, so no one should comment about your patriotism.

Speaking of publicity, I must say the current PM sure generates feel good factor. Minus the murder allegation, the sabotage, the vacation, the excess, the corruption, etc etc, he seems like a friendly man. I told my colleague I really want to vote him. But one's deed should not reflect to the other people. He's doing everything, albeit singlehandedly, but his Mp and dun might be maggots, rotten worms. So, I want to vote him, but not his representatives, and my constituency is not pekan ....

Oh lastly, maybe you are not intentional, you misspelled LKS name. Gotta respect for what he has done for the country! Hopefully this post would not invite some extremists from both sides. Cheers, have a good day :)

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Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 12:26 am: Air miles redeemed
Saturday, April 06, 2013 @ 10:51 pm: Autumn
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 @ 12:59 am: The past long weekend
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 @ 10:52 pm: First felt tremour
Sunday, March 24, 2013 @ 1:19 am: Frazzled
Thursday, March 14, 2013 @ 11:33 pm: From the news
Sunday, March 10, 2013 @ 1:30 am: A few firsts
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 9:47 pm: Expired air miles
Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 10:59 pm: Cooking my own lunch
Saturday, February 23, 2013 @ 10:50 pm: All alone soon