You know that feeling when you’ve just lopped off your long hair, and you feel so much lighter and breezier? May 10 post-GE14 felt a little like that for me, like I had lost a ton of weight that had been dragging me down.
I literally woke up to a new world order, feeling excited and hopeful, unsure of what was to come, yet confident that the country would soon enough get back on track.
The shock victory by the opposition was almost unbelievable at first, and the night before, I even chided my other half for announcing the win too early in the night when it hadn’t been formally announced yet, in case he jinxed it and it wasn’t true.
Either I didn’t think things through enough and was ill-prepared, or it was pure good faith in my fellow Malaysians, but it did not even occur to me to stock up on food or barricade myself in the house.
The issue of safety never crossed by mind, and amazingly, the shift in government took place in such a calm and peaceful manner – without any rioting, threat of violence or bloodshed – that we have become the shining example to other countries seeking change.
My heart burst with pride at how my country has upheld the pillars of democracy, and justice would finally be meted out. I thought of my personal wish list:
- That the new government should keep its word and repeal the Fake News Act.
- That there be resolution to cases such as the missing pastors and activists who were spirited away.
- That we get back money that rightfully belong to the people.
- That those who are now entrusted with power be morally upright and genuinely care for the well-being of the country and its people, instead of looking towards filling their own coffers.
- That concrete steps be taken to reduce the crime rate and our neighbourhoods be made safe enough to walk in broad daylight.
- And my biggest pet peeve – the education system and how the syllabus changes every year, toying with our children’s future.
The Education Ministry should give due recognition to the true worth of our younger generation and look into getting rid of irrelevant subjects like Moral, widen the scope and learn world history instead of focusing on just the Islamic past.
We should strengthen students’ grasp of science and maths subjects to shape their minds and better equip them for the world at large. Our kids must stop learning by rote, and be taught to question and think for themselves.
My list can go on quite a bit as with all other Malaysians, but I realise it’s also too easy to say I want it all and I want it now. Overnight, everyone is an expert on economics and financial planning, and giving 101 instructions on how to run the country, not to mention all the rude and derogatory remarks.
The one person who really knows what he’s doing, or at least we hope he knows, is a 93-year-old former prime minister. While growing up, I remember constantly hearing on the radio and opening the newspapers to this line: “Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said …” and it’s deja vu.
I welcome the change of guard, the chance to right wrongs and start rebuilding as much as the next person, but there’s always a danger of reverting to more familiar territories of authoritarianism, cronyism and money politics. After all, it’s the same guys running the show.
But it’s going to be different this time round. Change is the only constant that we can depend on, and I’m hoping it’s for the better.
May was also when Harry wed Meghan. It seems fairy tales do come true, you can meet your prince and live happily ever after.
I’m not quite sure I envy Meghan Markle or want to be in her shoes – OK, I do! – as it means giving up a piece of yourself, having to watch what you say, do and wear in public all the time. If she was already doing that as an actress, now even more so, as she blurs the lines between royalty with centuries of English tradition and American new thinking.
The eyes of the world will be watching the newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who, having broken barriers and convention, are expected to pave the way for change and reform. Not so different from our new government, when you think about it.