When I was a kid, where I grew up - it used to be a serious thing. At least from Bapak's view of the election. To him, it was about putting your trust and confidence of your future in the hands of the right people. The people who, from Bapak's simple view, would provide a better future for his children, development for the country and peace & harmony for the nation.
Bapak was a marine police officer, you see. He expected orderliness. He upheld orders from the higher ups. Challenging authority was not in his vocabulary. So this election thing was a really serious matter to him. It was not something that we siblings should joke about. Cynical remarks of the ruling party or satirical comics of the election process were unheard of down south. It was a stronghold for the powers that be. And no way any deviation from the norm should ever be considered to be initiated from under his roof.
I remember I followed Mak to the polling station and into the booth too. It is still very vivid in my mind as to how I reminded Mak on which box to PANGKAH because Bapak said so. I think Mak followed what I said. Does that qualify me as an infuential party campaigner? Hey... every single vote counts!
Perhaps from a limited point of view, who Bapak & Mak voted for then must have worked for them as they now see their children doing & living much better than they did. Bapak finished standard 5. We all finished at the very least until Form 5. Bapak managed to save up for a Yamaha motorbike in exchange for his bicycle to go to work. Some of my sisters bought super bikes for their boys as rewards for good SPM results. Mak stirred up two eggs, fried them in thin spread cut into 8 equal pieces for equal share amongst us during dinner. We now have our maids enjoying scrambled eggs for breakfast.
During the last one or two elections, Bapak still spoke about how progressive Malaysia had become. Proton. Petronas Twin Towers. Penang Bridge. Wawasan 2020. No second guessing of who he voted for.
I have not called Bapak this time. I wonder if his views remain as simple as before.
I am pretty sure he still feels this election thing is a serious matter. If I asked, I can bet my clubcard points that he would still stand by the motion that this is about putting your trust and confidence of your future in the hands of the right people. The people who would provide a better future for your children, development for the country and racial harmony.
But today, I don't read just Berita Harian only. I read & hear from a few others. And there is no way I could have escaped the propagandas coming my way via other streams too - hardcopy, emails, television, radio, internet and sms.
It would shock Bapak I'm sure if I show him the online posters, the sms jokes, the sing-along election karaoke on you tube, the powerpoint slides on dalil-dalil why si polan should not be a leader, etc. Knowing his heart condition, I would have to ensure Tuan Doktor is not on leave to catch some snakes before I show Bapak all those propagandas. It may be a laughing matter to those who want to chill but it is a serious matter to my father.
On reflection ...... though I laughed at the jokes and enjoyed ( and shhh.... even sang along) the la la la you tube karaoke, I sort of miss the times when there was a lot more respect amongst one another and decorum in the way people voice their views. Does it have to be the way it has turned out to be today for the sake of wrestling power and authority? Is this a taste of what good looks like on freedom of speech? I wonder what and how all these would evolve into when it is my boys' time to talk to their children about general election in the coming decade.
In one half of the picture, the creative urge and strong push to challenge the status quo for all the wrong doings that have been cited have put me in a more upright position to be wary of those in power. In the other half however, there is not one convincing proposal, not even a spin, on how it would be done differently (fool proof strategy & action to deliver better) if some others nestled into the much desired seats.
While the sketch on 'ubah lah gaya hidup' to cope with the increasing toll and petrol price is quite funny and catchy at the same time, the 'others' or rather the alternatives have not (yet) confirmed that they would not do the same thing with other staple needs if they were elected.
While the allegations that those currently holding the reins of power have not tried hard enough to ensure safety & security of the young ones hold some truth, the sheer sanctioning of throwing stones to the buses ferrying some other mothers' children suspected to be phantom voters are not a sight for sore eyes either.
While I aspire to adopt Islamic practices as a way of life than merely having it as a status of religion printed in MyKad, I find it ironic that some self proclaimed spiritual leaders make doas for the Almighty to "melaknati" other fellow muslims merely for the sake of not losing the powers in hand.
While my heart aches learning just how much the private jets and the official planes cost, my senses have not picked up the assurance that the ones reporting on it would sell them back to potential buyers and channeled the proceeds to the needy (like partially sponsoring Kerp's new wheels maybe? or guaranteed employment opportunities for Kak Pi's buddies? or providing free education, and I mean really free, and build more public libraries that are accessible to all the children in this country?) instead of using the funds to buy supersonic rockets to go the moon in the name of justice.
SO HOW ?
Should it be for the Devil that I have come to know OR the Angel that I don't know ?
It's only a few hours away before I have to PANGKAH in the box.
Or should I not bother at all and just sleep late, enjoy my slumber, then wake up and catch a movie?
Quite a tough decision for a working Ibu to make eh? Hmmm... no wonder Bapak said this is a serious matter. It is indeed. It is not a game of snake & ladder, mind you.
If one can passionately writes on how one supports his or her party of choice, so can this pleasantly insane working Ibu blatantly shares her doubts of either choice. Kan?
Every feeling is a valid feeling. Yours. And mine! Having different views and feelings though, should not make us online enemies.
This is after all, my story, for my children.