Where patriotism is concerned, I’m yet to have any….

So the two weeks of campaigning (which includes advertisements of candidates via banners, posters, street speeches, and so on), and thus the Malaysian general elections is over. The nation was swept by a wind of change since the majority party lost in a way which qualifies as the greatest loss ever, but that’s probably besides the point.

Both my parents voted for the opposition party which won, and I didn’t vote. Ok, so I am actually legitimately qualified as a voter, older by a year and a few months (I’m 22, if there is anyone reading this who is not aware on how old I am), but yes, I’m being unpatriotic this time, refusing both my responsibility and rights as a faithful citizen just be casting my choice who the representative of the people in the ballot box. I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only ignorant (or any objectives others may choose to describe the legitimate non-voters) ones in the country, by which I agree that many in my age range have yet to understand the significance of voting and the change which may be executed. It’s my fault to have missed the registration to be qualified as a voter, and it is also my choice to not vote even if I registered. Which simply indicates that I will not vote, registered or not.

However, is the choice of voting or not a reflection of the level of political awareness, or lack thereof? I would think that presumably, this is how the 90% of the youth here is being accurately described. It’s not a sad case, however, it just meant that they are more interested in worldly things which youths indulge rather than the notion of changing anything. Early 20s is an age range where most made a slow transition from a teenager to an adult; whereby old habits die hard. As such, in a peaceful country like mine (devoid of political unrests, civil wars, constant parliament reshuffling, riots and so on – at least not yet), politics may very well lie in the least prioritized for the youth. The elderly ones (in Asian countries especially) often remarked on how ignorant the youth could be, however, the other way may not necessarily meant instant receptions from them.

The notion of humility and respect for the elders play a part here. When the young ones are not showing any concern for things like politics, they are shunned and dismissed as oblivious; and when they are, they are deemed rebellious. Eastern values are not easily receptive of the outspokenness of the youth, and thus, we just have to shrug and let it slide. “What do you young ones know anyway” were the most heard remarks, and I cannot help but sigh at that.

At the end of the day, watching the dramas of elections all around the world, and you just cannot help comparing them. Having possibly more knowledge on the much-hyped Obama-Clinton saga (which I think Obama may emerge victorious) than the national candidates in the election, I shudder to foresee the unruliness of the campaign should the campaign period be prolonged. I loved the fact that there are those in other countries are given greater privilege in terms of the duration in which the candidates are tested (to see their perseverance and determination, and possibly their endurance), not that I’m kissing the American asses, but surely Malaysia could do more than two weeks of campaign. Not immediate, but gradually? Extending by two weeks as each election is held until an optimum duration is achieved?

Ah, well. How could you blame the youth for being ignorant when the duration is simply too short for anything to be done? Two weeks? Why should we be aware of anything when there is no apparent effort in the candidates to prove themselves rather than hide and be protected by the parties’ names and reputations? Instead of choosing to go for the lengths to which the personal integrity of the candidates could be proven, it’s all about the recognition of the symbol they bear next to their names in the poster and banners. Collective cooperation? Perhaps the term “playing safe” is a more accurate description.

Times like this, coupled with the parliamentary monstrosities that we the loyal newspaper readers have our faces been shoved with, had me thinking about a possible addition to what I will do in the future – take part in politics, and see if I could do anything to induce changes. Elections are over, yes, they do; but it is making my inner power-hungry demon roaring like never before. Probably because it never roared for the sake of my country.


Perhaps I just would love the notoriety that awaits me when a revolution starts, and how it feels like to be in that spectrum of fame.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008