For Jeff Ooi, For Malaysia, For Democracy

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6: 34 (New Jerusalem Bible)

When I woke up the morning after I posted the entry with that quote from the Holy Bible, Wuan said to me, “You better decide if we are going to drive back to Penang to vote.”

I rubbed my eyes, not really believing what I just heard. Without my glasses, she was just a figure standing at the end of the bed. For several days in a row, I have woken up from early morning dreams that were all too realistic to be just dreams. Somehow, I have come to doubt what reality was and if they were just part of another dream.

I had not told Wuan about my wish to go back to vote and she had not yet read what I wrote then. I squinted, trying hard to focus on her. It was not a dream. I was awake, barely, but I was awake. Tomorrow took care of itself all right. Knowing Wuan, that meant she would accompany me to Penang on election day for me to cast my ballot should I decide to do that. I was not prepared for that as I was still unsure of what I would do.

We talked about it after that. If all goes according as planned, Wuan will have to cast her ballot at the polling station here in Pandan Perdana when it opens early in the morning. We will leave for Penang by 9am. It will be a 6-hour road trip with one stop at Tapah for emptying my bladder and another at Ipoh for lunch. I expect to reach Penang by 3pm and arrive at the polling station by 4pm.

I hope my body is up to it – not the road trip to and fro but the exhaustion and effects after that. The consolation now is that the most recent blood tests and ultrasound indicates that the condition of my kidneys have not deteriorated further although swelling was detected in the athrophied left kidney. Nevertheless, I tire very easily nowadays and do not want to push my body too much lest that may cause further damage.

This election will be the first and probably the last that I am voting in Penang. I have contributed nothing meaningfully to this island that I have called home for four decades. Soon, I will be uprooting to a city 400 km away. This is all I can do, hoping, praying, that this little effort will bring about a greater change for the island that will always be close to my heart. There are too many sentimental memories to just turn my back to and walk away from.

This is also for my beloved motherland Malaysia and exercising my responsibility and right as a Malaysian. I have talked much about issues affecting disabled people. I have advocated for improvement in accessibility in public transport and the built environment. I have publicly protested against discriminatory policies imposed on disabled people. I have blogged about how disabled people are still being marginalised in society. Now is the time and opportunity to walk the talk a step further.

If I do not even bother to exercise my democratic right by casting my vote I should not be talking about those issues. If I let slip this opportunity, I have no right to complain about the insufficiencies in the present system that are marginalising disabled people from mainstream society. If I do not care to vote, I deserve whatever government that gets elected. But I care. I have seen with my own eyes things that are not right with our nation. Not enough is being done to provide support to people who really need it while money is being squandered elsewhere. Ministers and politicians more than often make promises that they never intended to fulfill from the beginning.

Things must change and now is the perfect time to make that happen. I am going all the way to Penang from Kuala Lumpur to cast two votes – one for Jeff Ooi for a better Malaysia and the other for a better Penang. I am putting myself and Wuan through this trouble because I believe in Jeff Ooi. I believe he can bring about a refreshing change to the wellbeing of the nation. If he wins the Jelutong parliamentary seat, the trouble that I have to go through to vote for him will be worth the effort a thousand times over. If he does not get voted in, well, he tried, I tried and we all tried. That is democracy.

All eligible voters of the Jelutong parliamentary seat who are residing in other states should go back and vote for Jeff Ooi come polling day on March 8. A little effort can go a long way. He is sticking his head out for the betterment of our nation. It is no easy task and takes a lot of courage, not to mention effort and money, to offer oneself up as a candidate for the election. Jeff Ooi has stepped up to the challenge. The least we can do is to make make our votes count and his effort worth his while. When we vote for Jeff Ooi, we are not only voting for him but voting for a better Malaysia for ourselves and our families.

I have said it before and I am going to say it again now. I am throwing my support behind him neither because he is a fellow blogger nor the fact that he is from the DAP. Jeff has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he dares to speak out without fear or favour on pertinent issues affecting the nation through his blog way before he became a politician. It is that courage that I hope he will bring into the Parliament should he be elected. We need people like him to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance in the administration of our country’s affairs.

Go Jeff! Malaysia needs more courageous people like you.

Voting In Penang

Wuan and I just got back from Ipoh. It took us three hours for a one way journey. PLUS’ upgrading from Rawang to Slim River slashed the 110km/h speed limit to 60km/h the entire stretch as traffic in some parts of the expressway were limited to one lane only. By this rate, I estimate that it will take 6 hours for me to reach Penang from Kuala Lumpur. If we were to leave after Wuan cast her vote here, we will reach Penang at around 3pm.

I am still mulling over whether I should fly back alone as the journey back and forth by road is going to wear me out. Flying poses another set of problems. Friends in Penang have offered to pick me up from the airport and assist with getting food. That solves half of the problem. The other half is dressing me up. Dressing up is a very personal matter and I am not comfortable getting help from other people. Wuan has been helping me with that. If I were to do that by myself, I would be spending more than 30 minutes doing it and become totally exhausted after that.

I am too tired to think straight now. We spent more than 6 hours on the road today. All I am looking forward to is a hot bath and a good night’s sleep. I foresee another long day tomorrow. I am going to leave it as it is for now. No point cracking my head over this. As I was about to conclude this entry, I am reminded of what Jesus said in the Bible:

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6: 34 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Wise words those. Good night Malaysia.

Related entry:
The Dilemma Of Voting In Penang