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Kampung A Relevant Life 'It's about that first step'
'It's about that first step' PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 February 2010 00:53

Sanjiun (centre) with buddies Ee Chia and Kit Sam steal a pose at the Ipoh Roadshow. Pic / delCapo

sabm-imatterIn the months since we officially launched, we've had many people come on board to live and share the SABM Charter. These Anak Bangsa Malaysia have contributed in diverse ways towards a better nation, no matter how big or small. Today we start a series of personal stories in the hope that they inspire the many who have asked, 'How else can we help?' CHAI SAN JIUN shares with us the message she brought to Ipoh at the Darah Rakyat Roadshow


ONCE upon a time, there was a student.


When she was in Form 4, Anwar was sacked. She read about the news in the mainstream media and she did not feel anything. She thought: “Oh, okay, DPM was sacked. Must be his boss wasn’t happy with his performance.”


Then she read about Anwar’s sodomy case. And she thought: “Wow, this man is so terrible”.

After that, she read about people who took to the streets and shouted “Reformasi”. She thought: “These people are crazy and scary.

She then went on to study at a local university. There she was informed about something called Campus Election. She didn’t quite know what “campus election” was but she enjoyed the day since she didn't have to go to class.

Her friend told her: “You must vote. When you vote, vote for candidates X, Y and Z. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know the candidates. Just vote. They are my friends.”

She did that, without knowing who she voted for. She didn't care. Coz her friend told her so. She didn't know that was actually “menu culture”. She did that for three years in university. She blindly voted for people she didn't even know.


That student was me.

I began to wake up. I began to realise that there are some problems with this country. I started to read more on the internet, alternative media and blogs. Not just the mainstream media.

I came to know about detention without trial – the ISA. Before this, I had only heard of ISA, and was too scared to understand it. I started attending anti-ISA vigils, and heard the stories of those detained under ISA and the plight of their families.


And I made friends with many beautiful people and finally got involved in the SABM initiative.

Many of my friends - some about the same age and some younger than me - say: “I am disappointed with this country. I give up.”

I ask them back: “What makes you think like that? How many times have you voted? Have you registered as a voter? Only recently have more Malaysians realised something is not right with this country and we see hope to make a change. How can you say 'disappointed' without even trying to make this country better?”

I have been involved and helped out in some of the SABM voter registration activities. Once, I registered a 50-year-old pakcik. He may have lost hope in the past, but his registering as a voter at the age of 50 shows that he wants to make a difference. He wants his voice heard. If a 50-year-old pakcik is not giving up yet, then why are we feeling disappointed so fast?

SABM makes me understand something. It is no use just shouting on the internet, forums or even coffee-shops. No matter how much you shout, if you don’t do something about it, change will never happen.


We blame people for being racists. But aren't we sometimes racists ourselves? We blame people for being unfair. But aren't we sometimes unfair to others too? We blame people for doing their jobs wrongly, but aren't we allowing them to keep doing the wrong things when we do not make our voices heard? So stop blaming this and that.


If you think this is your home, if you care and you want to make it better, you yourself should make a change by taking the first step.

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Only registered users can write comments!
zulhisyam  - self-employed |2010-02-16 19:27:26


hello...i'm a new member in sabm site...how i can buy your t-shirt..the design and the message in the t-shirt interesting..please email me for the info @ zulhisyam_mohamed@yahoo.com ...TQ!!!!
sanjiun |2010-02-21 13:04:48
I've translated the article and posted on my blog: http://sanjiun.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/its-about-that-first-step/




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