The sun peeks over the horizon. Animals stir and prep for their day ahead. Some leave nests to hunt for prey, others for mates or new habitats. Everybody’s a contender.
Public sentiment is pregnant with expectation of victory. Neither side expects to lose; both feel entitled to their irrefutable sense of expectation.
What happens then, after the die is cast? So much rides on the legitimacy of the polling process, and whether and how the result is accepted.
May 5 is frontier land; it will test the mettle of the nebulous Malaysian public more that that of its recalcitrant leaders – of our better judgments, and better natures.
It is a huge ask.
Happy voting. We’ll be updating this issue of the magazine after the results are in. – Jason Tan
I want people to accept that this is a multiracial country, so all kinds of culture, language and religion can grow in this country. But the reality is not like that. So I stopped singing in Mandarin.
— Tatmo, member of the punk rock band Nao.
My friends asked, ‘Are you leaving Islamic struggle?’ I gave them a simple answer: ‘You say [DAP] is anti-Islam. If DAP is anti-Islam because they have a lot of non-Muslims [in its membership], then let Muslims [join it to] explain things.’ To others, I would say I did not find any evidence of them being anti-Islam.
— Tajuddin Rasdi, academic; with wife Norhayati Yusof, retired teacher.
My wife supports me quietly. We don’t want it to affect her job. Only in Malaysia it becomes a problem who you support. In other countries, there’s no problem, people can choose who they like to support. ‘If you don’t like it…’
— Tajul, lead singer of thrash metal band FTG.
I’ve put my Facebook status before: ‘I tak sokong hijau tapi I hormat Tok Guru’ (I don’t support green, but I respect Tok Guru Nik Aziz). Why? He’s good; I hear these stories that he doesn’t live in a big house, half his salary goes to social welfare. He doesn’t use a big car. Humble. But Pas is too extreme Islam. I’m Umno.
— Bunge, accountant.
Shieko’s election poster for The B-Side. Also read ‘Tales from the cities – Imagining the revolutionary suburbs of liberal Malaysia’ in the current issue. Here’s an excerpt:
DJ is the ’burbs; its many people have suburban values that the bright and the beautiful find so tedious. It’s populated by more than its fair share of cantankerous or plain ignorant aunty and uncle types that have benighted Malaysia’s middle-class with their lack of cultural and political sophistication.
But damn it, I grew up there and it made me what I am. My memories mean more than your prejudices or Monocle’s criteria for a great city.
There’s a lyrical beauty to the place. Walk the streets after rain in the evening; turn off your smartphones or tablets and spend an afternoon in a deserted park.
Damansara, like nearby Bangsar and Kuala Lumpur, is the nucleus of the demographic, political and social changes now rocking Malaysia.