Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Pragmatic as we are, or aka kiasu, the time/occasions that catches our attention, worthwhile to consume our time and effort are therefore closely associated with monetary returns or tangible things. So we see huge queues or crowds at private property sales, we see a frantic push at great sales or freebies give out, we see crowds mobbing internationally-famed celebrities.....

We are bilingual but only highly-proficient in one language, which is, MONEY. And our understanding of human rights, morals, morale or human relations can only be translated into monetary figures, such as no. of jobs, GDP, size of abode, the makes of luxury goods.

But the huge turnout of the rallies for GE2011, or the way the turnout is, is impressive and touching. It was almost like the National Day celebration when people from all corners coming together to celebrate our nation's birthday. But no. There are no spectacular stunts or fireworks or performance or an atmosphere of celebration, no freebies especially, to feast the eyes or to quench the thirst of glory at rallies.

There weren’t even proper places to sit, to start off with. People stood for hours at the rallies, young, middled-aged and old alike. Some old folks couldn’t take it would take a respite by sitting down before standing up to join in again. The flesh might be weak but.

So there are people, and we are not as apathetic as we thought we are, who value intangible assets in life afterall, in this economic and money-driven island.

It was on the fields of these rallies, in the hot humid nights or drizzling rain or lightning flashes, that I heard our voices, clear and loud, collectively. The togetherness brought us closer, gave us the comfort and the courage to believe the better of our fellowmen, to give us the compassion to care for the less fortunate and for our forgotten forefathers who have anonymously toiled and sweat for us in the course of nation-building. Politicians are not the only ones who are involved in our nation building. And there are others who have made sacrifices in terms of lives, reputation, wealth and phsyical liberty to contribute towards the better of a society too. Nation building is not only about the no. of skyscrapers that one has constructed. Certainly, the quality of a nation and its peoples are not detonated in purely physical terms.

When the rally came to an end, there was still a lingering feel in the air. People walked pass me towards the exit in an orderly manner. I couldn’t believe that these are the faces of apathy. At the exit, a small crowd gathered to purchase the newsletters of the political party or to make donations.

Crowds that poured out of the stadium spouted in all directions. They swarmed across the walkways, grass and roads. Traffic halted for the mobs to make their way home or mrt stations. Not one car horned at the crowd, knowing how impatient we are, that was phenomenal to me, listening to the silence of the motorists.

And it was this peculiar silence of the motorists and the crowds, especially after the uproar at the rally sites, that is indeed deafening.