For the past month or so, I’ve been working on the production of several video reports on the infamous red-shirts group headed by the loose mouth Jamal Md Yunos. He also happens to be the Umno division chief for Sungai Besar.
I attended several of their rallies, including the protest they had in front of the Malaysiakini office demanding that action he taken against the news portal for accepting foreign funds, and also the anti-Bersih rally last Saturday on Nov 19.
I find it very fascinating but disturbing to see how people can actually be swayed to believe in a cause such as the one that the red-shirts are fighting for - which is steeped in racism, bigotry and ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).
Think about it. The red-shirts don’t think that it is right for the country to be led by people of any race other than Malays. They are against freedom of the press and they are against Malaysia having clean and fair elections.
For any logical and rational thinking human being, these are all ideals that would lead to a regressive, oppressive and backward society. And why would anyone want to contribute towards a country that is governed by this kind of people?
And this is where the interesting part comes in. I constantly try to engage and converse with the people who attend the rallies full of fervour and wearing all red. The conversations that we have would sound either totally absurd or downright scary.
There will be the leaders, who are usually only a handful and very few among the crowd and they will be the ones who give speeches to rile up the crowd. One such individual would be Zawawi Othman, who is the Umno division chief for Pasir Puteh.
I had a conversation with him at the red-shirts anti-Bersih rally last Saturday at Padang Merbok. What he said absolutely scared me because it sounded intimidating, racist and, from how I perceived it, full of hatred and selfishness.
“These people must remember that they are are only guests (tumpang) in my country. Do not behave until I lose my patience,” he said, referring to the non-Malay Malaysians.
He warns the people who are supporting Bersih that if they were to continue to push on, it will force him and his gang to be violent. For a politician who is a member of the country’s ruling party, I would say that is very unbecoming.
The next group of people, and these are the ones who actually make up the numbers for the red-shirts, are those who follow. These are the people who listen to the leaders and choose to believe in the ideals preached by the leaders.
One such individual that can illustrate this group would be Norazimah Sanur from Klang. I’ve met her in two different red-shirts rallies - the one against Malaysiakini two weeks ago and the one against Bersih just last Saturday.