Are unexpected tsunamis the biggest?

Opinion  |  Nathaniel Tan
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | In 2008, during the 12th general election, I was working for Anwar Ibrahim. BN held 90 percent of the seats in Parliament, while PKR had only one, Permatang Pauh.

It was a time where it was hard to find candidates to contest all seats. I have vague memories of people who were at the office for unrelated business being suddenly (and only semi-jokingly) asked whether they wanted to contest.

There were probably something like three to five of us primarily involved in the PKR internet campaign, and online fundraising was done via personal blogs. It was a time before WhatsApp, and social media had not reached its prominence.

Needless to say, it was nowhere near the massive scale of today.

Election day came, I voted in the morning, and took a nap to catch up on some sleep. I spent the rest of the day playing computer games (Call of Duty 4, I believe), and basically expecting not much to change - I thought perhaps we would win a few more seats, and hopefully we wouldn’t lose our single one.

Come evening, I was starting to get unexpected phone calls: “Come back to work, we’re taking over Selangor.”

It was a rollercoaster of a ride, as we converged at Anwar’s house in Segambut. I remember the younger me getting all excited, starting to speculate about BN MP’s crossing over (Anwar said something like “Not now, it’s not time for that yet.”)

Perhaps some wiser pundits foresaw the results, but I believe most of us were indeed ‘tsunami-shocked’. It felt like nobody saw it coming.

GE13 mega hype

Fast forward to five years later, and things were completely different...

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