Malaysiakini Letter

Malaysia's mid-autumn revolution

Edmond R  |  Published:  |  Modified:

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Expect 'surprise' on Sept 16: Anwar

It has been a very tense week but after reading this article, I have a good feeling that our nation's crisis is going to have a fairy tale ending soon.

Fairy tales and politics have always been antagonistic and yet they maintain a symbiotic relationship. The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Mooncake Festival as it is popularly known, is no exception. This festival is celebrated every year on the full moon night of the eight lunar month of the Chinese calendar (Sept 14 this year) and its origin can be traced back to two widely accepted stories – one a myth about an immortal lady on the moon; the other about a people's revolution in China.

The first story tells of the lady Chang'e who took the forbidden pill of immortality and floated up to the moon, where she remains until today with the jade rabbit by her side. It is said that the rabbit is still trying to recreate the pill to help Chang'e return to Earth.

The second story concerns the uprising of the Chinese people against the Mongol rule during the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century. Notes asking the people to revolt against the Mongols on the 15th night of the 8th lunar month were secretly inserted into mooncakes and distributed among the Chinese people. The revolution was successful and what followed was the prosperous era of the Ming Dynasty.

Perhaps that is why, after so many centuries, people are still celebrating this mystical night vibrantly with exquisite mooncakes, colourful lanterns and romantic poems.

Nowadays with the advent of cosmetic surgery to create the semblance of 'immortality' amongst our vain Datins and Datuks, and the usage of short messaging services and the Internet to spread information of national importance, the two stories about the origin of the Mooncake festival have taken a new twist as our nation witnesses its own mid-autumn revolution.

As if combining the mystique of a fairy tale and the reality of revolution, Malaysians are experiencing a national awakening of our political consciousness after 50 years of blissful but ignorant slumber. We are going through a revolution, not of violence and bloodshed, but of intellectual discourse and passionate expressions of our hope for true freedom, justice and equality for all.

The three significant dates which Malaysians should be proud of are Mar 8, Aug 26 and Sept 16. On Mar 8, the people voiced their displeasure against a government which had turned into a destructive force to the nation. It was done decisively through a general election which was civil and peaceful.

On Aug 26, the nation was once again gripped with election fever, and once again the voice of the people propelled Anwar Ibrahim to become their leader to lead them towards the achievement of their hopes and ideals.

And now, we are getting closer to Sept 16, the date set by Anwar as the day he will replace the present inefficient government with one which will transform the hopes and ideals of the rakyat from fairy tale musings into reality.

The rakyat from both sides of the camp have found their voices and they want to be heard. Despite the looming threat of incarceration by the government, people have realised that they are the ones, who in the end, hold the key to the future of the country.

Whether or not Anwar succeeds in his bid to become the next prime minister by Sept 16 is irrelevant. The important outcome is the rakyat have started to live up to their responsibilities as true citizens of Malaysia by taking control of the reins of the political horses that run the country.

Even the die-hard supporters of the ruling parties are questioning the validity of their own leaders one by one. The demand by Barisan Nasional leaders that Umno's Ahmad Ismail be swiftly punished for his racial comments revealed that the component parties of the coalition have started to realise their insignificance throughout these years and are now demanding for their equal rights and respect.

In Penang, the people are gearing up for a celebration or two. Colourful lanterns in various shapes of animals and objects are on parade in the streets of George Town. Mooncakes, both traditional and modern, are being exchanged between well wishers.

And two poems are being composed throughout the nation – "The Poem to the Mid-Autumn Moon" and "The Poem of the Mid-Autumn Revolution". The former in celebration of a legend, the latter in celebration of the people's political awakening.

Yes. Fairy tales and politics have always been antagonistic and yet symbiotic. In politics, we look for a legend to inspire and move the nation towards freedom, justice and equality. And legendary tales survive to this day because they are perpetuated from generation to generation.

May this mid-autumn festival be a double celebration for all Malaysians.

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