Sunday, March 25, 2007


There was a bit of commotion at the Summit USJ that I had to decide whether to stop the car to find out what was it all about, or drive on to meet a guy who said he could get me a lucrative contract supplying the oil and gas equipment to a company linked to someone higher up. There was no need to think really, since KUB would decide not to get into the oil and gas business. I figured the news was going to upset the shareholders since the company had announced a few months back that they were going to buy Kejuruteraan Samudra Timur Bhd. And so I called up the guy to call off the meeting and told him to check the news report next couple of weeks if he wanted to find out the full story on KUB.
And so I stopped the car to join the angry crowd who was there to protest over something that affected their life in a big way and I found out soon enough that it was about a toll hike that had been recently announced by some high-powered minister in some high-powered office. I haven't lived in the the city long enough to feel the pinch of paying tolls but the street protest really had me piqued since there were women and children in the crowd whom I believe hadn't the faintest idea the kind of trouble they had gotten themselves into. The riot police were on stand-by, fully geared to handle the mood of the crowd who may turn for the worse since it was a hot day with humidity close to 80%. A couple of guys in the crowd got excited and this prompted the men in blue to close in on one of them, bringing the poor guy down in a move they had been trained for. They got him in the knees with the baton which brought him down like a tower when the base is blown off with high explosive. He twisted like a night crawler on fire, almost coiling himself into a complete knot, handcuff locked tight at the wrists. Two women were hauled in and I saw the worried look on their faces. A few well known figures from the opposition were there, but they were not physically militant. I saw a guy surrounded by the riot police, their shields up and the batons ready, waiting for the guy to make a wrong move so they could land a heavy duty boot on the face. I know this move too well. But nothing happened. In the end they got him by the arms.
Maybe you have never spent a night in jail. Or maybe you have never been hit in the face, ribs, groin or legs by anyone. Lemme give you a piece of advice, the last thing you wanna do on a hot day like that was to be hauled in by the police into their big red truck and driven to a police station before they lock you up for a week with the rest of the common criminals like burglars, rapists, thieves, drunks, drug addicts, or suspected murderers. You may think you can take on the riot police, having studied all the martial arts in the world, or you may think you know where to hit. But think for a second, take a good look at the guy with the shield the size of a coffee table. He is fully protected, all the vital points in his body are guarded with the kind of material that's strong enough to take your best front kick, but flexible enough for him to move in on you after you've delivered your best shot. He's got the back of his neck covered, the knees, the elbows and the face. For crying out loud, he's an expert in how to use his shield both as a weapon and as a device to protect himself against whatever you've got going for him. My advice is, when they come after you like a pack of hyenas, you'd better roll up your body into a fetal position like that of a child in a womb and pray they don't break your ribs, or their heavy boots won't dislodge your jaws.
I have lived long enough to know that when the government decides to do something, you'd better live with the fact that nothing you do or say will ever make them change their mind. They decided to go ahead with the National Service Program so fast you didn't have time to read what was it all about. Before you know it, the whole thing got off the ground and so far the programme has made a lot of people rich, from caterers to camp owners, bus owners, uniform suppliers. And now the toll hike. You know that they are going to hike it up from time to time and nothing you do, especially street protest, will make them change their mind. That's how the whole thing works. The people higher up got an idea to start a massive national scale project, and then the people connected to them work out the profit and profit account, and then they got the approval from the cabinet and the whole thing get started real quick from there. That's how it is, and that's how it's gonna be and there is nothing we can do about it. Everyone knows it and it is no longer a secret. In fact it has become Standard Operation Procedure that we have come to accept like a good citizen that we are.
Will this ever come to a stop? Not likely since the people who turned up at Summit USJ to voice their protest represented something like 0.001% of the population. Since politics is about numbers, this number is too small to be taken seriously and who is more qualified to crunch this number into dust other than the ever efficient riot police.
I didn't wait for the crowd to disperse because I saw what I needed to see and it was not a pretty sight to see innocent people being treated that way.
I don't know what got me that day but I failed to view the whole street protest thing as a comedy that played itself out to a full-length movie. Maybe I should do less business to maintain my sense of humor. Am I becoming less and less humorous since I got into this business thing? Lemme go figure, but first lemme have some of this Sumatran coffee down. Where was I?


Anonymous maklang said...

Tak lama lagi yang kaya makin lah kaya, yang miskin jadi papa kedana. We are moving towards what is happening in our neighbouring country!

5:16 PM  
Blogger k.d said...

Yeah..I that the government can be call a dictatorship as no amount of people's voice are heard or make any change.

The situation is bad...and i know whoever is satying oversea prefer to stay oversea and people in Malaysia are trying to get out if they can.

Why don't you venture out...see any business opportunity elsewhere?

5:19 PM  
Blogger Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

Dear Bergen,
I used to be apolitical,i didnt care a hoot who was in power,run the parlimen or build up the skybridge.

The toll hike is burdening everyone in the city,petrol hike pinching everyone in the country and billion poured into economy didnt even trickle down to layman like you and me.

Our silence ,like dara on merisik day equate to acceptance.Everyone seem happy except for the dara.

We accepted to be abuse,make fool of,ridicule for our stupidity and seem contented if anyone care to wonder...all the while the gap between the haves and havenots widen.

In any economy the engine of growth is the middle class...our goverment decimated them piece by piece.

If these resilience level is breached with impunity ,imagine the poor.What would they have for dinner tonight??

I cant sleep with that thought.

Of course I cant change the world,but each whisper echoed louder and louder.

Tx Burgen ...

5:56 PM  
Blogger NJ said...

Salam Mr Bergen,

I have to agree with Mr Clark Gable. 0.001% may seem so insignificant now, but it is quite possible that it may eventually represent the silent majority.

10:12 PM  
Blogger AuntyN said...

Bergen, sorry I missed your birthday. I seemed to miss a lot of people's bday lately. I reminded myself that I had to wish you and AuntieYan bday wishes on that day but when the day came, I totally forgot about it.

I know it does show my age hehehe

Anyway May ALLAH bless you with taqwa and redha and limpahan rezeki for the next years to come. Aminn. Belated Happy Birthday

11:56 AM  
Blogger tokasid said...

Salam to Sir Bergen.

Been 3 years since the last time I stood face-to-face with those guys from the red trucks with water cannons.

These protest meets are usually highly charged atmosphere. Usually starts off peacefully.Before you know it some hooligans comes along and starts to instigate.Booing here and there while the guest speakers(usually from the opposition)making speech.Those in the rally will statr to give a stern stare towards these hooligans. On thing will lead to another and before you know it,bingo!the man in red from the red truck grabs someone and everyone present becomes temporary insane.Someone on the redtruck will ask the crowd to disperse and warnings blarred out. Get out of here before the man in red struck the bell on top the red truck.

You better run now otherwise you get a taste of the batons,the kick from thick boots anywhere they can land.If you are lucky you might get a go from the water cannon. And don't forget you might be a guest in the local IPD for several days.

However ineffective these rallies had been but they manage to get the message to the general population.The message is clear: We are the victims and our govt doesn't care what happen to us between elections.
But of course,our general population dare not do anything when the GE comes.

What puzzles me is why the men in red from the red trucks rarely appear if Pemuda keris tak bersarung organise rallies?

11:57 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Maklang: The worse thing is, we can only talk about it here, or get to read about it in some alternative on-line newspapers. I believe we are gonna be worse off since we are not willing to openly admit it and discuss it openly to solve it.

K.D: It's okay if I'm were in the business like restaurant or manufacturing products used by every household like can opener. In a supply bussines like mine, the best bet is right here at home and learn to play the game.

Clark: I don't know whether all this is ever coming to an end. I reckon it is gonna get worse since the next generation has been exposed to how to get rich quick by short-cuts, never having to acquire any kinda skill etc.

NJ: The problem is, the silent majority is made up of people who don't want to take an active part to do something about something that affect their life.

AuntyN: Thank you, ma'am. You've been rather quiet these days. What are you up to? Going into business?

Tokasid: Apparently you've had some experience with the guys in blue who came in by the red truck. LOL.

To everyone who dropped by, thank you for coming and you have a nice day now, y'hear?

12:24 PM  

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