Civil Disobedience 101 (with Mandarin translation)

It appears like the government refuses to allow Malaysians to assemble for picnics or whatever unless they first apply for a police permit. The problem is, when you do apply for one, they will reject your application. So it is a Catch 22.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Some have asked me about the meaning of Civil Disobedience ( It’s actually quite simple. You defy the powers-that-be, but you do it in a passive, not active, manner. You do not resist. You just do nothing. And is this not what Malaysians are good at, doing nothing?

For example, when they charged me in court and asked me to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, I refused to enter a plea. I told the judge, “I shall not respond to the charges on the grounds that the charges are both mala fide and defective.” The judge, however, took that as a ‘not guilty’ plea.

I then raised my voice and told the judge, “I did not plead not guilty! I said I refuse to respond to the charges.” He still took that as a ‘not guilty’ plea and I now face trial.

In another earlier case, I pleaded ‘not guilty’ and the court set bail. I then refused bail and was sent to the Sungai Buloh Prison for three days. My wife came to prison at the behest of the prison authorities who were worried about my safety. Sirul and Azilah had threatened me in front of a senior prison officer, Thana, and they were worried that I might not survive prison.

I told my wife they should not have phoned her to come to prison and that I still refuse bail. Even the tears my wife shed would not move me until she told me they were throwing a party at the Selangor Club on Friday and that I was invited. Hmm…..a party. I am a softie when it comes to partying.

Okay, I told her, prison can wait. Partying comes first. I agreed she post bail and made the party that Friday. Okay, not everyone’s perfect.

Now, how do we take Civil Disobedience to the next level?

Tomorrow, at 9.00am, they will be charging 24 people in the Petaling Jaya Court for the alleged crime of ‘illegal assembly’ during an Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigil at the PJ Civic Centre on 9 November 2008. On Sunday last, they broke up a picnic that was attended by about 200 people at the same PJ Civic Centre. The police declared the picnic an illegal assembly and threatened to use force if the crowd did not disperse.

It appears like the government refuses to allow Malaysians to assemble for picnics or whatever unless they first apply for a police permit. The problem is, when you do apply for one, they will reject your application. So it is a Catch 22. You are breaking the law if you assemble without a police permit but when you apply for one they will refuse to give it to you.

Now, let us look at a hypothetical situation. This is just hypothetical mind you. I am not suggesting we actually go out and do this.

Say, this Sunday, four of us sit down on the ground holding candles in front of the PJ Civic Centre. Just four people — not more than four people. That would be considered an illegal assembly. The police will then come to arrest us and we shall spend the night in the PJ Police Station.

We would then be brought to court and charged for participating in an illegal assembly. When the charges are read out in court and we are asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, we tell the court, “Guilty and proud of it.”

Depending on the mood of the judge, we will either be fined or a jail sentence will be imposed, or both. We then refuse to pay the fine and go to jail.

The following Sunday, another four people do the sit down with candles in front of the PJ Civic Center and we go through the whole process again. Another four people will go to jail. We continue doing this until the jails are full and there is no more space to house us. As it is now the jails are already full. Sungai Buloh Prison is filed up to twice what it was built for, as are the other jails all over the country.

We keep sending four people to jail every week until they abolish or waive the ridiculous law that requires an assembly of four people to apply for a police permit.

That is what is meant as Civil Disobedience. I am not, of course, suggesting we actually do this. I am just giving you an example of Civil Disobedience, which is what Gandhi did to bring the British government down and which eventually gained independence for India.

Anyway, in the meantime, while you ponder on the above, read this item which was e-mailed to me by a close friend:

The Umno ‘Wow Factor’

A farmer named Lakbir Singh was overseeing his herd in a remote pasture in Bolehland when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young Malay man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the farmer, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Lakbir looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within mere seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data is stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the farmer and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Lakbir.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then Lakbir says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a graduate from Oxford and a Member of Parliament for Umno," says Lakbir.

"Wow! That's correct," exclaims the yuppie with the customary Umno's Wow Factor, "But how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required," answered Lakbir. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, and to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter you are, and you don't know a thing about cows. This is a herd of sheep. Now give me back my dog."








例如说,当他们在法庭上提控我,问我 '认罪'还是'不认罪', 我拒绝回答。我告诉法官说∶"我不回应这提控,因为这不只是恶意的,也是无效的。"无论如何,法官则把这当作是一个'不认罪'的回应。

我提高我的声调告诉法官说∶"我没有说我不认罪! 我说我拒绝回应这个提控。"他还是当作是'不认罪'的回应,然后我现在就面对审讯。




现 在,我们要如何把公民不服从提升到另一更高境界呢?

明 天早上九时,他们就会在八打灵再也法庭提控24人'非法聚会',因为他们在2008年11月9日,在八打灵再也公民中心参加一个反内安法令的烛光会。在上 个星期日,他们在同样的地方遣散一场200人参加的野餐会。警察宣布有关野餐是非法聚会,若公众不散去,他们就会采取强硬手段。



假设这星期天,我们四个人坐在八打灵再也的公民中心前面的空地上拿着蜡烛。四 个就好了,别超过四个。那就算是非法聚会了。警察就会来逮捕我们,我们就要在八打灵再也警察扣留所中过夜。





那就是所谓的公民不服 从。我当然不是提议我们真的这么做。我只是给你一个例子什么是公民不服从而已。这就是甘地把英国政府拉下台的方式,还让印度得到独立呢。



在Bolehland郊外有一个叫做Lakbir Singh的农夫正在放牧。突然一辆崭新的宝马汽车滚滚烟尘中冒出来。

司机是个年轻马来人,身穿Armani上衣,Gucci皮鞋, RayBan太阳眼镜和YSL领带。他从车窗探出头来问农夫说∶"若我能够准确地告诉你,你的牛群里有多少只牛和小牛,你可以给我一只小牛吗?"

Lakbir看着这明显是一个优皮士的年轻人 ,然后望着他的牛群,平静地回答说,"当然,为什么不呢?"

这优皮士泊好车,拿出他的Dell笔记电脑,连接上他的Cingular RAZR V3手提电话,浏览美国宇航局的网页,以全球定位卫星找到他的所在,再接上另一个美国宇航局的卫星,把那个地区扫描到一张高清晰度的相片中。

年 轻人然后打开电脑中的Adobe Photoshop,把图像送到德国汉堡的一家图像处理中心。在几秒之内,他的掌上电脑Palm Pilot就收到已处理好的图片电邮。他然后利用有开放式数据互连的视窗办公室的Excel的黑莓手机接通一个微软的MS-SQL数据库。经过几分钟,就 得到回应了。最后,他以他的先进微型HP镭射打印机印出一份150页厚的彩色报告出来。他转向农夫说∶ "你一共有1,586只牛和小牛。"





"哇!全中呢。" 优皮士以巫统式的惊艳之叹喊起来。"你是怎么知道的?"他问道。