The Day After

It has been said that Malaysian politics lost its innocence in May 1969. Certainly the country was not the same then after the 13th of that month. Whilst the country and the people were certainly able to pick up the pieces and plough forward, we knew that there would have to be unprecedented changes necessary to ensure a constructive path forward. The rest, as they say, is history.

But just as they will likely never be a defining moment in an independent Malaysia like May 1969, it is equally noteworthy that 3’08 was another one of those watershed moments in the country’s young history. Yet this was not so much a moment that marked the loss of innocence as much as it can be characterised as an awakening.

A political awakening that was arguably long overdue. Much too long indeed. This awakening signified a considerable amount and it would be rather easy to oversimplify both what it truly embodied and its significance as well. Like 1969, there was so much to digest and process – and it seems in more ways than might be comprehendible, a large number of Malaysians have in fact been thoughtfully processing the developments of 3’08 in order to appreciate how far we as a collective have indeed come politically to appreciate the importance of standing up and being counted as citizens, and truly taking a more deliberate approach to exercising our franchise as citizens.

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