10 Reasons Why Shopperholics Should Support Bersih

Your children don’t have to migrate to Singapore, Australia or America to enjoy a higher standard of living. If things are done right in Malaysia, this can be a far richer and greater country. That, ultimately, is what Bersih is about. 

By Andrew Sia

“Ala, kacau-la this Bersih, the whole KL was jammed and I could not go for the 1Malaysia Mega Sale!” cries out you, the Shopperholic.

And TV and newspapers tell you that Bersih caused billions in economic losses because the Burmese and Nepalese foreign workers downtown could not hang out at the Kota Raya shopping complex.

No, no, I mean, because the police blocked all roads and nobody, especially you, could go out and buy your RM12,000 Gucci handbag ….

But wait a minute. Why are these shops and stalls in downtown KL doing such good business DURING Bersih?

Just look a little deeper beyond the sales promotion and hype of 1Malaysia …. You may actually have 10 good reasons to support Bersih.


1) Your ringgit is worth 2.4 times less than the Singapore dollar. Why?

Here you are, suffering and sweating to fight the crowds at sales, just to get a bigger discount.

But yet, your money is worth 2.4 times less than that bloody little country which has almost ZERO natural resources while we Malaysians have tons of petroleum wealth.

In 1965, one ringgit was equal to one Sing dollar. What the hell has happened since then? Corruption?

Now when Singaporeans come here, they are like birds – we can hear their distinctive chirping: “cheap, cheap, cheap…”.

Bargher, by right, we should be the ones walking in Megamall like that, where everyday is like sales day!

Now that the leaders have seen how big the Bersih crowd was, maybe they will be a bit more scared of the people’s demands? A bit less corrupt? Maybe in ten years time, we will see RM1.50 = S$1 ??? Then we can really shop like mad, right?


2) Bersih didn’t close MidValley Megamall, the police did.

For certain politicians, Bersih was like Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor. The radiation of having an intelligent debate about the nation’s future would cause brain cancer ….

That’s why, even though Bersih was being held in downtown KL on Saturday, they decided to blockade Megamall, which was far away.

In fact, days before Bersih, they even blocked roads on the other side of the world at Subang Jaya and elsewhere.

Why? Just so that you shopperholics can scold Bersih for trying to save you from overspending on shopping for one day.

The police also wanted you to blame Bersih for making you discover how you can have a great time at home (maybe by taking a walk in the park, watching a DVD or, God forbid, helping mom cook dinner) without having to spend much money at all.


3) But you were smarter, you shopped at Sunway Pyramid, the Curve and Jusco Wangsa Maju.

But of course, you were smarter than that. You had already anticipated the blocked roads. You hate staying at home to spend quality family time. Oh I’m sorry, quality family time can only be done at the shopping mall.

OK, so you decided to do your shopping at other places like Sunway Pyramid, the Curve, Jusco Balakong, Jusco Kepong or Jusco wherever …. The police could order Sogo and Pertama Complex in downtown KL to shut down but who the hell goes to such places anyway?


4) Actualleee … no need to close roads and shopping centres right?

Exactly. Why on earth DID the police order the shops in KL Sentral to close down?

Because Anwar Ibrahim and Ambiga were walking there? Maybe the police were scared that they would commit khalwat, so they decided to shoot them several times with tear gas so that they would cry out in pain, rather than cry out in illicit pleasure ….

The Bersih folks downtown were peaceful, disciplined and friendly. They sang Negaraku. Complete strangers of all races spoke with and helped each other. Some even brought their children – they came for a non-violent protest.

People just wanted to gather in Stadium Merdeka, wear their yellow T-shirts, sing some songs and shout their slogans. They asked for just two hours, from 2pm to 4pm. 

Itu saja.They are just silly idealists who don’t know how fair our elections are.

So why did the police order the shopping malls to close down? Because they found somebody throwing a bag filled with parangs at Pertama Complex FOUR days before? And inside the bag, there were a few yellow Bersih T-shirts!

Wow, how stupid they are. Maybe there was even a note saying: “Anwar wuz here”….


5) Bersih should have been a Mega Sales Carnival

The Lai Foong coffeeshop downtown remained open even as remnants of tear gas hung in the air inside, stinging my eyes. Yet people like me still went there to eat the famous beef noodles. Business was roaring!

In fact, if the government was smart, they could have made Bersih part of the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival!

Think about it. 50,000 people came despite the blocked roads, the threats by the police etc etc. If they had allowed it to go on peacefully, 100,000 or maybe 150,000 people would have come.

And after singing and shouting, they also need to makan and minum right? Rows of stalls could have been set up at Stadium Merdeka, just like at Batu Caves during Thaipusam. What a huge economic boost!


6) Bersih should have been a Visit Malaysia Year event

Bersih’s call for fair and clean elections “tarnished” the nation’s image, claim certain politicians.

But the same politicians were warning that silat fellas were coming to reconquer Malacca from the Portuguese while Perkasa has been whacking foreigners (all those who arrived in Malaysia after 1511 that is). All these threats of violence from silat and Perkasa have made Malaysia’s name more “fragrant” worldwide, I am sure.

But you know what was funny? The real foreigners came and joined Bersih! As you know, downtown KL has lots of Mat Salleh backpackers staying there, and many came out to see the REAL Malaysia in action. It’s just like how Ian Wright does not like to go to the over priced tourist traps, he wants to see the action on da streets man!


7) Downtown KL is a foreigners city on weekends.

That’s right. Certain leaders have been blaring non-stop about how Bersih jeopardised sales for the Indian kaki lima news vendors in downtown KL.

But I wonder when was the last time a Minister went to Petaling Street to buy a newspaper, or a fake Rolex? As for ordinary Malaysians, we go to the pasar malams nearer our homes.

KL’s Old Town ain’t what it used to be because Malaysians now live in the suburbs. The UDA Ocean shopping centre downtown had to close down and places like The Curve and Sunway Pyramid are where the real sales action is happening.

The main people in downtown KL on a weekend (when the offices are closed) are our dear foreign workers. I have tried the Burmese and Nepalese restaurants there – they are delicious.

I’m surprised that our leaders have suddenly become very concerned about what foreign workers eat and buy.


8) Bersih – an economic stimulus program?

The way TV has been going on and on, you would think that Bersih has caused the economic collapse of Malaysia.

But think about this: 100,000 yellow T-shirts at RM20 each, wow, that works out to RM2 million in turnover, not bad for a day’s sales event yeah? Too bad some Minister declared the T-shirts illegal.

And because of all the threats from the government to turn Beijing, I mean KL, into The Forbidden City, thousands of people came into town one night earlier. Hey, that’s a lot of money being spent on hotel rooms.

What about all the money spent by outstation people who purposely came to KL for this historic event? And all the newspaper sales generated by the excitement of the news? And the free publicity for Malaysia in worldwide media?

If only the government had allowed it to be a peaceful event, the economic activity generated by 100,000 or more people coming to KL would have been much greater.


9) At least they won’t raise the price of petrol now.

As a shopperholic, you know that once they raise the price of petrol, the prices of everything else will shoot up.

When former PM Badawi raised it to RM2.70, the price of Milo Ais at the mamak shop went up to RM1.80. Now that petrol is at RM1.90, do you see the price coming back down? Not a fat chance!

Thanks to the 50,000 brave people who risked arrest and tear gas at Bersih, do you think the government will dare raise the price of petrol any more?

No, they will cancel building some palace project some where and use the money to continue subsidising petrol – well, at least till the next elections.


10) One Saturday’s shopping in exchange for a better future?

Even if you don’t agree with the nine reasons above, here’s the final question:

Can you, dear shopperholic, not sacrifice two or three hours of shopping out of 365 x 24 hours for Malaysia’s long term future? During sales, you spend one hour circling MidValley Megamall to find parking anyway.

The main threat to our future well-being and prosperity is not some idealistic people in yellow T-shirts calling for fair democracy. The main threat is the billions of ringgit being wasted on submarines that cannot even submerge, stadiums in Terengganu that collapsed (what if it had fallen when the Agong was there?) and … I am sure you can fill in your own list.

The Minister Idris Jala showed lots of statistics, warning that Malaysia would become bankrupt in five years, before he claimed he was “misquoted”.

This is YOUR money which you have paid in taxes. It should benefit you, rather than some politician’s millionaire cronies.

But why should they care about you, if they are “voted” into power by 30 “supernatural” voters “living” in a house, while everyone in this world can see there is only one old grandmother living there?

Do you think the people who went for Bersih like being tear gassed, arrested and man-handled by the police? No. They went to demand that the voices and votes of ordinary people will count.

Even if you can afford to splash RM12,000 for a Gucci bag, and all this doesn’t matter to you, please think about your children’s (and other people’s children’s) futures. And the future of our nation.

Your children don’t have to migrate to Singapore, Australia or America to enjoy a higher standard of living. If things are done right in Malaysia, this can be a far richer and greater country. That, ultimately, is what Bersih is about.