SEREMBAN, 18 Jan – Braving stares and possible confrontations from onlookers, a group of parents decided to flaunt their views when receiving the RM100 school aid at a Chinese secondary school here by proudly donning the canary yellow Bersih T-shirts which had been for a short while banned in 2011.
The T-shirts, infamous for some and applauded by the rest, attracted attention from attendees of a ceremony to give out government aid to students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Cina Chan, with photographs of the 15 parents boldly wearing the T-shirts went widely circulated on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Their reason? Donning yellow was symbolic of their stand against the Barisan Nasional-led federal government’s moves to appease Malaysians by handing out monetary gifts. These parents do not believe that the government’s seasonal goodies are adequate solutions to the people’s larger economic burdens.
Online news portal Malaysiakini reported one of the parents, Wong Chai Soon as describing their act as a deliberate attempt to show to the powers-that-be that money “won’t necessarily make the people bow down and agree with them”.
In fact, Wong is truly worried about the nation’s future, explaining that he has received the cash “with great trepidation”.
The idea to wear the noteworthy Bersih T-shirts was the brainchild of a friend of Wong’s, with the plan spreading to others within their circle of friends.
“I also asked my friends at my office to wear yellow,” added Wong.
Other parents at the ceremony did not show any visible objection to the yellow-clad group, some only stared while others took the initiative to speak to them.
“Those that I knew agreed with us,” Wong commented.
As for the reactions of the teachers, Wong said, they were “just normal”, assuming that the teachers were too busy attending to the many parents there to take any actual notice.
‘Bersih Mama’ speaking loud and clear
One of the many handouts provisioned in Budget 2013, this is the second time the RM100 aid is given to parents with schooling kids, perceived by critics and observers alike as one of the many pre-election stunts by Najib Razak’s government.
It was the group of mothers identifying themselves as ‘Bersih Mama’ that initiated the campaign to wear yellow when collecting the cash aid, seeing the occasion as an opportunity for parents to remind people of Bersih’s demand for clean and fair elections.
Bersih Mama suggested what Malaysia needs is “not RM100, RM250 or RM500 in financial aid”, but a true democracy with fair and clean elections.
“If this country has no fair and clean election, it would not be truly democratic,” the group stressed.
Many other parents like Wong have supported the cause, uploading photographs of them wearing Bersih T-shirts when collecting the aid online. The BN-led federal government has stressed that the aid is a “one-off school allowance initiative”. – The Rocket.