I am currently at home, contemplating whether I should be going to the biggest event of the year so far or stay at home in my bed, reading books or simply enjoy the Saturday. The biggest event of the year yet is the Bersih’s sit-in in Kuala Lumpur.
I participated in both the previous incarnations of Bersih and I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. In the 2011 protest, I learned how it felt to be exposed to tear gas and it was not an easy experience. I joked around immediately after I recovered from the tear gas exposure that, “I am now a protest veteran.”
I have been to multiple protests. Three of them involved loitering around the police stations in Brickfields, Dang Wangi and Bukit Aman. Despite that, I do not really enjoy protesting in such manner. It is almost always tiring and running around in the city being chased by the police is not really as fun as that “police and thieves” kid game. It is stressful. In a large protest like Bersih, there are just too many variables to think about: escape route, police location, road blocks, water source, faces of people. And I do not have the stamina to run around like dogs. I just do not.
I remember how painful it was to my lungs, how the muscles were crying stop please, how the heart begged a relief before it exploded. Only the selfish mind said, go on and don’t stop. That was in the heat of the moment.
But like any rational human being, I learn and I know the experience is not pleasant. I am just not an activist who is persistent in participating in very physical and demanding exercise. I really do not have the appetite for protests day in and day out. There is a cost to participation.
Even right now, if there was no protest, I would have gone to the office to analyze monetary data for publication on Monday. I will not do that today because I know if I do go to the office to work, I will not do anything because I will be checking my Twitter account and visiting various news portals constantly, curious about a party downtown. No work will be done, that too I know.
I am still contemplating my participation and it is still several more hours before the appointed time. But whatever the decision, you can bet that I support Bersih.