What We Must

in 2007 somewhere in between petaling street and kl sentral something in me moved and it has not stopped growing since, like branches and branches up my throat and out of my mouth, into the world, like a tree. it was raining and we were all singing, clapping each other on the back, asking fellow countrymen what their nafkah were, re-assessing deeply as we walked past the red trucks and blaring sirens about what it meant to each of us to be malaysian and to be human. on the one hand it felt like we were all part of something big, doing something great that morning — and on the other hand it felt like the biggest street party i had ever been to. certainly, the threat against safety was very much present as well then, and this year we all know that the fear has become so much more palpable. but we don’t make progress unless we take risks. in many countries, big and powerful institutions take big and powerful risks because they care about their people, but in this country it is often us, the small and the humble, who create the things that mean the most.

to anyone who’s still undecided and thinking hard about whether or not to go– sometimes it’s not about the politics, the country, justice, society, or even about electoral reform. those things may be what a lot of people are marching for, but if you are not convinced by the arguments so far, that does not have to be what you walk for. you can walk, simply, for yourself and what is yours.

it is instinctive and straightforward to feel like we have so much more at stake in our lives that we just cannot compromise them for a rally in which we are only one person out of tens and tens of thousands, but truly, we are thinking perhaps too lowly of our selves and our capacity if we believe that to be all we are. a rally of 49,999 people will embrace warmly a 50,000th person as friend and comrade, and also his curious younger brother, and that younger brother’s girlfriend, who brings her mom, who brings her entire saturday morning tai chi group because there is safety in numbers. before you know it, the rally has tripled in size, and everyone knows someone whose perspective will be changed for good because they were there that morning. even the lone wolf who goes by himself inadvertently falls into the understanding of what it truly means to be prepared to die for something he believes in, and that can become such a powerful impetus with the force to drive so much good in this world.

having said that, our call to duty is really a lot smaller than the bloody revolutions endured by our neighbors near and far, our friends, the meek and the brave, children, soldiers and women all throughout the world who literally bleed out for a better life and a better future for those that will come after them. here, we go into hiding and submit to terrorism by the very people and institutions who are supposed to protect us and make us feel safe. and all in the name of protecting a career, a scholarship, a car, a mortgage or an upcoming PhD fellowship– things that we believe make up our identity and are our notions of what gives us security. but simply, no one is after these things to take them away from us. think of ambiga and her teammates, all of whom have been publicly named, and how much of their freedom and safety they are putting on the line to fight for righteousness and the rights of people like you and me. and then here we are, anonymous things, worried about the little money we make and what our boss would think if we were detained for 6 hours in a lockup.

there are many reasons why this rally might not make much of a difference, or many reasons why the ‘battle’ has already been won with or without a rally. but on this morning of the 9th of july we should be asking ourselves what our roles are in circumstances like these, and what we can mobilize within our capacity that will create the most good out of this situation, not just for the country, but also for our friends, our family, for all the people we know who work hard, and of course, for our own integrity.

what it looked like in 2007

on a more personal note, i’m very proud of my family, because they will be walking for family, and their family’s family. i am also proud of all my friends’ parents who reluctantly but bravely allowed and even encouraged their children to walk today. i am currently stuck in a harshly lit 24/7 fast food restaurant in the ribs of changi airport, but in a few hours i will be home. this year i am walking for ambiga and her colleagues, for their bravery, and their relentlessness in the pursuit of justice. if only, if only our country’s leadership were made of courage and integrity such as theirs.





I’m so proud of you, Su Ann and other similar young people like yourselves. Bravo indeed!

[…] well-written piece by my friend, Pinkpau on the Bersih […]

Go get them. :)


Pinkpau!!!!! Always supported this cause since the time you wrote about it 2007, and was wondering would you be back for this round. And you did!!!! :D



[…] on this matter, i want to quote Su Ann Lim, someone i admire greatly and who knows always the right thing to say in these situations: “to […]

Many thanks for this awesome post, you are brilliant.


We are proud of you.




Awesome post, spoken (written) like a true anak malaysia. Together we march for a clean and fair election. It was so touching for me to see so many of my fellow Malaysians there, irrespective of age, sex, and above all, race. Let there be known that in the face of tyranny we would stand firm and as one.

go add a facebook like button, it will be easier to share your article that way :)

anyway looking forward to photos of your walk, if any!

anak malaysia

agree with Avis above. go add to facebook, more young people can be inspired. at the very least it makes good reading.




It felt to me that the rally was more a march against injustice rather than electoral reforms.

How about a PinkPau fan page LOL?


thank you so much for this inspiring post, su ann!


your post gave me goosebumps and sent shivers down my spine. thank you for such an inspiring post. :)


awfully proud of you pinks.

nothing quite like witnessing it and participating first hand!


Bravo, Su Ann
I’m proud of you and make sure all your fans get registered for this coming G.E.


The day Najib understands”1Malaysia” will be the day he admits he is a liar and a crook.
He already said…over his dead body will he give up PutraJaya…yet he said elections was and is always fair and clean.
Go read Sunday Times and note what he said.
He is still blaming BERSIH and PR for everything.

I guess the death of one Baharuddin Ahmad, 59 …hit by a tear gas canister or while scuffling with the police during the walk means nothing to Najib.


Bravo gal! Thank you for doing this for our country. I read a couple of Msian blog, you are the one who blogged about politics.

As always, you found the words which we feel. I have never felt so angry and proud at the same time than I have in these past few days. I truly can’t wait to vote.


the bersih rally was never about electoral reform. it was sponsored by pakatan as a means to demo for the opposition. there was no chants of bersih, only reformasi…
a memorendum was supposed to be handed to the Agong. This was not done.
The rally, riot, demo, whatever you want to call it was illegal. If the reverse was to happen, say if BN was to take to the streets, calling to the resignation was Anwar, would any of you supported? No right? because it would have been illegal.
We live in a country governed by law. We shud live according to the law, Its akin to driving in a jam. If just follow the jam and queue. You dont take the law into your own hands and drive on the emergency lane.
If you catch a snatch thief, you dont beat him to death, you hand him to the police.
Shame on you Bersih and shame on you Patriot…

anak malaysia

dear bersih, the death of Baharuddin Ahmad, was caused by Ambiga and Anwar. They have blood on their hands


Hi quaintly, bersih 3.0 is coming again, and i am revisting this particular entry again because i want to remind myself how i felt as i was reading this last year at home when the rally was taking place.

Well, i do hope to see u at dataran merdeka next week! :)
Hope u dont mind if i share this article on fb hehe

Leave me a comment!