By Kia Meng, Bersih Kyoto
The Bersih 5 solidarity gathering in Kyoto, Japan, took place successfully at 1pm, on November 19th, 2016, coinciding with the main protest in Kuala Lumpur.
The weather was much better than what was forecasted and we took the opportunity to take some really good group photos at Kamogawakoen by the iconic Kamogawa river at the heart of Kyoto. We had an attendance of 25 people, most Malaysians who were either studying or working in the Kansai region, as well as some Malaysians who were touring the city on that day.
After the group photos, we made our way to Kyoto University nearby to have a time of sharing of why each one of us made it a point to participate in Bersih 5. There were some very meaningful moments shared, especially on the issue of Sabah and Sarawak and why the dream of a truly equal relationship throughout the federation is far from realization.
Also, there is a certain melancholic sadness as one participant shared her sense that Malaysians wherever they are, around the world, are always the friendliest and most adaptable of peoples, due to our multicultural history and experiences; however that beauty is tainted in many ways because of the state of the nation`s administration and the racial divisions that is still manipulated for the political survival of the regime.
We also screened Fahmi Reza`s award-winning documentary, Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, and had a short discussion afterwards.
All in all, it was a fantastic day out, one that we find extremely meaningful, given the struggles Bersih 2.0 has been championing for the last 6 years or so.