#Bersihstories: Bonjour from Bersih 3.0 Paris – Vijay Balasegaram

Bonjour from Bersih 3.0 Paris


It was wet. More than usual. I always thought London was the one with the piping problems but it seems even the fashion capital of the world suffers from it. After yesterday’s experience though, I think Paris could also be rebranded as the protest capital of the world. Boy! Do they house a lot of “protestation”. As soon as I arrived at to the Esplanade du Trocadero, I was greeted by a group of green men making fun of Sarkozy and Hollande’s ignorant stand on the environment… Green Peace! Shortly after, it was the folks from Guinea-Bissau and their noble cause to eradicate child slavery. Then, when we were painting the Eiffel yellow, another group was waiting at the entrance to paint it red afterwards. France! The land where freedom of speech means something more than just words scribbled on a fancy piece of paper.


I think there is something symbolic about showing dissent in Paris. After all, France inspired modern democracy. It was based on these ideals, Malaysia was formed and freed from imperialism. Yet close to 55 odd years or so we find ourselves in an undemocratic fix. Who would ever thought that demand for a free and fair elections is now a cause for protest. Our founding fathers must be rolling in their respective graves.


Hence the color yellow. Yellow to clean out the dirty fellows. And thus, more than 60 Malaysians spread out throughout France convened on the capital on the 28th April 2012 about 12.22 PM with typical Malaysian sense of timing (Suppose to be at 12 PM).


The weather was against us. It rained. The temperature plummeted and the sky kept to a moody grey. Alien weather to tropical Malaysians used to a steady temperature and one layer clothing. Despite that, we walked out determinately on to the sturdy pavement that Paris is famed for. Heavy overcoats were unzipped to expose yellow shirts, armbands boldly tied around the upper arms and more than a few donned blazing yellow raincoats. We paid our respects to a postcard background. And finally when all Malaysians young and old were gathered, we joined our spirits together and chanted the word that keeps the Malaysian Election Chairman awake at night. A word so simple yet so profound that it was the cause of hundreds of thousands Malaysians taking the street back in the motherland. One word to unite all Malaysians regardless of age, race or religion. One word to clean them all… Bersih!

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