Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Election excitement

You know that excitement over the whole General elections thing is escalating wildly when people that you hardly converse with start talking to you about politics.

For example, while I was at the vegetable seller's stall at the Kampung Baru wet market in Bukit Mertajam last Sunday, the proprietor suddenly opened his mouth to tell me that there would be a Pakatan Rakyat ceramah (political talk) at the market's car park that same night.

Okay, so I do know this chap. He sees me every time I go to the market with my aged aunt - only nowadays, it is me that goes alone because she now walks with much difficulty - and we hardly say anything to one another. I would pass the vegetables to him and he would tell me how much they cost.

But not that Sunday morning. Like two guys in a conspiracy, he lowered his voice and told me to "come round tonight" to the ceramah. "Okay," I whispered back, "I'll be here."

So when eight o'clock came around, I left the house. A brisk 15-minute walk took me to the market. the public address system was already cranked up loud. I could here someone talk long before I reached the car park.

Already, there were lots of people standing around. Or sitting around the perimeter of the market. And all eyes were watching the speakers. One after another, the Pakatan Rakyat candidates were introduced to the people and they went on and on to talk about themselves, what they stood for and the excesses of the previous Barisan Nasional federal government.

I looked around. The crowd were enthralled, drinking in every syllable from the speakers. But I must admit that their words were mostly lost on me. Couldn't understand, see. For not the first time in my life, I regretted not knowing Mandarin. But around me, people were listening intently.

Despite my handicap, I was greatly surprised to find myself staying on for so long at the ceramah. Ordinarily, I would have left long ago, but not that night. Sorry, but I have no reasonable explanation for this. Perhaps, like the vegetable seller, I too had been caught up in the whole excitement of the General Election. Can't wait to cast my vote.

P.S. By my guestimate, there must have been around two to three thousand people gathered at the ceramah by the time I decided to make my way home.Now the question remains: since I can't catch a word of what they are saying, should I continue to attend these political talks??

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