The Canberra Bersih 3.0 gathering was a huge success and a heartwarming gesture of solidarity, writes Radin Faizal Arif.
Location: Parliament House Lawns, Canberra, Australia
Time: 2.00pm, April 28
Number of participants: 65+
The agreed gathering time at the Parliament House Lawns was 2.00pm, with numbers steadily growing. Demographics were pretty balanced with a decent combination of students, working folks, and retirees.
There was no problem with security whatsoever. Banners, placards and masks (particularly for students on scholarship) were handed out to participants.
The event began with Greg Lopez, a PhD candidate in economic policy at the Australian National University, speaking about how Bersih 3.0 fits into the social, economic and political fabric of Malaysian society.
Prem Vasu, a long-time resident of Canberra, spoke on behalf of Malaysians living abroad, and Radin read out a message to all Bersih participants on behalf of Ambiga.
The floor was then opened to all, with students speaking on why they thought Bersih 3.0 was necessary.
Gaik Cheng Khoo, a cultural studies lecturer at the Australian National University, recited a poem by Taufik Ismail, a well-known Indonesian poet, for the crowd.
The Negaraku was also sung to add to the very festive atmosphere.
Lastly, a group photo was taken with the Parliament House in the background.
After the solidarity rally, the organising team hung out together at a local restaurant while getting live updates on what was happening on the ground in KL..
Bersih 3.0 T-shirts were sold like hot cakes (we sold out all 20 shirts in 40 minutes), with proceeds going straight into the account of the Malaysian Interest Group (MIG) – a Canberra-based discussion and advocacy group.
Overall, the event was a huge success and a heartwarming gesture of solidarity. We’d like to thank the Steering Committee, David Teoh in particular, for their ongoing support.
Solidarity forever. For the union makes us strong.
Radin Faizal Arif is a fourth year economics student at the Australian National University.