Brian Yap: Change at grasstroot level needed

Brian Yap wrote a wonderful piece reminding us that elections should begin at the grassroot level.

“APRIL 23 — There’s little doubt that Malaysians are far more politically conscious today. We regularly discuss political developments, we’re up to date on the latest scandals, and we’ve all sent or received text messages or e-mails that touch on Malaysian politics, solicited or otherwise. Plus, it seems as if a new blogger is coming on board every single day, from teenagers to retired old uncles, writing about the many issues that affect the nation.

These are all good things. They offer a glimmer of hope for the nation, and reflect the patriotism of Malaysians better than a million mini-flags on cars ever could.

Yet, at the same time there’s also a sense that for all our heightened political awareness, our everyday lives have remained largely the same. We read about the changes taking place more than we actually feel or see them….. more

It’s important that we feel changes are taking place in our daily life.

Being empowered must be felt, not just understood or believed.

I see what happened at Bukit Lanjan as a fantastic sign, but more are needed.  We need new political culture of participatory democracy, rule of law, accountability, transparency, citizen initiatives, civil disobeidence ……

Democratization needs bridging social capital, and cannot depend on a few political elites. I feel uncomfortable recently listening to a popular opposition politician telling people what they should do but keeping his own cards close to his chest.


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