By Francis Siah
So this is how it ended – an anti-climax. I am also very disappointed with my decision. But I have to make one for MoCS. Only God knows why I finally decided to call it off. This Red Rally has grown bigger than I could ever imagine. MoCS is just a mosquito outfit and I was caught by surprise at the tremendous response and the outpouring of support for our movement’s ‘Walk for Democracy and Reform’ today.
The past month has been a confrontation with the police when it should have been the ‘termite’. It’s not worth it in this case. The real ‘enemy’ is not the police. Deputy Commissioner Law Hong Soon advised me to think over the responsibility and burden on me personally (and not on MoCS because legally, MoCS does not even exist although we managed to register the name as a company.) I have thought this over and over again. Personally, I have no experience in organising a public rally of this scale (contesting an election is different and easier). Anyone gets hurt, injured or maimed, I am responsible. Anyone gets arrested, I will be responsible. I feel responsible for my fellows and friends. The eight who were served the restraining order (RO) are all my good friends. One is a cousin. Even Mohd Salleh Ahmed who has absolutely nothing to do with MoCS was somehow caught in the crossfire. He is a businessman and I don’t wish to bring trouble to him, family and business or any of my friends. I have to be honest and say that if any of the eight were to be arrested because of the rally, I have no personal resources to help in any way. I do not reside in Kuching. It would be totally irresponsible of me to just come back to my home town, organise a rally, get friends and supporters into trouble and then leave them in the lurch. That will be the last thing I will do.
So far, no one here or elsewhere has told me that they would assist should anything happen to the eight served with the RO. Here again, the burden is on me. Those who slammed me for calling off the rally will never understand what my friends in MoCS and I have to go through. It’s so easy to instigate and provoke. But where were these people when we needed them? None offered MoCS anything other than mere words. In their comfort zone, they have started lambasting me in web portals and blogs. This was expected.
Here are a few samples: “What a coward Siah… Already have millions in his pocket I guess.” “Francis Siah bo lan pa. Coward. Full of excuses. Why can’t he walk alone?” “No guts to do, don’t talk so loud. You should know what’s coming even before you announce the rally, why back off now, citing a flimsy excuse of public safety? If you don’t march, there will be more longer-term, more entrenched danger to public safety, and the arrests will still continue. Coward!” I won’t pretend by saying that I’m not hurt by those insults. The only thing I can do to console myself is to consciously feel that these critics will never be able to accomplish what we have so far. These people will never lift a finger to help if MoCS gets into trouble or face constraints. They just sit comfortably in front of their PCs and enjoy hurling insults at others. So why should I worry so much! I’m glad I’m not a politician running for public office. I do not need public support to attain a political goal. Why bother whether they want to support me or not?
Time for others to lead
Today, Aug 13, is the first anniversary of MoCS. I recall this day one year ago when I sat down together with See Chee How and Jasmine at a press conference at Kuching Airport to announce the establishment of MoCS. Little did I realize how difficult and turbulent the journey would be. I have no experience too in heading an NGO. But it was one hell of a ride, and unfortunately, an expensive one too. I had also given my word to the original eight initiators of MoCS that I would take a year off work to head MoCS. I also recall that I would set a one-year time frame, perhaps a too ambitious one, to lead the MoCS campaign to oust the ‘termite’ within 12 months. The deadline is up today and I’ve failed to get rid of that old insect. But I’ve kept my word and today, I’ve completed my ‘term’.
Now it’s time to pass the baton.