A throwback album from 6 years ago - during the heyday of Dato Seri Najib’s rule as the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia - and when Tan Sri Dato’ Muhyiddin Yassin was still his right hand man (he was replaced three years later by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi).
Occupy Dataran 1Malaysia 2012
The message of this series is to highlight the stark contrast between the glitzy Royal Party and the rugged Occupy Dataran.
Based in Kuala Lumpur, the first Occupy Dataran assembly was held on the 30th July 2011, with the aim of becoming an autonomous grassroots movement. Incidentally, Occupy Dataran was often regarded as an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street which happened on the same year. But unlike the latter, Occupy Dataran’s main objective was to provide a platform to experiment participatory democracy based on the popular assembly model.
The Royal Party, was a week-long (11-21 April) nationwide celebration in conjunction of the installation of the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia. The theme, “Raja dan Rakyat Berpisah Tiada” (The Ruler and His Subjects Are Always Together) - which highlighted alongside it the ‘1Malaysia Community’, a programme launched by Malaysian 6th Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on 16 September 2010 with the intention to promote ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance in the country.
And this is where the irony lies bare for all to see. One was of spectacle, colors and excessive attention - while another was with an air of stereotype, curiosity and purpose. Both happening simultaneously at Dataran Merdeka on the night of 21st April 2012 - just a few meters away from each another.
Like myself, little do people there that night knew that history would made 6 years later, when the government that has been ruling for the past 6 decades would to be toppled through voting power of citizens of Malaysia, near and far.