On being on the road, and out of touch…

Due to work commitments, I have been temporarily stationed in the Malaysian equivalent of Alaska. On second thought, Alaska probably has better connectivity than these places. The Malay call them ‘Jin Bertendang’, meaning places where even genies are kicked off to… No internet access, no phone lines, and no convenient wi-fi spots anywhere in sight, I have been deprived of my usual contact with the outside world via emails and blogging…

Just last night, I got back in touch with cyberworld, and the number of emails and things to do online was staggering. It felt unmanageable, having a torrent of sensory input come pouring into my already stretched brain, was simply overwhelming. With work still piled up sky high, and no end in sight, I just made short and simple replies to those emails that couldn’t wait anymore, as my addled senses refuse to cooperate and the ultimate writer’s block set in.

To further compound my self-imagined sense of helplessness, the world at large, the Malaysian one at least, is abuzz with talk of the coming general elections. Those clear acrylic ballot boxes have been tendered, made and paid for; the ‘pusat gerakans’ manned and cleaned and made ready for the usual circus, and the government-endorsed media is being particularly smarmy with the feel good stories in all possible categories. Nevermind the analysts are predicting an economic slowdown triggered by the US ‘slump’ and ever-escalating fuel prices. Nevermind that there is a shortage and price hike of cooking oil, flour and rice, all items that seem to be staple in most kitchens… Nevermind that chicken in some places will cost approximately RM9 a kilo! Nevermind that the country is being overrun by people who think they know what’s best for us, and will make it so, just because they might earn a few million easy bucks paving over a stretch of greenery, again…

As I sit here, in another endless and nameless hotel lobby, trying to get on top of the torrential downpour of work falling over my sleep deprived head, the lesson I have learnt today is, never put off what you can do today for tomorrow. At least with respect to emails… They won’t stop coming just because you’ve stopped checking… And the second painful lesson, is that we as the rakyat, have the power to choose, to make things right, and we should not lay down and die, and let those in power earn millions in the process.

The people are afraid of the government. That is not how a democratic government should work. The government should be serving in the interests of the rakyat, those who elected them into the echelons of power, and not just themselves…

The world will turn, and empires will rise and fall, and it is up to us, ordinary people, to make the most of it… After all, Marie Antoinette never did know her subjects were starving…

Wishing for blessed sleep, clean clothes and a good meal – Jasmine.

ps – So much for mobile connectivity, eh?? Most places didn’t even have good mobile lines… Let’s not even talk about the data services… 😛

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