Monday, March 22, 2004

X marks the spot

After reading other bloggers’ account on Election Day, this is how it went for me.

We (Mom, Dad, me and Bro) were out of the gate to exercise our responsibility as a rakyat by 8.15 a.m. Five minutes later we were checking our Saluran Mengundi (voting line) number at the Opposition’s pondok panas which took only a minute and then off to the polling station. Met not a single perayu undi along the way. Rather disappointing as I was really looking forward to see them in action.

Things went just smooth for us. First go check for your Saluran Mengundi number either at the pondok panas or SPR’s desk (pondok panas better, more stations, line at SPR desk very long), then go line up at the designated Saluran Mengundi, show IC, get ballot slips, put that X (and nothing else please) where you think is most appropriate, fold slips twice (printed side inwards please), put in correct ballot box and walk out. Done. Rather uneventful, even. People queued up properly, appropriate signs were all over the place telling where you should go and there were lots of officers around to assist and control the situation.

Nothing at all like Edmund's experience where there were "…no proper lines, room to room, long wait, long walks. Here is Malaysia Boleh! again for all of us. My dad who is close to 80 years old had to wait, queue, my mum who has difficulty walking had to do the same as well, my poor wife had to queue in the sun while other jump the queue as there were no clear instruction and enough officials to keep order." I guess a lot depended on your area’s SPR team, how they plan and manage their respective polling stations. Khalil had it good too, as reflected in his post "I’m happy because the election process at my polling station went smoothly unlike the other places where the Election Commission has f***ed up big time".

I was intrigued by Sharizal's account where he stated that "But the weirdest thing then happened, as she (SPR officer) read out my particulars she also read out my registration number (that same number i had on my slip of paper that i gave to them) and this number is then conviniently written on the stub of my voting slips.". I was thinking about that yesterday, and I watched them closely while I was in line. Only saw them cross out each name in the electoral list while calling the names and numbers out loud to the observers, rip the ballot slips off the books, punch holes on the slips on the left-hand area under the serial number, and it’s all yours. Didn’t see them doing any jotting down or anything on the stubs. Very, very intriguing.

Apparently voters were assigned their Saluran Mengundi numbers according to the new IC numbers, which corresponds with age (I peeked at their list). Hence you can see that as the numbers go higher, the voters in line were a younger lot. And it’s interesting to note that at 8.45 a.m., the lines at Saluran Mengundi 1, 2 and 3 were already quite long (more than 25 voters each) compared to Saluran Mengundi 6 and 7 where there were only a handful. Me and Bro (both part of the statistical 800,000+ first time voters) voted at Saluran Mengundi 7, only four people there when we got in line. What a big difference.

When we were done Mom and Dad were still patiently in the queue. Ah, they weren’t bored, no, they were busy chit-chatting with the uncles and aunties, it’s obvious that half in the line were long-time friends.

After Mom and Dad were done, we all walked out and only then we saw the perayu undi people doing their thang. Since we already did our civic duty (too late to sway us anywhere now, too bad, fellows!) there weren't much they can do but still they were friendly:

PAS: "Dah selesai dah? Hmm…. Alhamdulillah.." (Finished already? Praise to God)
BN : "Assalamualaikum… Dah mengundi ya? Tak apalah ni ada topi ambiklah" (Voted already? Oh okay never mind here’s a cap for you)

Which was so unlike Meesh's experience: "…where some uncles from PAS were walking around my area, quite nice looking in their tongkat and jubah (is that what you call it?) and kopiah, they completely ignored me when I smiled at them, I think they didn't look at me as a prospective voter, I was quite sakit hati after that."

We treated the event like a family outing, took pictures along the way at the various banners and flags and the parties’ campaign stations. Onlookers would definitely have a hard time guessing as to which party we were inclined to.. ahah.. remember, undi adalah rahsia!

Have a thought over James' post where he wrote of feeling like a Sampah Masyarakat:
"Today, I have missed yet another opportunity to exercise my democratic right, making it my third miss in a row. I never get round to voting cos I never got down to even registering myself. While I have successfully put on a defiant, rebellious, anti-establishment front (as we arty-types are so wont to do) over the last few years, this year I actually feel like shit for not voting. I feel irresponsible to myself and the baby in Mae's womb. I am Sampah Masyarakat."

Our forefathers fought with their blood, tears and a whole lot more over 46 years ago so we could do this. In some countries its people are still fighting to have the chance to pick their own government, to have this election thing. I’m glad I went out to vote, and if you haven’t register yourself, please, don’t wait until the last minute. Yes, you already missed this year's, and five years is a long time ahead, but why put it off if you can do it today? Time moves fast, tomorrow may come too soon. Go and get your sorry asses up, those who still haven’t registered, make sure you’ll be voting in 2009!

11 o’clock, off to Sepang for the hottest race on earth, but unlike Kaz, whose "friend managed to source out two free grandstand tickets and we got the best seat... right infront of Team BMW Williams F1 pitstop", I was lying down on the dry grass under a free umbrella at the hillstand area (ho ho ho when it's hot it's really really hot, you could've cooked an egg sunny-side up on my umbrella) courtesy of my favorite bank. Ah, still, it’s free (did I mention I love freebies?). Michael did it again. Yay. Too bad about Kimi. I was rooting for ya, Iceman.

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