We are all activists in some way. Someone will send some info and we pass it on from one whats app group to another or through Facebook. And, we engage in lively debate when we meet. But, I think, we need to do more.
In the last week, I had long conversations with two friends and I realised that although they have their own respective jobs, they go the extra mile to make people aware of the current state of affairs in the country.
One has set up a group to reach out to their communities on issues confronting them and the other has many contacts in key places and he is eager to know more people on the ground to communicate his concerns so that they will be better-informed voters.
For the moment, I will keep their identities hidden because it does not matter who they are. They could be any of us, influencing the people around us.
Most of us, however, tend to be happy just passing on info we get on FB and whats app to our group or groups or exchange ideas when we meet and then, go back to our normal routines.
I think we need to go beyond. We can’t just be sharing info with people who already know. We have to reach those who don’t know.
That was why I spoke to the above-mentioned two people. I am very concerned that correct information on the state of the country is not reaching the people who can make the difference in the coming general elections because the incumbent leadership controls the media the ground reads or listens to or watches mostly — through tv.
This leadership also has access to government resources for use to reach the remote interiors to advance their points of view. In past general elections, it’s a known fact that BN leaders flew in chartered helicopters to campaign among the rural folk in Sarawak and Sabah.
The opposition has no such resources to reach these communities and so are unable to give an alternative point of view.
I was thinking about these things when I heard about these two people. I made contact and discovered they thought the same and were already ahead of me doing their bit for the sake of the community.
There are many people out there who are doing similar work in their individual capacities. They help in voter registration, voter verification and in door-to-door surveys. They distribute food and clothings.
The challenge is for those of you who are reading this post to do the same. We may not belong to any political party or NGO but we can extend our reach in our own personal way.
We need to reach those who are in the dark. We can do that in a number of small ways. We can include in our whats app and FB groups people who know people who know people on the ground.
We can speak to our maids, the gardeners, the drivers, the local council cleaners, the shop owners.
We can take short visits to the rural communities, eat their foods, buy their produce and chat, tactfully steering the conversation to political and economic awareness over local coffee or tea.
It would be fun and count towards nation-building!
We need to do more. I hope this post will motivate more and more people to extend their network of reach, so that by the time the general elections are announced, there is a groundswell of more aware people who will vote for the right reasons and who will not be swayed by promises and a couple of RM.