When I told my supervisor I was going out to get some milk in the corner shop, he looked at me with a serious glance and told me that I should take care. I was confused but suddenly realised today was the day. The day Kuala Lumpur people had been talking about for a week.
The fact is that money from a government fund were going straight into the pocket of the Malaysian prime minister and his colleagues. The money was taken out of the already weak Malaysian economy and the locals were furious.
A demonstration before the Malaysian National Day on the 31st of August was carried out by angry locals from all over the country. Malaysia is a mixed country and during the demonstration, the Malay Chinese were the biggest group. This made many Muslim Malay people furious because they think the government’s rules are in favor of the Chinese. According to the Muslim Malay people this is not fair, so this time, the Muslim Malaysians (The Red Shirts and Black Shirts groups) are going to demonstrate against more than the prime minister and his dirty work.
One week ago (The Malaysian National Day Demonstration), when I was in the mountains with my friend, my mother called me and told me about the demonstration in Kuala Lumpur. It had been a big thing. Different groups of angry people had showed up and marched through the streets of the Malaysian capital. My mother was nervous about my safety but at that time I was far away. This time I’m in the middle of it. Literally, because I’m in Chinatown.
But I still needed my fresh milk for my oatmeal so I put on my shoes and took most of my money out of my wallet and put it in different pockets, mostly because my supervisor told me that fake policemen could come around and ask to check my belongings and then run away with it. I was almost shaking when I walked out of the door. While walking down the street, everything was closed up. One single restaurant (not Chinese) out of many was open but the rest was quiet which was weird on a ‘normal’ Wednesday at noon. I’m living in Chinatown and even if the demonstration is about the President, news has described how the demonstration easily can turn into a rage against the Chinese as well which is why everything is closed for the day just to make sure nobody will get hurt. The news also warns non-Muslims to hit the streets today. This demonstration seems to be about more than just corruption (Read more here).
I crossed the next street and saw six policemen with guns. It made me a bit nervous until they smiled at me and started flirting calling me ‘cute’. When I reached SevenEleven on the corner, four other police women were standing in front of the door smiling at me. I realized that they were just there to make sure no real criminals were using this demonstration as an opportunity to rob anyone or make trouble.
Until now, it seems like the Red Shirts and Black Shirts are peacefully sending out their message but who knows, the day has only just started. I’ll keep you updated.
Locals supporting the Red Shirts by wearing red
And just a tip;
If you’re in KL at the moment, stay inside just to make sure you won’t provoke anyone, and if you choose to go out anyway, stay around the big malls because the security will be extra good around there.
If you liked this post, please share with friends and family or somebody else who could be interested in knowing more about how to travel Asia. Do you have any comments on this post, please comment below. I would love to hear your opinion about this post or your own personal experience 🙂