|A demonstration in Piccadilly Circus recently|
Piccadilly, Fri: Ah, it gives a journalist a kick to start an article with such a dateline. Eg Baghdad, Thursday ... KL, Doomsday ..
It's my fifth day in London, and the summer's turning cold very quickly. Nothing to do with the Malaysian delegation that's accompanying the Prime Minister's official visit to Britain, I assure you.
The last time I was in the great city was during 911, almost 10 years ago. I was waiting for a connecting to Moscow as part of the delegation to Russia led by our PM then, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He had to cancel his trip and I, with many thousands others, was stranded in London for a week, not realizing that I would only come again in 2011, after Bersih 2.0, another major phenomenon (to Malaysians, at least).
I caught a glimpse of Najib Razak last night at Dorchester, where he is staying. I was meeting a several young Malaysians residing in London. One is an oil and gas trader who is doing it on his own, a freelancer. Another an architect with a major international firm here. Young, handsome Malaysians bound for success as part of our growing diaspora.
Together with several others, we sat and talked about issues. I asked them what they thought of BERSIH 2.0. Like many here, they thought the authorities should have/could have handled the event better. But not everybody agrees with the use of a democratic tool to help promote some people's narrow political agenda. These are Malaysians exposed to a very liberal way of life in England, a very democratic society. In democracy, one told me, there are avenues other than street demonstrations. 'Have those avenues been exhausted?'
Tonight the PM will meet Malaysians working and living in London for dinner at the Green Park Lane, almost next door to the first Hard Rock Cafe in the world (est 1971), where I had dinner the other night. A group of Malaysians are expected to submit a memorandum to Najib Razak with regards to the BERSIH march of July 9, where a husband of an Opposition political leader died of a heart attack.
I won't pretend to know what these Malaysians in London have in mind ro what they are going to tell the PM in their memorandum. But their views matter. So far, I don't think we have heard any Malaysian group abroad speaking up on the matter.