29th August 2015: BERSIH 4, Day 1, 29th August 2015. I’m at home recovering from a sore throat that turned into a flu, so I don’t think you can expect a Day 2 post from me. All pictures here are mirrored in a Facebook photo album, with the full-resolution version available to download, so you can try spotting yourself, or counting people!
During BERSIH 3 the bus heading to KL stopped at Titiwangsa LRT station and would not go into town. I figured the same would happen, so I went to Titiwangsa LRT. Instead of taking the LRT to Bandaraya LRT, which would be nearest in case Masjid Jamek was closed, I took the monorail instead to KL Sentral. This was because I was afraid of any crazy car accidents like what happened at BERSIH 3, and to avoid the red-shirt Anti-BERSIH protestors. Plus, coming from KL Sentral, there were a lot of overhead bridges and flyovers that would allow me a good crowd shot. The monorail stations were not crowded, with anywhere between 15-39 people getting on each stop. It was not even full when it reached KL Sentral!
I passed the old Pudu Jail site and its adjacent land, the former staff quarters. They’ve built a ramp there. I can imagine a whole bunch of people who should’ve been in prison.
On the road with balloons.
I reached the crowd once I passed Prescott Hotel. This was at 3:06PM. I was in fact late, as I’d seen pictures that show the rally was thicker earlier.
Parents brought their kids.
HINDRAF was there.
I brought my Sony Alpha 7S with Sony LA-EA4 adapter, Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) and Minolta 70-210mm F4.0 beercan, for this.
On a flyover.
Arul of Parti Sosialis Malaysia on the mike, and New Sin Yew of the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee on the far left.
I saw a lot of Indians, but then I walked from Brickfields. People also report seeing more Malays coming from SOGO and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Did the point of origin and timing factor into whether you see a lot of Chinese or not?
Not sure who this guy is, though.
Haha, the 4.0 in the bottom-left corner, since anything with BERSIH 4 would be considered illegal.
Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, appears.
Some posters on the floor.
The first musician I saw. There would be so many more, later!
Texas Chicken in Geo Hotel was packed full of rallygoers. This time, more businesses were open, and rewarded handsomely.
A man digs into a packet of nasi lemak that was being given out for free…
…by this guy.
One lone Black Maria spotted in front of Pasar Seni, with police sitting inside. Nobody was arrested so far, thankfully.
This uncle has been making sugar cane from as long as I remember.
Some more interesting T-shirt designs.
From the pedestrian bridge in front of Kotaraya, I could not get the same shot, as my timing was off. Other pictures show the road being full. This time however they stuck to the sidewalks.
For those who walked too far.
The air-conditioned Starbucks at Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin provided respite from the hot sun.
This restaurant was open, too.
More Indians with placards! Why do people say the rally was full of Chinese?
Hew Kuan Yau, known as the Superman of DAP, sits down but is flooded by people wanting to take pictures with him.
Ice-cream, so good.
Signs of the times.
All sorts of entrepreneurship.
A familiar skinhead!
I didn’t spot any rallygoers in wheelchairs although I saw pictures that showed them. This guy walked on anyway.
Despite all the vuvuzelas honking away, this dude slept soundly.
A bus in support.
She’s got her camping gear ready!
Glad to see our Photoshop levels are getting good.
A volunteer helping to keep the city clean. Again, to be terribly Peninsular Malaysian – look, there are Malays!
Mama BERSIH came through the crowd.
Another group of activists.
Buskers in front of OCBC.
Damn stack of horns.
There is a Mandarin pun to this poster, but I do not speak Mandarin.
The best placard I saw. This is a screenshot from a video I recorded.
Bumped into Chak and his duck!
This led to seeing Davina who was in his group, and a Zef photobombing!
She looked familiar. I then realized it was Rachel Ng who followed me on Instagram!
Pikachu chooses BERSIH.
I wanted to avoid getting arrested and having my pictures deleted, so I did not dress in yellow. I did however wear an old white T-shirt on my head as a bandanna, to protect from the heat, and also to wrap around my nose in case of tear gas.
The Stop LYNAS group was here, too.
There you go, the five demands. The fourth is enhancing parliamentary democracy – so how can the government say the march is against parliamentary democracy?
Where do they all get their different variations of T-shirts?
More ice, this food truck needs!
Parents brought their kids. Not advisable, but I’m glad nothing untoward happened during the rally when I was there, save for the poisoned packet drinks that were free and not having anyone attending to the stash.
Perhaps, for ease of getting to town, people would come in regular non-yellow and buy a yellow item at the rally.
I didn’t even know Tang Chun Cheuh was there until I spotted him later in the pictures!
Placards by the GRUPA group of artists.
I’ve never noticed this angle of the Old City Hall (now Panggung Bandaraya) before!
Haris Ibrahim giving a speech. You can also spot Tian Chua, Nik Nazmi (I think), Khalid Samad, and Chegubard (I think.)
I’ve seen this at H&M!
Tree for scale.
Again, it seems we got soul and artists.
This guy was playing a speech from his phone.
A photographer, authorized to be behind the barriers leading to Dataran Merdeka, using two Olympus Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless cameras. Robin Wong, is this your friend?
I love the T-shirt he’s wearing underneath – Straight Outta Klang!
Here’s your token Malay-Chinese-Indian shot. I didn’t arrange them.
Another token Malay-Chinese-Indian shot.
Let’s not forget the Punjabs. This guy would not get up until Najib resigned!
There’s a good deal of variance in the placards, unlike the government-friendly protests that have very homogenous placards.
Artists gotta have hats, yo.
This was all nearer to Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. So can we drop the whole BERSIH 4-full-of-Chinese thing already?
Somebody didn’t get the memo.
Love her apron!
Spotted Lim Lip Eng, MP for Segambut.
She’s keeping it clean.
Yellow speed bumps.
Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang spotted.
Gerakan Harapan Baru applied to call itself Parti Progresif Islam to the Registrar Of Societies but was rejected. Sad. I like the name and what it means.
RapidKL was fully operational everywhere. Well done!
From the LRT coming from Bandaraya to Masjid Jamek.
The view from Masjid Jamek STAR LRT. Spot who the crowd is focusing on!
Former Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang! This guy writes a tornado of words in every essay.
The Masjid Jamek interchange station. I went down to the PUTRA LRT and was surprised to see that after the trains left, the station was empty! That’s a rare sight even during weekdays.
More from the other side.
Through glass, this time. I took the LRT to KLCC and relaxed for a while, until I read the news of Tun Dr. Mahathir showing up!
And so, I went back there at 8:07PM.
G. Manivannan Gowindasamy, MP for Kapar.
Many people posed with this placard.
Wow, a drum set!
Adam Adli spotted.
The old and young.
More old and young.
I have a few theories as to why it appears that at first, there were a lot of Chinese people compared to previous rallies. The point of origin, and the timing of the rally, are factors – I came from KL Sentral which had a lot of Chinese and a decent amount of Indians, but it was reported that there were more Malays coming from SOGO and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. I would often observe a higher population of Malays in SOGO usually, while KL Sentral and Nu Sentral are more urban middle-class and Chinese. It might just be their favorite place to start a long day. Timing-wise, it being 34 hours, there was no rush to get there, and you could come anytime you wanted. Perhaps some came earlier for the sunny selfies. Since there was no end point to meet at Dataran Merdeka, the crowd from SOGO went to Dataran and went on past to Brickfields, while I went from Brickfields to Dataran, then SOGO! There was a lot more constant movement in the crowd this time. Perhaps, also, the Malays would save their energy and come on Sunday evening, which would be Merdeka Eve, so they could continue partying on? As it is, among my middle-class Chinese friends, we mostly go to some privately-owned venue for Merdeka Eve celebrations. Would Sunday morning lack Chinese and Indians who are going to church?