I apologize for the slideshow breaking, but we are transitioning to a new theme and the slides show will be back asap
This past week, I ended up in Kuala Lumpur. Besides some great eats and watching my cousin and her friend shop, I ended up at the Hari Merdeka celebrations at night.
That evening, I made it out to Dataran Merdeka, otherwise known as Merdeka Square, for the mid night fireworks. What I did not know was that the fireworks display relocated to the KLCC area and that the number of people in yellow shirts around me had been steadily increasing.
Being surrounded by a sea of yellow shirts intensified the situation. I was aware of riots earlier this year and in previous years involving these Bersih movement protestors. I made sure I had an escape route as well as a chance to be in the centre of all the action if it should unfold.
To add to the excitement, I saw one group of yellow shirts interview another member of the yellow shirt community.
“Why are you here in yellow,” asked the interviewer.
“Because the government is afraid of this colour,” replied the interviewee.
At that moment, I thought a riot was sure to ensue.
Lost in the sea of yellow were people genuinely out to have a great time to celebrate their nation’s Independence.
There were also others dressed up in yellow borrowing the attention to further their own non-Bersih cause. One group advocating against using cyanide for gold mining was an example.
Fortunately the police and protestors kept their cool. They used a great tactic involving buffer space between double barriers. When the pressure was on, it felt like the police collapsed the first barrier and withdrew to the second barrier to give the protesters the impression they had “won”. These protesters “occupied” the fountain area and took pictures with their yellow shirts and the Malaysian flag draped on their shoulders.
Meanwhile the set up for the next day moved along unimpeded within the second set of barriers.
Although the rest of the night ticked away without a violent protest, the evening was far from being uneventful.
Screaming and thundering footsteps alerted me to a snatch theft unfolding before my eyes across the street. As a long haired man led the way running clutching a backpack, a group of people started taking off after him. I have no clue if the many people who gave chase caught the thief as the whole group vanished as I lumbered along down the street.
Snatch theft in a crowded area seems rather illogical as there is no where to run, everyone can identify you and some good samaritan could block your way somewhere down the road. Yet the entire incident vanished as suddenly as it began.
I then headed to McDonalds for a quick snack. When I emerged about 30 minutes later, there was a pool of blood and security with batons drawn about 100 metres from the restaurant. Curious, I made my way closer for a better look but all I saw was what I described above and the ambulance pulling away as I approached. Beside the pool of blood was an object that appeared to be a wooden handle of sorts. Maybe from a screwdriver, icepick or iron file.
Whether the victim was clubbed by those batons I observed, or stabbed by the object attached to the handle, or fell, I am not certain. I was also unable to tell if the incident was related in any way to the snatch theft.
The next few days, I decided to take a walk around some of the rougher areas of Kuala Lumpur looking for more excitement. There were no loud protests or pools of blood, but it was nice to see how people in Kuala Lumpur get around with their daily lives.
The rest of the photos are from this walk around. I hope you enjoy them.