Since the conference ended, I have worked on various projects throughout the office, writing, editing, having fun. Another intern has finally joined me, so it is nice to have the company. The next couple of weeks I will be pretty much winding down my internship.
One interesting thing that has happened recently has to do with the arrest of four people (closely associated with WCC) for a peaceful demonstration against Malaysia’s Internal Security Act (ISA) that happened over a week ago on the 50th anniversary of the Act. The ISA basically allows the government the right to detain individuals without trial and without evidence, under certain circumstances. The government here does not allow public demonstrations (peaceful or otherwise), so in an ironic example of the workings of ISA, people who were simply trying to educate the public on why they should work to abolish the ISA (or at least reform it) were arrested and detained (they were later released). Many members of WCC were present in the large crowd as police officers shoved the people into vans.
Penang is a tiny place, much like a small town, everyone knows everyone, that sort of thing. So it’s not surprising that our friends of WCC were among the arrested. If you are leading a demonstration for the government, then you pose no risk of running into trouble, however, if you are part of the opposition, you will likely face difficulties. It’s a sad but true notion in a place that appears so peaceful to outsiders. Everyday I discover some strange fact or law hidden behind the beautiful façade of the island.
I can feel my time here slipping away, and anxious feelings associated with the beginning of a new semester fill some of my sleepless nights. I am going to try to make the most of my remaining time here, although I am sure I will still have my regrets. Congrats to those of you who finished, maybe you can relax your brains a little before the next chapter.