If you haven’t heard, BERSIH 4.0 IS THIS WEEKEND UGAIZZZZZ!! But if you’ve been following right, there’s SO MUCH INFO going around, and still SO MANY QUESTIONS unanswered. And honestly, we felt a little lost too. Some of us here at the CILISOS office will be attending our first BERSIH rally this weekend, so in true CILISOS fashion, we decided to research these questions we had to the best of our abilities.
You’ve probably received a gazillion WhatsApp messages and pictures, but CAN those endlessly forwarded jpgs be trusted? We looked into what was being said about BERSIH and tried our best to back it up with links to reliable sources, as an easy reference for this weekend.
So here they are, 9 confirm-almost-sure answers for puzzled BERSIH 4.0 goers.
1. Are the police going to use tasers?
BUT IN CASE THEY DO………
We found an article that talks about how to overcome taser attacks. The original article is actually written for police in case they get tasered so we will not list down things that are errr…counter-offensive in nature.
- If you’re in close proximity to the taser, move around instead of running in one direction. The same way you wan to avoid sniper in CS you jump, jump, move left, right, all. Like CS Bunny hopping la.
- Stay out of range. If you refer to the infographic above, the taser can only reach about 6 meters plus. If you’re at 4m, just try to outrun the bugger.
- Swipe the darts off. When the taser darts hit you, try your best to swipe your arm across your chest to remove the wires. If you cut it, you’ll cut the current too.
But if we could sum it all into one phrase, it’s this: Pretend you are drunken master.
2. All these anti-tear gas recipe can work wan onot?
FIRST OFF, let us just say that your best option is just to run away when you smell a whiff of gas. Unless you’re in the front-line, there should be PLENTY of time to do so. Here are some hints that tear gas is coming
- People running in your direction
- Sounds of explosions
- Smelling something funny in the air, or seeing more haze than you should.
IF you do get exposed, unfortunately, your eyes are gonna sting, and you’re probably gonna choke. Unfortunately, there’ve been ALOT of different opinions about ‘what to do if you kena tear gas’ going around the internet, like using salt, toothpaste, vinegar, saline and even ONION (listed here as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6) . The problem is, none of these things have been proven to actually work. It’s possible that there isn’t a conclusive study because you can’t just go an ask the military for a sample of the tear-gas to try.
First off, Washington Post reported that while tear gas is legal in riot control situations, it’s actually illegal when it comes to warfare.
ALSO, there are MANY TYPES of tear gas, but the one that Malaysia is using is called CS gas (short for 2-Chlorobenzalmalononitrile wtfbbq). So here’s a list of what will MOST LIKELY WORK.
- Gas masks. There are many types of gas masks. Washington Post lists down the types here. But their conclusion is no gas mask is perfect – particles still can get through eventually. But if you think you’re definitely gonna need one, the most basic is using swimming goggles and an N95 mask (the round-round one people wear when got haze).
- Run UP if you can’t run away. Tear gas is heavier than the air around us and so it will stay low. This one pretty much confirm
- WATER to rinse off the gas particles. And lots of it. Eyes, skin, clothes, all should be washed with cold/lukewarm water. Clothes especially should be washed several times.
But if you die-die wanna bring something other than water, the ones that seemed to have the most credible effects are sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or sodium metabisulphate (Campden tablets, a friend tells us they can be bought from bakeries) may be of use. If tear gassed, mix with water, soak a towel with it and cover your mouth and nose.
A couple of our readers also told us that they used salt in the previous BERSIH rallies and that it worked for them. According to them, if tear gassed, put salt under your tongue and suck. So even if we couldn’t back it up with articles, we’re definitely not discounting the possibility that salt could work after all 😀
Also, don’t worry too much about a bit of coughing and choking, cos that’s actually the body’s best way to get the stuff out of your system. But if it gets too much, look out for these amazing guys from the BERSIH MEDICAL TEAM – made up of hundreds of volunteers on standby to help you.
“You will be there for 34 hours, and the medical team will be there for 48 hours. We will be the first ones and the last ones in the street to make sure you are safe and well-covered.” – Gengta, BERSIH medical team.
3. WAHLAU BERSIH is 34 HOURS LONG!?
Yes, BERSIH 4.0 is actually a two-day thing. From 2pm on Saturday 29 Aug, all the way to 11.59pm on Sunday 30 Aug (MERDEKA WEI!).
As for what we’re gonna do for the whole 34 hours? Well first off, not everyone will spend the whole 34 hours there. BERSIH encourages you to come at 2pm when things kick off, but the idea is to OCCUPY the city. Heck if these students can do it, why not us?
ALSO, we spoke to BERSIH 2.0 and they told us that there are gonna be that there will be a variety of performances on stages across the city! OMG. Like speech la, culture show la, band la, and a lot more la.
Dubbed a ‘Pesta Demokrasi’, BERSIH 4.0 was basically supposed to camp overnight at Dataran Merdeka. We say ‘supposed to’ because DBKL said a few days ago that Dataran Merdeka was off limits and BERSIH 4.0 said they will respect that. But now if dun camp at Dataran Merdeka then camp where?
“Due to the ‘sudden unavailability’ of Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok, participants will have to rest overnight on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. We call upon DBKL to humanely accept this decision.” – Maria Chin Abdullah, BERSIH 2.0 chairperson, as quoted by FreeMalaysiaToday.
BERSIH 2.0 confirmed with us that protesters will be spending the night on the streets of KL so you can bring your sleeping bags if you want. But no tents are allowed – DBKL’s orders.
4. How to travel to BERSIH?
Assuming you’re talking about the KL one (Sorry Penang, KK n Kuching), there are 5 meeting points for BERSIH 4.0: Sogo KL, Pasar Seni,
Dataran Maybank Menara Maybank, Brickfields and Masjid Negara (we were informed by a CILISOS reader that there has been confusion on one of the meeting points, so it’s Menara Maybank at Jalan Tun Perak instead of Dataran Maybank in Bangsar).
And you’re supposed to get there by 2pm to start the long March to Dataran Merdeka. Once at Dataran (or as near as you’re allowed to get), just sit back, chill and get to know your fellow Malaysians like you’ve never known them before.
But how to travel?
BERSIH recommends the LRT, as far as you can into town, but if you remember what happened at the previous BERSIH, you know you have to be ready with an alternative la.
We recommend parking somewhere in the outskirts of KL (like Bangsar, or Ampang etc…) Then get a cab and get as close as possible to where you want to go and walk. If anything goes wrong, you can at least take a LONG walk back to your car in Bangsar, rather than getting stranded in town.
Some people have also been booking rooms in KL overnight, which is a GREAT idea! However, if you can afford it (and rooms are still available), we’d probably recommend booking 29th-31st just to lessen your own stress. Then you can always control the level of involvement you want over the weekend.
5. If handphone no signal how do I contact people?
During BERSIH 3.0, people complained that they had difficulty getting signal. Some said they saw mobile jammers set up on 4WDs around the Dataran Merdeka area and they even uploaded pictures of them.
According to then Minister for Information, Communications and Culture Rais Yatim, they had nothing to do with it. “There were more than 20,000 people gathering in a small area according to Bernama. A cellular telecommunications system generally does not have the capacity to accomodate phone conversations and data transfers as was needed during the BERSIH rally,” he said on FMT. True la actually. If you’ve ever gone for a concert or been stuck in a jam, you’d know that reception sucks la.
Never mind lor, just come better prepared this year by downloading this app called FireChat. It’s like Twitter, except it doesn’t need a mobile signal! HOW?! Well it uses your phone’s Bluetooth and WIFI to connect to users around you, so messages flow freely from phone to phone, rather than phone to Internet back to phone. This is probably why the app was downloaded more than 200,000 times a day during OccupyHK.
Good news is, the app is available on both iPhone and Android. Just remember to keep your BT and WIFI on, and don’t wander too far from your BERSIH buddy. Check out the full instructions on how to use it here. ALSO, you’ll probably want to start a channel with a weird name – like “#OMGDORAEMON”, because all chats are public – meaning anyone who knows your channel name can see your chat.
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[UPDATE:] Guys, someone shared these extra tips on other telecoms services that might come in handy besides FireChat. Most of these don’t need data connectivity to work too. So we tested them out…
- HERE (a map app) – Alls you gotta do is save a map of KL onto your phone and you can access it offline without data.
- Mobile Availability Alert Service – If you can’t get signal on that day, this service automatically sends you an SMS the moment the person you’re trying to call is available on the network again.
Celcom: SUB to 22022
Maxis: Dial *100*9*2*1#
We tried it with Maxis and here’s what it looks like on the phone:
- Location Finding Service – Supposedly if you lose contact or get separated from your buddies, you can locate them by:
Maxis/UMobile: FIND <MOBILE NUMBER> to 22001
DiGi:- FF FIND <MOBILE NUMBER> to 20000
But when we tried it out, it was like 3km off, even though both handphones were in the SAME office. Which in a city situation, that makes it pretty much unusable lah.
However a friend of ours tried it and said it CAN be accurate up to 500m. So maybe you can use this as a last-ditch attempt. Just remember to add each other to your network’s (DiGi/Maxis/U Mobile) Friend Finder beforehand.
6. Need to go toilet how?
According to BERSIH 2.0 got mobile toilets available so dun worry.
Don’t forget to bring your own tissues too, but do everyone a favour pleeease, make sure you do No. 2 BEFORE coming to the rally. Don’t eat so much la… and don’t eat so much spicy food, otherwise the toilet bomb la. And if it does bomb, remember… the name of the rally is BERSIH.
Yes, that is the end of this point.
7. Should I bring my kids?
Parents might have their reasons for bringing their kids out to a BERSIH rally… maybe they see it as an opportunity to teach their kids about the electoral system, maybe they just wanna spend time with them, maybe all babysitters not free that day coz they’re going to BERSIH too.
While it’s great you wanna start ‘em learning early, do you really wanna expose them to possible dangers on a ‘field trip’? What if people start stampeding? What if police tembak tear gas and water cannons?
Well, let’s make this easy for you. There’s a law called the Peaceful Assemblies Act 2012 that bans children under 15 from attending rallies. Looks like you’ll have to leave the lil’ toddlers with atuk and nenek until their 15th birthday.
Incidentally, it’s safer for OKUs to sit out the rally too, but if you choose to attend it we salute you!
8. Where can I hide if things get bad?
If the police start to close in, tear gas is fired, and the water cannons come out – and if you don’t wanna take a time out right in the eye of the storm – there are places you can seek refuge.
3 Catholic churches will be opening their doors to rally-goers who need sanctuary:
- Cathedral of St. John in Bukit Nanas
- Church of St. Anthony in Jalan Pudu
- Church of our Lady of Fatima in Brickfields
Hindu and Buddhist temples will also welcome anyone seeking shelter, as long you leave your politics outside the door. Earlier today, Malaysia Hindu Sangam’s adviser Datuk A. Vaithilingam announced that temples around the area will be open, but he didn’t mentioned which ones, so just look around la. Otherwise, you can step into any nearby building to hide out like those guys in the photo (above). They were hiding in a McDonald’s.
However, given the history of BERSIH, many shops might be closed. However, tenants of hotels and old buildings have been known to be very understanding during the rallies, so ask nicely, be generally careful, and of course remember that when tear gas hits, it’s better to head UPwards.
9. How do I respond to polis/FRU/authorities?
If they do nothing, just smile and wave.
You’ve probably read many articles about this situation already, especially with BERSIH coming up, a lot of sites have been publishing the Do’s and Don’ts if the police approach you. But we found this really simple, easy-to-understand infographic from Suaram which you can even print out in case you’re worried you’ll forget.
If you’re being approached by the police, here are the key things to do:
- Only give your name, IC, and address
- Ask if you’re being arrested. And WHY
- DO NOT resist arrest
The main thing to remember is you have your rights as a Malaysian citizen and ASK for a lawyer if you DO get arrested! Here’s a longer guide of legal rights from Says.com.
The Malay Mail Online also published an article that listed down numbers from the Malaysian Bar that you can contact in case you are arrested. Like seriously you should take them down right now. These numbers are
- 018-321 1506
- 011-1214 0877
Malaysian Bar president, Stephen Thiru said that these numbers belong to the “urgent arrest” team. So if you know of someone getting arrested (because arrested person where can use phone di), you should send the following details.
- Your name
- The name of the person being arrested
- The IC of the person being arrested
- The telephone number of the person being arrested
- Which station the arrested person is being brought to (if possible)
So yea, we highly recommend that anyone going for BERSIH 4.0 KEEP these numbers in their phones.
Have an awesome Bersih 4.0!
There you go, we hope this answers all the burning questions you have about BERSIH 4.0. Have a great time everyone and stay safe. Remember whatever you do, BE PEACEFUL, so if someone tries to incite the crowd, don’t fall for the trap and urge him to calm down if you can.
Also, even better than being polite to the cops, why not try being nice to them? Remember the sedition arrestees told us how the cops were actually nice? They’re just there to do their jobs (most of them, anyway). Again, BERSIH is a peaceful protest, so DON’T provoke the cops regardless of what happens. Because at the end of the day, when these people take off their uniforms, they’re still Malaysians like the rest of us.