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Monday, March 10, 2008

Politics: No Excuse For Apathy

Photo credits Reuters

At the age of 89, Maimun Yusuf must be the oldest person ever to run for public office. Ms. Yusuf ran as an independent in the coastal state of Trengganu in peninsular Malaysia, and her determined stance has won her supporters to help with her campaign. Raw Story tells us:
Maimun Yusuf now has her own blog, and a page on the popular social networking website Facebook. Footage of her campaign has also been uploaded on the video sharing website Youtube.
Tok Mun, as she is affectionately known, attracted the support of members of Malaysia's diverse communities. Brian Ong, a former Yalie, helped her get online, while Gopi Munusamy and YK Sim have moved to Trengganu to help her get to the electorate. Before they started driving her around, Tok Mun was bicycling from village to village, appealing for votes.
"I am happy that these young men have come from far to help me. I hope that I will reach the young voters now that I'm online," said Maimun, who can hardly read or write.
Trengganu tends to be fairly conservative, and has unfortunately lined up with Kelantan behind the PAS, Parti Agama Islam se-Malaysia. While we don't like the retrograde mentality of the PAS, especially with regard to women's issues and religious orthodoxy, we do not think of the PAS as an "Islamist" party in the style of radical Islam so much as a bunch of ancient dodderers committed to their right to tell everybody else how to live their lives.

Tok Mun makes her living selling kain songket, traditional handwoven silk/cotton with gold brocade. It looks like this:

Traditionally, it is worn by both men and women, wrapped around the waist under a short fitted jacket.

Regrettably some PAS mental antique won the election instead. However, Tok Mun's candidacy impressed and touched so many that people have stepped up to pay her campaign debts. Check out her bilingual blog.

Tok Mun on her rusty old bicycle

If a nonagenarian can invest her life savings and schlep around dirt roads on her ancient rusty bicycle to make her country a better place, we have no excuse not to get involved.

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At 11:09 AM, Blogger One Fly said...

I have backed away from local politics for a couple of reasons and am not on the ballot next month. Fact of the matter is the last meeting can't come quick enough. Involvement is crucial and I will stir the pot aggresively in other ways you can bet on it.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Lizzy said...

What a great story! Thank you so much for something inspiring - as opposed to the soul-killing stuff that's the rest of the news these days...


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