November 19, 2010

Ops Bilang*

Ops Bilang* was an artistic response to 12 contentious issues explored in a newly launched English-Malay e-forum called "Let's Talk About..." or "Bicara Pasal..." Organised by the Centre for Independent Journalism, Ops Bilang invited 12 artists to give a take each on those issues that are often hushed up or riddled with myths. It was held on 26 October 2010, at Annexe Gallery, Central Market Kuala Lumpur, to a capacity crowd, with not even standing room left!

An eye for an eye is one thing, but a life for another? Contemplating on the death penalty, singer-songwriter Mei Chern penned and performed this song to ask what we hope to get when we send another human being to their death. And what we really get:

Cold night, at midnight
Is this the closure we fight for?
So careful and measured
some kind of way to make it better
Is it any better?

We're ordinary people
who cannot see another
with the games they play from hell
to this calculated spite.
So caught up in the circle
with monsters that will blind you
keeping you beside
when nothing's left inside.

Cold night, at midnight
Is this the closure you fight for?
So careful, and measured
some kind of way to make things better
Are we any better?

Are we any better?

More arguments against the death penalty here:

*Bilang: Malay word for "count, "to tell"; also a play on "Lalang", to commemorate that other operasi launched by the State under the draconian Internal Security Act on 27 October 1987. A total of 106 people were arrested and four news publications closed down within days, creating a long-lasting climate of fear when it comes to the exercise of our citvil liberties, especially freedom of expression. Hence, Ops Bilang is a way of reclaiming that space to speak up on issues that affect us as citizens.

Bilang 1 - hitung (satu demi satu), jumlah, congkat, campur, kira

Bilang 2 - bercakap, katakan, sampaikan, khabarkan, ceritakan, adu, beritahukan, nasihatkan

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