Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May Day! May Day!

8 Days to May Day / Labour Day / Hari Pekerja

May 1st. has been for years the traditional day for commemorating the ordinary worker in most countries of the world, capitalist and communist alike, except the U.S. which celebrates it in September - those, without whose contributions, would mean zero profits for the organizations, big and small, that hire them.

There are huge history lessons here waiting to be learnt - the struggles of the unions, those idealistic, pioneering women and men who suffered much, were abused, and died for the cause. The day effectively belongs to such unsung heroes.

However, in Malaysia, at least for me, May Day or Hari Pekerja, has been hijacked by those merely pretending to speak up, and yes even worse, speak for - the humble Pekerja. Some examples:

How many "konsert-syioks" by Siti Nurahaliza, Mawi and Co., put on by the nation's mighty pro-worker RTM stations will it take to make sense to the Pekerja of his/her right to free unionization? Ask the MNC's which suppress all forms of unionization with the exception of the Management-endorsed in-house "yes-men".

How many "honourable" ministers giving the same runaround about minimum wages will it take the worker to finally get what is rightly due to him/her? Ask your friendly neighbourhood Human Resource Minister. There was one chap who actually prided himself in proclaiming that rubber tappers now had a monthly wage - the whole whopping RM325 of it!

How many "promises" of affordable housing for ex-plantation workers, and all those that cannot afford the market prices will it take before he/her, rightly defined as the most important asset in any particular organization, will have a decent roof over his/her head, without having to pack his/her family of 5 into pigeon-holes of 550 sq. feet? Ask the relevant C.E.O. or choose from any one of these fellows: the HR Minister, the CM or MB of any state.

How many "blood donation" campaigns on May Day will it take to know that it's the blood of the ordinary worker that is being sucked dry by those that have authority (whether rightly or wrongly) over him/her? Ask the nice Union leader who organized meaningful things like this on the only day set aside in the year to celebrate the worker whom he represents.

Enough is enough la....I think the time's ripe for change.

It's time Workers' Day, or Labour Day or Hari Pekerja celebrations in Malaysia casts off its superficial, artificial, ampu the boss, bodek the minister, sing the same out of tune song courtesy of these shadowy figures, from the menu forever.

Maybe, it's time we, the Pekerja, should take a cue from our recent past, the GE 08!

Maybe it's time for a "Pekerja-Sakti" now,eh?

And for starters, come May 1st, instead of spending the day in front of RTM 1 or 2 or whatever station (they all sound remarkably the same!), let's all try and do something different. Like this one from JERIT! (now, that's a nice sounding name for an NGO!)

Perarakan Pekerja di Dataran Merdeka
anjuran Parti Sosialis Malaysia

Tarikh: 1/5/08
Tema: Pekerja Kuasa Perubahan, Laksanakan Janji Pilihanraya

Sounds so much better than the usual patriotic bull, right? Come on people! Get Up! Stand Up! Stand up for your rights!