BERSIH rally




I was surfing the web on November 10 early early in the morning (US eastern time) trying to find updates regarding the BERSIH rally. I am so used to the relentless media coverage of big events in the US….updates every few minutes, aerial view, ground view, journalists at ground zero…it was frustrating to not see, read or hear anything. Local media couldn’t cover the event, Malaysian bloggers were either out joining the rally, or they were in faced with the same local media blackout, foreign media’s coverage was not extensive or fast enough. I wanted to see what was happening and in some ways be part of it.

Finally, I met Victor online and he pointed me to KL City Hall Urban Transportation Department’s website. They have live traffic cams all over the city. After trial and error searching through the different camera views, we finally found one that focused on Jalan Damansara/Jalan Tun Sambathan with a view of Istana Negara. At first, there wasn’t anything much to see, then slowly the still images showed people arriving at the Istana. Then the camera started zooming in (I guess the people at the Dept manning the camera and the website also wanted to see what was happening). It was great watching it all live. After watching the still images for a while, I realized that most people would not have the chance to see the rally from this view. I tried to download the pictures but that didn’t work. So I used my high tech equipments to do the lowest tech thing – I used my digital camera to take pictures of the still images on my macbook screen and uploaded the pictures to the macbook and uploaded again to Flickr. Meanwhile Victor also emailed me some still images that he captured in a more techy way. Go here to view these still images.

Bersih.
Free and fair elections.
What’s wrong with wanting that?

Casting Crowns concert

I was reluctant to record videos of the concert. During last year’s Third Day concert, the videos came out horrible. However since I have a new camera, I decided to give it a go. The videos came out pretty well. But this time I had to do a bit more volunteer work, so I didn’t manage to capture some of the signature songs.

World Vision and Casting Crowns

Once again, I volunteered for World Vision. In addition to attending the Casting Crowns concert for free, I even got a free bright orange t-shirt that says “World Vision Volunteer”. According to the WV person-in-charge, in a concert of 5000 people, WV expects to get at least 3% of the concert goers to sponsor a child, that means by the end of the concert at least 150 children will be sponsored. Child sponsorship cost $30 a month. And if the person pays by credit card, s/he even gets the Lifestories book and Casting Crowns’ latest CD free. As I was looking through the stack of folders of kids born in February, I found a girl in Indonesia who was born on February 25. For a moment, I even considered sponsoring her but recognizing my financially limited status, I decided to skip it.

Experiential volunteerism no more

About 3 weeks ago, for some crazy reason, I signed up to volunteer as an interpreter at the NYC Marathon. I thought that it would be a fun experience and I might get to see the top marathoners cross the finish line. However, as soon as I filled up the online volunteer application form and clicked the “submit” button, I started to have second thoughts. The second thoughts did not go away and finally on the eve of the marathon, I’ve decided to skip the event. My main reasons are
1. I can’t afford this experiential volunteerism trip. It’ll cost me about $50 (i.e., busfare, subway fare, food and drinks, misc). I’ll be sending my car for an oil and transmission fluid change next Wednesday and that will cost at least $100-150. The $50 is better spent on this neccessity.
2. It takes up too much of my time. I have to be there from 9-5pm. In order to get to NYC Central Park by 9am, I have to take the 6:15am bus and that would mean waking up at around 5am. The bus ride takes 2hrs 20mins one way. Altogether, it takes 16 hours and that’s just too much time.
3. I feel it’s going to be a somewhat anti-climactic trip. A lot of effort and not much return. If only I’m 30mins away from NYC and the busfare is $2, then I would definitely go.

But I do feel bad for not honoring my commitment. I hope I didn’t leave several Cantonese- or Bahasa Malaysia-speaking (speak no English) marathoners stranded in Central Park. I’ll think twice or three times, the next time I get crazy experiential volunteerism ideas.

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After watching the NYC Marathon inspiration video, I’m totally inspired to run the first 30 minutes of the NYC Marathon. The rest of the Marathon? That’s a different story altogether. I’m considering submitting my name for the NYC Marathon 2008 lottery*…another crazy idea that I’ll regret later? 🙂

* You don’t just sign up and get in. There’s too many people applying for a limited number of spots, so there’s a lottery to draw out the “winning” applicants.