Sunday, June 11, 2006

the last great blackout

‘Gelak-guguk’ a Terengganuan would say. Pitch black darkness. It tells not only of having no light whatsoever but of the state of mind, total darkness, clueless, bewildered and lost, not even a glint of hope. And so in that state we rejoice at the flicker of light. For light is freedom. In light we would be ‘terang-derang’ – basked in light. Gelak-guguk is felt when one's black-out, when one fainted due to stress or heat or extreme exhaustion, the same felt when news was censured and prevented from being even told. In the matter of the power black-out happening some 10 years ago, we were now told that we were not told everything or anything at all. There was the (news) blackout and we were for long kept in the dark, gelak guguk.

This is an interesting time for those of us that enjoy the freedom to say things we want to say. We blog in the cyberspace not wanting or even intending to hurt anyone. We did that (the hurting) much too much already in the real world. I say this is an interesting time because the battle of words is taking place among the greatest man of modern Malaysia, ex-PM Tun Mahathir against all that he was against, and it seems to bring to life all his once quiet nemesis. Within a space of mere days we had people like former TNB Chairman, Tan Sri Ani Arope talking about the 1996 IPP agreements, former high court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah, talking about his 1996 ‘resignation’ and a couple more smaller voices, from the past - cabinet ministers included. The fact that they were now talking seems to suggest the undoing of a gag that had lasted a decade. And we quietly wish that it would also lift from us the shroud that has for long veiled us from the happenings in this beloved country. We hope that the revelation will bring the light that will end the blackout.

It seems now that the blackout on 29th September 1992, was an event that leads to many things; another blackout in June 1995, and the blackout we now must impose on ourselves now the TNB tariff had gone up. Many things had been up recently, petrol, interest rates, construction materials, car prices (the luxury ones) and my own blood and cholesterol levels, but that because I am older.

Of course we can all listen to our DPM and change our lifestyle. I’ll settle for the 5 series, not the 7. The new Harrier looks good too. Ha….ha.

This is not a political blog and it would never be. It is only a record of what happened then in my ‘parallel universe’.

In all the great blackouts, I was by chance spared the agony of being trapped in jam or in the unconditioned office.

I remember 29th September 1992 well because it was the day I had to move house and had to handle everything myself, depending only on my car and no help from any of my office mates who had promised to help. I was staying at 31 Jalan Bangau Shah Alam and moving to a bungalow at No 6 Jalan Petalawati, both in Section 6. It was a bewildering moments because phones can’t be used, and nobody knew what was happening. There was none to ask either because it was a working day. It was only later at night when electricity was reconnected we learnt of the great blackout. And what a blackout it was. That kind of helplessness of not knowing what was happening was not unlike the days of ‘Chow Kit’s Adam’ and I was wildly wondering if there was another tragedy. Well, 1992 wasn’t that far from the year of uncertainty.

The next blackout in June 1995, I was already in Terengganu. And Terengganu was spared the blackout because of Kenyir Power Station.

So we all hope that there’ll be more news, good news I mean. Let there be light. So from the ‘gelak-guguk’ we would be in ‘terang-derang’. And the last great blackout would be the last.

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