Election gimmicks colour DAP’s Sarawak campaign

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By Clara Chooi

KUCHING, April 10 — Spearheading Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) bid to woo Chinese voter support, DAP has added more colour and creativity to its campaign for Sarawak by entertaining audiences with gimmicks like videos, stuffed toys and songs.

Unlike the usual PR rallies, where leaders and election candidates take turns to deliver a variety of Barisan Nasional-bashing (BN) speeches, the party has chosen this time to spice up its events by airing promotional videos of its candidates and comedy-like clips of its foes.

The party’s Pending incumbent, Violet Yong, even took the stage at a field in Travillion near the bustling Jalan Padungan roundabout here last night and belted out a song about BN to the tune of “Bao Bei Dui Bu Qi (I’m sorry, baby)”, made famous by singer Cao Meng.

“I’m sorry BN, it’s not that I don’t want to vote for you, I do not wish to allow you to keep telling lies.

“I’m sorry you cannot be voted, because people want to topple ‘Pek Moh’,” she sang, using the Hokkien term that translates as “white hair” in English to refer to Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“If Pek Moh is still around, then people will only ‘ciak ciao’,” she said.

“Ciak ciao” means “eat grass” and Yong explained later that she had meant that “Pek Moh” had hogged so much of Sarawak’s resources that grass was the only thing left for his constituents to eat.

“Rocket must, Rocket must, shoot to the sky,” she concluded. DAP’s party logo is a rocket.

In her speech, Yong urged Sarawakians to come out of their homes this April 16 and “vote for their conscience”, reminding them of the years of “corruption” under Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s 30-year rule.

She also told them not to be afraid of exercising their right to vote for any candidate of their choosing, pointing out that it was the fundamental right of every Malaysian to do so.

“I spoke of [those] stealing their land and raping the state of its riches. I told them that the BN’s candidates have been quiet about these issues.... why is this so?

“We need someone brave to represent them in the state assembly, someone who can speak out without fear or favour,” she said.

The crowd at the square watched in rapt attention, clapped and sang along with Yong when she urged them to repeat the lyrics of the song.

Later, two videos were aired over two large projector screens set up across the field.

The first was a promotional video featuring DAP’s four candidates for seats under the Bandar Kuching and Stampin parliamentary constituencies — Yong (Pending), Wong King Wei (Padungan), Chong Chieng Jen (Kota Sentosa) and Christina Liew (Batu Kawah).

The one-minute clip showed quick flashes of the candidates on their campaign walkabouts greeting villagers and uttering their pledges.

“We know everyone needs social care, everyone wants to be treated equally, everyone wants a safe environment, everyone desires a clean government.

“For you, for Sarawak. To provide a check on BN and to eradicate corruption, to uphold democracy and ensure the people are masters of the land.

“Give your child hope,” they said.

A second video was aired later, this time featuring images of Taib being knocked out by a DAP’s election mascot, a hornbill fondly known as “Ubah” which stands as a symbol of the people in Sarawak.

DAP had turned the state’s hornbill emblem — the Rhinoceros Hornbill — into its mascot as one of its election gimmicks, naming it “Ubah”, the Malay word for “Change”.

A Bahasa Malaysia song was sung throughout the clip.

“Taib has taken everything, leaving only bones behind.

“Taib, do not burden the people of Sarawak, everyone knows about this. If we are not yet aware, things will not change.

“Land has been grabbed, the people’s resources you have taken. Do not burden the land of the hornbill. Nothing has changed, do not burden the people of Sarawak,” the lyrics said.

The crowd, comprising mostly Chinese, trickled in at first in the hundreds and but according to eye-witnesses, swelled in numbers to well over four thousand people as the night wore on.

They eagerly snapped up DAP’s “Ubah” stuffed toys, scoured party leaflets and whipped out their wallets when donation boxes were passed around.

Many were seen sitting on foldable stools and huddling beneath umbrellas as the night was damp from a steady drizzle.

Some even brought out their pet dogs, taking the animals for a stroll on the grounds while they listened to their potential representatives speak.

According to DAP’s publicity chief Tony Pua, although the 10-day campaign period for the polls has only just hit the halfway mark, nearly all of the party’s “Ubah” dolls have been sold.

“We will definitely run out before the end of the campaign,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The party had made 30,000 small “Ubah” dolls to be sold at RM10 each and about 3,000 large ones sold at RM60 for its campaign.

When asked recently for his evaluation, Chong said that the crowd size in most of the party’s rallies had far surpassed his expectations.

“We never thought that we would draw such a large crowd. It was way beyond our expectation,” he said.

In Miri, said Pua, a record of over RM21,000 in donations had been collected in just one rally alone. In Travillion last night, the party collected over RM5,000.


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