Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A First-Time Voter's Experience

After sacrificing my sleep to stare at the ever-changing amount of votes for each parliamentary seats and taking three days to mull over the results of the recently concluded Malaysian 13th General Election, I'm back in full force at blogging.

I'm surprised and not surprised that the results ended up this way, as there were changes and twists to the game. To save you from verbal boredom and me from racial spurs, I'm not going to talk much about post-politics, not even who I voted for.

You know how behind religion and race that politics can infuriate emotions.

But I can still relate about my experiences as a first-time voter, right? =D

Since the 5th of May was an important event in all our lives and fearing that I'd forget all the necessary documents, I slipped it in into my tote bag on the night before and headed straight for bed. I don't usually wake up before dawn unless I have to, which is what I did.

Sure, my eyes felt swollen.

After breakfast, I took some time in choosing my attire as I didn't want to be in a color that would reveal the candidate of my choice. Just to be on the safe side; I didn't want to be landed with verbal threats and physical blows.

There was already a group of restless and sleepy voters waiting in a queue when I arrived at the polling centre at 7.45am, and here I thought I was early enough. Once the gate was opened at 8am, the people started to move. We were lucky in the sense that those (including me) who had their printed sheet from SPR were able to shorten their waiting time and move on to another queue.

The reason why I said "lucky" because I've heard that not all polling centers were like that; some even demanded for the physical copy. You mean, like the one they mailed it all the way to my house? That one?

After waiting for what seemed like eternity, only 10 people of each channel were allowed to join the ever-growing queue at the separate polling rooms. And while waiting for our turns, I struck a conversation in boredom with two first-time voters who queued in front and behind of me.

The sun was shining at our faces, too.

Lady in front: "What's up with queue?"
Me: "Only one person is allowed in at a time."
Lady in front: "No wonder."

Lady at back: "It's so hot. I'm sweating."
Me: "Me too. *offers some tissue paper* If our weather isn't so humid, it'd be fine."

And at that time, my T-shirt was plastered to my skin, with the sweat trickling from my neck all the way down to my jeans.

The mother of the lady behind me suddenly approached, wondered what took her daughter so long to vote. Seeing that she had already fulfilled her moral duty and was a seasoned voter, I came clean with her that I was a first-time voter and asked her the procedure is and somehow, the topic branched off to other stuffs like how slow the volunteers were compared to the ones in the adults' room and the shorter waiting time for them.

And how the cubicles shouldn't be so near to the walkway. Someone would have spied on our choice of candidate and untoward things might happen. I don't know, like screwing with our votes and replacing it with a self-marked one or maybe informing their "boss" before landing us with blows for choosing a particular candidate, and not the other?

After some much-needed interference by the SPR lady, the queue became faster and we didn't wait that long for our turns. The volunteer suddenly waved me in, and proceeded to compare my full name, identity card number and voting serial number against her copy and read it aloud for the polling agents to cross it off their lists before she printed my left finger with the now-infamous indelible ink. I thought I heard the volunteer whispering my name, making sure that she had the pronunciations right. >.<

It totally reminded me of one nasty elementary school classmate who made fun of my name.

With a wrapped tissue around the marked finger (trust me, the way I did it made it looked it was injured rather than printed), casting my vote at the provided cubicle was simple and took less than 5 minutes as I knew who I wanted to vote - state and Parliamentary.

(It was 50% gone after I scrubbed it with Scotch Brite and soap. As long as there are no fingerprints on anything that I touch, I would leave it as it is. As of today, it's barely visible.)

Teochew Mama was dumber. Sorry, Mom, but you shouldn't have left the ballot paper exposed. A total stranger offered his help and folded it for her before he dropped it into the ballot boxes for her, with her eyes glued on his hands. Very much like a first-time voter, huh?

Sorry for being terribly wordy today, and for not taking more pictures. I was more interested in making sure that I don't declare my vote null and void by some accident than photography.

God Willing, I might remember to take more pictures in 14th GE.

10 comments:

  1. Good job for voting!!! There is always a first in everything:D

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  2. I heard a lot about having to produce the printed copy too!

    That has never happened in Sarawak - you just need to bring yourself and your MyKad. They already have a list of eligible voters and they'll cross it off when you come.

    The queue isn't bad if you go after 11 am too.

    I didn't think it was verbose, I thought your post is a great account of a person voting for the first time. :D

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    Replies
    1. That's so lucky, Huai Bin!

      If there is no printed copy, there is an additional queue time at the Barung. If there is the printed copy, you can head straight to the line that'll lead you to your respective Saluran.

      What to do? We heard too much on Facebook. =/

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  3. am looking forward to the 14th general election already, heh! sounds like you had a memorable experience, though it was somewhat uncomfortable, i guess. i was working/on duty in the morning, so i only went to vote at 2pm, and the queue seems to have evaporated by then (in kinrara). ooh, and it's a week later and i still have a little bit of blue on my fingernail, heh :D

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    Replies

    1. Really, Sean? That's like 5 years away, but hopefully by then, everyone will know the real truth. =/

      It was a memorable one minus the weather. Even though I'm not one who has a high level of patience, I figured that voting early would allow me to crash and sprawl against the couch and catch up on lost sleep. When I came out of the center at around 10.30am, there weren't as many people too.

      My Mom mentioned about that; it seems the blue ink doesn't want to leave her yet. =D

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  4. I missed this time GE since I accompanied HB back to his hometown to vote. Nevertheless, I am still happy to accompany him to the polling center to fulfill his duty.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know where your polling center would be, Yee Ling, but I think you're lucky to have given the 13th GE a miss. The waiting might have been terrible....

      I'm sure you can make up for it the next time around. =D

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