Voter education movement UndiMsia today launched a book meant as a guide for would-be activists amid a bevy of dancers and beauty queens.
The book titled ‘Activating Malaysians: The DIY Toolkit' has over 100 pages documenting, among others, the movement's history and methods, as well as information about Malaysia's institutions of power.
"This book teaches you how to build your own campaigns," said one of the movements prime movers Edmund Bon (right).
"It teaches you how to identify your role as an activist, gives you information on how to explain to people what UndiMsia is, and most importantly it shows you how to take the ‘gameshop' (a brainstorming workshop) steps to and try to run it for your own community."
The launch was held in conjunction with the movement's first anniversary celebration.
Oppa Gangnam style
Bon told Malaysiakini that UndiMsia has held many consultations over the past year about democracy, and the purpose of the book was to assemble the information, including areas that Malaysia needs to improve.
"This movement is probably the only movement that builds activists, so we concertedly build activists. We give the tools to people to go back and contribute to their own communities.
"UndiMsia itself does not have a cause. The only cause is to make our democracy more direct," said Bon, who is also a human rights lawyer.
However, he declined to give any details on pricing and availability of book as the details are still being decided, other than that it would be available from the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights' (MCCHR) resource centre, Bangsar, where the anniversary celebrations were held.
It kicked off shortly after 11am at with a troupe of dancers mimicking a dance made popular by a viral Korean music video ‘Oppa Gangnam style' and several band performances, with over 100 guests in attendance.
Before the speeches began, there was also a video presentation featuring interviews of youths who appeared clueless who their political leaders are and could not even name a single minister, but responded correctly and enthusiastically when the questions were about popular movies.
One of the highlights of the day was a date auction, where the highest bidder would win a date with one of several personalities including Bon, who fetched the highest price of RM1,200.
Interestingly, the winning bid came from a male member of the audience although there were also bids from female audiences, including Bon's mother.
When asked how he felt about fetching the highest price, Bon said, "It feels great... for the cause!"
Other potential dates on auction were actor Tony Eusoff (for a winning bid of RM320), Miss World Malaysia 2010 Nadia Heng (RM600) and FHM Girl Next Door 2010 Yvonne Sim (RM820, right) and lawyer-cum-filmmaker Seira Sacha Abu Bakar (RM800).
The RM3,740 raised through the auction are to be used to fund the resource centre and its activities.
The event ended with all guests being invited to pop balloons dangling from the ceiling, creating a sound not unlike those made by an exploding string of firecrackers.
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