Tian Chua-I’m Back!

Tian Chua-I’m Back!

By Stephen Francis

Pretty strong phrase borrowed either from Michael Jordan’s “I’m Back!” or even maybe Arnie’s “I’ll be Back” for a Malaysian who has no surname! But only this time Tian Chua (I really don’t know if Tian is a surname or not!) with just 2 days to polling day, is hot on the campaign trail not just against his former running-mate turned opponent, the younger incumbent and “accidental” politician Prabakaran, but there’s another 8 (spoilers as I was told by one of his supporter) to contend with.

Watching him today at his walk-about, Tian Chua has a fairly strong presence with the different races of voters both in fluent Bahasa and in a Chinese dialect, that make up greater Sentul all the way to the borders of Gombak and Damansara and Segambut. An area that will take more days then the given 2 weeks since nomination day. But he has a mixed team of young volunteers (yes, not salaried) to mind over him and to cover as much ground in the next 24 hours.

I managed to join him and his team in Taman Batu Permai around 8pm where he gave his ceremah standing on the flatboard of a pick-up truck parked beside a restaurant. Patrons and some curious residents from the neighbourhood gathered across the road listening to his fiery speech. Somehow the topic was him trying to explaining his reasons to be a “spoiler” himself in his former constituent. And he swears allegiance to Anwar, as he says was done days before nomination day personally to Anwar but was rejected from being picked to run in Batu, as was agreed between Praba and him to return the Batu seat to him. Perhaps that was the reason Tian Chua went “indie”?

Anyways from there we travelled to Bandar Baru Sentul to what looked like a mini estate between a river and a hard place called Kampung Tanah Lapang. Here there is a small community of about 30 Malaysians of Indian origins who looked like they could do better. This B40 community welcomed Tien Chua with chants of “Tien Chua, Tien Chua” as their leader and spokesman who I came to understand later has had a long friendship with each other dating back to the 90s. That was when I also heard another lady telling Tien Chua in Bahasa that her son has no IC and if he could help her soon. I guess it’s a given that this group has got his back come polling day on Saturday. And after the usual photo session, it was back on the campaign trail. I was already tired of walking too.

Tian Chua’s insistence to visit the Sri Maha Agni Muniswarar Temple less then a kilometer away was a winning stroke for him as we have all seen how Hindus heap shawls and garlands for VIPs even before they step bare-foot into the temple. Yes it is customary for the high priest to say special prayers with much fanfare and break coconuts as blessings before one who goes into battle. Much promises and requests were exchanged between Tien Chua and the temple community and everyone was happy. More photos.

The next venue was for the benefit of residents of Rumah Awam Negeri Sembilan Bandar Baru Sentul just across the road from the temple. Here Tien Chua was in high spirits and even got emotional (hope it’s not a politician’s drama!) when he spoke to the crowd present that this day has been a mixed emotional type of day and he thanked the people of Sentul for lifting him on their shoulders so that he could see further from higher. Ended with more photo shoots.

I guess Tian Chua still has a lot on his mind to reclaim what he reckons is rightfully his place under the Batu sky and come this Saturday he can either rejoice and/or continue to keep that promise and assist this simple folk who say they have his back.

Good Luck Tian Chua.

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