IT'S not the traffic jams that worry us so much. That's more of an irritant than anything else. But it's the possibility of some explosive reaction from several quarters that keep many of us wondering whether or not we'll see history repeats itelf.
The street protests by Bersih and Hindraf seemed to have caught the people's attention, to the point that they have been the major talking point in recent weeks. The lawyers' Human Rights March on Human Rights Day over the weekend wasn't as bad as it is made out to be. The fact that a few arrests were made managed to get some attention, in and outside the country.
At a coffee shop outside the city a few days ago, I was asked what really is happening in KL, especially when television networks are allocating a lot of space to the street walks or demos (as against the picture of traffic jams carried by the mainstream media last month when BERSIH took to the street to state their case).
The coffee shop talk outside the city is just as potentially explosive, if not more, than the street action. I say this because the coffee talk, more often than not, is based on rumours, heresay and speculation. In the absence of consistent dissemination of information, the folks make all sorts of conclusion and offer a varity of solutions, some of which can make your hair stand on ends.
While Hindraf and Bersih continue to get considerable publicity, and some say relevance, I can't but wonder whether their open show of force would invite an equally forceful reaction from their opposite factions. The text messages that have been going round are rather disturbing, to say the least.
While the majority of those who receive the SMS may ignore them, I'm sure there are those who believe them. Or want to believe them. And all it takes is a little bit of misunderstanding or name calling to ignite what could be the mother of all street battles!
There are those who believe that the authorities are hesitant to act; and there are also those who question the arrests. Somehow, at this stage of the confrontation, I don't see how things will cool down or cease without some form of firm action. And even then, the issues won't just disappear into thin air.
There are grievances that need to be addressed, and addressed rationally. Only cool heads can see what these issues are and deal with them seriously and with full sincerity.