I shook hands with my Prime Minister and I did this…

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Have you ever shaken hands with our Prime Minister, YAB Najib Razak? What if it is more than just a simple handshake?

Written by – Ooi May Chen (MYD15)

It was Deepavali. What’s more meaningful than spending the day strolling around Brickfields KL to experience the atmosphere of a Deepavali celebration. Let’s pretend to be tourists for a day to find out more about the Indian culture in Malaysian. I wonder how it is celebrated in KL?

Like a tourist, I asked for directions. It took me quite some time to figure out the location of the bazaar. This bazaar was organised by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). You can see the PM’s image in the backdrop of the stage. The caterer was serving lunch for FREE. I am not sure if it is just during celebrations or because elections is around the corner.

deepavali's foodI was disappointed with the use of polystyrene to serve lunch. I thought DBKL would be “GREEN”, banning polystyrene. The reality was not the same as I thought. Much more awareness is needed. Actions show more than words.

When I was about to enjoy my lunch, the emcee announced that our PM Najib is going to arrive at any moment. People were standing up to welcome our PM. Suddenly, an important message came across my mind.

Am I supposed to hand over the Malaysian Youth Statement on Climate Change to the PM as I will be meeting him in person? Our group is facing difficulties in approaching the PM office to hand over the statement. This will be a great opportunity!

Quickly, I WhatsApp-ed the MYD group at 12.58pm to asked for anyone who can come over to BAC, KL. The responses I get within a minute were: OMG pass the statement, please pass him the statement.

It was all spontaneous, and I felt so unprepared.  How could I find a printing shop with internet connection during a public holiday. Time was ticking. I just saw PM walked pass in front of me, greeting people as he walked by. Without delay, I finished my lunch, (no food is allowed to be wasted in any circumstances). I ran and walked in between to search for a photocopying shop. I asked the receptionist in Signature Hotel. He replied: “Not sure if it is open today, the shop is located after Chapatthi restaurant.”

pods backpackerI then spotted Pod’s Café http://podsbackpacker.com/ on my way, the place where we had our first MYD meeting. Might as well as just gave it a try. I asked the person who sat in front of the computer: do you provide any printing service here? To my surprise, he said yes, RM1 per piece. It took me a while to search, download and print the Statement. Meanwhile, I got to know Mr. Singh. I explained briefly to him what I was doing and why it was so important to hand over the Statement. He was so supportive and did not charge me for the printing.

It was drizzling when I left Pod’s Café. Running while holding the printed statement like a scroll, I was hoping that the PM hasn’t left the celebration. I was so relieved when I saw the PM still sitting at the VIP area. He had a large force of security surrounding him. It was impossible to make my way through the security and VIP seats. So I found a strategic location, sat down and wait.

After a while, the MC announced “Thank you YAB Najib for his arrival…”, and in that moment I turned around, the PM was heading in my direction. I quickly stood up, shaked his hand, wished him HAPPY DEEPAVALI and said: “This is the Malaysian Youth”. I only managed to say 6 words before I passed the Malaysian Youth Statement on Climate Change to him. It was an unbelievable achievement. Our statement was in the PM’s hand. Hopefully, he will read it at the end of the day. By that time, my body was finding time to adjust back to normal because it all happened in a blink of an eye.

deepavali stageWhatApps-ed the good news to MYD team at 1.37pm. After that, I went back to pod’s café to thank Mr. Singh for his kind assistance. It turned out that Hari Deepavali 2015 is more than just a celebration to me. This will mark the importance of the PM listening to the voices of the youth in addressing the issues of climate change. The future is already at risk even if we act now and fight for a better future. For your information, this year’s 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) is a conference where world leaders will come together for an agreement to reduce global temperature rise by 2 degree celcious. http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php

On the next day, I received a message from my teammate as below:

PMO

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