Kuala Lumpur: Protests have actually been good for businesses in the city, says a group of businessmen and women, who came out in protest of this statement in the papers today.
Long Budiman Long Pasia, a mineral water vendor, said business was unusually brisk during the BERSIH and HINDRAF rallies in the city.
“I ran out of bottles early during the BERSIH gathering so when the SMS went around on the HINDRAF gathering, I ordered an extra TEU (20 feet equivalent unit) container of mineral water.”
Long Budiman who has a kiosk near Angkasaraya building in Jalan Ampang, said both the protesting masses and the riot police stationed there were his customers.
“You know, whenever they shoot tear gas, you need lots of water to wash away the sting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur’s LRT and Monorail operators also reported a sharp surge in passenger volume during the two major events.
Singaporean tourists Mah Siew Beng and Rachel Thew followed the two major rallies on Aljazeera International and in anticipation of a similar crowd on the Human Rights day walk, made their way to Kuala Lumpur by bus.
“We don’t see things like this in our country. Thailand is not very safe after the coup d’ etat, so the thought of seeing a public protest with our own eyes was like a dream coming true, that is why we came here.”
The couple however was disappointed because the Dec 9 gathering was not as big and there were much more policemen than marching people on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
However, NOT in support of street protests were the All Kuala Lumpur Streetwalkers Union (AKULESU) who said streetwalking has been a right they had fought for since the early days of Kuala Lumpur.
“Suddenly everyone is out on the streets. What? You think anyone can walk the streets? You need the know how, you need experience,” said union secretary Ling Chau Hai.
She laments the loss of identity of KL streetwalkers if public protests are allowed to continue.
“How to stand out, when there are thousands of people in the streets? Don’t throw sand into people’s rice bowl laa,” she cried.