A funny story about voting in GE13 (and indelible ink)


My voting station is in SRB Tung Hua and all the hype about indelible ink (or rather the delible nature of the ink) has made it the central topic in my mind.

tung hua voting station

I flew back to Sibu to vote in the GE13 (13th General Elections) yesterday and I’m flying back to KL later. I had changed my address here coz I think the Opposition has a good chance in my constituency. There’s three (3) candidates for the 212 – Sibu seat – DAP, BN and an Independent.


Ling took a video of me this morning letting off a fireworks rocket – I guess that much tells you which party I voted for. πŸ˜‰

(For those unfamiliar with Malaysian politics, DAP’s logo is a rocket taking off)

oscar ling dap

I don’t even know Oscar Ling, the DAP candidate for my constituency – I wanted to vote for change, so I voted for the party instead of the candidate.

212 sibu

I went to the voting station and got assigned a number. I was asked which hand I write in (I’m right handed) so I got the indelible ink painted on my left hand. It’s done on the opposite index finger.

I took the slip into the voting booth…

malaysian elections indelible ink

…and promptly put my left index print beside the DAP logo. -_-

indelible ink malaysia

Indelible ink has been on my mind all the while and I thought the new rules is to mark for the party you’re voting for using the ink. That doesn’t make sense at all coz:

  1. Voting is supposed to be anonymous and having your fingerprint there isn’t anonymous
  2. They wouldn’t have asked you for the *opposite* finger you write with if you’re meant to mark it
  3. There are writing implements there, just like past elections

I somehow looked past all that and for some robotic reason put my thumbprint (or index print rather) for the DAP candidate.

Mom: Idiot! You’re like a first time voter, being so blur.
Me: I thought that was the new rules instead of putting an X.

voting us

It’s okay though, I asked and old people have used their thumbprints or just put a single dot using a pen on the candidate they want to vote for in the past and it’s *confirmed* counted. It’s all good. πŸ™‚

ge13 removable ink

…and on the subject of the ink, it’s not really that indelible. I’ll say it’s hard to remove, but after a shower and two hand washes, it has faded. I’m sure a dedicated person can totally remove it.

ge13 indelible ink
Obligatory GE13 photo: Giving the finger to show where my support lies. πŸ˜‰

I have blue ink all over the tissues and other stuff I touch when in contact with oil or water e.g. during lunch!

Update: 212 Sibu is won by DAP! The other major urban seat 211 (Lanang) was also taken by DAP with over 8,000 votes! πŸ˜€
Unfortunately, the smaller rural areas didn’t swing due to lack of education and Internet access. This, I believe, will change in the future.

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35 thoughts on “A funny story about voting in GE13 (and indelible ink)”

    • I got minor powder burns coz the bottle rocket is larger and not meant to be held in the hand like that.

      Minor stuff though. πŸ™‚

      Those blisters were from another period in my life where I was heavily on methamphetamine – cigarette burns – did two then realized it didn’t look good and added one for a triad. It was a dark time but I’m totally clean now and happy. Cheers bro!

  1. Did I read that properly? You smudged the logo, HB? Lucky thing that the vote wasn’t ruled as null and void.

    It’ll take a lot of soap and scrubbing to completely remove the ink, that’s for sure.

    • Nope, I didn’t smudge it – I would have asked for a new ballot paper if I did that, you can request for another one if you accidentally smudge it. πŸ™‚

      I left the mark at the correct place, within the confines of the box…

      …except I did it with my inked fingerprint!

      I don’t know why I did that. Just kept thinking about indelible ink and left my brain at home.

      It’s counted as a vote though – old folks scribble, use their thumbprint, put a dot with a pen etc. As long as it’s a mark inside the box, you’re good, though technically it’s supposed to be an X.

      I don’t know what I was thinking. Unfortunately, the DAP candidate for Sibu is losing as of now though. Lanang on the other hand, is practically DAP’s already. πŸ˜€

      On the supposedly indelible ink – my mom practically removed hers already and my dad just has a bit on the fingernails – just from regular washing!

      My mom says my niece’s play ink lasts longer and it’s art supplies for kids!

    • Cheers bro! πŸ™‚

      My voting are (212 – Sibu) was won by DAP, Lanang (the other constituency in town) was also taken by DAP with a staggering 8k+ votes (large, considering the constituents).

      Urban Sibu is swinging to the opposition, but unfortunately, the simple majority rule and the way Sarawak is divided means that it’ll be super hard for the entire state to change since the rural areas are ignorant and largely controlled by money politics and biased mainstream media.

      Maybe that’ll change with education and better internet access for all.

        • I agree, it’s all mostly rural wins for BN.

          I heard a bunch of lawyers talking about it this morning at the KL High Court, the way simple majority and constituency works doesn’t really reflect the sentiments of the rakyat, some places just have a couple of hundred people and with money politics…

          Oh well, things will hopefully change with education and more watchdogs to prevent money politics. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks bro! πŸ™‚

      The urban areas (Sibu and Lanang) went to DAP but unfortunately the rural areas still went BN. It’s a lack of education and access to unbiased news (most only have mainstream media like the newspapers which are so biased it actually physically makes me sick to read it).

      Oh well, next time!

    • Yeah, it’s so easy to wash off! πŸ™‚

      It was said in the papers (government mouthpiece) that the reason why the indelible ink is not so “indelible” is coz they didn’t shake the bottles so the silver nitrate didn’t mix into the ink, thus making it easy to wash off.

      My mom’s was gone by dinnertime and we voted around 11 am (different stations though, they’re Lanang, I’m Sibu). Apparently, my niece’s play ink lasts longer.

        • Haha! I haven’t heard of the second one.

          Halal ink?

          Yeah, the EC said it’s supposed to be shaken for it to work (silver nitrate to mix into the ink) and some voting centers didn’t do that.

          Well, apparently most voting centers didn’t get the memo coz we all could wash off ours!

          Well, at least after RM 250 million, they came out with Gemas Gold! πŸ˜‰

  2. I voted in Canberra (10 hour car trip) early last week…and glad to say that Penang is retained by Pakatan Rakyat. Felt like the trip (and all the dramas within in) was well worth it πŸ˜‰

    • Good to hear that Jyannis!

      It must have been fun to drive all the way to Canberra to vote. Drama on a road trip, sounds like a difficult situation to get out of with the confined space and all. πŸ˜‰

      I had no doubts about Penang – it’s a DAP stronghold. I had hoped Sarawak would wake up and be the same (and the majority of urban areas – cities – did, they voted DAP/PR). It’s just the rural constituencies that didn’t.

      It’s just the huge landmass of Sarawak and the way it’s divided into constituencies with lots of rural areas – that’s why BN calls it their fixed deposit. 😑

      If the simple majority rule didn’t apply and the rural folks thinks beyond simple once-every-four-year cash handouts, money politics won’t work so well…but then again rural folks in Sarawak tend to be poor and less educated, trying to survive, so you can’t really blame them too.

      I think the ruling coalition wants to keep it that way, the status quo is good for them.

      • I was confident for Penang, and then was apprehensive when my parents were telling me all the dirty tricks BN had up their sleeves, told myself that I will make good of all my efforts to register as an overseas voter, convinced my partner and two friends that we must all go to Canberra to vote and off we went!

        The car trip was full of drama because we got lost, had a punctured tyre…but we got there in the end!

        Interestingly though, even though voting is accepted at the Melbourne High Commissioner’s office, and with all of us clearly stating we are based in Melbourne, we were still assigned Canberra as our polling station.

        One of my fellow travellers/voters is from Sarawak and throughout the trip it was a lot of discussion and ranting on Pek Moh.

        I am disheartened to hear of all the dodgy happenings (mysterious ballot boxes, blackout, foreign voters) but in light of all that, PR still won more seats than they did last election. One step at a time.

        • I’m glad you did! Every vote counts when BN pulls out all the dirty tricks in their playbook.

          It has been the most dangerous election for them ever, with more urban voters being disenchanted by their policies. MCA support is at the lowest ever, losing more than half of their seats.

          It’s becoming an irrelevant party.

          Punctured tire! Oh well, at least there’s good road service in Australia. Haha!

          I thought you could vote in Melbourne too! Strange you had to go all the way to ACT.

          Yup, that happens all the time, but DAP is smart now – after the 2008 Sarawak State Elections where BN tried to slip in “postal votes” during a planned blackout, they (DAP) surrounded the ballot box so no “postal votes” will go in during the darkness.

          Nowadays, DAP in Sibu installs generators, so power failure is impossible. πŸ˜‰

          I agree, one step at a time!

  3. Hope your county soon gets the change you desire. I did some quick reading on Malaysian politics and it’s hard to believe one party has ruled since independence. I know BN won this time around but as you say things may change. Here in the U.S., many people died for the right to vote; I’m sure Malaysian don’t take voting for granted like many do here. We have very low turnouts, normally (the exception being when Mr. Obama won in 2008).

    Good luck to you and Malaysia! ‘See’ you on Twitter. πŸ˜‰ –Ken

    • Thanks buddy! πŸ™‚

      Yup, it’s “interesting” that one party has ruled since our independence. It’s totally unlike the two party Republican – Democrat system in the US. That is what I want for us, so giving PR (the Opposition Party) a chance to rule would effectively give them experience so we can have a true viable option.

      I bet the ruling coalition (BN) got a huge scare though – this is the most dangerous election (as in voter swing to opposition) for them to date and it’ll only get worse as more people learn about their excesses and dirty politics.

      I know all politics is inherently ugly and there are no knights in shining armor, but I would like a two party system.

      Yup, the voter turnout was the highest ever recorded – 80% of a total of 13.3 million eligible voters! πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the well wishes Ken!

    • Haha! I thought I shouldn’t have let it off but I couldn’t resist! πŸ™‚

      It’s night fireworks – those rockets are not salutes (the type that produces a bang) but “sparkling rain” – it launches a bombette up, which bursts into a rain like sparkle – pretty at night, invisible in the morning.

      Cheers Eve!

    • The indelible ink does indeed transfer! πŸ™‚

      We were eating lunch and since kompia is oily, it rubbed off on the tissues and on her hand, which I was holding.

      The ink is not indelible at all. My mom washed it off after a while and said that my niece’s play ink lasts longer.

      EC came out with a statement saying that it’s coz the voting centers didn’t shake it to mix the silver nitrate into the ink to make it “indelible”.

      All I know is that we spent millions for ink that could have been bought at a kid’s supply store for better effect.

  4. I am left handed but my polling station insisted that the ink must be on the left finger no matter what.

    Now I know. Next time I will insist. Thanks bro!

    • Eh, they shouldn’t have done that coz you might smudge the ballot paper. 😑

      The indelible ink is painted on the opposite finger of what you write on – they ask before painting it on.

      Yeah, and hopefully the results will be better each election. Cheers bro! πŸ™‚

  5. Awesome! And are you sure that’s how the rocket worked? Holding it when you ”launch”…Looks dangerous..But, great post Huai Bin. Me enjoys …=)

    • Haha! No, it’s not meant to be held in the hand. πŸ™‚

      That’s why I only held the very tip so the backblast won’t sear my hand and looked away before the rocket ignited.

      (don’t want to get debris in my eyes in case it’s a dud and explodes)

      These rockets are not bottle rockets that you can hold in your hand, it’s a night bombette that produces sparkling rain, but it’s possible to hold in your hand as long as you don’t mind some powder burns.

      Thanks! πŸ˜€

  6. OMG! you voted and messed the paper. Thank God it was counted. Sarawak lost to the Dacing Karat anyway! LOL

    No:3 only??? So young man! Me already no:4 and STP must be No: 6!!!

    • Yeah, they count it as a vote even though it’s just a dot or thumbprint (as old people tend to do). πŸ™‚

      As long as it’s within the boundaries, it’s accepted although an X would be better. I could have asked for another ballot paper if it’s not counted though – they’ll destroy the previous one, though I’ve heard of voting centers not giving out replacements (which is against the regulations – you have the right to ask for a new one if you smudged it).

      Too bad about the loss coz Sarawak has too many rural centers. It will change if Internet access is provided for all (which the government promised but will probably be their downfall unless they block certain news sites) since mass media is controlled by the ruling coalition.

      Sibu (212) and Lanang (211) won though – the Sibu’s urban areas all went to DAP. πŸ˜€

    • Yup, I always vote for the same party every time too. πŸ™‚

      I’m a DAP supporter coz I want to see some change. A lot of people are talking about racial politics, but that’s not it – SUPP and MCA has made themselves irrelevant to the Chinese.

  7. Hi I surfed over from one of the tags in your satirical post. The way you’re holding the firework is incredibly dangerous!! I work in the pyro industry and seen a lot of bad injuries from hand firing. You obviously have some experience since you held it as far as possible, monitored the rate of fuse burn and turned away at the last second but sometimes experience breeds complacency and cockiness. It’s very risky and irresponsible to do that. The smoke plume went far beyond your face and shoulders. You’re very lucky you weren’t injured. Please do not hold fireworks in your hands. I cannot stress how dangerous this is!!


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