Thursday, May 02, 2013

The idiot's guide to attending ceramah

Recently I've seen a number of traffic directed here when folks are searching for 'dap ceramah malaysia', or 'dap ceramah in pj/kl' or 'where is ceramah in pj?' Everyone wants to get into the hype and attend a ceramah, but some of you don't know how to. This is what this guide is about.

Disclaimer - I'm not an expert (aka. kutu ceramah), but I hope this gives you a summary of the basic things you need to attend one.

How did I get started  in attending ceramah ? I read articles from The Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini ardently about the latest political news. I also subscribe to youtube channels like mediarakyat and listen to the ceramahs there. You can also listen to the DAP ceramahs on But why just be a couch potato ? Yes, you might get the message from a youtube video but you're missing out on a lot of things - the atmosphere, excitement, and joy of participating at the ceramah itself. For example, a lot of people whom I've met say that they've never been to a Bersih rally. Well, I have, and I can at least take pride in the fact that I have been there, unlike others who just read it in the papers and watch the videos on TV and on youtube. Its just different. You also give much needed support to your political party / candidate by being there.

Bear in mind, you attend ceramahs at your own risk. Take into consideration the political affiliation of your boss, the nature of your job, the feelings of your family / loved ones and your safety when you attend ceramah. You have to be responsible for yourself if anything happens during or after going to a ceramah. Anything could happen really - you could get boxed in the ears by a BN supporter, or pelted with eggs, or splashed with paint. These are all worst case scenarios. But usually, ceramahs in Lembah Klang are quite civil and proper. You don't need to be too worried about such things.

So... back to the main question. How to attend a ceramah ? Well, its not easy to get information from the mainstream media due to the government not supporting free and fair elections. If your neighbourhood is popular, perhaps they would put up buntings on the dates and times of the ceramahs. But that isn't very helpful if you don't know that area. You could also befriend people who're active in the political scene (I've got the handphone contacts of campaign managers for a Keadilan and DAP candidate), but unless you know them, they remain quite anonymous.

The easiest way to attend the ceramahs is to 'like' pages on facebook. They often put up the schedules of their ceramahs on the fanpages - Nurul Izzah, Rafizi and Tony Pua for example. Their information is often up to date despite being posted on the same day. They list their schedule for the entire day - even minum pagi (breakfast) and minum petang (tea break) schedules are also listed. DAP lists their ceramahs under their ;event calendar' on their facebook page. The ceramah list for the whole of Malaysia is listed there - quite thorough, but not complete. Some candidates like Hannah Yeoh are not listed there, for example. You can also sync the ceramahs to your google calendar by clicking the button on the bottom right of the screen. Makes planning your day so much easier.

For Anwar ibrahim, you can find his ceramah schedules on or Not so intuitive to find, but the schedule's there nonetheless. He also lists his stopovers on his facebook page.

After you've decided which ceramahs to go to, you've got some preparation to do.

Where is it? Google Maps is the answer. If its an unfamiliar route, save the maps data to your smart phone or use a proper GPS software. Sometimes the address is unfamiliar to Google maps, for example 'padang bola sepak PPR Kerinchi'. You would then have to do a google search and find the nearest approximate location. If all else fails, get the assistance of the locals. They'll usually tell you where to go.

How do I get there? Check the public transport schedule (LRT, bus, taxi). For those of us who drive, check the condition of your vehicle (eg. tyre pressure, engine oil, brakes, etc). Having a car break down on you during a ceramah is something definitely to be avoided. Otherwise if you're lazy to drive, carpool, and convince your colleagues, friends or relatives to give you a lift to the venue.

What do I bring? Here's a list of items to consider:

  • wallet - if you're in the market for some DAP shirts or writings by Lim Kit Siang, some money will do you good. If you feel like it, put in some money for the donation boxes being passed around during the ceramah
  • foldable chair / stool / plastic mat - Ceramahs are usually held in open spaces eg playgrounds, carparks, etc. Usually the organisers provide chairs , but they're often not enough. Bring along your own so that you can sit down and enjoy the session
  • umbrella / rain coat - The weather is pretty unpredictable nowadays, and it rains often in the evenings. You wouldn't like to sit in the ceramah feeling cold and wet, would you ?
  • shoes - Fields can be very muddy after the rain. I wear a comfortable pair of Hushpuppies leather shoes that keep the water and mud out from my feet. 
  • water - Stay hydrated. The weather can be pretty hot even though it is at night. You might not find a cafe at the venue of the ceramah.
  • snacks - For a quick bite if required.
  • camera / ipad / galaxy tab - For taking photos with your favourite calon for bragging rights, and recording photos / videos for your facebook.

If you're driving, arrive there early (at least 30 minutes before) to find a good space to park your car. Otherwise you have to risk parking your precious vehicle beside the main road. When you arrive early, you also have the opportunity to pick the best seats in the house and be closer to your favorite candidate. Also factor in the time for traffic jams (a common occurence in Malaysia) and unexpected hiccups. Of course, ceramahs don't usually start on time (it's a Malaysian thing). They usually start  about 30 minutes - 1 hour later than scheduled.

What do you do during a ceramah ? Listen, listen, listen ! Just kidding  :) ! PR's ceramahs are usually candid and spontaneous. Have a great time, clap your hands, boo,  respond appropriately and you'll do just fine. Take photos with your favorite candidate. Greet them, shake hands and tell them what an inspiration they are to you. I'm sure they'll appreciate it very much. Get to know their team members and campaign managers who can tell you when's the next event. Don't forget to talk to the person sitting or standing next to you. They're most probably as excited as you are to attend the ceramah.

If you feel like it, follow your local candidates' activities other than ceramah - for example their morning walkabout at the morning market, tai chi exercise, dialogue forums etc etc. 

I hope this information is sufficient for you to attend your ceramahs. You have a few more days to do so. By midnight on May 4th, all campaigning will cease. By then, you will have to wait another 5 years for your next ceramah session !




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