Rio de Janeiro, Manila, San Diego, Seattle and Boise will be among the cities around the world joining a Bersih rally for the first time this weekend, and what they lack in numbers, Malaysians there are making up for in spirit and enthusiasm.
These cities are among 40 in some 20 countries worldwide which will be in solidarity with their Malaysian counterparts at the 34-hour long Bersih 4 rally from August 29 to 30.
For some, it will also be an opportunity to meet fellow Malaysians whom they rarely see in their host country.
A contract analyst based in Brazil's financial capital of Sao Paulo, who wanted to be known only as JC, said this would be the first time a Bersih gathering was held in South America.
The Bersih rally in Brazil will be held at the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro on August 29 from 3pm local time.
"I decided to make it in Rio to make it easier for most of the Malaysians who are residing in or around Rio. Rio is also a middle point between Sao Paulo and some north cities. A few Malaysians from northern cities are flying to Rio to participate.
"I am personally amazed by their will to be present and show support for Bersih 4," JC told The Malaysian Insider via email.
The group, estimated at between 10 and 15 people, will meet at the Copacabana Fort, next to the world famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.
Items on the agenda include singing the national anthem Negaraku, taking photos and discussing the issues affecting the country. The group may also end the day having dinner together.
"We also managed to get a few Malaysian flags and Bersih 4 T-shirts all the way from Malaysia to Brazil," said the 26-year-old, who is coordinating the event.
Malaysians back home are gearing up for this weekend’s Bersih 4 rally. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 24, 2015.Malaysians back home are gearing up for this weekend’s Bersih 4 rally. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 24, 2015.JC said he hoped the gathering would boost the morale of those back home to show "our brothers and sisters" that although thousands of miles from home, Malaysians in Brazil too were following the news and were concerned over their home country’s well-being.
"It's not distance that matters. I hope to raise awareness among my peers, especially since it is easier with social media nowadays. For those who are coming to gather, they will too create an impact on their peers back in Malaysia.
"Those who see us (in Brazil) doing this will ask why these folks in Brazil are spending time to show support for Bersih 4. What we do in Brazil might seem insignificant, but it could bring out more awareness or/and a true leader among our peers in near future. I see this as a butterfly effect," he said.
Gibson Santa Maria will be among the expected turnout of 17 Malaysians at the Bersih 4 rally in Manila, Philippines, which will be held at the popular Legazpi Sunday market at 8am on August 30, giving out information to anyone curious about their presence and the meaning of their yellow T-shirts.
"Most importantly, I hope that this little event in Manila, and every location outside Malaysia, no matter how small it is, will bring a message of hope to the common people of Malaysia that we all need to do our part to ensure that the Malaysia we know now will not be the same for our kids and their kids.
"We want a progressive Malaysia that moves in tandem with all developed nations in terms of nationhood and progress, not sidetracked with religious and racial undertones. Enough with the apartheid," he told The Malaysian Insider.
Meanwhile, Sharon Sundlas, who had attended previous Bersih events in San Jose, California, is organising the upcoming gathering in San Diego after moving to the southern California city.
The San Diego Bersih rally will be held at Del Mar beach on August 29 at 9am local time, where a handful of about 10 Malaysians will come together to read Bersih's demands, take group pictures, exchange thoughts and in typical Malaysian style, share a potluck meal.
"I want to stand in solidarity with the Malaysians in Malaysia," she said when asked what had prompted her to plan the event.
"I want to bring awareness to the Malaysians in San Diego on Bersih’s stand and support the Malaysians in Malaysia in all the struggles that they are going through.
"Although we are far away, we are able to lift the spirits up and motivate the rakyat to continue to pave the way for a better country," said the 36-year-old, who works in project management. – August 24, 2015.