My morning perusal of the local news headlines brought forth an involuntary giggle that burst into a long, satisfied laughter. My neighbours raised eyebrows. I don’t care.
This is why. The newly appointed Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Chik gave an assurance that bloggers will not be controlled. Instead they will be engaged by the government.
I’m not so arrogant as to think that we bloggers were the reason Barisan Nasional lost so badly for the first time in 50 years. No. That would be presumptuous and stupid.
But we were part of that information revolution that shaped public opinion. It cannot escape the public notice that most of the seats lost were in urban areas. The only exception is the Malay heartland that is part of Perak, and Kedah. Even they must have had access to virtual information too.
Judging by the traffic report generated by this blog’s site traffic controller, lots of people accessed this site from lots of rural areas. Many are keyword search visitors while most, I have to admit, constitute cascade traffic from the more popular, high volume blogs.
Vive la Broadband! Vive la Internet! What IMHO is the greatest technological invention of the 20th century, has helped to make a move for change.
When I first heard Raja Petra Kamaruddin say at the Bloggers United Malaysia gathering last year, that there are more Malaysians online than there are Malaysian registered voters, I had a mild jolt as I considered the implications.
Less than a year after that, the old world politicians of Malaysia are forced to come to terms with a harsh truth. You can’t censor information on the Net.
Not that they didn’t try to. In the early days of Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, the cops used to come and cart away the the hardware from the offices. The dimwits did not realise the virtual and viral quality of online information dissemination then. So they ran down all alternative media sources as “BAD”.
Zainuddin Maidin was certainly one of them. He paid dearly for his ignorance. In one month, he has gone from Information Minister to a nobody. That he was once a journalist makes me wonder, just how he managed to be so willfully ignorant.
Ahmad Shabery begins his tenure with some encouraging noises, but then, coming at this time, after the the near crippling of the Barisan Nasional government, it seems a little forced.
Indonesia has shown many that it is a superior nation and civilisation to us where talent, national pride, civil liberties and intelligence are concerned.
What Shabery said yesterday can hardly be construed as as you take into account the Indonesian government’s engagement of New Media and Blogs.
They went as far as to declare Oct 17 as National Bloggers Day last year, Unspun Malaysian blogger in Jakarta alerted us.
Elsewhere in the world, blogs have been well-recognised as valuable source of public feedback, engaging citizenry into participatory governance etc.
Last year I had the opportunity (thanks to taiko-blogger recently turned MP Jeff Ooi and the National Alliance of Bloggers) to meet David Sasaki of Global Voices Online, who related blog-related happenings around the world.
This site has a list of soldiers who blog from all over the world, and some of them bringing first hand account of the battleground. Five of them were chosen by Time magazine as the Riveting Soldier Blogs .
In Argentina, blogs became a tool of communication between elected representatives and the public which again, invites the man in street into the process of governance.
These are simple ideas. They work because people recognise it to work and make it work to their purposes.
What stopped our politicians and government from doing the same? We Malaysians have brains too, don’t we?
I guess it was the arrogance of Ketuanan BN.
You reap what you sow.