July 17, 2007

malaysian bloggers?

Posted in Dahlings, Malaysia, My Home, Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 10:05 pm by meldee

Who are Malaysian Bloggers, really? And what would be a ‘Malaysian Blogger’s Day’? My good friend Miss Lai (who is almost done with exams by the way, huzzah!) offered a definition that ran thus:

“The definition of a Malaysian Blogger’s Day would be when everybody, every single blogger.. food bloggers, photographers who blog to showcase their creations, pink coloured lip gloss loving bimbo(in a good way) bloggers, diary bloggers, tech bloggers, car bloggers, parent bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, socio political bloggers and random blog reading enthusiasts…when these people come together, THAT’S a Malaysian Blogger’s Day.”

This was in response to an Advertlets-supported event held on July 14th that was allegedly for “bloggers all over Malaysia” to come and socialise, not to mention check out “Hot Hypertune Models and Cars”. Since Jolene did tirelessly blog an entire post about this, I shall hereby refer you to her blog (click on her link above) and follow the discussion, as well as feel free to add your two sen’s worth there, and here, if you wish.

As a Communications student and quasi-feminist (I do not feel qualified to call myself a fully-fledged one because I feel that I lack the foundation of feminist theories—which I plan on changing by participating in my womens’ studies unit—also, much as it shames me to admit this, I am a tad too self-absorbed to be a full-on feminist.

I do, however, believe in the freedom of informed choice, which to me, includes the choice to shave my legs and not have a unibrow as well as maintain my quasi-feminist views. In my opinion, just because one is a feminist, it is not a reasonable excuse to neglect one’s personal grooming for the sake of projecting a positive first impression. Because as much as we hate to admit it, everybody judges everybody’s appearances.

Er, what was I saying?

Yes, ok, as a student and quasi-feminist…looking at this ‘Malaysian Bloggers’ event from a feminist perspective and observing the somewhat tragic use of female models as bait to lure testosterone-laden males to the event, and the sheer lack of diversity in the choice of bloggers invited and the categorisation of certain females as ‘hot non-bloggers’ etc etc on the blogsite of an organiser (I was considering linking it, then decided against it because I refuse to start/antagonise a blog war among the two factions of blog-advertisers/mediums/whatnot (Nuffnang and Advertlets supporters, etc), quite sickened me.

Blogging is more than just talking about one’s day, rants, inner thoughts, etc, or politics, the environment, and more. It stands for something much more than that, it is the freedom to choose what we want to blog about, but to do it responsibly.

Unlike others, I do not ridicule or look down my nose at bloggers who choose to use their sites as spaces to talk about their days, their hopes and dreams, ambitions, etc…to showcase artwork and photography, achieve sexual gratification, indulge in narcissistic behaviour, kutuk the Government, their mothers, their lecturers, whatever.

Blogging is about freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, which states under Article 10 that “every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression…all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms”, which of course, is subject to further restrictions.

Therefore, we are all participating in what Jurgen Habermas termed the ‘public sphere’, a space where every citizen has the right to gather, without discrimination, to voice matters of public opinion. And if you decide your day stuck in KL traffic constitutes public interest (because you may list roads which are particularly congested, to warn other motorists to stay away at a particular hour?), who is anyone to judge you on what qualifies as ‘quality’ blogging?

Elitist mentality aside, all bloggers count for something, I reckon, and we all play an integral role in creating this new public sphere for the betterment of our country, as a whole. From the political, to the satirical, to the anonymous, to the self-centered blogger, we are all important and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

What irked me so about this event though, was the sheer lack of diversity in blogging genres, if you like, and the types of corresponding blogger. How can anyone be partisan enough to term an event ‘Malaysian Blogger’s Day’ when there are only a select type of blogger who is eligible to attend, or indeed, privileged above others? Better call it ‘Hot Blogger’s Day’ or ‘Chun Blogger’s Day’ or ‘Happening Blogger’s Day’, but not ‘Malaysian Blogger’s Day’, because you’re only deriving such a small, and clearly, select sample of actual bloggers.

While I acknowledge that events are a right pain to organise and execute (so kudos to the organisers; credit must still be given where due), I am both disappointed and saddened that such an activity, blogging, has been turned into such a profit-motivated industry. While I admit I was once signed up with Nuffnang on my old blog, I am fine with the fact that with WordPress, I cannot have advertisers and the like—and I find I am preferring it that way. It will be truly a sad day when bloggers stop blogging for the pleasure they derive from it, and do it solely to generate additional income.

I was also annoyed by the justification given by the chairperson of this company, that not only were there female models for the males to perve at, there were also male models, oh my! As you would be able to derive from my rant on Jolene’s blog, which almost contitutes an entire post by itself, I was pretty ticked-off by this placatory justification, as if trying to soothe a small child throwing a tantrum.

Please lah. Don’t generalise and lump all females under the category ‘Swooning Airheads’, thinking we would take one look at tight male bodies and want to have their babies. It is both insulting and demeaning. Not to mention incredibly patronising and chauvinistic.

The purpose of this rant, in a nutshell, I suppose, would be if you want to tag something ‘Malaysian Blogger’s Day’, either specify what type of bloggers you are targeting or drawing, or really invite all bloggers from all genres to be present, in a show of solidarity for the future of bloggers in Malaysia. And using models to lure bloggers just cheapens the whole thing—let me just add a disclaimer now that this is not a personal attack against anyone, or those who chose to participate—real blogging, no matter what kind, does not need a cheap bait like that.

While I have never been to an actual blog meet, nor intend to, after much cogitation, unless it features individuals who are really intent on bigger issues such as the freedom of the media and revamping our obsolete media and sedition laws, I suppose they are all not bad. I mean, whatever rocks your boat, right?

Blog meets about ‘serious’ issues doesn’t necessarily have to be boring, tear-inducing stuff, it can also be fun—it all depends on how it is executed. It’s just the false advertising labeling that cheeses me off so and the subsequent lame-ass justifications given to support their actions.

In case anyone’s really interested in the future of blogging, the Centre for Independent Journalism has on their site the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Blogger’s Handbook which is downloadable for free. There are “handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.” ..” – CIJ.

I also think blogging ethics is a very underrated and important thing for all ‘serious’ bloggers to consider—whether you’re talking about yourself or the entire country. Like it or not, bloggers are increasingly becoming citizen journalists, and like journalists, they too need to have a degree of responsibility.

So next time, folks, do think about the bigger picture and the implications of announcing something as a ‘Malaysian’ meet. Because one should not discriminate against what type of bloggers or who they choose to let advertise on their blogs, or whether they are ‘hot’ or not, whether they are model material or Monash material (just had to *snigger*), whether they are fixated on navel-gazing or looking into the horizon…

…because at the end of the day, we are all Malaysians. And we are part of this blogosphere, and it’s ours to share and nurture so we don’t have this privilege taken away.

Unless of course, that is what you really want.

And to that, I will declare loudly and without any apology of any kind that you are the most despicable type of person there is; selfish, arrogant and unappreciative. And you ought to be shot when it’s hot and left to rot while the rest of us smoke pot and care not. Ha!

***

On a completely different note. Today my pretty Bangkok ballet flats chucked a spazz on me, having not being worn in over a year, and decided to flap open, crocodile-mouthed. All day I had to hobble around campus like I’d been grievously injured while feeling cold air whoosh past my toes.

So desperate was I, I taped it together pathetically with a plaster and had to call my father up to pick me up after class (he burst out laughing when I told him and had a huge grin on his face as he pulled up to pick me up) because there would be no way I’d be able to take the bus.

I also almost begged a rubber band off the folks at the financial counter to tie my shoe to my foot. Le sigh.

Only these kind of things will happen to me right?

By the way, my article on KLG Sqwad came out in today’s R.Age. I am diversifying into writing about music now 🙂

***

Back to the more serious issue of bloggers, by the way, I was reminded of Nathaniel Tan, who is, I think, still under remand. The CIJ website also has a story urging Big Brother not to take action against bloggers and to release him immediately. Now, this is a serious issue, and I would like to urge all Malaysian bloggers to read up on this and be careful.

In reference to Article 10 as per above, where we are entitled to peaceful assembly without arms…I think the time has come where the state has realised that the pen, (or in this case, the keyboard), and the power of words far exceeds that of arms.

So, just be careful, ok, folks?

/edit

When I say be careful, I don’t mean it in the ‘don’t toe the Government line’ kind of way—I meant to be careful as in remain ethical and responsible. Thanks to a friend for pointing that out before I got accused of being a propagandist, for that I am not 🙂

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7 Comments »

  1. wilzc said,

    *And you ought to be shot when it’s hot and left to rot while the rest of us smoke pot and care not. Ha!* im sure ure pweety proud of that line ha!

    anywayz, dammit, missed the blogmeet! 7000miles away from KL =S
    are you trying to say that mr Josh Lim is like ‘perverting’ the term ‘Bloggers?’
    but what u say does have a point, what are car models doing there? hate them anywayz, tight pvc skirts worn too high above the navel, overtly skinny girls, either aneroxic or theyre just slim but with loose fats all ov… nevermind, almost forgot the dear blogwriter here is female as well, so i shall excercise more caution with words. It pays to be tactful.

    Question is, what are the organisers trying to achieve by hosting these blogmeets?? especially one so grand, tagged by the owh so general term ‘Malaysian Blogmeet’. Its pretty vague actually, these meets, because theres only two categories, well, maybe three. One – the known bloggers, the ones who own more popular and well read blogs. Two – The lost sheep. Three – the non blogger kaypohs. The known bloggers somehow are connected to one another, and so they generally form a group by themselves and just chatter amongst themselves, while the lost sheep wander around aimlessly like lost sheep while asking ‘err why are we here again’. The kaypohs are basically there for the chicks, or well god knows what they want. So.. really, whats the point in these meets?? the big guys should just like go out mamak together, while the lost bloggers join a blog community online or sumtin if they wanna find blogs to read or increase readership of their own blog. Kaypohs should just got clubbing.

    meldee: sorry wilzc that line was a standard joke among my friends and i in form 2 (added on to the last part though). i should have contextualised it i suppose. by the way, i did not mean to imply he was ‘perverting the term ‘bloggers” as you put it; what i meant was he should have specified what kind of bloggers and not lump everyone under a single umbrella. there is a difference, you know? and i have nothing against models. i know some incredibly smart women who are models, and i realise to many it is just a job, the way other people defend murderous criminals or yet others clean toilets. money is a very powerful factor in all this, and far be it for us to look down on someone who has to take on jobs such as these to supplement their living.

    blog meets, pure and simple, i suppose, are to make money. why do you think there are sponsors, and organisers? there were clearly no intentions of having serious discussion on media freedom, etc, nor were there any NGOs affiliated to this event. so pure and simple, to build contacts, to forge partnerships, to make money.

  2. Jayelle said,

    that’s why, it’s the whole cheapening factor that i was harping on about.

    and you don’t simply declare something with such grandeur.

    meldee: ya. pfft. for the lack of anything else to say.

  3. Rauff said,

    Thank you for interviewing my boys. I do part of their marketing and publicity…especially online.

    keep checking http://www.klgsqwad.com for updates on their latest shows and activities.

    meldee: no worries, was fun 🙂

  4. tems said,

    When you mention freedom of informed choice and connecting it with not having a unibrow, I’m sorry to say this Melody dearest, but you are already in danger of conforming to the notion that unibrows are ugly, hence falling in danger of conforming into the mainstream idea of beauty. Unless of course, you make the informed choice of conforming.

    Zomg do you see what this course has done to me? aaaah

    meldee: tems, who said anything about resisting the idea of conformity? lol. i worked in a fashion magazine, for crying out loud, obviously i am going to conform…but if you choose not to conform, you’re conforming to the idea of non-conformity. either way, you’re conforming! and yes, i was talking about making the informed choice of conforming…:P

    i think monash has spoiled all of us for life. lol.

  5. luzzio said,

    don’t usually comment, but had to on this one.

    excelsior!

    meldee: muchos gracias, mervyn 😉

  6. Mat Deris said,

    hai

  7. Mat Deris said,

    sapa2 nk buat web bole call or sms me 0129556620


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