Hornbill Unleashed

November 8, 2009

Thinking about blogging and making hats…..on a lazy Malaysian Sunday.

By Sim Kwang Yang

internetEver since we launched this blog over seven months ago, I had only one promise made to myself: there must be a new posting everyday.

Everyday, as the sun sets, if there is no new story in my email, then I will have to bang out something on the computer. After a while, it gets to be quite tiring, especially when I am almost a full time writer for a few publications as well.

At the end of the evening, my mind would be having mental cramps from overwork.

That is why I began to upload my old stories published in Malaysiakini in the past, for my mental relief, as a kind of stop-gap measure. At first I worried about the copyright issue, since Malaysiakini does pay me for my writing. But everyone else is cutting and pasting my Malaysiakini articles on their blogs anyway, so I might as well join in the crowd.

Then, I discovered that my Malaysiakini articles are far more popular than those that I specifically write for my blog!  Last Thursday, on 5th November, my seemingly mundane story entitled “I can eat at the same table with you” attracted 7320 hits. Whereas a carefully crafted article for the blog would get not many more than 1,200 hits!

So eventually, I concluded that I really do not know what blog readers want anymore. I will just stick to my resolve to have something for the blog every day, and let the market dictate itself.

As for myself, I too read quite a few blogs everyday.  I choose my blogs based on my own areas of interest, but I always keep an eye on those blogs which can give me fresh information and a fresh angle to the current issues of the day.

For that reason, by the logic of empathy, when I write, I also try to give visitors to my blog new information or a new angle of looking at the world.

mca 4So far, we have received well-considered and reasoned responses in readers’ comments, for which we are grateful. At least, we have been spared the kind of obscenities, profanities, and the shrieking hysterical screaming that tend to flood many web sites.

I have been asked lately to comment on the ongoing MCA crisis.  I can do it easily of course, but I find the assignment wearisome, partly because you end up commenting on the personalities (which is boring because they do not deserve comment) and partly because the whole saga is so ugly.

I could comment on the Chinese Political Forum recently organised by See Hua Daily and Hua Chung in Kuching, especially the brief exchange between David Teng of SUPP and Wong Ho Leng of the DAP on the political future of the Chinese in Sarawak.

But that topic has been floating in Sarawak for the past 30 years, since I joined the DAP in 1978. That the same issue is being debated without any fresh option being offered is an indication of the backwardness of Sarawak politics.

Pak Bui brought up a relevant point a few days ago, wondering whether the Internet has become the domain where people seek blogs that agree and confirm their prejudices.

The part of the Internet universe that I frequent indeed tends to be anti-government, anti BN, and pro-opposition. That seems to be the trend in Malaysia. Malaysiakini has been accused of being so.

Recently, I had a chat with Lai Chau Kwang, editor of the Chinese language net news portal The Rock News, and we touched on the same subject. I suggested to him that he should try to give equal space and time to both sides of the political divide, and that as part of the civil society in Malaysia, we, the cultural capital on the Internet, should also begin to criticise the opposition Pakatan Rakyat. After all, we are supposed to be political, non-partisan and independent.

Lai agreed in principle, but complained that whenever he uploads some news about the BN, the hits are very low. Readers on the Internet just do not like BN news. Perhaps the Netizens in Malaysia tend to be young, and therefore simply do not like the BN.

Then Audie61 in the latest posting on his blog lamented that he has been labelled as pro-opposition by a certain media worker.  He seemed more than a little upset.

Well, as we move around and do our work in this world, there will be people who throw various hats at us. The hats do not always fit. Besides, as we get on through life, we almost always outgrow the size and shape of our hats.

civil_society

People like to throw hats on our heads because to do so is an exercise of power. They want to show their power over you by giving you labels. It is an unfair exercise, but it is human nature to throw hats at others. In my old age, I just brush these hats aside. I prefer to make my own hats.

Yes, I am pro-opposition now, not entirely, not blindly, and not all the time. I am pro-opposition now because I hope they can take power at both federal and state levels, so that we can have a two-coalition system. Then we would begin to see democratic space open up and we can then begin to build the institutions that would promote the rights and powers of the people, like the parliament, the courts, and the PAC.

But if the PR coalition becomes corrupted, arrogant, and dictatorial after they come to power for some time, then we the people in the civil society must also watch them like hawks, and oppose them, as we should oppose all forms of bad politics and injustices.

In that sense, I am not so much pro-opposition. I am pro-democracy, pro-justice, pro-Malaysians and pro-truth.

That is the hat I have made for myself, and I don’t really care what hat you have made for me.

That is partly why I blog, to have a platform for making my own hats, and I have a few.

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7 Comments »

  1. i hardly read the conventional newspaper anymore but it doesn’t seems that i’m losing out on anything important except the advertisement of the latest promotions in town. sometimes it is just too boring to know who is going to whose dinner and so on…. these kind of articles seems to me as a cover-up just to fill the newspaper to achieve its required thickness… i really hope that the newspaper will one day be a newspaper where we don’t only read the title of the articles

    Comment by Ben Woo — November 8, 2009 @ 8:04 PM | Reply

  2. If PR becomes corrupt, decadent and arrogant they will be voted out in no time. PR isn’t as entrenched as BN so it’s easier to vote out PR than BN if PR ever wins power.

    For a 2 party system to flourish, PR must be given a chance and only them will BN strive to become democratically competitive. The small concessions we have managed to gain from BN on racial inclusiveness and PKFZ is all because of the existence of PR.

    Whatever your political leaning it is to everybody’s interest to support a 2 party system, not help BN destroy it.

    Comment by Ken — November 8, 2009 @ 5:11 PM | Reply

  3. This is the fairest article I had ever read in so many blogs; I can’t actually remember all their names! Ha ha! Indeed, I am a scary mouse to say out some comments may be causing tension to (can be) anybody. Happy to hear SKY is an independent element in both soul and mind. YES! We the readers besides the writers, bloggers, columnists, journalists and commentators should have a just stand point to fairly write out the truth and facts base on sensibility and conscience. Pro-democracy, Pro-justice, Pro-Malaysians and Pro-truth should be the main four principles for all of us to uphold, abide and practise. We should hand in hand and heart with heart to strengthen and defend the existing two-coalition system. We must liberalize both our souls and minds so that we will be able to advance far. As for the hats, neither big nor small, neither fancy nor dull should moderately suit our heads in style 🙂

    Comment by V Yap — November 8, 2009 @ 4:48 PM | Reply

  4. […] trojan horses in the opposition..hmmm? seems SKY has his sights on blogging on Lazy Sunday.For some its a holy and blessed Sunday while others will celebrate and thank God for […]

    Pingback by Sarawak it’s Calm “Signals are Good for State BN” « Audie61’s Weblog — November 8, 2009 @ 4:07 PM | Reply

  5. SKY,
    My two sen worth.To relieve your mental cramps and others of your writers like Pak Bui,BP etc,May be you can invite new bloggers to write in or others features writers in national newspapers to write in HU.I saw a lot of good columnists in msiakini,Eric Loo,Dean Johns, and in BP like Dunstan Chan,Francis Siah in BP/msia mirror who writes for a fee of course.Perhaps they can write for free in HU once a month if you ask them.

    Comment by wilson — November 8, 2009 @ 10:32 AM | Reply

    • I know most of them. Believe me, they are as strained as I am. I do not have the heart to add my burden on them.

      Comment by Sim Kwang Yang — November 8, 2009 @ 11:57 AM | Reply

  6. Reading this article over a cup of coffee and a bowl of kampua “hitam” (with black soya sauce lah… ) with chinese music as background, i kind of have a self-reflection. At a glance the towkay ask me in chinese “mahu minum apa”? And when i finishes with my kampua, i will the towkay, “ku lui”?

    Well talking about the hat, my hat off to you sir.

    I really need to finish with my kampua before it get cold and “hard”. I will continue later.

    Comment by tsunami unleashed — November 8, 2009 @ 9:05 AM | Reply


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