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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Why as a Malaysian writer I chose not to take Tengku Adnan's allegations seriously or blog about it up to now.

by Susan Abraham

The following below proved to be the quote of our Minister of Tourism earlier this month, as printed by a Chinese daily in our country. It turned out to beTengku Adnan's personal fury over an Indonesian journalist who blogged about her supposedly disappointing experience in Kuala Lumpur. Below is what he is reported to have said earlier in the month though he has since clarified and explained the matter. I believe he was referring solely to Malaysian bloggers and not the rest of the world because of his alleged words on national unity.

“Bloggers are liars. They use all sort of ways to cheat others. From what I know, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women. Bloggers like to spread rumours, they don’t like national unity. Today our country has achievements because we are tolerant and compromising. Otherwise we will have civil war. Malays will kill Chinese, Chinese will kill Malays, Indians will kill everybody else.” He asked people not to believe bloggers and gamble away Malaysia’s future because 50 years of Merdeka (Independence) takes a lot to achieve it. “We have to show to the people our positive attitude. If the world learns from us, there will peace and no civil war.”

Here's why I did not blog about it or take it seriously though many women went into short explosions. Considering I am myself Indian, I found that particular line a comedy. It made me smile. I saw
humour in it.

a) I granted Tengku Adnan, his liberty of thought as an individual. The Minister has a free will like anyone else.

b) Did his words tarnish the image of our country? No, it couldn't have. Except for a new trickle of added publicity which now adds on interest and is never a bad thing.

c) I didn't want to get into a tizzy over wasted energy in becoming angry. After a while the furore simply dies down and then you think, what a waste of time it all was. Is your rant going to go down in history or be remembered for its value.? Possibly not. And when that time could be used constructively for positive things that matter or to be fulfilling a destiny.

d) Don't want to point fingers at anyone and say. "Hey you, how dare you..." when I myself have human weaknesses to deal with. I believe everyone learns from their own mistakes but in their own time and not someone else's designated time for them.

e) You could recognise from the harebrained words that it was an emotional outburst. When someone has an emotional outburst, logic and sensibilities always vanish.
Give it time. Calmness and remorse will return.
It's like when someone has a bitter break up with a woman and then with a cynical attitude says, he despises all women. Same thing. Such noble declarations are temporary.

f) I would make a quick mental study of an allegation or claim. Words like all and every are simply too superfluous. In this case, the Minister doesn't know me personally. Neither does he know my friends. So it's obvious he doesn't have me in mind. Larger-then-life numbers also spell speculation. It warrants perhaps nothing more than a flimsy thought, then dismissal.

g) I think with me, it's like this: Anything that sounds too preposterous to be true, too contemptible to warrant a second thought or daft to be held as knowledge is immediately dismissed from my mind. But that doesn't mean I don't respect Tengku Adnan's free will. I do.

h) To get angry for the Indonesian journalist? No, I cannot do that. But I feel empathy. I don't see how she won't get over it. I would ask her to simply ignore what happened and get on with the rest of her life. I know the score.
As a fashion journalist, I received defamatory and anonymous notes from a rival modelling agency and I remembered one of the editors, once saying to me, "That means you have arrived because no one kicks a dead dog."

i) I have also been defamed on the internet for my own controversial views and received anonymous notes in my mailbox. And this always from my own country. One day, I will tell you about a master defamer. A reporter with an english daily who has sent me such colourful notes, I so enjoy them. But when you're a writer with outspoken views, you HAVE to expect these things.

j) I would worry about the sharper hidden truths. Truths that are unseen to the eye and can sometimes prove more dangerous then life itself :-)

Photograpy Credit: Teddy Travels

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