Kafez

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The Malaysian Goverment may register Malaysian bloggers and here's why I support the idea.

by Susan Abraham

The Malaysian Goverment is thinking of registering bloggers or rather, anyone who signs up with local servers to blog. It's an issue that has come up in Parliament.

The mechanics are quite fruitless when you think that one may always present outlandish notions from anywhere abroad using a credible pen-name. Is anyone going to trace you in the Andamans? Still, I feel comforted by the thought. Not for the reasons of censorship but simply from my own experience and the sad things I've seen happen to others.

We are a small community. Most bloggers know each other. Many say they are writers or trying to write. Fair enough! Many idolise each other. So when there is controversy or a feud between two people - and it's just between 2 people and no one else - a whole bunch gets involved. Such is the solidarity. They all get involved and everything turns messy.

When such a situation happens, there is mostly mockery. It's a big gang that may descend with scoldings on one human being who may just have a different opinion from a particular group of bloggers.

I know because I was in the thick of one more than 2 years ago. And that was a long time ago. At the time, my own controversial opinions from an emotional strain to protect myself from slander - from a particular group of Malaysian writers at the time. The difference is that I always used my full name and stood by everything I said. Many hide behind anonymity.
The fact that I wanted to publish in England was one of the things that bore rude remarks.

And lately, it happened with one of Malaysia's foremost writers Rehman Rashid who made a comment in the New Straits Times...some negative viewpoints on the local blogging scene. This is a writer, brilliant with his words.

But surely, that's his right...his liberty to think and say what he will. Even if he wants to use a colouful analogy in comparison, we can't force him to say wonderful things about us if he doesn't like the medium.

This highly-talented author's name was instantly rubbished on the Net by more then a dozen of my country's bloggers. All at once. I felt so sorry for him.

And it has also happened with a local independent bookseller cum independent publisher who has done so much for the book scene of late in these last 2 years. I give him that honour. He gets his fair share of stone-throwing from some when he rejects the manuscripts of young blogger- writers who stop by his office. I mean, there's a grudge or grouse. One day, you see him getting the dressing-down from one blogger and instantly, other commentators vulture in, to add salt to the wound. I've observed these sort of things for a long while.

For my part, I've had bad names called, been slandered in real time to this present day - and this by religious bloggers - I've had poison-pen letters and still have those in my mailbox. I've had derogatary insults on my person that are nothing at all to do with my actions. I've had virus threats sent to my mailbox by company servers. But all this, only from my country or rather a paticular local community where certain writer-bloggers know each other and support each other.

There have been local fiction I hated because I thought and still think the use of the English Language is completely inferior and inaccurate. I mean, I just pure-hate books where the manuscipt has appeared careless and had a shoddy ride. but never point out a local writer's errors for a published book in public.

If its internationally-published, that's alright but NOT locally. Instead, words like excellent and bestselling are encouraged even if it just hits the local list for one week because of a publicity drive. I've learnt from hindsight that if you're not part of this particular group, some may descend on you like wolves.

If we were registered, I would feel protected and if a blogger feels he/she has the right ethical reasons for writing what they do, then there is nothing to worry about. I wouldn't at all mind being accountable for my words and actions. So a cowboy policing justice? And the policemen being a few local writers who masquerade in the form of poisonous anonymity? No, thank you. I prefer my Government's brand of what I believe to be a much more fair-minded sense of justice any day.

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