April 1, 2007
My Views on Blogs
I was asked my views on Blogging in Malaysia on e-mail, in relation to an article someone is writing. Here’s what I wrote. Enjoy!
1) How do you think bloggers in Malaysia can change or affect the socio-political landscape?
The blogosphere in Malaysia has undergone several stages of transformation, and has slowly matured into a legitimate community – one that is increasingly welcome to open discussion through peer feedback and comments. In any given community, there are opinion leaders who shape the views and sentiments through their analyses. Likewise, bloggers in Malaysia are doing precisely that: shaping and forming views that are publically available and read by the thousands. Through internet networks, blogs definitely play a role in lobbying issues of concern and reaching out to like-minded individuals. This we already see happening amongst political and NGO circles.
Because of a non-censorship policy of the Internet, Malaysians are privileged to be allowed open debate online, something we may be deprived of otherwise. It is this dynamic interaction between online community members that allows for critical examination and open dialogue, a process so necessary in the maturing of society. Such debates – especially when involving issues of socio-political nature – transform people’s perspectives, vision, needs, and expectations of their national leaders. This in turn is a perfect mechanism and feedback system for political leaders, who should be cognizant of their citizens’ needs, consequently responding accordingly.
2) Do bloggers have legitimate concerns and are they in fact as accused by certain quarters.. merely troublemakers?
Making generalised and sweeping statements is never wise. Likewise, accusing all bloggers across the board as mere troublemakers is reflective of a lack of information and understanding. Who are bloggers? Bloggers are merely citizens of a nation; do citizens have legitimate concerns and is it legitimate for them to voice these out? A resounding yes. Through blogs, citizens act as little lighthouses that cast light on corrupt practices, mismanaged utilities and other issues that are in fact constructive towards problem-solving and nation building!
Having said that, I believe bloggers do have the responsibility to ensure the accuracy and reliability of data they claim to be factual in nature. The very nature of a blog demands that there is a fluid mechanism for response, critique and analysis. Malaysians need to progress into a matured enough community that is able to absorb, filter, analyse and make conclusions for themselves in an age of technology and free information. If we are to encourage a society of thinking individuals, it has to start by encouraging discussion and self-examination as a nation. Blogs have given this to us.