Happy Birthday, Bloggers United. We’re 3 months old today. There will be mee rebus session at the usual place with the usual suspects, Rocky et.al. While you are gulping down your mee rebus and teh tarik, think of me.

For those who want some history lessons on Bloggers United and how it all started, go here. We’ve come together on various issues – like this. Now with Nila Tanzil’s debut from Indonesia, we hope to expand Bloggers United to our sister country as well. What about Singapore, anyone interested?

Now that we’ve been banned by the main stream media (request by the ministry), more readers will turn directly to our blogs. It’s natural, human nature being basically rebellious. So, we should thank the government for this cheap publicity. And we should keep on blogging!

Meanwhile, here’s and Ode to Bloggers by Dr Azly Rahman, first published in Malaysiakini. I had written to Azly to thank him for his poem.

He replied promptly: “I have all the sympathies for the common man/woman victimized by the state and corporations. I will continue to write on all these“.

It is always the individual that will make the radical changes. Truth reigns supreme — the cybercast voice of the individual over doctored reports produced by the print-media controlled by the greedy and the powerful“.

We will deconstruct these, as Derrida would suggest“.

Here’s his poem:

 
 

DR AZLY RAHMAN is a transcultural philosopher rooted in the tradition of Critical and Chaos Theory. Born in Singapore, raised in Johor Baru, he was a child of Malaysia’s experiment in humanistic education: Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kuantan.A member of The International Honor Society in Education, Azly holds a Doctorate in International Education Development from Columbia University, New York City, and Masters in four areas: International Affairs, Education, Communication, and Peace Studies.He has taught in Malaysia and the United States in a multitude of settings and in diverse fields such as Politics/International Relations, Education, American Studies, Philosophy/ Humanities/Cultural Studies, and History/Foundations of Civilizations.

His interest lies in deconstructing ‘hegemony and totalitarianism’ and to explore the possibilities of creating one’s personal republic that will challenge and transform the postmodern state.

He can be reached at: aar26@columbia.ed

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Denis Diderot, French Enlightenment thinker

There was non among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No: from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery.

‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley-Wollstonecraft

Sometime ago, after reading Plato’s narration of a conversation between King Thamus and the inventor Theuth concerning the impact of new technologies on society, after reading media guru Neil Postman’s work Technopoly, and after deep reflection on the idea of the Luddites (a movement that “raged against the machine” during the Industrial Revolution), I penned verses which I find suitable to honour Malaysian bloggers in their onward march towards creating a spectre that will haunt the state-owned print media.

Here it goes:

P H A E D R U S II
The Last Judgement of Thamus
Circa A.D. 2020
Lines composed near the banks of Hudson River, New York city

Background notes: They say that there dwelt at Naucratis in Egypt one of the old gods of that country, to whom the bird they call Ibis was sacred, and the name of the god himself was Theuth. Among his inventions were number and calculation . . . and, above all, writing. . . . To [the king, Thamus] came Theuth and exhibited his inventions . . . when it came to writing, Theuth declared: “There is an accomplishment, my lord the kind, which will improve both the wisdom and the mentory of the Egyptians. I have discovered a sure receipt for memory and wisdom.” “Theuth, my paragon of inventors,” replied the king, “the discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which will accrue to those who practise it. . . . Those who acquire [writing] will cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful. . . . What you have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory . . . ( Phaedrus, 95-96)

And it was in the year 2020
In a not-too-distant cybercity
As Socrates’ narratives on cybertechnology
Laments King Thamus’s concern for the fate of academies

And Theuth my inventor par excellence
What say you concerning educational excellence?
Of the methods and principles of teaching
Brought about by new technologies of communicating?

O’ Thamus, Wise King of Cyberjaya
Indeed our children will undergo Karma
Of one imbued with Dharma
Which will bring us all to Moksha
Karma is Rebirth
Dharma is Devotion and Duty
And Moksha is art of being one with Creation
Of which educational practice will assume a new reality

This invention called blogging
Of which for many ages we have waited so patiently
Will transform the meaning of Reality
and Democracy as it marries Virtuality
More than what print media has guaranteed

O’ wise King Thamus
We are witnessing the death of Papyrus
the demise of Gutenberg legacy
As we witness the birth of PERSONACRACY
A deeply personalized form of postmodern democracy
In the brilliance of anarchy
To be cultivated with the media of blogging
By way of this ideology called PERSONACRACY,

O’ King
Our children, the true song of democracy they will sing
Of which the teacher will die a slow death
Like the first teacher Socrates
whose fate was a choice he once had
Our children will be Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu
The Creator, Destroyer, and the One who Renews
Our children will make history and create Knowledge
Destroy paradigms
and like Vishnu, preserve what is old and what is new

They will be Renaissance men and women
In their mind neural connections will be made, synapses will be woven
And the boundaries of the Real and the Imagined
we can no longer ascertain
In this onward march towards Virtuality
Classrooms will cease to exist nor too the concept of teaching
The sage of Russia Illich will be singing
In honor of this day when education means deschooling

O’ Thamus wise ruler of Cyberjaya
The days wherein authorities rule capital cities
Will be gone with the advent of my invention called blogging
Pedagogy will be replaced with METAPHYSICAL TRANSITION THEORIES

And Plato’s academy will be history
Buried underneath the magnificence of blogging
Gone will be the idea of faculties
In their place will emerge knowledge patterned like fractal geometries
And Chaos will be the order of the day
And Complexity will be king of pedagogies

For the sage Mandelbrott did once spoke
Of the patterns inherent in knowledge and wisdom
O’ Theuth my kingdom’s most honored inventor,
What say you of the blogger’s impact on the teacher?
One who holds the key to any civilization’s treasure
And who guards the principles of a moral character?

Wise King Thamus,
this is my conjecture: My invention is Frankensteinish in nature
Aren’t we already at the end of history?
Wherein the Knower and the Known has no longer a boundary?
This technology will destroy authorities
Including values we guard with jealousy
Slain like the dragon in Beowulf’s story
Buried with Socrates and Dante Alighieri

A further elaboration concerning the death of authority:
O’ King, I call this an Age of Subalternity
In which we will witness the dawn of PERSONACRACY
Of which with the help of blogging,
the child constructs his customized version of democracy

O’ Theuth Master Inventor
Yours is a song of conjectures
For, can you as a creator
Be the judge of what good and bad blogging will bring into our future?

My greatest apologies Wisest of all Kings
Do you not remember that we are in the year 2020?
In which kingdoms have been crushed under the weight of technologies of virtual realities?
And you dear king – are you not already ancient history?

You and your kingdom destroyed by technologies of Virtuality?

17 responses »

  1. egghead says:

    Cheers to Bloggers United!

  2. elviza says:

    Heap Heap Hurray BU!

    I ll wait until you come back to join the monthly meeting of the BU. After all I owe you that big lunch remember? Take care Susan

  3. susan loone says:

    I thought you guys and gals should read this:

    Monday, March 19, 2007
    Some call it stupidity, I call it bravery
    from http://synergylyn.blogspot.com/2007/03/some-call-it-stupidity-i-call-it.html

    I was reading Susan Loone’s blog today and it just stuck me how many people out there are willing to risk their security for freedom. An Indonesian journalist, Nila Tanzil, lost her job because she shared her honest opinion on the state of the Malaysian Tourism Board in her blog.

    That’s in addition to the court case against Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan (popularly known as Rocky) which is currently underway. Read the updates on the Bloggers United’s official website.

    This court case, intent on intimidating bloggers into submission, has the opposite effect. When I read about the case, I posted a neither-here-nor-there post about defamation. It somehow got me into the community of well-known bloggers who are not afraid to voice their opinions.

    And for me, it is a privilege to be in this prestigious league of people I hold in high-esteem. I would’ve continued to simply assume that Malaysians are just timid pushovers, like me, who have no choice but to be afraid of the government.

    To mum, and a host of relatives from the older generation, to take an action that will result in the government’s wrath falling on you is known as stupidity. If I think that the government is corrupt, keeping my mouth shut is the smartest thing I can do. According to them.

    To me, the issue is simple. If you can back your arguments with proof and logic, to speak out even though you know the grave consequences is brave.

    It is also something that I cannot do. And as I am such a scaredy cat, I’m very honoured to be in the community of Malaysian bloggers as part of the Bloggers United.

    I was going to write I hope that the Malaysian government comes to their senses. But I don’t think that it will happen anytime soon. Sad…

  4. sungame says:

    Happy anniversary, all you brave Malaysians and Indonesians! It certainly won’t happen the next three months, maybe not even the next three years, but I know that because of people like you, someday bloggers in Indonesia and Malaysia will achieve the same freedom we Norwegians take for granted.

  5. Happy 2 months anniversary. since BU was Launched on 20 January 2007…… plus bonus 1 month oklah…. 😉 become 3 months old.

    Adios

  6. Rikey® says:

    WONDERFUL TO BE ALIVE & FREE,
    WONDERFUL TO ROAM CYBERSPACE,
    WONDERFUL TO SHARE MY HAPPINESS & FEARS,
    WONDERFUL TO BE UNITED,
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BLOGGERS UNITED!

  7. Opppsss we have to be accountable and bloggers are not liars. So must be 2 months anniversary lah

  8. elviza says:

    Cutelah you Anon….

  9. wits0 says:

    Susan, I’ve read little about Derrida but if that pathologically self-loathing leftist Chomsky is critical of the former, then it’s worth noting what Derrida has to say. Haha.

    Spins like those in Bodohland need deconstruction. No intellectual progress is possible as ostriches.

  10. wits0 says:

    One may not agree with Derrida(as I don’t) but asking how, who, why, when, and where wrt any phenomenon is necessary common sense.

  11. shar101 says:

    One evening in recent weeks, I had the privilege of having two powerful men of ‘letters’ for company, namely, Rocky and Syed Nadzri.

    As the evening wore on, I summoned up enough courage to ask both of them a rather ‘cheeky’ question in spite of my lack of journalistic background. In my mind, it was pertinent, relevant to the current circumstances and to have two apparently opposing personalities answer my question was just too priceless to resist.

    The question was “Why do people write?”.

    The next few seconds or minutes were agonizing to describe. They both seemed tongue-tied, to say the least. Perhaps, my request was vague or maybe, they both knew that I was being deliberately provocative and preferred to remain ‘aloof’ until I volunteered to answer my own question.

    People write out of passion to inform.
    They have come to a conclusion.
    The conclusion was arrived from analyzing, debating, scrutinizing an issue.
    The issue was written by someone else.

    Journalism, whether professional or citizen (as in bloggers) have a common and noble purpose. Do it with enough passion, you’ll get paid handsomely in one way or right the wrongs in the other.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have both?

  12. happy birthday to bloggers united.may the force be with BU….

  13. susan loone says:

    Yes Shar, how to write if not with passion?
    I dont know any other way. If I write without passion, I myself cant read my writing 😦
    I dont know about being paid hansomely, but what I know is never write for money. And I am not sure if we could right the wrongs, but we sure can get people to start thinking. If we could only do this, we should already be very, very happy, don’t you think so?

  14. wits0 says:

    Perhaps perdition awaits those who chose to write inanely and worse, unconscionably, for largese. Such odium is not vacuum-sealable.

  15. monsterball says:

    Some write for political reasons.Some write to protect their own race and religion. Some write to expose these racialists. Most write for the love of the country…some have nothing to do..so write.
    But the more we write..the more we will know each other.
    It will reveal our hypocracies or passion or any selfish ulterior motives…..but worst of all….are the scums of Malaysia……..writing to disunite..to devide…to mislead for the pleasure to see Malaysia’s Malaysian concept do not work with strength and vagour…..thus.. not long lasting….and start all over again.This group is sadly ….few malays in Malaysia…encouraged by sadly..welknown ex figure head of Malaysia. However…..through reading the thousands of messages from each other….we can say…writing have succeeded to bring us closer and understand each other better.Thanks

  16. Johnny Ong says:

    2 or 3 months doesn’t matter as it’s a norm to inflate figures nowadays.

  17. Johnny Ong says:

    2 or 3 months doesn’t matter as it’s a norm to inflate figures nowadays. And Susan, thanks for linking me to your blog.

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