Firstly, let me explain my headline, before my detractors pretend not to understand and incite bitter war of words again to a plainly innocent suggestion. By saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions“, I am saying that “merely intending to do good, without actually doing it, is of no value”. I am NOT saying that All-blogs are on the road to hell!
Now I have some comments and questions for you Jun E (your points in italics):
1. Noone seems to care about what I see as the bigger picture, i.e. the future of All-Blogs to be able to unite all bloggers, to educate and to engage the government about blogging.
How do you intend to unite bloggers? The main reason why Bloggers United and then All-Blogs came about was when bloggers finally made a stand against the NST, when the newspapers and four others, decided to sue Rocky and Jeff. That was why hundreds, no 300 hundred or so bloggers rallied behind us, using Sheih’s logo, and together with us made a stand, in solidarity with our two brothers.
Have we now forgotten our beginning? Are we turning the movement away from its original intentions and stand, that we shall not tolerate any bullying tactics by big institutions and authority on any of us? And how do you intend to educate and engage the government without making a stand in the first place? The government does not need a training class or a module on blogging. It needs, instead, to know that bloggers are serious about their freedom to blog and will not be bullied or cowed into silence just because there are laws to curb freedom of speech.
2. All-Blogs has to undergo an image revamp. It is important from several levels, to engage more people to blog, and to calm the government down, convince them that we are not here to topple it, but to help it improve our beloved country.
What image revamp? How does All-Blogs intend to do this? You may actually need a PR consultancy for this, at the rate All-Blogs are going. What All-Blogs need to be is clear and strong and unwavering in its stand and motives so that it gains some respects not only from all bloggers, but potential bloggers and finally the government.
People would be engaged to blog when they are ensured that there would be more freedom, more space and more opportunities to speak their minds and not the other way around. I am afraid, your image revamp suggestion may only lead to the Opposite, that bloggers see that not only the government are after their freedom, even All-Blogs, which they hope to represent and protect their interests are coming up with all sorts of restrictions, rule and regulations, procedures. At this rate, tell me, who wants to blog?
And ‘calm the government down?” – now why should we have to do that? If this is the pathway All-blogs want to take, then like Crankshaft says, it is being more political than ever. A government is toppled by its own injustices, corrupt practices and by years of deceiving and eating into people’s pockets, definitely it can’t be toppled by All-blogs at all, who has, as its membership, or as they claim, bloggers with all kinds of political affiliations, and who are impartial.
Of course, by saying there is no need to calm the government, I am not at all suggesting a militant approach. Let’s say, we don’t have to do what we don’t need to do okay? Unless, we are trying to suck up to someone.
4. We have to be neutral (and perceived so), and change has to come graduall.
Dear Jun E, what is it like to be neutral? I don’t believe anyone can stand and claim themselves to be neutral when there are injustices all around us. Anyone who claims to be so must be completely heartless or dead (sorry, I do not know how to say this politely). And through history, we can judge that it is always those who claim to be neutral, who allows dictatorships to persist, because they (the former) has much self-interest to protect. But remember what they also say: when everyone has been taken away (for example, the communists, the catholics, the student activists, etc…there would be no one left to speak for us). One can only be professional, but never neutral (towards injustices, not party politics).
5. Strategically speaking, it is suicide, for All-Blogs to “campaign”, during the clash of the titans. To be there, to be waving the (not yet existent) flag of All-Blogs, will just increase the government’s apparent paranoia towards bloggers.
What are the reasons for the “government’s apparent paranoia towards bloggers”? Because bloggers, pro-government or otherwise, have been increasing vocal about their dissatisfaction of government policies. The paranoia also comes from the various scandals being exposed by bloggers. So, its All-blogs going to propose that we slow down on all these approaches – less criticisms of government policies, less expose of scandals involving government ministers – in order to “lessen” the government paranoia towards bloggers?
If this is the approach All-Blogs want to take, I am afraid it has been co-opted by BN/Umno elements. This is not blind assumption, but a natural state of thought, if the answer to my question above is “yes”.
6. You have suggested several scenarios, let me tell you what I think of each of them:
(a) Govt becomes even more paranoid and (futile) blogger registration exercises are expedited.
Which means, All-Blogs will act demure and sweet, closing one eye to injustices or the need to campaign for free speech, so as not to incur the paranoia of the government because it wants to be registered under the ROS (registrar of societies)?
(b) Govt laughs at bloggers. With the full capacity of RM36mil behind Ijok. Govt laughs hard.
Let them laugh, why are we afraid? Let’s see who has the last laugh.
(c) Opposition makes use of All-Blogs for their political speeches. All-Blogs sinks deeper into its anti-establishment image and loses whatsoever hope it has left of being a neutral entity, able to educate govt about what blogs are, and engage govt for healthy dialogue.
It’s a pity that campaigning for free speech (or any human rights) issue is seen as a possible exploitative tool by the Opposition, that it is akin to the Opposition’s agenda. This is exactly what the government wants, for us to be afraid, for us to stay away from campaigning for our rights, because we would be perceived as an Opposition tool?
Just because we are being perceived (conveniently by the government and their proxies) as being used by the Opposition, does not mean we must stop doing what is right.
I would rather maintain what my ex-boss Steven Gan used to say, even during my job interview with him “If the issues we champion (anti-corruption, democracy, free speech, to name a few) are also the issues that the Opposition champions, so be it. We do not support party politics, but it doesn’t mean we are a-political”. For years, Malaysiakini has been accused of being an Opposition agent, but it steadfastly continues to report the truth. That is how it gained the respect of government and opposition alike, not by soft approaches but by being firm and principled!
(d) All-Blogs is ignored. What? We are not as important as we think we are?
Bloggers can only be ignored by the government and its supporters (for obvious reasons), and there is nothing else to lose except that registration with the ROS (which can only mean more control for bloggers). I am willing to take the chance. I am not willing to lose my freedom to blog as I please.
7. The second thing is, All-Blogs should not do anything of this sort without the agreement of the majority of its members, or at this moment, its committee members (which I am not part of =P). The constitution is not even out to state the All-Blogs’ policies towards these issues! I absolutely refuse to be represented by an entity which I do not believe in.
This, I agree totally with Jun E.
There you are my dear. I had my say, and it’s nice to hear what the young think of issues like this. It is refreshing, and yet a bit frightening to me, because its rather conservative thinking. I see no hope of Malaysia ever changing for another 50 years or more.