Bloggers United Malaysia: embrace and engage…

24 05 2007

I have the below information on Bloggers United Malaysia 2007 from a friend last week and since i needed to be in Kuala Lumpur at that time i decided to participate. One of the first attraction of the programme was apparently the choice of speakers, especially Jeff Ooi. It is of course not because he is the most famous blogger who has inspired many bloggers in Malaysia but because I know him and realise his quality of work – not to mention that my organisation had invited him to conduct training at least two times.

There was a mixture of old and young people. Most of them blog about current affairs with a few who blog about anything else. One blog in particular is Daphne Ling who said that she managed to raise fund through her blog by sending information to a few famous blogs. I asked what made it successful and she replied it was the power of blogging.

On top of that, i found it interesting to learn that about one hundred people were willing to pay for their participation with a simple explanation that they do not want the foreign organisation to have an influence on the event. I later heard about this again from another person the following day!

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Initially I questioned whether it was necessary for bloggers to meet face to face as they are supposed to write and share their ideas only in cyber-world. Sam explained to me that it was a new social phenomenon in a sense that it pushes blogging into another level – it is a platform between purely physical gathering and virtual meeting. Bloggers who first meet online in cyberspace can embrace and engage each other through physical gathering to provide support, especially in time of need. This perhaps helps to explain why a few bloggers have moved forward to create National Alliance of Bloggers (NAB), especially after Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru, the two leading bloggers in Malaysia, have been sued by the NST. The aim of the NAB is to protect bloggers and to promote blogging.

All speakers seemed to link their few words to current media situation in Malaysia – how the government has created and imposed a system to control blogging community. I am not surprise to hear some complained about the lack of or limited freedom of press. I also do in my own country especially during this period of time. In Thailand, the government has already issued a law to control blogs which go against the government. I believe each individual has their freedom to write or say or do whatever they like to. Of course, they must take full responsibility of their own action and word.

During the discussion, i heard some people asked if bloggers should use their own name or remain anonymous. I found this an interesting question as I just created a new blog (www.peacespace.wordpress.com) and keep it anonymous. I previously had one under my real name but the current situation in the country led me to create another. For me, registering own name helps add credibility to the blog, but it is absolutely up to each individual to decide.


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