Sunday, May 20, 2007

BUM Baring!

Went along to the Bloggers United Malaysia's Embrace & Engage shindig last night at the Lake View Club in Subang. The event was billed as:
... a social and networking gathering with a preliminary brainstorming session between the 4th and 5th estates to embrace and engage the blogging phenomenon in Malaysia.
I was late so missed some of the speeches, but those I did hear were very interesting indeed and well worth going for.

According to the messy notes scrawled on receipts and scraps of paper from the bottom of my bag (disorganised blogger not amounting to a journalist!) and with apologies for the speakers I missed, and even more apologies if I misquote anyone:

Sonia Randhawa of the Centre for Independent Journalism spoke about how it is governments in countries where the media is suppressed who seek to censor cyberspace. Governments in 26 countries are blocking or filtering political or social content on the internet - Malaysia (happily) isn't among them! (Yet?)

She said that the mass media in Malaysia does not have the credibility that bloggers have, but it isn't the media's fault since the press has limited freedom. While the newspapers come across as anti-blogger, she said, individual journalists are supportive of bloggers, and the National Union of Journalists came out in support of bloggers on World Press Freedom Day.

Marina Mahathir - a relative newcomer in cyberspace (6 months) but a longtime columnist (17 years) talked about the differences of writing for a newspaper vs writing a blog which gives more space and editorial control and involves the blogger actively making choices about how to present and slant content. I agreed very strongly with what she said about other people's comments adding knowledge and value to your writing. (Love you guys!) And she admitted that she was so addicted that blogging is messing up her life. (Join the club, dear!)

Citizen Nades (real name R. Nadeswaran) is deputy editor of the Sun and a prominent columnist. He reckons that a lot of bloggers don't yet know how to appreciate their new found freedom. He said that he does censor what he writes in his columns. He lost two friends on May 13th and is concerned to write nothing that causes racial hatred.

Jeff Ooi commented (very quotably!) that the role of bloggers is to initiate conversation rather than to sell your philosophy - and that this diversity of thought "leads to a collective intelligence".

Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today made an impromptu speech. He reckons it takes time for a blogging community to develop a maturity. He said that although there appears to be a lot more freedom of speech these days, that's because there are actually just a lot more people saying things.

Then the most important part of the evening - the food (just kidding!) But it was really nice, especially the roast lamb.

And then I looked around to see who I knew, and not knowing very many decided to listen to the See Ming voice in my head and network like crazy! The trouble with a gathering of bloggers is that whilst you sort of know or at least have heard of quite a lot of people in cyberspace, you haven't a clue which body goes with each online voice!

The person who looked least like I imagined him was Desi (of desiderata-ylchong) who chaired the gathering. I'd imagined him as a wild-eyed, long haired young poet and met a ... slightly older, very cheerful guy who very kindly signed his first collection of poetry for me.

I picked up lots of name cards and will be fun visiting some new blogs and finding out just what you guys get up to.

A very big thank you to Omar Lee and his friend (whose name in my totally blur way I have forgotten, aiyoh!) who gave me a lift home ... and were all the while missing the FA cup final in a pub with a big-screen somewhere. I pray that they aren't Man U. supporters, but fear the worst.**

Below is the only semi-decent pic I took all evening, but I did manage to cut Jeff Ooi out of it somehow.

Glossary - "the fourth estate" is the press and the history of this intriguing term can be found here. "The fifth estate" is a term of recent coining and refers to citizen's media including blogs.

** It's only just struck me why most folks went home when the night was still young!! And i thought you disappeared so that you could be first online with your reports of the event!


A Voice (of Another Brick in the Wall) said...

Thanks for keeping my bag upright. We'll chat up next time we ever meet up!

Was running away for FA Cup final. Sorry Man U fanatics.

Nik Nazmi said...

Hi Sharon,

Good to see you after all this while.

Were you assigned to any sports house while you were in MCKK.

__earth said...

tell me its sulaiman!

bibliobibuli said...

a voice - look forward to that. and yes, i forgive you for running away to the football. i was honestly thinking "what is this? the night's still young! do bloggers need their sleep or are they just suffering from withdrawal symptoms being detached from their keyboards for so long?"

nik, _earth - haha very sorry ... it was mat shah!!!!

Wattahack? said...

yoyo nice lamb and weird group! from underaged to overaged...hahaha


Hi Sharon,

Dont eat lamb-lah. I come from a different planet, so I have been told many times.

The Japanese tofu was nice. Had loads of it.

Nice to have met you that evening, Sharon.

WOnderful mix of people, huh?

desiderata said...

Dear Sharon,
Fellow Blogger I have engaged in cyberspace, graduated to first time reallife conversationist lust sat nite -- niCe:)

Me longhaired "hippie" like? Maybe NSTman and Din Merican may next sirprise with our rendering of Let It Be.

Luckily Nobod APpeared at that BUM bearing down on Desi and gUshed: "I though you were a Missie!"

Wonder IF I could now find Dreamer knot Idiotic to thy Poetic Readings -- I may go foolly covered like Raja Petra from the top! Intimation or intimidasi?

CK said...

Hi Sharon

Great blog site. Definitely will drop by more often. Btw Omar and I did manage to catch the match. Stopped at the nearest mamak stall (with big screen of course) we could find. Btw neither of us is a MU fan, just enjoy watching a good game. We both enjoyed the evening at the LVC, and want to say thank you to Howsy , Desi and those involved. Cheers.

lil ms d said...

ARGH. really wanted to go. but with nephew ill, and my car hijacked by mum i was pretty much legless. great to read this. more sharon!

bibliobibuli said...

how nice to re-meet you all again here! making friends was the best part and i'm sad i could now have spoken to everyone

desi - would love you to guest-blog a critique a poem for our puisi-poesy blog - the essay in your book shows you have some very interesting thoughts about poetry

wattahack - yes, the demographics took me by surprise too. i thought most bloggers would be young techie guys ...

nuraina - yes, the tofu was lovely too. and the company was wonderful. wonder when real life will have us bump into each other next?

ck -so sorry your initials slipped my stupid memory. very many thanks once again. you guys were knights in shining armour.

ms d - sorry you couldn't make it. i think you'd have enjoyed yourself.

i think i forgot to say thank you to the organisers - so thank you most sincerely

omarlee said...

Was our pleasure to drop you back home. Imagine the taxi wanting to charge you RM25.. couldn't let them do it to you.

It was great meeting these bloggers. I must say they are all nice people, both young and old. I was able to talk to Raja Petra Kamaruddin, we're both ex-victorians with him 2 years my senior. Was all good. Thx to the organisers and to CK for telling me about this event.

Managed to say hello to Jeff Ooi as well. Jeff, CK and I sit on the Creative Commons Board. Not sure how to put a link to the site in here goes -

BTW, didn't miss the FA match one bit since it was goaless, even at full time. Anyways, I'm more of a Barcelona fan.

Love your site.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks again so much, omar. it was really nice to meet you too.

the creative commons site interests me a lot. i stuck a creative commons license on this blog but am not sure if it is even the right one ...

lil ms d said...

can they repeat the forum again? :D

lucia said...

hi. thanks for coming. thanks for supporting us.

links of all those who posted about the event can be found at our official blog (

if you know of links that have not been added at the blog, please let us know, and we'll update the list.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks lucia. will post that link up top.

many thanks too for all your hard work. look forward to the next one.