Sunday, September 18, 2005

Today’s Google Word of the Day Is:

Xenophobia - fear or hatred of what is strange or foreign.

Judging by how the community reacted to the ‘goodman’ comments incident, I’ve come to be of the opinion that it is sadly something very prevalent in Malaysian society.

For too long, we have been a nation of sheep. We take our good lives for granted, we always fall back on old values regardless of good or bad and we believe that the good thing to do is to tow the line and not to deviate.

So then what happens when we are in trouble? Woe is the soul who realises that something is wrong and tries to warn others. Instead of listening, considering the facts and taking action, the rest of the sheep rile against him.

“He’s questioning the status quo! Call him seditious and burn him at the stake!” Never mind that lodging police reports against him won't stop trolls and will embolden the goverment to clamp down on what little free speech we have.

I used to think of the blogging community in Malaysia highly, but this episode has been a real eye opener. I used to think of the community as a whole as rational, mature and capable of critical thought; a glimmer of hope in the sea of social despair. But I now I realise I’ve been wrong about the community and question my theory about a failure of democracy. There is no failure. The people are as closed minded / xenophobic as the government it formed.

So what ‘Goodman’ said is not all truth and for that matter he is guilty of painting an entire community with a single brush. He may also have been rude to hijack the blogs of others. But neither is he entirely wrong. His outburst is a clear sign that something is wrong with society and he is not alone. Respected filmmakers, journalists, social scientists, even Prime Ministers have at one time or other pointed out the very same things, albeit more eloquently and more delicately.

That said, YES, I agree that people need to be more responsible with their words. People should not misrepresent facts, not hijack other peoples spaces and to not to troll. But, people also need to learn to consider the possibilities, to see through the hate and harsh words and seek the underlying cause.

Admitting that there IS a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. If society doesn’t break out of this nutshell soon, it may simply be beyond redemption.


Blogger Naoko said...

Malaysian bloggers are afraid because this could easily be a repeat of what's happening in Singapore. It would seem that by taking a proactive stance rather than a reactive stance (as in self-regulation) it would be safest for everyone concerned. However, there is a real need to trash this thing out (as in discuss and dissect said issue) just so we know where we stand. I only have problems with HOW he said it, and not so much WHAT he said, because it is true. That said... You coming for the Bloggers meetup?

Monday, September 19, 2005 1:28:00 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

YEs! I am going. :D

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:08:00 PM  
Blogger Naoko said...

Cool! That's great. Will see you there then! :)

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:34:00 PM  

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