Asian blogosphere

Monday, January 16, 2006

So I went through the first webcast lecture of my semester, and lo and behold, the first assignment given to us, was to write what we thought about blogs. Ironic because lately the Asian blogosphere is seriously interesting... or to quote from the New Straits Times™, "Even more dramatic than drama serials." I remember blogging about what I thought when it comes to blogs before. Read it here. Still, it's not a bad idea to revisit these issues especially since they came to light (again) recently. So what does this whole thing have to do with me? Nothing at the personal level, but the issues which arise from the situation are issues that are important for me as a blogger. Plus, I can think of it as research for that module I'm taking.

I first heard about this blogger some time back, can't remember when exactly. It piqued my interest in the sense I never thought of blogging at such a large scale. That was just her though, not me, so I largely ignored it. Then my friend introduced me to a few Malaysian blogs which were interesting reads, sort of like LimKitSiang's blog. (Also, I had the periodic links from our hall forum which tell of the current happenings back home) In the process of reading those blogs, I came across one which I felt drawn to somehow. This blog is pretty cool. It wasn't the layout (No offence but I think it's a bit messy, but that's his choice) or the name (although it IS interesting to note because he's not even Asian). I guess it was because he had a lot of similar interests (such as DotA, technical news and politics) and I liked his writing style. Checking through his posts, I found that he and the blogger mentioned above had some differences to settle. Reading further, I also found a lot of politics going on... all involving prominent bloggers in the region.

To summarise the situation, we have on one side, her and her loyal fans (largely Singaporean) and on the other we have her, him, her and all the other anti-XX people (check the links and backtrack a few posts to read about their views). To XX and her fans, the rest are just jealous of her 'fame', and to the anti-XX coalition, she's a childish, immature, insensitive, stuck-up online 'celebrity' that needs to be taught that the world revolves around more than just her. You can read up on the details yourselves.

The discussion forum for my module also brought this issue up... the title of which read "Blogs in Singapore are still immature." Note that being in NUS, it's a discussion involving educated people who will (hopefully) become the elite working class. I don't quite agree because I'm pretty sure there are plenty of blogs out there by Singaporeans which have a lot of mature insights... and it's not to say that XX doesn't occasionally point out some of them herself. What I do concur with is that online journalism (blogging basically) does not bring about severe repercussions like normal journalism... at most you get hate mail... or at least that's what more bloggers think. So they write what they want, pointing out what they feel without really caring if it's politically correct. Two differing point of views on this matter arises, one stating that "It's my blog, my private space, my diary and I can write what I want, when I want, how I want and if you don't like it get lost and don't read" whereas the other is that "It's defamation and insensitive and you should be sued etc." Which is the 'right' one? I'd go for neither, or rather right down the middle. I'd like to think of blogs as personal space to write about whatever one wants, about any issue, but taking into consideration that being public, they should be prepared for retaliation. A mature blogger (just like any mature journalist) would be a lot less emotional when writing about issues, especially sensitive ones like race or religion. IF a person wishes to write something derogatory about another person or persons, then they should be prepared for the consequences. If you can't handle the heat, then don't.

Fact: EVERYONE can access your blog unless you make it private, and private blogs are not the issue here, public ones are. Fact: What you write on your blog is perceived to be a reflection of who YOU are. Fact: Not everything you write is agreeable by everyone, especially if you're taking a non-conventional stand. Fact: Noone has a right to tell you what you can or cannot do, but then you don't have a right to tell others what they can or cannot do either. Fact: You can't convince everybody to see things the same way you do. Fact: People are easily swayed by opinions that seem right (Think Adolf Hitler and his charisma).

The bottomline: Be responsible over what you post. Sure, you can speak out against things which you feel strongly about, but it wouldn't hurt to be less emotional about it and see things from an objective point of view. It'll save you a lot of difficulties in long run. Does that mean you can't post your mind? Of course not. Just think about this; how would people perceive you as a blogger if your post was childish and emotional when it ought not to be? Want to keep posting that way? That's your prerogative... but don't complain if people start criticising you. If you're a big person, learn from those mistakes and move on. Similarly, to those who are on the prowl to take down other people because of their postings, cut them some slack. Occasional posts which may seem insensitive may actually just be a one off thing, not necessarily indicative of who the blogger actually is. Be more forgiving or simply ignore the ignorance of the young learning author.

I want to get one thing straight. I myself am an emotional person... I admit it. Some of my posts can be emotional or maybe even politically incorrect. I don't claim to be perfect... I'm still learning. I just hope that everyone in the Asian blogosphere does too...

Posted by Gerald at 1/16/2006 06:44:00 PM