Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hartal sweetie caring or catty?

Helen Ang, columnist at Malaysiakini is once again off on her hobby-horse of boycotting the mainstream media (MSM).

But she has a point in that the MSM has been bullsh*tting big time. She also lashed out acerbically at local reporters for not challenging the government’s fairytales. Aiyoh, cari makan mah.

I see her frustration in people not supporting her current campaign because they reckoned her call to boycott the MSM as impractical and a wee too drastic and dramatic.

Glory be folks, for Helen, there’s no shade of grey on tolerance for overly creative MSM news reporting; she demands a rather severe black & white approach – like, boycott those bastards if they can’t spell T-R-U-T-H.

She wrote pungently of her detractors against her hartal call:

When we first started our ‘Boycott the Newspapers!’ campaign at The People’s Parliament, the effort drew both supporters and sceptics. Detractors say although MSM has admittedly bad and ugly pages but nonetheless it’s a daily dose that goes with their morning teh tarik, plus newspapers remain a convenient package and featuring apolitical sections like sports and entertainment, etc. which remain readable.

They claim discerning readers will be able to distinguish MSM’s politically-motivated lies from the truth, so caveat emptor but no need for boycott. I will ask those people this: If they can discern the falsehoods, does it not bother them at all that such dangerous distortions of reality are being freely disseminated by MSM?

Hmmm, “…If they can discern the falsehoods, does it not bother them at all that such dangerous distortions of reality are being freely disseminated by MSM?"

I think I better keep my mouth shut, because my primary school teacher, Mrs. Khoo, once told me while she had me by my tender ears when I was just a tad ... er ... 'indiscrete' in her class: “kaytee, discretion is the better part of virtue.” ;-)

Yes, I am actually quite intimidated by her (both Helen and Mrs. Khoo's) passionate intensity.

But I have to be bold and criticize Helen for spoiling her article with a nasty catty introductory paragraph, as follows:

Bolehland is replete with superlatives, such as the world’s (once) tallest towers, biggest ketupat, sleepiest premier, prettiest ‘space flight participant’ and busiest bodysnatchers.

Can you spot it? If you do, you are ‘it’, man, not me! Don't bloody get me involved! Yes, I may be bold enough to criticise her but I am not that stupid as to dwell on the issue for too long.


  1. i dun get 'it'.

    i read the papers over breakfast. the biz news are useful. comics too. and if wcw or jt writes something. they have better writers than mkini. sometimes want to find out where to makan.

    we don't have much choice. i'm now also reading the edge daily, a much better mix and nicer layout. more credible too perhaps. but the star still have a wider coverage.

    malaysiakini is too skewed to the Opp, i feel. i hardly read the Op-Eds there, it's mostly regurgitated or repeated views harping on the same stuff, like helen's article -- not the first time she has said this.

    news is distorted everywhere. the whole truth can never be told in a few pages, photos and clips. if you read American or British blogs, they do complain of "government mind control" via the mass media.

    in a oligopolies like our media industry, consumers have limited choice. till the govt frees the market, the incumbent media organisations will dominate because we need to know what's going on, however distorted.

    i thought the boycott was silly, esp since they called a Press Conference to announce it. why would you invite members of a body that you are boycotting? and people ask why i dun think much of the Opp....

  2. At least I know when I read Malaysiakini, it's probably get more accurate facts than if I read The Star. So I wouldn't give a rat's ass if The Star truly has better writers than Malaysiakini. I've got tons of resources online that can beat the local papers in terms of content, so, well, no loss for me.

  3. When, e.g., Mahathir was admitted to the IJN for emegency ops in the nineties, the whole world already knew about that for about 24 hours before M'sians were told via the MSM and TV.

    That was an insult to the whole populace and they should have been boycotted from then. Therefore Helen Ang's call is rather belated in fact. I haven't bought 'em noosepapers for a very long time except perhaps 3 - 4 copies of theSun(basically free)for eventually kitchen usage but now that a change of ownership is imminent, I won't even pay for the expected non free version even.

  4. It's a symbolic gesture the way I see it. It's impossible to have every Malaysian refraining from buying newspapers, let alone STOP anyone from reading one.

    You and I know, B.Najis has been milking and abusing every gov properties to churn their own propaganda to the ppl. All the other 'news' are secondary or if it's deemed a 'National Security Threat' it wouldn't even make the Sports section.

    C'mon, don't tell me you can't report the truth and cari-makan as reporters. Our newspapers are like the once-tauted national car, Potong, If it sucks, it shows. No jampi or foreign imports restrictions/tax is gonne save it.

    The newspaper boycott is a way to say, we had enough, keep it up and continue to lose your readers.

    Don't tell me you actually think HINDRAF is really asking for compensation from the Brits? lolx

    There is always an underlying message which is clear as day to anyone's willing to acknowledge it. For those who don't, the stench will hit your nose one day. ;)

  5. "sleepiest premier".

    that's it?

    i know helen ang personally. nice sweet and quiet (in person but certainly not in word) lady. i wouldn't say she is catty though. she has good intention all right. i don't support the boycott (but i will support HER boycott and admire her passion in promoting it) as i had mentioned before to her in the people's parliament blog that boycotting will hurt the small-time/poor people, and also like a few others, there are lots of other good materials to read in the paper (excluding the news).

    to me, i'm not into boycotting... anything! (unless very specified important issue)

    actually i feel it is kind of unfair for people to poke fun at our PM with the label 'sleepy PM'. though yes, i do agree he has been sleepy (in a sense of not doing enough, not knowing what to do) but to me i still feel it is not proper to always use that in one's own writing when mentioning about him. like the picture of him placing his hands on michelle yeoh's shoulder - why use that picture to critcise him? i dunno lah... not profilic (wrong spelling?) enough to explain but methink ktemoc will understand.

  6. I'm still hooked on the MSM - sports, comics (yeah !), Sudoku, General articles. But I skip over anything which smells of the BN/UMNO/MCA/MIC/Gkan Mafia

    Plus its still a good starting point for introducing kids to the issues of the world at large - with parental guidance, of course.

  7. lucia, no you're not 'it' yet but you're getting warm ;-)

    Yes, I bash AAB and various other 'leaders' ;-) but like you I sometimes do defend AAB, because the bashing or defending must depend on the issue - please read the following for context.

  8. then i think it must be 'busiest body-snatchers' (surely not about out cute good looking 1st bolehnaut!).

  9. Its perfectly fair for people to make an issue about our Sleepy PM and his lack of drive. He's personally a decent guy, but his lack of hands on management is creating a dangerous power dynamic (or lack of it) in the country's decision making process.

    The system is, of course, very much a Mahathir creation. The original concept of a PM was a first among equals, with some decentralisation of power and decision making to other members of the Cabinet. Mahathir changed it to a Presidential style system, with a massive Prime Minister's Department bureaucracy, Economic Planning Unit, and the PM also trying to be Finance Minister and Internal Security Minister.

    What happens when you have such heavy concentration of power and control, but the guy in the centre isn't in control ? Things don't move, or they get moved by individuals with their own agenda.

  10. The boycott will not work well. Even on specific day, unless we have a majority awareness. And the newspaper now make "diversified" contents that resemble magazine.

    Perhaps Malaysian should learn something from Taiwan Kungfu Parliament to defeat the information blockage/propaganda. E.g. underground radio station. Today, with widespread 3G access,the information blockage is a bit difficult. So drag things down, WiMax and 3G license are not given to aggressive player.

  11. Oh btw, I think "many will be affected by the boycott" has some truth on it.

    However, I should remind everyone that cruel reality : some things will obsolete eventually. For example, the photo processing shop revenue hit badly by digital camera. And the land line, cash cow of Telekom Malaysia, market share and profit are eating up by VoIP, mobile service provider.

  12. kk46, no lah, he's only a pretend sleepy head - suits him when he actually doesn't want to make a decision or comment.

    AAB is in reality a sly cunning politician - if he's really a sleepy head, he wouldn't have been able to progress from being ousted as a member of losing Team Ku Li, hanging on as a back bencher, then crawling back into party power to be a VP, DP and finally reaching the very pinnacle of political power, as UMNO Prez and Malaysia's PM - please read my post

  13. Politically cunning he is.
    A competent PM he is not.

    Actually similar comment about George W. Bush as well.

  14. Had stopped buying the papers long ago. I can read the same news online, and there are better technology webzines than InTech.

    Comics? There's Questionable Content & xkcd...

  15. I believe that the only close knit readers of newspapers are those who buy Chinese newspapers.
    I remember that when a political party bought a Chinese paper to control its highly critical view of its policies, the readers boycotted it and made it into a losing concern.
    And they lose so much money that they finally sold their shares!
    Can the readers of English newspapers be that close knit?