I rewrote this article in English because blogs are read globally, which is in line with the vision of our future prime minister. Being a glocal (combination of global&local) Malaysian, it is my responsibility to take this extra effort so that more people could benefit.
The world view that one adopts in life will determine his manner of viewing the world. To a skeptic, things which are ordered, things which follow the causal law be it sufficient or necessary, is a coincidence or luck.
However, what one must concede is that things do happen beyond our expectations, some may call it causality, laws of nature, I see it as the Will of Allah swt, hence; let us begin this article In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful.
Speaking of schedules and coincidences, a meeting of minds was organized on the 21st of October in the hotel Concorde. I am not certain the numbers of bloggers, those that are present knows the recognition from the minister of the interior Y.B Datuk Sri Syed Hamid Albar. It is a blessing in disguise.
"They (internet news) have actually become mainstream"
Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar
The Star- 21 October 2008
It will become an interesting phenomenon, if Hamid Albar was to know bloggers agreed to a temporary ‘cease fire’ (more on this later), in which the main agenda was to demand recognition to their efforts. I suppose in this occasion, the bloggers have gotten more then what they bargained for, in simple modern senses of humor imitating the British sense of humor, the statement by the home minister have given a moral impact.
‘Masuk kedai mamak hendak minum teh tarik, datang orang belanja makan nasi beriani’.
If a single blogger like RPK (Raja Petra) whom I labeled a maniac could create a stir in the political landscape of the country, imagine a band of bloggers acting together under a single banner?
This cease fire however was not achieved without hassle; those present on that day realize that it was a sacrifice to their egos and potentially their means of living. But courage virtually overcame their motivations, acting now like School bus drivers who drive the children to school even though their salaries are being withheld, as opposed to leaders who treat the population as means to their private ends, much like farmers who fatten their livestock to make profit for themselves, like in the novel,the Animal farm by George Orwell.
I suppose that is the comradery of the writers, who can rationalize, agree to a ‘cease-fire’ for the sake of the nation, its people, and the religions they follow. May this meeting of harmony, tolerance and patience brings out truth and freedom to them who have lost their souls.
Datok Rohanie (Ron), previous-political secretary to the former deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa hitam told me how he was surprised, that these bloggers who were preparing for a war of all against all (sharpening their weapons was his expression) could all share a table for lunch. How wonderful if political leaders on the warfield would follow suite.
15 years ago, in my capacity as the President for the political writers club of Malaysia, I gathered political writers for a discussion on the occasion of the launching of my 25th book, Tuanku Mahathir Lawan Sultan Mahmod - 1993, where Tengku Puteri Zahariah (Ku Yah) daughter of the late Sultan of Selangor acted as the honorary advisor. We had our meeting at the Hotel E.N.O,
I humbly thank Dato Aziz chemor, a geologist, a corporate figure who is well known and well respected in Sulawesi and other parts of
Dato Aziz Chemor who regularly have meetings with writers once told me that writers are not just information relayers, writers must not fear the loss of popularity. As thinkers and social analysts, they must invite their readers to critically assess and think more profoundly, in order that their readers inspire to serve the nation and its people. It is but a noble task.
Among the rationale behind this cease-fire, is because he dreads the fearful outcome of disunity. By putting their personal desires before the country or institution, leaders run the risk of damaging the institution, along with themselves. Much like people who poke holes in a ship and as a result the whole ship has to sustain the damages.
Dato Aziz fears that
If this bickering among politicians backed by their respective bloggers does not stop, the political stability that we enjoy will further deteriorate, and of course with political instability, it is not difficult to postulate that the economy will fall victim, after which the question to ask is, who will suffer? Who will cushion the fall?
"Mudahan pertemuan ini akan membuka jalan dan memberi peringatan kepada kita bahawa kepentingan negara lebih utama dari segala kepentingan lain,"
(Hopefully, this meeting will open new possibilities, and serve as a reminder to us that the country’s interest supersedes all other interests), says Dato Aziz who was overwhelmed at the bloggers willingness to honor his invitation.
While listening, I began to think, what of Hamas and Fattah? Of
The commitment to intellectual independence will guarantee that opinions may no longer be dictated for people who are discerning, but what I seek is, a shift towards a more holistic paradigm, because this battle of ideas is bound to separate truth from error between good and evil.
It is rather useless if the amount of bloggers are numerous as to gain an entry in the Guinness book of World Records if our bloggers write with a level of writing only fit for the half past six, in which case they become useless for the advancement of thought(one cent no use).
One of the reasonswhy people have less respect to leaders because they have lost their integrity while they have the authority.
The cease fire is good because it will open the eyes of the so called elite leaders who are involved in conflict that has caused disrupt. It is high-time writers and leaders show leadership by example.
I urge, I hope to see that all the bloggers agree to a ceasefire, in accordance with the spirit of shawal, ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ Minal aidin wal faaezen, Kullu aam, wa antum bikhayr. That our relations be improved, and that severed ties may be united again. Eidul-fitr is celebrated right after Ramadan, a month of fasting, in which its main essence is the importance of self control. Unfortunately the irresponsible among our politicians fail to keep the momentum going on. The need for constant Introspection is ignored as soon as Ramadan is over, ‘the devils are free’.
This skill of introspection is highly needed in these times, especially for our government leaders. UMNO and B.N lost the past elections because they failed to introspect on their own mistakes. The opposition played the race and the religion card, but on closer inspection, religion is not a variable that is free from other factors. Behind the face of religiosity are other more potent factors, be it political, economical or social.
I would contend that as an outcome of Anuar’s reformation movement, economy and power is the more dominant factor. Where toleration is concerned, historically speaking, Malaysians have found away to live in harmony, it is seldom that confrontations happened. Religious and cultural tolerance has been a hallmark of our virtues.
All present at the meeting agreed that they would forget party politics for the meantime, put to rest their agenda’s to highlight their respective idols among the politicians, regardless of their affiliations, be it writers who are pro Mahathir, Pak lah , Tengku razaleigh or leaders from other parties. All ‘mu’min’ are brothers, if one suffers than the other will feel in pain.
Many agreed to link their blogs together to show that they are committed to the freedom of opinion, hence I include most of their articles regarding the ceasefire in my website, welcome to www. Shalattas.com, mind you, and this cease-fire is to end after the 31st of October.
The bloggers need to bear in mind that be it Dr Khir toyo or Dr Mahathir, writers and politicians are not the same. Bloggers are people who share their thoughts with their readers, hence are accountable for their piece of mind. Unlike some leaders who automatically assume that they no longer bear any responsibility after their resignations.
Politician may try to clear their conscience, or base on collective responsibility, when in office holding their post of minister but not writers who is responsible for what has been written in their blog. But nevertheless, these writings could be preserved as documents of history.
We are all leaders in our own ways, and every one of us will be questioned as to how we lead people we are responsible for, if only ourselves. We will all be held accountable for our writings; the only variable is whether we will be questioned in this world or the next.
Talk of the cease fire reminds me of an historical event, where upon return from the war of Badr, The companions questioned the prophet whether there is a greater war after the one they just returned from, and He said, the biggest war is conquering your own self.
I bid the other writers to reflect upon this acquired wisdom, and overcome yourselves, overcome selfish desires that could get in the way of your noble art of writing. Reflect, and question, who is our biggest enemy? Selfishness? Ignorance perhaps? Is the one who knows similar to one who knows not?
If your intention is for the world, then you are in need of knowledge,
If your intention is for the hereafter, then you are in need of knowledge,
Is it possible for you to desire both? Can you have the sun when you want the moon or have the moon at noon and not expect an eclipse?
Among the attendant on the day were, Datuk Kamal Amir, Yassin Salleh, Datuk Rohanie Ahmad, Yahaya Ismail, Abdul Muluk Daud atau Dharmalan NS, Abu Bakar Ninggal, Salahuddin Hashim, Zabidi Saidi, Zakaria Bidin, Johari Ismail, Yusuf Merah, Don Hussein, Sudirman Ahmad, Azman Aziddin, Norazman Khamis, Wan Talib Omar, Zainordin Abd Rani, Wan Ahmad Talib, Maidin Othman and some others.
Tun Mahathir often quotes George Santayana saying, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Let us learn for example in Islamic history that Siffin, one of the most costly wars in human casualty among Muslims, was a war that was made worse by irresponsible people who are motivated by greed and power, and the prevalence of ‘fitnah’. History shows how Muslims who back then shared the same ideology was divided when politics was the ordering principle, or rather when politics enters the scene.
Today the proponents of the media, if irresponsible take the issue of ‘fitnah’(slander) lightly, whereas we are bound to suffer its effects. Lies will bring the nation down, much like lies in the form of lending and borrowing money could lead to a catastrophic event in the economy.
When I received the sms from Ron who asked for prayers from his fellow bloggers as he was offering himself to compete for a seat in the M.T, I promised to ask for support among bloggers for the hopes of this Kudakepang blogger.
"Saya lihat UMNO kini sudah menyimpang jauh. Perjuangannya bukan lagi untuk agama, bangsa dan negara. InsyaAllah dengan sedikit pengalaman politik dan demokrasi yang ada hasil pendedahan saya di peringkat antarabangsa saya akan cuba memperbetulkan penyimpangan itu,"
(I see UMNO today has drifted from its origins, its struggles are no longer for the religion, for the race, and the nation. ‘Inshallah’, with my experiences in politics and democracy which I gained trough my exposure in the international arena, I shall seek to correct this anomaly)
In hopes that the bloggers might support him, as he admits that he has no arsenal of resources for himself unlike the other candidates.
What I would like to remind dato Ron however, is the advice of Dato Ghapur Kalabakan, Sabah;
‘tidak guna wang kalah, jika guna wang salah’. (if one doesn’t use money one is bound to lose, but using money is an immoral act) - Ghapur known as the lion of Sabah UMNO learn his lesson ‘once beaten twice shy’.
While Yahaya Ismail retorted, accompanied with applause: "Kita hendaklah bersatu memberi sokongan kepada rakan kita dengan harapan beliau (Ron) akan dapat membawa suara penulis ke dalam arus politik perdana,".
(We must unite and give support to our fellow writer, in hopes that he (RON) will be able to bring the voice of writers in mainstream politics.
Ever since, I have always wished that journalists, who now turn to the blogging-sphere, would command respect from leaders and citizens. Nevertheless, we must write and act responsibly, ‘truth is godly’, we must respect in order that we ourselves be respected.
We must be truthful, do not write ‘half-truths’ and present it as the truth. Stories containing zero-truths are even more harmful, the cost of which is the writer’s dignity.
It used to be that the instrument of the writer is the tip of the pen, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’. Today, the internet is the field for ‘carpet bombing’ and attacks of the like. But bloggers who think way above themselves, the ego-centric, should be reminded that, its not the song but the singer, sometimes it is not the book, but the writer, and that ‘bloggers’ who are men with brave hearts who has wisdom, who proudly assume responsibility for their writings are people who will ultimately gain respect.
Writing isn’t just popularity finding, more than the pursuit of publicity as practiced by some artists and celebrities. The chief task of the writer is to be an educator, and a presenter of information, current news, predictions based on research and history, while at the same time communicating with readers.
One must not forget that blogging is also an ‘amanah’, a trust, one that must not be breached if we are to remain relevant, and not rejected in the manner which the mainstream media has been rejected for what ever reason. We should not be like the politicians, are given mandates, neglecting responsibility at the end of the day rejected by the ‘rakyat’, the people. Power is a trust, and if this is breached, the people will be disenchanted, and even cause anger.. ‘One cent no use’.
In my opinion, the conception of the blog could be improved if it is made to be informative, and more in line with the needs of the people.
If writers could unite for the same cause, politicians are forced to react according to the views of the writers. However, as a final reminder, power is something not to be misused by any one, be it bloggers or politicians. If the aim of a certain act is high, then it will benefit people as a whole. Leaders who thrive in deceiving people, bloggers who writes based on zero truths and deception, who write not for the benefit of others but their own, be careful.
Of the things I said, M.S.O documented in his blog,
"Sudah sampai masanya kita bersatu dan membela diri kita sendiri. Lupakan politik sekejap....selama ini kita asyik membela orang politik saja, jadi mulai sekarang kita kena bangun membela diri sendiri," .
"Selama ini penulis diperkecilkan dan kehadiran kita tidak dirasai kerana kita tidak bersatu menyebabkan kekuatan atau senjata yang ada kepada penulis mereka (orang politik) tidak nampak dan kita dirasakan tidak memberi impak kepada mereka,".
"Penulis juga tidak kurang dengan ilmu malahan penulislah yang menjadi pembentuk fikiran rakyat sewajarnya diletakkan di Dewan Negara,"
(It is high time that we unite and defend ourselves. Forget politics for the time being, all this while we have been defending the politicians, let us now stand up and defend ourselves.
My invitation to all writers and politicians is simple, let us unite the malays who are at war, to start with a cease-fire, the time can be used for introspection. Bloggers must not let themselves be reduced to the position of being a loud speaker, or nothing more than a trophy rider, but bloggers are to serve to remind us that we have a responsibility to check the actions of opportunistic leaders.
For budding Bloggers, I share with you this advise
Wartawan dituntut selalu peka menggunakan indera keenamnya. Mereka harus bisa menemukan soal besar dan menarik yang acap terselip pada berita kecil. Mereka mesti mampu menggunakan matanya lebih intensif dari orang biasa, dan memasang telinganya seperti hendak membuka tabir rahasia. Mereka harus merasakan apa yang orang lain tidak rasakan, sekaligus senantiasa belajar dan memaknai gerak kehidupan dengan segala fenomena yang mengiringinya.
(Journalists are to be alert, and aware of her sixth sense(intuitions),they are to pinpoint bigger questions and issues that is often overlooked by small news. They need to train their eye that it may be more intensive than the lay person, to train their ears as though they are to discover the curtain of secrets, they should be able to feel what others don’t, while at the same time to study and learn the motions of life, with all the phenomena that it brings.
Writers have been misunderstood, looked down upon and belittled, and our presence hasn’t been felt because we are disunited. As a result, our strengths, our weapons are not seen by the politicians, and we are thought not capable of bringing about any impact.
Whereas writers are not devoid of knowledge, and they are the shapers of thought, and they deserve to be in the Dewan Negara")
In this meeting, I reminisced about my fellow writers who’ve gone to leave us, people like Halim Mahmood Editor Watan, Khalid Jefri, Zakri Abadi, Harounperancis, Salim Kassim, Al-fatehah.
Another major achievement of the meeting, is seeking that the government elect representatives from bloggers and writers to be in the Dewan Negara in the future.
Other matters that was suggested was that bloggers should unite and demand that Raja petra should be released immediately from I.S.A, and among the avenues that they will make full use to demand his freedom is their respective blogs.
To close, I would like to extend an invitation to the age old debate of what human service is about.
In the republic, plato uses Socrates as his mouthpiece to clarify his view on the just king and the unjust tyrant.
Socrates points out that all human art is aimed at servicing others, a cobbler practices his art in order that his customer may profit from it, likewise the doctor or the ship captain. They may receive payment from it, but the aim of the art, is benefiting others. Is politics then, a science that is designed for the maximization of human happiness the only exception to this rule? Is a politician to practice his skill in order that he may benefit himself alone?
Thrasymachus then points out the example of the shepherd who fatten his sheep in order that he may gain the benefit for himself, upon which Socrates asks again,
Is political science then, more like the other services, or is it more like the shepherd and his own flock?
Translation from :
"Gaji yang ditunggu bonus yang datang"