Video courtesy of Fat Bidin Media.
Myself with YM Raja Petra Kamarudin (Photo courtesy of Pokku)
I attended the Bloggers United Gathering last Saturday, the 19th of May,2007 at the Lakeview Club, Subang Jaya.
Mob 1900 was the first Blogger who came to greet me as I arrived at the club and was among the early birds. His ID fits him to a 'T' as the man was built like a 'pro wrestler'..hehehehe. Pleasure to meet you Chris! As always, big sized guys are the most amiable ones and was proven right in the person of Mob1900!
Lucia Lai was at the 'reception area' registering the attending Bloggers. She looked quite different from her pictures in her blog and I spoke to her in Hokkien telling her so.
Anyway, I greeted her and was happy to finally meet in person the 'adversaries online' whom I have hated her guts for being a tad 'Islamophobic' and I told her so to her face.
But as I was there to attend the gathering to know what was going to be discussed and decided about the way the proposed 'All Blogs' was heading , I kept my cool and decided to put aside my personal feelings about what I felt about the individual Bloggers whom I have classified as being 'civil' or 'offensive' to Islam and Muslims by the manner in which they blog or pass comments concerning my faith.
I came to meet several Bloggers for the first time in person and slowly started to be able to relate to them by way of at last seeing how they looked like compared to their Blogging persona's and ID's.
Amongst the Bloggers I came to meet for the first time in person were Pokku @ Tengku Mohd Ali Bustaman, Sang Kelembai @ Zaharin Mohd Yasin, Abdullah Badawi's # 1 " fan" , Rocky Bru @ Ahirudin Atan, Hafiz @ the_earthinc, with whom I have had a few exchanges online, Howsy, Kenny Sia, etc.
I also came to know Big Dog @ the man's really quite huge! Just hope he stays healthy. Ameen.
I have met Jeff Ooi in person before. Have met RPK @ Raja Petra Kamaruddin at the Century Paradise Club and been in communication with him often. I met Sonia Randhawa, the CIJ Executive Director and also Tian Chua, PKR's 'Tian An Men' hero. I saw Tony Pua, Citizen Nades, and also Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin.
Marina Mahathir was there. John Lee MK , the teenage blogging wonder was also present. Quite a bloody smart chap if you ask me. The young Blogger is gonna be quite a bright spark in the future.
The gathering started off with a forum by the panel of speakers as listed in the advertisement. Desiderata was the presiding Master of Ceremony and he was the one handling the forum.
Jeff Ooi started off the evening by sharing his views about the blogging world and how he came to realize that by way of blogging, he could at last share news and views with the world in general and Malaysians in particular.
There was some comparing of the previous regime and the current one in terms of the 'freedom of expression' or lack of it and as to whether things have improved for us or remain as it was and getting worse by the day , what with all the recent calls to bring the Bloggers into the control of the relevant authorities or register them in an attempt to curb the free speech we currently 'enjoy'.
Rocky Bru spoke next and as expected updated the attending Bloggers as to why they visited Anwar Ibrahim the other day? His reason was that Zainuddin Maidin, the Malaysian Minister of 'Information' had not responded to their request to see him. Hence, they just met with DSAI who was willing to meet the 'All Blogs' protem committee.
Tony Pua spoke about his involvement with the DAP and his role with the 'Rocket'. Pity that I didn't bring my tape recorder along. Could relate to you better as to what the speakers touched upon. The video above has only excerpts of what the speakers spoke about at the forum.
Tian Chua spoke about his blog and also the direction of where his party, the PKR was heading towards and how the Blogosphere is playing a very important part in the spreading of news and views plus all other important information to the masses. The role that Blogs play are getting more important by the day and we bloggers need to keep up our focus and attention to this online bastion of freedom of speech.
Marina Mahathir spoke about her column in the Star for the past 17 years and how she is now enjoying the interaction she is getting from visitors to her blog compared to responses to her writings in her column in the Star.
Citizen Nades spoke about his column in The Sun and how he and his journalist colleagues suffered during the 'Operation Lallang.
He shared with the bloggers his feelings about why Bloggers need to carry on blogging but also to watch out for the repercussions if they touched on the powers that be. The gist of his talk was about being prepared to reap what we sow, in a nutshell. No one can argue about that, can we?
Sonia Randhawa spoke about the need for Bloggers to add to their knowledge and blog responsibly and accurately as possible in order to give credibility to what we blog about. Fair enough.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin shared some of his views about the blogging world here in Malaysia and the history of his Malaysia-Today Blog, the # 1 Malaysian Alternative News Blog , heading the alternative news media here in Bolehland. It is reported to have a million over hits daily!!!
Pokku asked that 'All Blogs' stay non aligned and not pro the BN or the BA but more to being 'Pro Malaysian'. Rocky Bru responded affirmatively and said that as far as he was concerned, he had no objections to it.
In short, the forum dragged on from about 6.30pm to cross over to about 9.00pm whereby Big Dog growled that he was hungry! Fully supported by all the other hungry bloggers as well.
The food was the usual run of the mill buffet spread and after having our dinner and getting to exchange cards with the bloggers whom I came to meet, I left at about 10.50pm.
I have decided that I will remain independent and non aligned to any group and just do what I do best, speak my mind as I please.
I have my own reasons in doing so. All Blogs can just do what they want. All the best to them.
Overall, it was good to meet up with my fellow Bloggers and establish connections in the real sense of it, but the gist of the gathering was just sort of a get together of online strangers getting to know the others in person.
At the end of the day, it's just like any group or organization where people try to come together for a common cause and try to be cordial offline whilst they hate each other's guts online as we can see taking place at Susan's blog.
I have no problems coming to know my fellow bloggers in the name of blogging camaraderie but it doesn't mean that I have to go with the flow with whatever that doesn't go with my principles of standing up for my faith and it's causes.
I wish that my fellow Bloggers will understand my stand and allow me to be so. Thanks.