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Ants and flowers

Just a little update on the qumqat tree. As you can see, it is now in full flower, I’ve never seen it with so many flowers!

I can’t help thinking that the ants have something to do with it… They have moved house though – their original nest has broken up/been abandoned:

And now they are living in another one not far away...

Blogging in the Malaysian 21st century

I was kindly invited by the Centre for Media and Information Warfare Studies (CMIWS) of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) to a one day seminar entitled "The National Seminar on Media and Technology: Bloggers - Issues and Challenges in the 21st Century" held on last Tuesday, on July 24th.

I immediately jumped at the chance to go, because that's really exactly what I am researching - the development of Malaysian blogs. Overall, the panel had a number of fine academics, as well as some prominent bloggers, and was well worth my while.

One criticism that I will make, however, is the surprising lack of internet presence of the event. By this I mean, when looking for online details of the event I couldn't find any, even when going to the Centre's website , and even their event announcer said nothing is happening on 24/7:

There was one blogger who mentioned it though.

Mahaguru58 was also there, and it was nice to meet him in person: he has given a summary of the talks, as well as the BM bits which I couldn't understand. I won't go over speaker by speaker, though they all deserve attention, but just give some overall thoughts. Click on the thumbnail to see a scan of the programme with details of the speakers, etc. Malaysian National Seminar Media Technology blogs

Before I arrived I was imagining what it might be like: at any academic gathering there are the usual individual and social motivations behind why they are initiated and attended (i.e. status, knowledge, networking,etc...), but this one is also about blogs in particular, something unusual - probably a first in Malaysia, and I think there haven't been many in the world so far... It struck me that what the seminar is is a group of academics coalescing around an idea of what blogs are.; so in that sense, in order to understand what the seminar is, one has to understand what the participants perceive a blog to be. i.e. What are blogs in Malaysia? What would be the substance of that idea? Continue reading "Blogging in the Malaysian 21st century"

Remixing, blogging and authorship

There is at the moment a high-profile murder trial involving Abdul Razak Baginda, a close (ex?) political advisor of the Deputy Prime Minister (and assumed next PM) Najib Tun Razak, and two Special Branch policemen who are accused of murdering the ex-mistress, a Mongolian translator called Altantuya Shaaribuu, on behalf of the advisor. It's amply covered by the media and Google News will give you details; you could also check Susan Loone's blog or Screenshots, or many other blogs for coverage.

One hot issue is whether the DPM ever met the lady: he has said not, but there is said to be a photo with Altantuya, Baginda and the DPM at a dinner table. This was talked about before, and was brought up in court when Altantuya's cousin stated that she had seen it and was told by Altantuya that Najib Razak was one of the people in the photo.

The blogosphere became part of the politically charged trial when Tian Chua, the Information Chief for opposition party Keadilan, posted a doctored photo representing the alleged photograph ("French dinner for 3") and discussed the DPM's denial of ever having met Altantuya. This was denounced in Parliament by Government politicians, and via the MSM. Many people also visited the page, and 217 comments were left (as of 13 July). Many of the comments criticise Tian Chua for disseminating false information - e.g. "This is so sick, your credibility by posting this fake pic has gone down to the drain." (Comment no. 28, frankie), while others say that it is so obviously faked that it is clearly meant to be fake - e.g. "No need to over react on this picture . For anyone with a sense of humour, after seeing the picture knows that this picture is created by a rather creative artist." (Comment no. 41, Niuku)

THIS IS A FAKE! The image is Photoshopped, and in no way is intended to represent an actual meeting between the people on the photo.

(The caption is my own, the original was "Najib doesn't want to be reminded with this romantic event" (Tian_a). Also to be noted is that the face of the lady is not Altantuya, but a Korean actress)

Others make a finer point, that he should have made the doctoring explicit - e.g. "May I recommend that, if you want to put up a picture as a PARODY, you must make it extremely overblown so as to avoid people actually assuming you are serious." (Comment no. 42, oster); and yet others question his political judgement, suggesting that this 'real fake' may possibly be used to cast a media smokescreen over the supposed real photo, allowing a confusion between the two, or that it can be used to discredit the opposition in general. Continue reading "Remixing, blogging and authorship"