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Debates and a puppy

Well today at the debate competition was fun and somewhat adrenalin-inducing; for a first time debater (me at least) I guess we did alright – 3rd in one, 4th (i.e. last) in the second, and 2nd in the third. Though overall that got us only three points out of a possible nine, so we’re going to have to do significantly better in the last two rounds tomorrow if we want to make it through to the quarter-finals!

Anyway, something more important in the bigger scale of things happened this morning though: Gambit (one of our dogs) was making a terrible racket through the night and when I looked out I noticed there was a dog hanging around the house. In the morning, however, I heard a high-pitched howling coming from the drain – sure enough, when I checked there was a small puppy stuck in the drain, my guess is that her mother was hanging around at night wondering what to do, and eventually left.

She (the puppy with no name) was looking miserable, but was plucky enough to snarl at me and take off in the other direction when I tried to pick her up; so I went and got WW, we did a pincer movement and I grabbed her by the neck and pitched her out. Once she realised we did not want to hurt her, she let us stroke her and we dried her a bit (she was trembling all over), left her wrapped in an old towel with a couple of biscuits at the foot of a tree. I was hoping her mother would come back.

However, twenty minutes later I heard her piercing yelping again and our two dogs were up against the fence whining and yapping. I feared the worse and, sure enough, she had got up and got knocked over by a car! :-(

When we got there a guy on a motorbike had stopped to move her off the road - the poor thing had blood coming out of her nose, and couldn’t stand up. What to do… well, WW was in tears and decided to take her to the vet

and there she was this evening; a broken leg and concussion, malnourished but otherwise the vet was optimistic

The thing is – she needs a home! We can’t keep her, and can only keep her at the vet’s for a couple of days. If we can’t find a home for her, we’ll probably have to put her down…

Do you want to give her a home? Or know anyone who does? She’s 6-8 weeks old and seemed to a pretty smart little thing

Can you resist this cuteness?

Obligatory small print:
Remember a pet is a commitment for (their) life. Puppylike cuteness is not guaranteed to last, but unconditional love, affection, and devoted companionship is.

Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia – Forum and book launch

Last Friday there was the launch of the first properly researched book on blogging in Malaysia – the first from a social science point of view, and – as far as I know – the first dealing properly with blogging per se in Malaysia. “Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia: A New Civil Society in the Making” is written by Jun-E Tan and Prof. Zawawi Ibrahim of University Malaya; those of you who have been around the blogosphere long enough will probably remember Jun-E’s blog and research survey in 2006 – in a way I’m following in her footsteps, although my focus is different and I’m spending more time on it. I’m going to try to do a proper review of it at another time, but suffice to say that if you want to know more about blogging in Malaysia, and also about blogging and political activity in general, you cannot miss this book [Update 28/06/09: M/C Reviews have published my review of this book]. It also has a postscript written mostly by Zawawi (I think, based on what he said in the forum) about the 12th General Election and what role blogs played in those momentous events.

The forum last week was held in the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

I got there a bit late, and it had already started. There were about thirty people there, and the organisers seemed a bit disappointed that more had not turned up; myself, I was a bit surprised that there were not more of the usual suspects at SoPo blogging events.

I missed the first couple of talks. Jun-E talked about the book, summarising it well and underlining the basic points of the book: most bloggers are not SoPo, but they capture a disproportionate amount of the readership and attention, and their key role in democratisation and civil society is in providing a channel to raise issues that would otherwise probably be ignored by the MSM. There’s more than that in the book of course, which includes a wealth of statistical data on bloggers and readers and detailed information on the formation of All-Blogs and other events surrounding that key episode of the Malaysian blogosphere. One thing that it made me realise is that I have to include readers of blogs in my survey too (i.e. those who do not have a blog, but read them regularly). Prof. Zawawi made some similar points, and also pointed out how he had asked Jun-E (he was her supervisor for the MA thesis) to gather information on the ‘narrative’ of the bloggers and the blogosphere, something which has been attended to in the body of the book, as well as in the interviews with key bloggers reproduced at the end of it.

Rocky then gave his talk, covering a few issues such as the relationship between the media and the blogs, and the interesting reaction of the Singapore government to the elections (he was invited with other blogs to speak to the Singaporean government about blogs and the elections). What interested me most, however, was how he said that there were “cracks appearing in the blogosphere”; ever since the elections there have been more blogs but some are “biased… blindly working for political masters” – i.e. like the MSM. Some “bloggers are openly promoting individuals… which is perfectly OK … [they are] allowed to be partisan”; but when do not want to listen to others, don’t agree to disagree, then blogs may lose credibility.

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