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MARBC 2011 kicks off to a rousing start

April 28, 2011

For an update on the first ever Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference (MARBC, pronounced “ma-back”) held over the last weekend, please click HERE and HERE.

Following below is the welcome speech delivered by the President of Blog House Malaysia, Syed Akbar Ali, who writes a popular blog called OutSyed The Box

Thank you Saudara Pengerusi Majlis …

1. To the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, YABahagia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato-Dato, Ladies and Gentlemen. Salam Alaikum and a very good morning.

2. Allow me to welcome you to this inaugural 1st Malaysian ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference which is being hosted by Blog House Malaysia.

3. Blog House feels extremely honoured to have in our presence two leaders of our beautiful country, the Honorable Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and the Honorable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, our fourth Premier. Please accept our appreciation of both your kind presence at this maiden outing of our Bloggers Association.

4. Can we please have a round of applause to appreciate the presence of our leaders.… Thank you.

5. Blog House would also like to record our thanks to our EXCO members who worked hard to put this Conference together in a very short time. I would like to record a special thanks to our Adviser Datuk Ahiruddin Atan or Datuk Rocky, to our Secretary Mr Tony Yew and our Treasurer Encik Mohd Zakhir who worked tirelessly on this project.

6. If I am going a little fast, it is because I have been given not more than 10 minutes to make my speech. This is just some evidence that Blog House members keep the President on a tight leash. So last nite I was trying to figure out if I should leave out all the jokes and only leave the serious stuff in, or leave out the serious things and throw in more jokes. I hope at the end of my short speech you will be able to determine where I have been all nite.

7. We have with us Bloggers hailing from the Asean nations, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.

8. We were informed that out of a population of 90 million, 30 million Vietnamese go Online regularly. The Philippines has 22 million Facebook users. Bloggers are treated like mainstream media and Philippines Presidential candidates are interviewed by the Blogs. In Egypt, the overthrow of a Government was facilitated by the Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This is the Digital Tsunami that is enveloping the world.

9. From our discussions this Conference has arrived at a brief Consensus, which we call the Kuala Lumpur Consensus. The main points we have agreed upon are to establish an ASEAN Blogging Network, to achieve common values and aspirations, to promote freedom of information and expression, to promote ethical practices in the Blogosphere and also to meet regularly among the ASEAN Bloggers.

10. To give you a little more background, the Malaysian Bloggers who make up our membership are mostly Socio-Political Bloggers. However our interests are wide ranging covering politics, economics, social issues, defence, religion and other matters.

11. Blog House Malaysia has been legally constituted and registered since January 2011. At this juncture we are also happy to announce that YABahagia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to serve as the Patron of Blog House Malaysia.

12. As you are all aware Dr Mahathir is no stranger to blogging. His blog chedet.com is one of the most popular blogs in the country. With over 35 million hits, Dr Mahathir is indeed the envy of most Bloggers.

13. In the Blogosphere, Bloggers are either Anonymous or they blog in their own names. Anonymous Bloggers are welcome to join our association using their own names. You do not have to tell us your blog name. However Anonymity is only possible as long as you are not discovered. And discovery usually happens if the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission or the Police come after you. Then you become well known.

14. Ladies and Gentlemen, I never imagined that one day I would be president of an association whose members would go by names like Big Dog (Anjing Besar). That’s the gentleman right there. In his blog, his bark is also his bite, which can be quite painful.

15. We also have an interesting bird who calls himself a Barking Magpie. Despite the feathers, or inspite of it, he is perhaps envious of Big Dog. His tagline says ‘Remember, electricity is from electrons and morality is from morons.’ It certainly does not provide any more clarity about his flight path. But not to be taken lightly his understanding of matters is sharp.

16. There is some method here – all this translates into the number of hits or visitors on each blog. The Executive Committee of Blog House alone have accumulated in excess of 30 million hits or visitors to their various blogs. Their cumulative daily hits easily reach 100,000. That is as good as the readership of some daily newspapers. And these numbers are repeated every day. In short, people read the blogs.

17. As the President of Blog House, I know that our members are committed to improve the society that we live in. That’s why we blog. Bloggers seek to achieve this by influencing the public opinion wherever and whenever it is accessible – through the medium of the Internet. And the numbers provide the evidence for this.

18. Our friends from ASEAN also exchanged information about new laws that are being crafted to handle the Internet. Unfortunately most of these attempts seek to stifle the new media.

19. I would like to remind you of the ‘Sputnik moment.’ When the Russians launched the first artificial satellite, the Sputnik, into space in 1957 it caused a major panic in the West, especially in America. The Russians had made a quantum leap in their technological advancement. The West was left behind, for quite some time.

20. There is another ‘Sputnik moment’ going on right now. The new media, the Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, the Internet are providing the quantum leap in the dissemination of news and views. On the Internet one person with a smartphone can be as good as a TV station. The Internet can even show you where to look for lost Omega watches. So let’s not miss our space ship. The idea should not be to stifle the new media but to adapt to it and continuously encourage its growth.

Thank you very much.

From → Malaysia Upclose

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