Thursday, 25 January 2007

Today is the day...

...that history is made as the uncharted path of cyberworld and everything that goes with it, is tested. And the person to tread this uncharted path, on his way to the High Court this very moment is Ahiruddin Attan, or better known as Rocky the blogger of Rocky Bru. The legal suit brought against him by his former employer, the NST and four individuals in the newspaper group, is clearly a case of alternative media vs mainstream media.

In the next few days, blogger Jeff Ooi will walk the same path as Rocky.

A lot has been written about this here , here and here and everywhere else. So at this moment, I just want to reflect back on the Rocky that I know.

It was in the nineties that I first met Rocky, a giant of a man who came to be the London correspondent of the NST. As usual, the London group of correspondents from Utusan, Berita Harian, the Star, Bernama and TV3 would get together for a welcoming party to this new member of our group and say goodbye to one going back.

As someone who remain in London, I welcome these young breed of journalists and embrace them as my brothers and sisters. Throughout the late eighties and nineties, there was a stream of correspondents: Zamzam, Azizi, Azman, Rahim, Hj Shahrum, Ali Mansur, Fauzi Omar, Baidura, Karim, Selvi, Danial, Padma, Tony Emmanuel and Saiful to name a few from the NSTP group and others like the late Tan Kah Peng and Ho Bang Kee from the Star, Baharom, Abdullah Hassan and Hamzah of Utusan.

We worked together and we had fun together. We shared stories and scooped each other, but then that is the name of the game.

Rocky is a tough, hard core journalist who enjoyed his work and certainly his stint in London.

We covered stories together in the continent, the All England Badminton and many more. And when we were not working, we played scrabble till the early hours of the morning. The NST apartment, where we once lived, became a meeting place for the others as well.

On days that Rocky bought Haagen Daz ice cream, I’d receive a phone call that it was time for a session of scrabble. And, of course, he’d add, “It would be really nice if there’s bubur pulut hitam.”. That was the cue for me. For some strange reason, he enjoys Haagen Daz, chocolate flavour with bubur pulut hitam.

For all the tough looking guy that he is, Rocky is a gentle giant who dotes on my children, who carried little Taufiq on his shoulders as we wandered around the streets of Birmingham in between games of badminton, while covering the All England. He bought Taufiq his first Barcelona strip and won over Taufiq as his ally for ever.

All too soon, Rocky went back. And the rest is history.

This case is pulling me in all directions. This case of NST vs Rocky. My former workplace which I still have a lot of love for vs a friend, a brother, for whom I have a lot of affection.

Readers of this little blog will have noticed that whenever I wrote about Jalan Riong, it is with great affection and fond memories that I had done so. It is after all the place that had given me the best training in journalism, and we were proud to announce at any event, that we represented it. It is after all the place where I met my soul mate and fell in love and the place where I met many wonderful and talented people who I admire and love to this day.

At this moment, at 0231 in the morning, while the temperature outside dips to minus zero and there’s snow flurries falling on the ground for the second day, my heart is heavy with sadness as I write this.

Yesterday, I was at the press conference when the Prime Minister was asked to comment about this first test case. As a blogger myself, I am very interested and very concerned. Datuk Seri Abdullah said, ”the government is not going to censor what is on the internet.”

I have transcribed the reply below:

"We do not censor what is on the internet. But you must understand that there are laws, undang-undang on defamation, on sedition. There are laws enforceable.... so they must bear in mind they cannot hide, they cannot take advantage of doing something that is against the law and it is in that context that perhaps the newspaper is taking action against them. Undang-undang...ada undang-undang. They must know. They cannot hope to be protected from some kind of cover whatever they think they have.

Duty and responsibility go together and if you want freedom, what is freedom without responsibility. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy. Actually it becomes irresponsible."


PS.
Bearing in mind that the case is still going on, please be very careful with your comments. Thank you.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
Yes, we heard them too, word by word, over Buletin Utama last night.

Anonymous said...

He'll pull through this one like a gentle giant that he is if this is fated to go that way.

Arena said...

Kak Teh,
Me and Ed are seriously following this issue. May Allah grant us the courage to change what we can change and the strenght to accept the things that we could not change.

U take care ya..

Manal said...

It seemed now the trend has it that the blogger's word is mightier than the proverbial sword.

This blog-watch happens all over the world apparently.

Though "berkata benar walaupun pahit" seems the ideal action, people in power (money and position) can always find their way out leaving those brave souls at the pity of the court/whatever predicament.

But i also believe in karma: what goes around comes around. Somebody is paranoid, definitely.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
Sedih kan? I am wondering if it all couldn't have been just settled over a few glasses of teh tarik under the pokok ceri.

The thing is, there is no more pokok ceri in Jalan Riong, Kak Teh.

(All you sticklers for accuracy, yes I concede the pokok ceri was actually on the adjacent Jalan Liku, but it would have sounded confusing)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ah (Kak Teh),

Thanks for your concern. You are right-lah. For some reason, I have been targeted as well for supporting rocky and jeff. Some people dont like what I write. Oh well..
anyway, about the lawsuit.
This is unprecedented. But, it is good that it happened, then we will know why ( really why ) the suit was taken against Rocky (and Jeff Ooi.
As you know Ah, there are so many "nameless" blogs that churn out sordid, pronographic, ugly, even seditious, articles and lies..
there's nothing you can do becos they are "nameless".
and then there are those with names and identities (although you cannot be sure they are genuine) that churn out the same sordid things.
The thing about cyberspace is that, you don't like it, you don't open it.
That's why we enjoy Kak Teh, Wonda, Dr Ve Thru, Ilene and others that give their take on life.
And then there are socio-political blogs like Rocky's, Jeff's, Marina's et al.
WHat I find so tragic in this is that a blogger like Rocky who used his years of training as a journalist to offer credible and responsible news and views in his blog, is being sued.
To me, as far as socio-political blogs are concerned, Rocky has set a pretty decent standard. a bench mark where information he publishes is substantiated.
So what is the future of bloggers in Malaysia?

And Ah,you take care too.
God Bless You!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

Pak Lah is very gifted in sloganeering. We cannot disagree that freedom must come with responsibility. But whose definition?

Why is he not demanding the same standard of responsibility on the Turkish paper that stated he came over to see his multi-million dollar yahtch in Turkey? As far as we know, no action has yet been taken to defend his honour.

On paper the court is the avenue to correct any perceived wrongs. But can we be sure our system of justice is blind if the plaintiff is linked to BN?

Rightly or wrongly, the perception of the BN govt is a big bully. The rakyat's interest is secondary to their hang on power and wealth.

They cannot engage in debates, they use intimidations. They sign lopsided deals with toll concessionaires, OSA is brandished to silence the call for revealing the contracts.

Pak Lah's police, without provocation, used strong arm tactics to break up peaceful protests against the toll hikes.

Our rights are eroded by the day. If there is injustice at one place, there is injustice everywhere.

If we don't join hands to stop the BN's lawlessness, the next generation will inherit it. It doesn't happen overnight but slowly and systemetically until one morning we all lose our home called malaysia.

Anonymous said...

This is so tough on everybody....but we bloggers can be united in this david v goliath situation. In the words of Rocky, this is unchartered waters and we (he) must tread carefully.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
I feel the pulse of your blog each time in the way you express yourself, whether it be on your post or comments.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Oh Kak Teh, the Jalan Riong is no longer Jalan Riong of the past.

Pokok Ceri - reminds me of the many teh tarik sessions I had at Jalan Riong. There was one pokok ceri in front of (former) TV3 office, ikan bakar was superb.

Taufiq too... said...

Hi there...

Been a recent follower of your blog, really interesting and well written. Just wanna comment on one bit in which you wrote 'Barcelona Stripes'. Nothing wrong if indeed they were in stripes, but the term you I assume you want to be using is 'Strip'. I recall in an earlier blog you also used the work 'stripe' instead of 'strip' to decribe a football strip/kit/jersey and had though you had a different meaning. Sorry if my assumption is wrong, jangan mare yer.

Keep up the great work especially about the Melayus in the UK. Maybe you can write about the second/third generation of Malays in the UK, would be very interesting. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, I suppose one would call it a democratic country where there is freedom.....AH.....but only if it comes with 'responsibility'. What kind of 'responsibility', I would be inclined to ask.

Your sayang mama has come to encourage you. How proud you must be. Some more boleh 'correct' Mama juga. It looks like the trip to Malaysia on his own has opened Taufiq's eyes and mind in a wider dimension. Future politician?

Welcome to your Mama's blog, Taufiq. You are right to suggest writing about 2nd/3rd generation of Malays here. Actually, why don't you start a blog and write about Malays of your generation in UK?

Anonymous said...

Unchartered waters, they certainly are. But let's not hold our breath. It shouldn't be too surprising to have seen this coming. That's how things are back home, regardless of who's running the ship. Sighs.

To all the bloggers out there, Good night & good luck (even though I haven't seen the movie!)

Anonymous said...

kak teh, reading this post I can feel your sadness resonating thru it, but I am more scared about what might happen and the precedence that it will set, please both you and Nuraina take care.

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - Let us see what happens. The law still applies in Cyberland be in defamation or breach of copyright. But I'm always inclined to support the small guy whether it's against he machinery of the corporation or government.

~ GAB ~ said...

Logically speaking, there must be prima facie on the allegation. Shall there be no ground to hold even on the grey area of the law that’s written, it won’t be such thing to be dragged into court. That’s what logic has to say.

Looking at another angle when politic is concerned, well, politic is always politic. I remember classic words by our ex-PM, you not only need to be clean but you also need to look clean. When some stories the politicians do not wish to be leaked out and yet they are spreading like a wildfire, they have to find ways to clean it up – by hook or by crook.

Regardless whether the story is true or not, it lives up to what PM has said about freedom has to go along with responsibility. But, the question is, whose definition is it?

I sincerely believe a person that used to be a journalist will be responsible to what he has written. To define “responsible” is another story altogether. Blogger may have written the story / news as-it-is. The as-it-is story may not be too pleasant to whom it may concerned, be it on political or personal basis. They are rightly or wrongly can be defined as “irresponsible” when they are at stake with the stories known to people at large, even to certain extent it may be labeled as threats to national security (even though is a true story written).

Anonymous said...

Salam to kak teh and all.
Since the news about rocky and jeff( and possibly shieh too), I notice many bloggers gave comments using Anon. That shows how effective the threat is to Malaysians.

Read in Harakah and KeAdilan that the opposition supported the forming of blogger fund to support rocky and jeff. True this is something new in Malaysia but lets hope something good comes out for the rakyat.

Orang yang pernah kena 'zalim' dgn gomen in 1998 episode dah tak takut dengan ancaman.Periuk nasi telah lama di masukkan pasir.

Kak Teh said...

Salam semua, maaf kak teh terlambat menjawab semua comment but i thank you all for your take in this. and i thank you all too for not commenting in ways that will jeopardise the case.

mama irma, yes, there was TV3 and RTM and the rest of the press pack too.

bergen, lets hope the truth prevails.

arena, thank you.
manal, i beleive so too. but i wonder how many countries have tested this before. Didnt singapore take two bloggers to court some time ago?

Kak Teh said...

elida @ mok cik, aaaah, tak main lah kalau bawah pokok ceri. butI know what you mean. Let's see how it goes.

ena, you are a loyal and true friend. I know what you have been through and I know that you are strong and resilient. But that does not stop me from saying, take care of yourself.

hi & lo, yes, I agree that freedom comes with responsibility. In fact I shd have added when Pak lah said that, he also meant journalists. and journalists shd take note of that too. they too have responsibilities to their readers and audience.
aah, yes, I have almost forgotten about the Turkish newspaper!

Kak Teh said...

jane, I think rocky and jeff have put their heads on the line for this test case.

alice, thank you, hope to catch u online.

osh, yes, i think you are right but i have not been there for some time now.

taufiq too,
thank you, thank you, You know i was struggling with that at 2 in the morning and I knew it didnt sound right. Thank you for pointing that one out. will edit it.

Kak Teh said...

judy @ dr ve thru - this is another taufiq laaa. hehe - my taufiq is taufiq wan and this is taufiq too...hehehe! my taufiq is busy catching up with his studies esp after the long break.

blabs, i had a feeling this was coming. I thought i could sense the calm before the storm and then felt some ripples before the announcement of the suit. Let's just wait and see.

firehorse, thank you. I think I am okay. I shd be okay after all i only write about little things such as munching murukus in the train..hehe!

Kak Teh said...

tunku,thank you for taking time to visit me. am sure you must be very busy before heading home. I hope we will meet up some day.

gab, i have been a journalist for a long long time and although i am not a what some might term hard core journalist, preferring to keep to safe areas like human interest stories. but even then i know how so deep is the habit of self censorship...
the two bloggers in question must have sincerely believed that they are responsible in acting that way. let's see how it goes.

tokasid, how observant you are! ya, suddenly lots of anons!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

Your power of influencing people is very evident in your blog. All the postings are a reflection of your sweet and warm personality.

I enjoy reading all the comments.

Wonda said she could feel the pulse of your blog.

I love human interest stories. It was quite effective when I was selling drugs to doctors.

I posed the problems a patient faces in a particular illness and discussed solutions with him.

abang malaya said...

Adik Teh,

Ini bukanlah masa gembira bagi para pencatat di Malaya.
Di zaman yang dikatakan bebas dan terbuka.
Yang bebas itu para pengampu dan pemuja.
Yang terbuka itu adalah untuk mencaci cerca orang tua.
Peduli apa kalau orang tua itu menggunung tinggi jasanya.
Peduli apa kalau dunia masih menyanjung dan merinduinya.
Yang berkuasa jangan sekali-kali disentuh dipersenda.
Mereka bukan lagi wakil rakyat pilihan kita.
Mereka sudah jadi ratu dan maharaja.
Permaisuri, puteri dan putera mahkota.
Rakyat menderita mereka jelajah dunia bercuti dan berpesta.
Bila blogger macam Rocky dan Jeff bertanya mereke melenting tidak tekira.
Maka menyalaklah para pecacai dan machai mereka menuduh dan mengata.
Suara blogger harus dilenyapkan tak kira berapa belanjanya.
Undang-undang dan amaran digunakan tanpa banyak bicara.
Mereka tidak peduli nama negara dipersenda di merata dunia.
Maka salahkah Abang Malaya kalau berasa gundah gulana?
Kalau berasa pena dan tinta tiada lagi mukjizatnya?
Kalau tamadun hadhari yang diuar-uarkan itu hambar dan cela?
Sembuhkah luka ini dengan senda dan seloka Edel dan Kenanga?
Pulihkah semangat ini dengan kata manis dan rayuanmu wahai adinda.

Anonymous said...

MADAM KT:

This the time when masters are enslave by the tyranny that they have done and when slaves are set free by the truths that the masters hide.

The masters is being hunted by hiding hounds of their darker deeds, and when the birds of the dying breed start to chirps, the masters would snare them with whatever means necessary, even if it means using air that travels from their navals.

----------------------------------------

Tell not.

Tell not the birds,
the dark clouds has return,
couse they'll be hurt,
that the Lord Demon has broken his silent urn.

----------------------------------------

Anonymous said...

kak teh I really hope for the best to all these,my doa for everyone.....btw the 6 in 1 sambal kacang no stock and I'll be in europe sometimes in june insya'allah.

Kak Teh said...

hi & lo,
If I lived in another era, during hang tuah's time, i would have been the kampung's penglipur lara. and I think i would have enjoyed it too. sambil jual minyak and ubat! hehehe! thanks!

demonsinme, that's very deep! and indeed a reflection of what's happening now.

Count Byron said...

I like your background story Kak Teh.. and i'm very interested in Haagen Daz and bubur pulut hitam. Lovely combination. May he be a picture of calm.

Kak Teh said...

abang malaya,
ini dia abang malaya kembali lagi,
tertanya juga masa ini ke mana pergi,
saat ini, masa kita semua gundah di hati,
saat ini, berhati-hati kita meniti.

duduk terdiam terfikir sendiri,
apa nak jadi kita punya negeri,
macam2 berita setiap hari,
nak baca pun rasanya ngeri.

abang malaya jangan susahkan hati,
banyak kerja harus diteliti,
banyak yang boleh abang berbakti,
semangatmu janganlah dibiar mati.

sabarlah saja kita menanti
cubaan yang besar yang penuh erti,
nasib pencatat seluruh negeri,
nak bebas bersuara setiap hari.

Tak akan dilupa jasa mu tuan,
dulu dan sekarang masih kemampuan,
seloka dan pantun jadikan ubatan,
buat merawat hati yang rawan.

kenanga dan edel sibuk agaknya,
mencari makan di sini sana,
bila ada masa jenguklah mereka,
sabarlah abang malaya tenangkan dada.

adik teh pun serabut fikir segala benda,
bukan nak mengusik atau mempersenda,
dah hilang ilham untuk berseloka,
memikirkan macam2 segala benda.

kita jumpa di lain hari,
waktu mentari menjenguk kembali,
waktu ceria berputik di hati,
waktu itu kita kembali lagi,
kita senyum dan berseloka lagi.

Kak Teh said...

kak elle, thanks. and dotn worryabtthe sambal kacang. my son brought back some packets.

count byron, if you have not tasted bubur pulut hitam and chocolate flavoured haagen daz ice cream, you have not lived life to the fullest!

R2K said...

: )

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh;
Ujian datang sekali lagi
tapi kini bukan di hujung hari
jangan khuatir kita tidak bersendiri
di sekeliling, rakan berdiri.
Semoga Bro Rocky & Jeff kuatkan hati.

Kak Teh said...

aaah, sri diah datang turut berseloka,
datang menghibur hati yang duka,
ya harap-harap tiada yang luka,
semua ini ujian belaka.

r2k :)

FireHorse said...

You got muruku ah, where? I hop on your train so many time why never share?

Anonymous said...

bestnyer dpt jumpa virtually dgn org2 suratkhabor ni. i really admire yours and other org suratkhabor's english.
tak pe... tak pe... yg benar pasti menang, tak kat dunia, pastinya di akhirat insya-Allah.
kadang2 jerat terkena muka sendiri... meludah ke langit...

Kak Teh said...

firehorse, sure i got muruku but judy and alice finished them!

anon, insyaallah.

bibliobibuli said...

glad you wrote about this, kak teh, and can well understandd how torn you feel ... i think for the case to come to court at all is very sad. we now have to watch how things go very carefully.

Kak Teh said...

sharon, itis most unfortunate that it has come to this. So both sides will have to sort it out.

x-matters said...

Kak Teh
Rocky was my boss. He gave me opportunities no other bosses I served under ever did.
A gentle giant he is.
He looks like Hagrid, a character in the Harry Potter movies if he let unties his hair, don't you think so?
I only have best wishes for him.

izinni said...

Salam Kak Teh,

I never had the chance to meet you but heard about you a lot. All this while I've been reading your blog without any intention to leave any comment. I just love to read your sweet and warm ramblings. But the case over rocky and jeff made me want to say a bit.

I was with MM for 9 years before I left for good. Thanks to Rocky, who approved my vss application after I literally begged him to do so.

The nstp is no longer the nstp I've known before but my fondness towards this place has never ceased.
When i was a kid, whenever ayah and mak took us to KL in a bus ride that passes jalan bangsar, I would stare in awe at the nst building. I told myself .. I want to work with those people in there. I want to be a journalist. I want to be first to know what's in the newspaper.
I focused my dream, my ambition to be a journalist despite the BIG NO-NO from ayah.
I graduated majoring in journalism from ITM. i did my practical training in MM and eventually I join the fraternity. The rest is history.

Now I am still practicing journalism but in a different medium and stream. No more mainstream for me. Alhamdulillah everything seems to be well.

What happened to rocky and jeff is truly depressing and very unfortunate for the freedom of expression in the country.
Imagine? ... A 150-over-years newspaper which was supposed to uphold the freedom of speech is doing just the opposite.

If those 4 jahat people want to sue, do it on personal basis laa .. Why drag the company into it? brendan is no more its staff some more. aiyoooo ...

My doa is with rocky ... May Allah be with both of them.

Kak Teh said...

x-matters, ya he is the kindest soul i have ever known. let's see what happens.

izinni,
salam to you too. so u have left as well? whenever i visited nst, i'd walk cautiously pass the MM section to go to rocky's or aishah ali's room. There were so many young faces and i dont know anyone anymore.
I wish you all the best in your chosen path. and yes, tempatjatuh lagi dikenang, inikan lagi tempat bermain.

cakapaje said...

Wow! Alhamdulillah! there's so many kind words of encouragement for Rocky . Sadly, there very few or none for Jeff. Perhaps very few know Jeff personally as they do Rocky.

However, I do love abang Malaya's reply. And most certainly your reply to him too.

I also very much agree with Anonymous who pointed out to those pornographic materials and so forth so forth. It does seem that the its ok to write and publish any other materials - no matter how lewd - but not anything against the pemerintah or it's officials. Using the OSA, ISA and a host of other intimidations, the pemerintah is a tyrant by any other name.

The ISA is used against political opponents under the pretext that they are a threat to the nation but one which cannot be proven in court. Sadly, the oppostion and the people of Malaysia do not have such provisions they can use - the pemerintah have too many open secrets which is hard to prove too! And the unwary, they are take in by the pemerintah's propoganda in thinking that only they, the pemerintah, is the only choice for the people.

To me, the pemerintah's use or abuse of the media in propogating their lies and deceit is akin to Kim Il Sung of North Korea, the communist and socialist regime of (formerly) USSR and its satelite entities. Day in and out they spew nothing but garbage.

My apologies to all, and Kak Teh especially, I do mean to abuse your blog. Thus, I shall end here.

Assalamu'alaikum.

cakapaje said...

Assalamu'alaikum,

Kak Teh, kindly accept my apologies: I was looking for further comments on this posting and suddenly realised the blooper I made - the last sentence should read "My apologies to all, and Kak Teh especially, I do NOT mean to abuse your blog. Thus, I shall end here."

Minta maaf bebanyak Kak Teh. I have always enjoyed reading your blog.

* Further to the episode, I came across Jeff Ooi today. He was his usual pleasant self and we only had a brief exchange.

Kak Teh said...

cakapaje, dont worry - i think i know it was a typing error. I do it all the time.