Over a few ‘teh tariks’ when I was in Melaka the other day, a close friend broached the question as to why I do not blog about socio-political issues. I knew this would come up one of these days; I just didn’t think it would be so soon. In fact, there was a brief but sweet period when I actually thought I could get away without having to address the question. Was there a way of getting out of this?
“Yeah, tell me, why aren’t you a so-po blogger” Ridwan pressed.
“Wow! Look at the ‘nenen‘ on that ‘kodok’!” I cried, gesturing toward a particularly well-endowed Italian tourist who was the spitting image of Marissa Tomei. Jaws dropped for a while, followed by “Oooh’s!” and “Aaaah’s!” At our age, all of us knew that the best we could do was only to look – anything beyond that would probably prove to be too challenging for our very limited physical means. When the “Oooh’s” and “Aaah’s” finally subsided, everyone at the table went glassy eyed reminiscing the glory days of a bygone era and the sexual prowess (real or imagined) that had long left our loins.
I almost thought I had gotten away with it when Ridwan chimed in again, “So, why aren’t you a so-po blogger?”
I took a deep breath, lit another Winston, and explained, “I guess, I’m just too dumb to understand the issues. I know just as much about society and politics as I do about that Italian kodok’s early childhood.”
There was silence. Then Ridwan asked, “Come now, tell us the REAL reason why you’re not a so-po blogger?”
To this, Ah Kiong added, “Yeah, everybody knows that so-po blogging is the only legitimate kind of blogging. All the heavyweights of Malaysian blogging are so-po bloggers.”
“Hang on a minute, mate” Zainal interrupted. “What do you mean when you say ‘so-po blogger’? Do you mean owners who fill their sites with rabid acts of name-calling directed at the Government or even Opposition? Pseudo-journo types who hatch conspiracies theories (based on the most tenuous connections) even when there are none? Self-styled intellectuals who are only too willing wag their fingers at others when things go wrong but who can never – under their own steam – offer an original or viable solution?”
“Whoa! Zainal. Put in that way, so-po blogging sounds almost like a four letter word” replied Ah Kiong.
I shrunk slowly away from the conversation, hoping they would forget about me altogether. I figured the less I contributed to it, the better.
“Hmm… come to think of it, so-po blogging seems to be a very negative activity” said Ridwan pensively.
“It is! Just how positive can you be when you’re busy slamming things or people around?” Zainal added.
At this, Ah Kiong offered, “But not all of it is negative, right?”
“Of course there are exceptions, Kiong. But those that don’t slam others are just busy re-reporting the news; news you can get in the papers or on TV, anyway. Look at the blogs around you, half the time their content are simply hyperlinks to ‘Malaysiakini’, ‘The Star Online’ or other such sites. Just what is the point, Kiong?” Zainal muttered his explanation.
“But I suppose they do create awareness…”
“Yeah, I suppose they do. But isn’t it all – how shall I say this? – quite redundant? What makes these bloggers think readers come to their site before they go the ‘The Star Online’ or Malaysiakini, for instance? If you had a blog, Kiong, do you think people will come to your site first, and then follow your hyperlink to Malaysiakini? I should think not! So what’s the point?”
“But you got to admit, Zainal, all the slamming and name-calling is somewhat entertaining.”
“Yes, Kiong; entertaining up to a point. Beyond that it does get tedious and downright depressing.” Ridwan quipped. He took a sip of his ‘kopi Tongkat Ali’ and added, “But my question was, why isn’t Bangkai a so-po blogger?”
“Yeah, that’s right. So why aren’t you a so-po blogger?” demanded Ah Kiong.
I cleared my throat, and just when I was about to bluff my way out of my predicament, a sweet, sensuous voice broke in: “Do you know where the Straits Meridien Hotel is?” It was the well-endowed Marissa Tomei look-alike standing like a Greek Goddess just a few feet away from us.
Smooth as a Steven Segal on-screen ‘iriminage’, I got up from my seat and offered, “Yes, ma’am. I do. In fact, I am going there right now. Can I give you a ride?” I extended my hand and offered to carry her back-pack for her. She smiled and handed me the bag.
“If you will follow me, my car is just over there.”
As we walked to my car, I looked back over my shoulder and said, “I’ll be blogging about this soon…” I was careful to let the smugness linger in my grin.