Malaysian Minister VOWS faster and cheaper broadband

The Colours of a Little Part of Asia – A South East Asian blogging story by Mack Zulkifli

It appeared shortly after Rebecca MacKinnon interviewed Jeff Ooi and this blogger in IRC. One of the things I had remarked upon was that the rate of infrastructural development for internet services, was slower than the rate of adoption. More people had broadband access in their offices, and returned home to either jurassic dial-up services or not being able to tolerate the poor dial-up services, prefer to wait the next day to surf in their office.

That might change soon. Full story about the Minister and his vow for better broadband here. It is a political anomaly and I would like to think that he has a half decent chance of making it happen, yet it is often not that simple.

More to the point, if he does succeed, it signals and advancement for bloggers and blogging in Malaysia. The fundamental cornerstone of a media, even nanomedia like blogs, is reach. The more people you reach, the higher the likelihood that any change, discourse or conversation becomes more meaningful in terms of the ability to invoke or create a platform for change. A widespread availability of broadband means that the likelihood of adopting the internet as the avenue for added value or different perspective against the mainstream media is enhanced. Blog readers will grow and, eventually, as the readers themselves decide to blog, the number of bloggers itself will rise.

This, under any circumstances, if nothing but a good thing. The free exchange of opinions, positive or otherwise, will lead to a discussion, conversation and even animosities. However, it is these frictional debate that serve as the catalyst to the advancement of several social factors that are key to the individual development of members within that society. Knowledge.

Beyond the obvious commercial/social application of such as mentioned above, there will be problems. Along with the freedom of content in the internet, comes a mixed bag of rotten eggs and candies. Already, politicians are condemning the availability of a cable TV channel that may encourage gambling. Jeff Ooi has a report of it here. The advent of the internet will mean that the beuracratic machinery will have to work overtime in order to not only bridge with one another, in anticipation of problems, but adapt their workforce to be equipped to handle those problems.

No civil service on God's good Earth has been able to do both very effectively. So don't expect teething problems. This one goes right through to the gums. This, however is to be expected in a fast developing country that sees itself in a process of convergence, in terms of economy, social variables and self-restraint and respect in dealing with each other. As it is, blog trolls display neanderthal-like and sour-grapes behaviour even in the US, I have no doubt whatsoever that Malaysia will see worse. Personally, as I watch the Malaysian blogosphere, it takes a surreal stance as I have to adopt my views from a functionalist social perspective to a more conflict perspective, which I am still learning to cope with. Yet, I must admit that the friction has created some really positive advances, a key one being the ‘stop-work’ order issued by a State Chief Minister in an issue that Jeff Ooi and Rebecca spoke about here. I think that if one has to blog about something, blogging for the better good of a community, and then being part of the success, is one great feeling. (Thanks Rebecca for the global soapbox)

As far as this blogger can conclude, Malaysian internet users, currently spearheaded by bloggers, are in for major challenges in terms of legislation, self-policing, adaptation to the free-speech concept and respecting one another. Yet, isn't that the challenge of any society on the brink of major advancement. We, my fellow blogging brethrens in Malaysia and the internet community, welcome these challenges.

We are fast becoming, a member of the noise, some good and some bad, that represent humanity and their global voices. That, is all good.

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