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Showing posts with label Censorship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Censorship. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amendment 114A: Why it MUST be repealed

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Today is the Malaysian Internet Blackout Day.

Since you’re reading this, you would have seen the pop-up, which will remain in place for 24 hours, spanning the whole of August 14.

And by now, you should  know why this initiative has been carried out by the Center for Independent Journalism (better known as CIJ).

But just in case you still aren’t certain why the fuss, kindly take a few minutes to view this PSA.

It’s an insidious piece of legislation that should be repealed with immediate effect. Among other things, it violates the most basic tenet of law: that one is innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

And that, as The Titanic found out, is just the tip of the iceberg...
(the 114A lowdown, and more, in the full post)

CIJ has put together a whole bunch of resources for you to find out more about the amendment to the Evidence Act 1950, but here are the key points (taken from the CIJ FAQ on Amendment 114A):

1. What is 114A?
Section 114a is a new amendment to the Evidence Act 1950 that was passed in parliament without debate in April 2012. The section is called “Presumption of fact in publication”. It states that any owner, admin, host, editor, subscriber of a network or website, or owner of computer or mobile device is presumed to have published or re-published its contents.

2. Why is it a problem?
It has wide-ranging reach and extends not only to practically everyone who uses any internet platform – from e-mail and social media to blogs and online media – but also those who don’t.

It is a problem because:

  • It presumes guilt rather than innocence.
  • It makes individuals and organisations who administer, operate or provide spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content that is published through its services.
  • It allows hackers and cyber criminals to go free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed.
  • It can make you liable for content that you did not publish when someone creates an account in your name.
  • It threatens the principle of anonymity online, which is crucial in promoting a free and open Internet.
  • It threatens freedom of expression online.

In other words, it is against the core principles of justice, democracy and fundamental human rights.

3. How will this affect you?
If 114a is not stopped, you will be held responsible for the words of others. It can also result in the removal of comment functions, curtailing your space for posting legitimate comments and opinions. This impacts your democratic right to participate freely and openly in public debate and discussions. Indirectly, it will foster a climate of self-censorship, and will have a huge impact on the interactive nature of online media.

4. Why do we want to stop 114a?
Our opinions – as netizens and as citizens – matter. If the new Evidence Act were gazetted, 114a would seriously hinder the democratic right to freedom of expression on the Net.

Let’s keep online spaces free and open to critical comments and debates.

click on image to view larger version

But the problem with Amendment 114A does not stop with freedom of expression and burden of proof. It does have a real impact on the Tech and Business sectors as well, articulated in this article (by Digital News Asia Executive Editor and Founder, Asohan Aryadurai).

We’re hopeful that with this initiative, many more will find out about Amendment 114A, and why it must be repealed. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who don’t actually know about this.

click on image to find out more

So do yourselves and your friends a favor – spread the word about this. And if you’d like to participate, the previous post we put up tells you how. Or click on the image above.

Act now, before your Internet freedom becomes history…

Click here for the full post......

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stop 114A: a Malaysian Internet Blackout initiative

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UPDATED at 1757hrs: Thanks to the guys at Cari.com Walski has updated this post, which now includes instructions for Wordpress blogs as well Blogger-based ones originally posted.

Recently, an amendment to the Evidence Act 1950 was passed in both houses of Parliament. It’s called Section 114A – “Presumption of Fact in Publication”. And it is a BAD piece of legislation.

click on image for larger view

The Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) has put together an initiative to raise awareness of why this is a bad piece of legislation, consisting of, among other things, a purpose-specific blog, an ongoing awareness campaign, a public forum (this Saturday, August 11), and an Internet Blackout Day.

Similar to the SOPA/PIPA protest blackout, participating websites and blogs will be “blacked out” – displaying a pop-up stating the website/blog’s participation in the blackout initiative, with links to find out more about Amendment 114A, and social media connectors to ‘Like’ on Facebook. You can see an example of this pop-up in action here. Unlike the SOPA/PIPA blackout, however, the website/blog will still be fully functional once the pop-up is closed.

myAsylum is committed to help out in this initiative with its limited resources, and yes, we will be participating in the August 14 Internet Blackout exercise.

We will, however, go a couple of steps further – change the blog header (already done), and display one and only one blog post on the main page on August 14th, talking about Amendment 114A.

If you have a Blogger or Wordpress-based blog, you, too, can participate by following the instructions Walski has provided in the full post.
(how to implement the August 14 blackout pop-up, in the full post)

But before you do anything else, please send an e-mail to CIJ Malaysia letting them know that you would like to participate, providing them details of your website or blog. They will send you back code to implement the pop-up. Be sure to tell CIJ whether you will implement the code on a website, or blog – this is important because the implementation is slightly different between the two site types.

If you don’t have a website or blog, you can also help support the Stop 114A campaign on Facebook or Twitter, by changing your display picture to the one you see on the left (right click on the image, and do a “Save Link/Target As”).

Every little participation helps with this campaign, and not having a website or blog shouldn’t stop you from helping.

The instructions that follow for both Blogger and Wordpress-based blogs have been developed and implemented by the good folks at Cari.com.my, one of the websites that will be participating in the August 14 Internet Blackout.

Instructions for Blogger blogs
If you have a Blogger-based blog, the following is how you implement the pop-up. We will only provide instructions for Layout-based Blogger blogs, but this should work with the old style templates as well. Also, you will need to be comfortable with modifying your blog layout. To be safe, always backup your template before you do any changes. Just to be sure.

Step 1: Go to Blogger.com and log in to access your blog settings. Select your blog from the dashboard, which will bring up your blog overview page. Click on Layout as shown in the picture below.

This will bring up the layout set-up page for your blog.

Step 2: What you will do now is add a widget to one of the area sections, preferably in the footer section as shown above (although adding a new widget in any section works).

Step 3: A new window will pop up for you to select the widget type. The type to use is the HTML/javaScript widget type.

Step 4. Once selected, an edit window will appear for you to insert the script. You can name your new widget (optional), but bear in mind that naming a widget will cause the name you assign to appear as a heading in some templates.

For the code to use, 3 language versions have been developed: English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese (with 3 different types of encoding). The “generic” code can be found at the following links:

The code is "generic" in the sense that it assumes that the images required to make the pop-up work are uploaded to the root directory of your blog. For Blogger blogs, this is not possible. There are two workarounds to overcome this.

The first is to host the image files on your some file-hosting service (such as Fileden) which allows direct URL access then modify the code to include the full URL of the two images required in the pop-up. Where the full URLs go are shown in the picture below (where the red boxes are).

click on image for larger view

The full URL for the first image is:
http://cari.com.my/cijtest/cij_images/sec114a_eng_resized.jpg (English)
http://cari.com.my/cijtest/cij_images/sec114a_bm_resized.jpg (BM)
http://cari.com.my/cijtest/cij_images/sec114a_cn_resized.jpg (Chinese)

while the URL for the second image is:
http://cari.com.my/cijtest/cij_images/stop114a-white_resized.jpg

Once replaced, the script will look like what is shown in the image below (example shown is the English version script).

click on image for larger view

If all this seems too complex, you can go for the easier second workaround: Walski has pre-modified the scripts for you, so all you need to do is to download the modified scripts from the following links (right click and do a Save Link/Target As):

Instructions for Wordpress blogs
As with the Blogger-based blogs, you will need to be comfortable with tweaks to your blog template and layout, and just in case, be sure you back up your blog before commencing with the changes.

There are 5 steps to configuring the pop-up on Wordpress blogs. The step numbers correspond to the marked up blog configuration page below.

click on image for larger view

Step 1: Login to your blog's WP-Admin page, and click on the Appearance tab (on the left-hand navigation pane). This will bring up the Manage Themes page.

Step 2: Click on Editor. This will bring up the theme text editor. If you have more than one theme active, be sure you select the correct theme.

Step 3: From the Template selection pane (on the right hand pane), find the Footer (footer.php) entry, and click on it. This will bring up the footer code in the center pane.

Step 4: Depending on what language you intend to implement the pop-up with, you can obtain the code from one of the following links:

Copy the entire contents from the text area on the web page you selected above. Paste the code you copied on the line immediately before the </body> tag (which is located towards the end of the code cluster). If there is no blank line, place your cursor at the beginning of the </body> tag, and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

The code has been pre-configured to retrieve the images required from a specific external location, so there’s no need to do any modifications to the script.

Step 5: Finally, save the modifications by clicking the Update File button at the bottom of the center pane. And with that, you’re ready to roll!

~~~ End Of Instructions ~~~

The pop-up has been implemented at myAsylum reLoaded, the test blog that Walski uses for experimentation purposes, and the end-result should look like the image below.

click on image for actual implementation view

Your blog will continue to operate as per normal once you close the pop-up. As mentioned earlier, you will want to inform CIJ Malaysia that you wish to participate before going ahead and carrying out the implementation.

Walski hopes that this post has been helpful, and he looks forward to seeing your blog or website participate. It’s an initiative aimed at ensuring the Malaysian cyberspace remains free from the possible effects of Amendment 114A to the Evidence Act.

The possibility of unjust prosecution aside, there’s also the chilling effect – Malaysians will no longer feel safe to express their views freely, and therefore exercise self-censorship. In other words, the death of the Internet as we know it…

Click here for the full post......

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opinion Poll: Censorship & Suppression of Ideas

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock without Internet, you would have heard by now the problems that ZI Publications has had with the “law”… Not civil law, but Selangor Syariah law. It’s a reminder that we are, after all, living in 1Apartheid.

The Legion of Silencers has once again struck, it would seem…

Long story short, Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty & Love”, and it’s Bahasa Malaysia translation, “Allah, Kebebasan & Cinta”, have been banned by the Malaysian government, although no gazette has been officially issued as yet.

This is the latest is the long standing tradition of banning things in Malaysia, something that some of our fellow Malaysians seem to be proud of. And of course, when things like this happen, you know that a myAsylum poll can’t be too far away.

The pretext of this latest banning, as with many others before it: protection of Islam and Muslims. And it is because what Irshad Manji writes about. And believe it or not, what she writes about is about MORE than just sex, something what most Malaysians have been led to believe the book is about.

Frankly, Walski has not read the book – yet – so he can’t tell you exactly what it is about. It is a safe bet that those who have been instrumental in the book’s banning have not read it either. But based on what he surmises, sex is NOT the central topic, and very likely NOT a topic at all.

In fact, why don’t we do away with supposition and hearsay, for once, and find out what the chapter topics in the book are:

  • Introduction: From Anger to Aspiration
  • Chapter 1: Some Things are More Important than Fear
  • Chapter 2: Identity Can Trap You, But Integrity Will Set You Free
  • Chapter 3: Culture is Not Sacred
  • Chapter 4: You Define Your Honor
  • Chapter 5: Offense is the Price of Diversity
  • Chapter 6: In Times of Moral Crisis, Moderation is a Cop-Out
  • Chapter 7: Lack of Meaning is The Real Death Threat

And perhaps most “shocking” of all, Recipe: Irshaddering Chai Tea (which follows after Chapter 7).

So far, thankfully, the MCMC has not ordered Amazon.com’s site to be blocked, and it is quite easily accessible, so go verify the table of contents for yourself, since the “majority” of Malaysians probably view Walski as nothing but a lying bastard not worthy of being believed.

Funny, but Walski couldn’t find one single mention of the word sex in the table of contents. Or perhaps it was the new offensive word in the book’s title that got the clerics’ panties in a bundle: liberty.
(the poll, its details, and more, in the full post)

In any case, back to the poll – this time around, you get to pick THREE (3) choices out of the list given. Or suggest your own answer, reflecting what you think.

Not what you reckon the government wants to achieve, but WHAT YOU THINK. It may come as a surprise to you, but here at myAsylum you are allowed to express what you really think, unlike in most parts of real-world Malaysia.

As with other polls before this, you can share this poll via your Blogger blog (by clicking the icon below the poll, located at the sidebar on the right), or if your blogging platform of choice is Wordpress, you can use the shortcode [polldaddy poll="6256206"]. On other platforms, drop Walski a line via the comments and he’ll provide you the codes you need.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Being that Walski has been labeled a “liberal” by most quarters, and being that these days, being a liberal is deemed to be a bigger sin than murder and rape, it would be a good idea for you to tell your friends of ALL orientations to participate in this poll. Only because Walski DOES want to know the opinions of everyone, and not just the opinions of like-minded people. Yes, we liberals are strange that way.

The poll will be open until Midnight, Sunday, June 10, 2012, after which Walski will announce the results, and throw in some of his personal thoughts and analysis.

Don’t worry: your opinions and how you vote are actually anonymous to Walski, so please participate in the poll according to how you actually feel, and be honest with yourself. Honesty is what Walski expects, nothing more, nothing less…

Click here for the full post......

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Neo-Soul artiste banned by No-Soul country

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That’s about the only headline missing from reports around the globe about Malaysia banning the performance by Erykah Badu, slated for later this evening.

And that’s exactly the headline Walski thinks most appropriately describes what happened yesterday, when the already infamous #yorais announced that the concert would not be allowed to go on.

Rais: Bigger  problem with Muslims if Erykah Badu concert allowed

Datuk Seri Rais Yatim justified on Twitter today the cancellation of Erykah Badu’s concert, which was scheduled to take place tomorrow, saying that if the concert had been allowed to go ahead, it would have created “a bigger and prolonged problem”.

“The ‘Allah’ graphic on the singer’s body will surely create religious controversies among Muslims who do not appreciate such practice.

“The cancellation of the concert is based on justification, if continued, will create a bigger and prolonged problem,” he said in a post on the micro-blogging site this afternoon.

The information, communications and culture minister had earlier today announced on his official Twitter page that the concert has been banned after a photograph revealing a tattoo on the American R&B singer with the Arabic word for “Allah”, or God, appeared in English-language daily The Star yesterday.

(source: The Malaysian Insider)

Assuming it ever had one, this damned country has totally lost its soul.
(a country with an evaporated soul, and more, in the full post)

Sure, we’ve got great infrastructure, complete with potholes, and a an abundance of uneven manhole orifice covers strewn all over our  roads. But gazing at the splendor of the KL skyline only gets you so far.

Walski’s Facebook and Twitter friend, the very prolific Art Harun, had this to say this morning:

We ban a singer with an Allah tattoo. We objected against Valentines day celebration. 40 yr old sex education book - we ban. We assisted in a kidnapping of a visitor to our country. We look with askance at electronic Bibles. And TV3, at 6.50am today discussed bras from Indonesia which apparently could cure cancer. Sometime I think the NFC project is a big prank and all of us are actually the cows.
(Art Harun, via Facebook)

In which case, grazing at the splendor of the KL skyline only gets you so far, if what Art says is true…

What has Malaysia turned into?

Some dare venture that we’re fast becoming another Saudi Arabia – minus, of course, the sand and the almost-unlimited supply of black gold, and unbridled male tribal chauvinism.

Frankly, if you were to ask Walski, Rais Yatim is merely the manifestation of the kind of knee-jerk conservatism that has gripped the nation, which is fast squeezing the very soul out of it. Of course, he opens himself up to ridicule in the process. Someone’s gotta be the #yorais scapegoat, and it’s always better that a dinosaur be assigned the task.

The process of Malaysia transforming from a vibrant secular democratic country into a relgio-hypersensitive despot state didn’t happen overnight, nor did it begin in 2008, as some might think. Although, that said, the process certainly has accelerated since then.

No, from Walski’s observation, the process began in the late 1980’s when legitimacy for increased Islamization was given on a constitutional amendment platter (albeit unintentionally), topped off with that infamous declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state. Both, for no other reason than short-sighted political expediency. We are today enjoying the fruits, rotten even before they are ripe for the picking.

We have a situation today where anything with the slightest whiff of even coming close to touching the hypersensitivities of “Muslims” gets nipped in the bud. Faster than you can painfully scream ‘castration’.

And while the political bastards politicians play the game of “if PAS can do it, UMNO can do it more drastically” one-upsmanship, the soul of this nation evaporates, leaving the loud self-proclaimed majority in this country wallowing in glee, concerned with the nether regions of high profile personalities. All the while oblivious to the damage their almost voyeuristic obsession creates.

No-Soul vs Neo-SoulNo-Soul trumps Neo-Soul

As far as Walski is concerned, Malaysia has pretty much become a lifeless shell, glittery on the outside, festering and rotting beneath the epidermis. And you don’t even have to peel that much off before the stench permeates, and overwhelms you with flustered frustration.

And then you sit there wondering why the Malaysian diaspora is so unwilling to return?

Another individual, prolific in his own country Pakistan, a college friend of Walski’s, once commented that from what he has seen, Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful city that he would like to spend more time in. But the friend asked this question: “but what does Kuala Lumpur have to feed my soul?

At the time, some weeks ago, Walski was hard-pressed to answer. If asked the same question again today, he’d have no hesitation to say, “Nothing. Like the rest of this country, whatever little we had resembling a soul, we’ve sold to the Devil. In God’s name”.

Seriously… soul, my friend? What soul?

For to ban a neo-soul artist, simply on the superficial basis of an offending tattoo, if we aren’t already, Malaysia is fast becoming a country without the semblance of a soul… whatever life it used to have quickly evaporating into a murky, misty, long forgotten past that can never be reborn.

Click here for the full post......

Friday, February 24, 2012

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Babies are from IKEA

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“… when a daddy plank and a mommy plank who love each other (and are, of course, legally married), get bolted together…”

Okay, screw that thought with an Allen Key. Just like how UMNO Youth screwed with a 30-year old book (via The Malaysian Insider) that teaches no-nonsense sex education. Walski reckons REAL porn is fine by them, but not anything educational.

No siree… as everyone knows, babies come from IKEA. Some assembly and screwing necessary (additional tools may be required). The last thing we want is young Malaysians having the evil Western belief that babies are produced through sexual union.

Ministry deputy secretary-general in charge of security Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi announced the ban under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, just a day after ordering a temporary halt to the book’s sales to study if the content could harm the nation’s “moral.”
(source: The Malaysian Insider)

The ban referred to is on the book “Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle, a highly regarded sex education book.

Maybe it’s just Walski, but you know what really destroys our morals? Being bombarded and mentally sodomized 24/7 with sordid news of sexual misconduct that everyone – the government included – seems to condone.

Oh, and REAL porn, like the so-called Anwar Ibrahim China Doll video that pro-UMNO UMB-ecile blogs have been flagrantly spreading. 
(porn is in the eye of the pee-pee holder, and more, in the full post)

But here’s the really strange part – the book was first published in 1984, and has probably been in our bookstores for the good part of the last two decades. So why the sudden horror over its contents?

Well, to clear up this little mystery, we would really have to ask UMNO Youth, the organization that brought this whole thing up in the first place, and wrenched it into the public mindspace.

The following is from The Malaysian Insider (emphasis by myAsylum):

Umno Youth’s Datuk Muhd Khairun Aseh claimed to have received many complaints from the public about the book’s graphic description of love-making between two people. The book has illustrations of a naked man and woman and teaches children proper anatomical names.

“The degree of obscenity inside the book was too much,” he was quoted as saying by the English-language daily yesterday.

“This is a violation of Section 292 of the Penal Code, which deals with distribution or sale of pornographic materials. We believe that some 200 million copies of the book have been printed since it was published in 1997,” said the head of the Umno Youth’s community complaints bureau.

(source: The Malaysian Insider)

Funny, but Walski doesn't recall Datuk Muhammad Khairun Aseh screaming bloody porn when the Anwar tapes were making its rounds. Walski reckons that it’s because no one in UMNO complained, eh?

Muhammad Khairun Aseh, according to sources Walski found on the ‘Net, is around 33 years of age – give or take, depending on how long it took his parents to assemble him – which makes him just slightly older than the book itself. And he’s a father of two children, as Walski understands.

Did they come from IKEA, too? Aisle 27, Shelves 14 through 17, and available in birch, brown-black, and just about any standard color except for white, since Malaysians are obligated to loathe anything “white”. With the exception of skin whitening creams, naturally.

Well, thanks to UMNO Youth, we have one less resource to properly teach kids about sex. So Walski reckons that it’s back to online porn to learn about the reproductive process. Heck, that’s how many kids these days learn about the birds and the bees anyway. Granted, it’s usually wildlife of a different kind (but that’s simply more unnecessary detail for us to get into right now).

Seriously, though, is the book obscene by today’s standards? And by that, Walski means intelligent standards, not the lowest common denominator benchmarks shoveled and force-fed down our throats. Well, since the book has already been banned, it would be futile to run down to your nearest porn peddler bookstore to find out.

Fortunately for us common Malaysian netizens, the good people at Loyarburok had the deftness and cunning to post samples of this supposedly lewd and society-damaging book online for our own consideration.

So what do you think – pornography or educational?

But you know what Walski really finds obscene? The super-duper fast kneejerk reaction from the Home Ministry to withdraw the book from circulation (and subsequently banning it), just because UMNO asked them to. Within one bloody day.

But then again, this is the same ministry at the forefront of upholding human rights, so perhaps Walski shouldn’t be all too surprised.

What’s equally disgusting is the fact that one particular segment of society – in this case the Einsteins at UMNO Youth – gets to decide what’s good for every single Malaysian. Not just a small segment of society, but Walski dares venture, a small-minded segment of society as well.

But perhaps that’s just symptomatic of the fascist country Malaysia has become and he shouldn’t complain too much. Oh, we’re a democracy you say? Yeah, continue your afternoon nap suckers, and dream on. 

The fact remains that the federal government we have today is one we ourselves voted in. Or at least that YOU voted in, because Walski certainly didn’t. So ponder upon that little factoid the next time you vote.

So since we brought this idiocracy unto ourselves, if we’re told that it’s okay to have our heads screwed on backwards then it must be accepted as the only correct way. Lest the UMNO-pandering Home Ministry deports your sorry ass.

Despite what the UMNO-kowtowing morons in power would have us believe, assembling IKEA products – even babies – requires more than just the right-sized Allen Key. Most times, some skill is required, and more often than not, additional tools.

But most of all, simple common sense determines whether or not the IKEA baby’s screwed in the right way or not. Sadly, we discover that  more and more, as time goes by, that inalienable right for citizens to have common sense is being taken away, one  book at a time.

Service over, point to the nanny state…

Walski’s self-assembled statement of indemnity: Contrary to what you may surmise from this blog post, Walski regards IKEA as his favorite provider of quaint sounding (and sometimes difficult to pronounce) furniture and other in-home needs. Like most Klang Valley consumers, household purchasing decisions without a visit to IKEA will feel a tad naked. Much like the “Where Did I Come From” kind of naked, pubes and all.

The funny IKEA-like instruction graphics Walski has used throughout this post originated from a fake joke-brochure created by Aubrey Clayton, founder and editor of the comedy magazine The Foghorn. It was featured in Boing Boing Gadgets some years back, and was naturally the perfect source for illustrating this post. You can download a PDF copy of the entire “manual“ here.

However, don’t try looking for a box of BÅB at your local IKEA outlet; not even on aisle 27…

Click here for the full post......

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA, PIPA and the Internet Blackout Day

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All of yesterday, you’d probably have seen the image below when trying to bring up the English Wikipedia page.

Wikipedia joins the SOPA protest

Yesterday, Wednesday January 18, 2012 was the Internet Blackout Day, a day when many sites stopped publishing their usual content, and instead posted messaging reflecting their respective stands against the two pieces of legislation.

You may be wondering, why the outcry (via ComputerWorld) from these web-based service providers? To understand why, you’ll first need to understand what SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are all about.

Normally, Walski would link you to Wikipedia to help explain the story behind these two problematic acronyms, but…

Simply put, both acts could potentially mean giving media corporations a card blanche type of tool to censor the Internet as we know it.
(SOPA, PIPA, and why the Net is up in arms, in the full post)

Now note the words Walski used carefully: media, corporations, and potentially.

The main drivers behind both the SOPA and PIPA legislations are not your ordinary Joe IP-owner, but the big media corporations, in particular the film studios and record labels (via Gizmodo).

An example of how the legislation works (taken from Gizmodo):

If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site's ISP prevent people from even going there.
(source: Gizmodo)

Wikipedia is not the only party up in arms. The following was published on popular cartoon-satire site, The Oatmeal.

Yes, Walski agrees – kitten BBQ is Bad.

Someone even wrote a song about how SOPA/PIPA would kill sites like icanhascheezburger.com, home of the LOLCats.

ROTFLMAO… but in all seriousness, SOPA/PIPA is no laughing matter, out loud or otherwise.

So what is SOPA/PIPA and why aren’t tech professionals the least bit thrilled about it? This TED video explains it all.









Will the effects of SOPA and PIPA be limited to the US Internet alone? The answer, if you believe the numerous industry professional who have articulated their fears, is a resounding NO. It will effect the Internet as we know it.

In particular, it will have a big time effect on the real internet content producers – you.

As of the time this posting goes up, Wikipedia has restored its normal services, and has updated its SOPA blackout page, which now contains this message:

The Wikipedia blackout is over – and you have spoken.

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.

Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.

SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows. What’s happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The internet has enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipedia went dark, you've directed your energy to protecting it.

We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly.

(source: Wikipedia)

What can you do? Exactly what Clay Shirky suggested in the TED video - call your representative or senator, if you're a US Citizen, and if you're not, tell your US Citizen friends to call their representative or senator.

From what he’s gathered by reading up on SOPA/PIPA, Walski is quite convinced that these two pieces of legislation will effect E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Combined, both pieces of legislation have the potential to signal the beginning of the end for the Internet as we know it.

Michael Stipe may have sang, once upon a time, that even though it’s the end of the world as we know it,  he felt fine, Walski’s pretty sure the end of the Internet as we know it won’t sit well with most people.

And because the Internet has become a big part of our daily lives, it’s death may very well mean the end of the world as we know it. Not the Roland Emmerich-styled cataclysmic kind of end, per se, but the kind that would be equally catastrophic to you and Walski.

About that prospect, Walski doesn’t feel fine. Not one bit.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Livid la media loca

For far too long now, the mainstream media, particularly those closely associated with UMNO, particularly Utusan and TV3, have been getting away with making baseless insinuations. Calling the Seksualiti Merdeka event a "free sex festival" is par for the course of these idiotic media organizations.

And yes, Marina has every right to be livid.

Only those without the capacity to think - and sadly there are way too many imbecile Malaysians who fall into this category - would believe lock, stock and barrel, what scumbag media organizations like TV3 and Utusan report.

And guess what? The police are now "investigating" those associated with Seksualti Merdeka. Walski really wants to know WHAT THE FUCK FOR? Who runs this damned country anyway - the morons whom we (unfortunately) elected into office, or the un-elected moist robots whose mental capacity is not much more than that of granite?

Marina Mahathir livid over ‘free sex’ slur on Seksualiti Merdeka

An emotional Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir lashed out today at media reports describing “Seksualiti Merdeka” as a “free sex festival”, and threatened to sue if the matter was not clarified.

She told a media conference that “no words could describe” her anger at hearing the event being described as such on television station TV3 last night, and warned a reporter from the station of consequences if her statement today is misreported.

“I have been looking at your face and we know who you are,” the eldest daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said during the press conference on the front porch of Tenaganita’s headquarters here, visibly shaking with anger.

Marina had turned up at the NGO’s single-storey office on Jalan Gasing this evening to lend support to four fellow human rights activists who were being questioned by police over their involvement in the recently-banned sexuality rights festival.

The four are Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik, Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez, and Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah.

“I am here only as a supporter because two years ago, I officiated Seksualiti Merdeka without any incident,” she said.

Marina explained the event was not to promote free sex, but to help the marginalised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community understand their legal rights.

“It is an event to explain and educate them of their rights within the laws, and not outside.

“So I am very angry, very angry, there are no words to describe, at certain parties calling this a free sex festival. You have nothing better to do? Nowhere here is free sex allowed... are you crazy to imagine this?” she charged.

Marina reacted with irritation when a reporter later asked Ambiga if she would continue to her struggle in support of events like Seksualiti Merdeka, and pointed out that the former Bar Council president’s involvement in the event was merely to officiate its opening.

“For the struggle, ask me. I have been defending their (the LGBT community’s) rights for over 20 years now. In fact, I defend the rights of all who have been discriminated [against] — the poor, and everyone else.

“So if there is any discrimination or violence against anyone, I will continue to defend their rights. That’s it. Do you understand?” she said.

Marina then threatened legal action against any media organisation that misreports her statement today.

Read more at www.themalaysianinsider.com
 

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

When mainstream media isn't free, online media fills the vacuum

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The viral nature of Internet media, namely Facebook and Twitter, is one of the reasons why the Bersih 2.0 campaign has been successful. Yes, Walski thinks it is a success, despite not being able to proceed with the originally planned July 9 street rally.

Although the Patriot and Perkasa opposition campaigns, too, used online media to promote their counter-cause, the numbers speak for themselves - the acceptance and influence of Bersih 2.0 far exceeds that of the Patriot/Perkasa one.

That, for Walski, is proof enough as to which majority supports what....

Online, Bersih marches on

Despite a government clampdown over the past week, online support for Bersih 2.0 has grown exponentially even as news of arrests, raids and confiscation of material rule the headlines.
As of 2am, the official Bersih Facebook group for the electoral reform movement has now 51,124 likes, growing by about 150 per cent since the middle of last month while the July 9 event page has grown from 2,200 confirmed participants on June16 to a whopping 17,039

The Pic Badges (www.picbadges.com) website, which enables small badges to Facebook profile pictures, Twitter and other social media platforms, shows that four out of the top eight badges worldwide are Bersih-related.

In contrast, the Patriot badge associated to Umno Youth's counter-rally only trends on in Malaysia, where Bersih-related badges take five of the top eight spots.
Read more at www.themalaysianinsider.com
 

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The magical stylings of #YoRais

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Walski dares say that even Harry Potter couldn't have conjured up a more magical linkage. And how are the cyber-attacks by Anonymous and the Bersih 2.0 rally linked?

We're not told, of course.

The nice thing about being a minister in Malaysia is that you can get away with saying the most ludicrously magical of things, without being required to produce evidence to back their claims.

Walski calls this "pulling facts out of thin air". In this case, performed by our most favorite of political dinosaurs.

Magical, simply magical...

Website attacks part of Bersih rally, says Rais

Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim today expressed belief that yesterday’s mass attacks on local websites may be connected to the upcoming Bersih rally.

Today, Rais described the cyber attacks as politically-motivated and intended to disrupt the workings of the government, but did not provide details as to how the denial of service attacks were related to the July 9 rally pushing for electoral reforms.

Rais also said the cyber attackers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and urged those involved to not damage the country out of anger towards the government.

Operation Malaysia, launched by the international hacker group known as Anonymous, had succeeded in bringing down its main target, malaysia.gov.my, at about 4am yesterday.

But it also spawned attacks on other sites, with the government stating that 60 per cent of the estimated 200 sites belonged to the federal administration.

Prior to conducting Operation Malaysia, Anonymous named the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission’s recent move to block file sharing sites like Pirate Bay and whistleblowers WikiLeaks as “inexcusable” acts of censorship that took away “basic human rights.”

Read more at www.themalaysianinsider.com
 

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Selepas Tsunami" and the futility of old school suppression

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Image taken from DNA pamphlet, image hosting by Photobucket A few days ago in Sibu, the police seized 243 copies of Selepas Tsunami, a documentary by Anna Har, produced for Komas. The seizure was made on grounds that the documentary was suspected to be seditious – that popular catch-all allegation when no other valid grounds can be found.

Police seized 200 video compact discs (VCDs) with the title "Selepas Tsunami" (After the Tsunami) in a 4pm raid at house in Jalan Bruang here Tuesday.

Sarawak CID chief SAC II Huzir Mohamed said the VCDs contained contents in the Iban language and were of a seditious nature.

He said police believed the VCDs had been brought in large numbers to Sibu for distribution at longhouses around here in the run up to the Sibu by-election on Sunday.

"We also seized a number of campaign pamphlets along with the VCDs. Investigation are ongoing to trace the parties responsible for bringing in the VCDs and the case is being investigation under the Election Offences and Sedition acts," he told a press conference here.
(source: Bernama - May 12, 2010)

According to an e-mail from Anna, “Next day, the police reverted saying that they have checked it out and its [sic] NOT seditious”, adding that the 243 copies have not been returned, and are still in the possession of the authorities. This was reported in Malaysiakini’s Bahasa Malaysia portal.

So, what does Komas do? Like a hip media organization would be expected to do, they went ahead and made the entire documentary available online.

And what does Walski do? The obvious thing any concerned blogger would, can, and often does do – disseminate it even further. 
(the documentary in its entirety, and more, in the full post)

So, here it is, in all its suppressed glory, the documentary the authorities (at least the ones in Sibu) don’t want you to see…

Now you can discern for yourself – seditious, or merely being objective?

Like poison ivy rashes that irritate one to no end, objectivity is unfortunately one of those things many people are allergic to. Particularly those who think that the “official” viewpoint is the only valid viewpoint.

Technology has changed the way things work – a simple and obvious concept that the old school practitioners of information gate-keeping apparently still cannot grasp. The VCD seizure in Sibu, and the subsequent online backlash, is the most recent example.

Ignorance, some say, is bliss. So, too, it would seem, is being in denial…

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010 - A Continuing Odyssey

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Before he gets too carried away, Walski would like to wish one and all a very happy New Year to myAsylum readers wherever they may be – even if it’s not quite 2010 yet where you are.

Happy New Year 2010, image hosting by Photobucket

Fellow-blogger Rapera, in his welcome-2010/goodbye-2009 post asks us an important question:

Is the year “new” or will we be “new”?

Pondering on this for a bit, what has changed about your world when you woke up to 2010 this morning?

As far as Walski can tell (from not suffocating and keeling over), the air in his world is still 78.084% Nitrogen, 20.948% Oxygen, 0.934% Argon, 0.031% CO2, and 0.03% dan lain-lain (give or take). By volume, that is. Exactly like it was in the old year.

So just what is so new about the New Year?
(what Walski would & wouldn’t like to have in 2010, and more in the full post)

Well, physically, not a thing. As Rapera aptly hinted, it’s us that changes with every year, and not the year itself. And so, whatever Walski wants in this new year – and for that matter what anyone else does – will depend on human factors that have nothing to do with the movement of time.

But let’s not belabor this point to death – Walski knows, as he knows you know, that the “new year” is but a point of reference that we give, within a system we practice, so as to be able to describe past/present/future events more precisely. So that instead of having to say “four hundred and thirty seven days ago”, we can simply say October 21st 2008. There’s absolutely no significance to this date, by the way, except that it was a Tuesday.

In any case, there are a few things that Walski would like to see happen this year. And some that he’d like a lot less of. And even some he’d like to see gone forever.

Realistically, much of what Walski wants he has no control over, and will require change in other people and institutions. One can still hope, no?

First, here are what Walski would like less of:

Politics – Ever since the run-up to the March 8, 2008 General Elections – almost 2 years ago now – Malaysia has been caught up in this perpetual, never-ending spin-cycle of politics. It’s long past the point of being tiresome – Walski finds it fucking irritating. To the max. And before you go screaming “Opposition sympathizer” on Walski’s ass, he thinks that it’s the fault of all parties, not just BN. EVERY-fucking-BODY. So, here’s some unsolicited advice that Walski would like to impart: stop with the politics, and get down to doing some real productive shit. Both to BN and to PR. To BN, you did badly during GE12 – you know it, and we sure as hell know it – now get on with life and start doing the work you were elected to do. And stop trying to undermine the states you lost with coups and underhanded tactics. You wanna win them back? The next GE is the proper platform. To PR, Walski realizes that the reality of governance is something you are only now coming to grips with, and that the Federal Government is not making life easy. Just don’t forget one thing – we didn’t elect you so that certain segments of your coalition can turn this nation into a theocracy. You did real good in coming up with a Common Policy Framework – just make sure you keep to your word, and walk your talk. And if any of the politicians are closet BN/UMNO wannabes – let them go – you don’t need any politician that’s less than sincere in your fold (okay, a “sincere politician” does sound like an oxymoron, but you get Walski’s drift).

Moral Policing – Bad enough that Malaysia is a police state, let’s all make sure it doesn’t further de-evolve into a Moral Police state. Sometimes, Walski feels that the only gratification Moral Policing gives is in the creation of “criminals” – oh, and making sure that this life is as hellish as possible. That said, in this respect, 2010 got off to a great start.

Walski’s just glad the girl didn’t actually jump down, or fall off, from the building. Assholes. And to think that there are those who actually wish for more of this in Malaysia. Bigger Assholes.

The photo you see on the left is from a similar news report in The Star.

Worried about her precarious position, the officer asked her boyfriend to coax her.
(source: The Star)

Worried about her precarious position, or of your own fucking culpability, should something nasty have happened to the poor girl. And looking at the drop, she would have suffered severe hurt, or maybe even permanent death, should she have jumped, or fallen.

And if that had happened, would the authorities have been charged? The cynic in Walski thinks not – and if that’s the kind of Malaysia that some Malaysians want, and God-forbid manage to one day achieve, then it’s no country worth staying on in. At best, at that too is a real stretch, this sort of crap is best left for the burgeoning reality TV that we’re being bombarded with.

Reality TV Shows – Speaking of which, it seems as though almost every conceivable (and sometimes inconceivable) situation now gets turned into a reality TV show. It was novel for a while, but now it’s gotten to the point of being ridiculous. If some obese fuck needs to lose weight, fine. They should for the sake of their health. But they don’t have to make the rest of the world suffer along. Oh, but it inspires unhealthily fat people to lose weight, you say? Look at it this way – if the mirror in your house, and snickering behind your back, is not inspiration enough, then a reality TV show probably isn’t going to, either. Come to think of it – what of those who get eliminated from the show along the way? Are they Bigger-than-Biggest losers? And if Moral Policing escapades in Malaysia were to be turned into Reality TV (shudder), can we name the program Even Bigger Than the Bigger-than-Biggest Loser?

Racism – Let’s face it – an entire system that was built, over the last half a century, along racial lines is not something that will be easy to dismantle. But that doesn’t mean that it should be further encouraged, either. What kind of superiority can one claim, when in the same breath one says that they’re in perpetual need of preferential treatment, or for thinking anyone owes you a living? And by the way, it’s time we came to grips with the fact that Malaysia (plus Malaya & the Malay Archipelago before that) has always been a melting pot, and that almost EVERYONE’s forefathers was, at one time or another, a pendatang. No insult intended – even Walski’s proud of his pendatang heritage. Why settle for bland ketupat, when it’s so much tastier with a variety of sauces?

Environmental Damage – Regardless of what your opinion is on Global Warming, one thing you’ll have to admit is that we (as in humans) are responsible for a lot  of damage to the environment, in the process of this thing called development. The horrendous landslips at Highland Towers and Bukit Antarabangsa were not “acts of God” per se, but the repercussion of hill-cutting, natural foliage removal, and the subsequent erosion, as a result. Mother Earth is a self-regulating closed system of gigantic proportions – imbalance of something will cause a shift in something else, as the system regulates itself. Take Carbon Dioxide, for example – the fact that it continues to hover around 0.03% (by volume) in the air we breathe is a clue that the excess CO2 that we spew into the atmosphere (and don’t say we don’t) had to have gone somewhere. The fact that we also keep cutting down natural nocturnal CO2 ingestors – tress, to you and Walski – is an added pressure to the environment to regulate itself. Hence, increased acidity in our oceans and groundwater, to maintain the fine balance in the air we breathe, between living, and keeling over gasping for air. It’s the simple principle of what-goes-around-comes-around. So yeah, let’s be more kind to the environment, shall we?

There are quite a few other things, too, like Stupidly Suicidal Drivers, Corruption, and Public Stupidity, which Walski won’t elaborate on. Otherwise, this post will be never-ending.

That said, there are a few things that Walski would like to see more of:

Walking The Talk – It’s important, just like Walking The Dog, which if you don’t do, will simply cause the accumulated poo-poo to one day appear in places you don’t want it to. And if the dog happens to be sitting by a fan when that time comes, the result might just be explosively messy. In any case, many promising things have been promised (for lack of a better word) – liberalization, 1Malaysia (in the true sense), etc. Well, saying is one thing – it’s time to put some action to those words. Otherwise, it’ll be another year of active sloganeering. Of course, the biggest stumbling block to political leaders’ aspirations is sometimes the members of their own political party, who may be a tad intellectually challenged to fully appreciate the true value of what’s proclaimed. It goes back to what Walski said earlier about doing the right things vs. politics being a popularity contest.

Acceptance – And not just tolerance. Tolerance, to Walski, merely means putting up with things you find distasteful. Like tolerating stupidity, for instance. Acceptance, on the other hand, is the wholehearted belief that others have the right to be as they are. No matter who these others are, or what it is they choose to be. We’ve seen some minor progress in 2009, and Walski hopes that he’ll see a lot more in 2010, and beyond. 2010 promised to be a good start when the courts ruled that no one community has the exclusive right to use ‘Allah’ (via The Malaysian Insider). At least, until the Court of Repeal has anything to say about it. ButImage hosting by Twitpic already, some Muslim exclusivst groups are up in arms over the decision. Including one former Selangor Chief Minister who says that he’s in mourning over the decision, and a Member of Parliament from the same political party who says that the decision will “stir racial tension(both news items via The Malaysian Insider). Not 'religious' tension, mind you, but 'racial’ tension. You really have to wonder how the exclusivist logic works. Or if there’s any logic involved to begin with. It’s almost like the age old playground taunt of “my God is better than your god”, when every Muslim knows that there’s only one god. It’s not like the Big Guy wears a name tag with ‘Allah’ written on it. So yeah, some acceptance of the fact no one religious/race community has exclusivity to God would be very nice for a change. And that’s acceptance, mind you, not tolerance.

Equal Access To Persecution-free Entertainment – And not a 1Apartheid situation where it’s a “crime” for one demographic to have fun (in whatever manner they like, as long as it doesn’t hurt others), and not a crime for everybody else. This really goes back to the No Moral Policing bit Walski already elaborated on earlier. Also, some lightening up on the “will bring about moral decay” rhetoric when it comes to entertainment would be great. Fine if you use that argument on corruption, but it really is a stretch when it comes to things which the young, and young-at-heart, regard as fun. And really, there is no “fun” in fundamentalism, no matter how tangled you try twisting your logic around.

Better Public Transportation – This, in fact, is related to Walking The Talk that was mentioned a few paragraphs back. Because so far, all we hear is talk. Talk, talk, talk. And while the poo-poo has already hit the proverbial fan, as far as KL is concerned on any given workday, it’s still not beyond the point of no return. The fact that Walski has greater hopes in Indonesia being socially more conducive to living (provided the fundies are kept at bay), it doesn’t mean he likes Jakarta traffic. And by Public Transportation, Walski means Public Transportation SYSTEM – not the piecemeal, not-very-connected islands of public transportation that KL boasts. Integrated? Look the damned word up in a dictionary before calling yourself that.

Civil Liberties – The broadening spectrum of civil liberties is what Walski hopes to see more of in 2010. We’ve been getting better in some respects, but much, much worse in others. The stunt pulled by the Government late last year of having stricter news censorship and obfuscation rules, in the guise of “self-regulation”, came under attack by the media bodies themselves. And now we’re hearing about new film censorship guidelines, to be introduced in 2010, of which Walski’s not entirely optimistic about. But he’ll give it the benefit of the doubt until the time it’s released, and (hopefully) open to scrutiny. Included in the spectrum of civil liberties is, of course, free speech, which unfortunately didn’t fare too well in ‘09. Again, Walski hopes for the best in the coming year…

To comprehensively go over every single thing that Walski would like more, and those that he’d like less, in one single post would mean that he’ll have nothing to write about for the rest of the year.

So, on that thought, he’d better stop here for now.

But in truth, this year will only reveal itself to be “new” if we make the effort to change ourselves for the better, and towards making what we want a reality. Many things, of course, are not entirely in our hands. Surprisingly, however, it’s amazing how even one small single action can have far reaching ramifications, whether we realize it, or not, at the onset.

It’s all part of the strange and mysterious continuum we call life, where 2010 is but another unfolding chapter…

Walski’s borrowed inspiration for post title creation acknowledgement footnote: Sci-fi buffs will probably have the suspicion that the post title is somehow related to Arthur C. Clarke’s “2010: Odyssey Two”. And you would be absolutely spot-on, if you suspected as much. Guilty, as charged.

Okay, so space travel hasn’t advanced as far as Clarke had envisioned 28 years ago when he wrote the Hugo Award winning book, and we’ve certainly not found any intelligent monoliths of unknown origin, nor come any closer to explaining the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything unexplainable. Not even why is it that some people find durians utterly disgusting.

But since it’s the only book Walski’s read that has 2010 in it, it became the natural choice of inspiration.

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