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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Going the way of the dinosaurs

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Image taken from Kid's Corner, hosting by PhotobucketDinosaurs.

Rumor has it that they were huge things - big, and lumbering... Okay, perhaps not true of all the dinosaur species, because some of them weren't that lumbering - like T Rex. But they were big - most of them anyway.

But in proportion to their size, dinosaurs generally had really tiny brains. Big enough to instinctively pickup survival skills (walk, hunt, eat, sleep, eat some more...), but probably not smart enough to look up an entry in Wikipedia. Or type, for that matter.

As to what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs - well, that is still an open debate. The popular theory is one of a major cataclysmic event - like a large meteor hitting the Earth. But that would've meant that all the dinosaurs would have had to be congregating at the very spot the meteor hit. Okay... silly jokes aside... their extinction was, by and large, pretty sudden.

Now fast forward a few hundred million years to the present - mention the word dinosaur, and you're likely to think of someone (or many someones) that's slow to adapt to change... sorta fosillized, almost. A living fossil, trapped in a time long past gone.

Which neatly brings us to our present-day political leaders, and how quickly they are adapting to the drastic paradigm changes brought about by a fast advancing technology called the Internet. Let's just say that they're adapting to the technolgy and its side-effects, as well as.. say, a 110V lightbulb adapting to a 240V socket.
(dinosaurs, politicians, and exploding lightbulbs, in the full post)

One only needs to look at what rubbish these modern-day dinosaurs have to say in the news. Like in this news article, for instance (emphasis by myAsylum):

A Senator today called for stern action against bloggers who he described as "arrogant and bold" when making disparaging remarks against leaders.

"The lack of a specific act to supervise bloggers gave them the space to spread lies which touch the sensitivity of the community. It can become a threat to peace," said Senator Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi when debating the Electronic Government Activities Bill 2007 in the Dewan Negara.

The Bill was tabled for second reading by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Dr Puad said the government should not compromise with the bloggers and use existing laws like the Penal Code, Sedition Act 1948 and the Internal Security Act (ISA) against them.

Senator Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir who spoke in support of Dr Puad said cyber crimes committed by bloggers could destroy the nation.

(source: Bernama)

First off, the biggest threat to peace are probably the politicians themselves, what with their keris-waving theatrics, threatening racial innuendos, and what not. Talk about a bunch of people whose minds are fossilized, eh? Okay, it's no big secret that most (if not all) the Senators in the Upper House are BN-nominated, so stupidity like this is to be expected.

And the intellectually bankrupt politicians' greatest tool is of course verbal threats of throwing the book at you. Hence, the threat of ISA and such.

But labelling bloggers as cyber criminals? Now, which century side of the bed did you wake up that morning, Datuk Musa? The rakyat (people), these days, empowered by the internet, don't have that short a memory anymore. Not like in the old dinosaur days. Farish Noor, via The Other Malaysia, puts it into perspective (emphasis by myAsylum):

A word, once uttered, can seldom be withdrawn. This is true for most of us and particularly true for politicians who forget that we now live in an age of modern communications technology where every sentence, every utterance, even every burp, hiccup and indiscreet bodily emission will be recorded for posterity.
(source: The Other Malaysia)

But perhaps the most threatening of threats has just come from none other than BN's own Daddy Dominatrix (officially known as the BN Whip), Datuk Nazri Aziz (emphasis by myAsylum):

The government today warned of tough action against web bloggers who write on sensitive issues which include insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Islam.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the government would not hesitate to use the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 121b of the Penal Code against these bloggers.

He said the government had exercised restraint in the matter for a long time and the time had come for it to act according to those laws.

"I want to issue a warning that the time has come for us to take action against them (bloggers who make disparaging statements). We have the right and we will do it. We have been very patient," he said when winding up debate on the Electronic Government Activities Bill 2007 in the Dewan Negara here. The bill was passed.

(source: Bernama)

First of all, it's web loggers, or bloggers, NOT web bloggers. But Walski's being nit-picky here... Then again, it's a sign that those who serve the government (Bernama included) aren't the most up-to-speed with such new-fangled terminology.

Second, since when is UMNO the Government? And the mindset that thinks UMNO is the government, and any lambasting of UMNO equals going against the government, and thus invoking draconian laws will make the rakyat suddenly burst with undying love, gratitude, and adulation for the government, is frankly misguided, best case. Worst case - downright clueless. Behavior almost dinosaur-like. Must be the similarities in the brain power department, or something.

Dr. M. Bakri Musa, too, laments that many a "kucing kurap" (mangy cat) have managed to rise so high in the echelons of UMNO, which in turn reflects very badly on the Malays (hat-tip: Rocky's Bru).

The effect of even calling the ISA into the picture is actually going to be quite the opposite of the imagined desired effect. Already, many are quite fed up with those in the current cabinet - most of them are just not the kind of leaders that can take Malaysia to the next level. And by that, Walski means the next level UP, and not down (they certainly are more than capable of driving Malaysia into the ground). And Nazri is definitely one of 'em - God-forbid that he should, at some point in time, become a minister in charge of something... kinda like a toothless cobra - lots of venom, but no bite.

Perhaps, Aisehman puts it best in his latest posting (emphasis by myAsylum):

If you can understand how technology changes lives, communities and entire societies, you would have seen it coming long ago.

You would have seen that technology empowers, and consequently, it liberates.

Nowhere is there freedom like the freedom that exists on the Internet.

There are many, many Internet users in this country, and everyday, they are being fed, raised, and nurtured on that freedom. It is becoming a part of them.

You can see it already. The word of the power elite is no longer blindly accepted as the truth and the law.

The “glory days” are fast fading.

Those who remain in denial of the shifting ground they stand on, will fall.


Well, the power elites we have today aren't exactly the sharpest tools in the shed. In Walski's book of terminologies, the power elites are going the way of the dinosaurs. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but soon enough. As long as they remain cluelessly secure behind their heavy shield of denial, loudly proclaiming their receding influence. And frankly, shooting themselves in the feet with every shout.

And this time, the cataclysmic disaster, unlike a couple of million years ago, will happen with all the dinosaurs neatly herded in one single place...