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Monday, May 12, 2008

Another goBLOG 15 minutes...

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Sometimes, TV1 can be educational. In a totally unexpected, and unintentional way. For instance, tonight Walski learned that the word hogwash in Bahasa Malaysia, actually means

"makanan sampah sarap yang diberi kepada babi"
(translated into English: "food made out of rubbish, given to pigs")

Or at least according to Malaysian Press Institute CEO Datuk Chamil Wariya, who hosted this week's 15-minute waste of time program called "Blog".

Image hosting by PhotobucketTV1's Blog - uninspired and blog-illiterate

Tonight's guest was 3450 Jalan Sudin's Nuraina A. Samad, and it is becoming more and more apparent that TV1 (and likely the entire RTM) doesn't have a clue what blogs are all about. Not even after having done this 15-minute segment 3 times before.
(half-loaded host with loaded questions, and more, in the full post)

It's clear from the line of questioning, the intent of this program is not to discover "new perspectives", as the program touts itself to do. Rather, it appears to be trying to forcibly impose the norms of old perspectives on something new.

Either that, or RTM is so blog-illiterate that they effortlessly make themselves out to be dumb.

For instance, the interview opens with introducing Nuraina, and her background being a journalist for the NST for 27 years - then goes to enquire why is it that Nuraina the blogger doesn't resemble (much) Nuraina the NST journo, from her writing... Duhhh... Welcome to a talk show about blogs that seemingly hasn't the single clue about what blogging is really all about.

Image hosting by PhotobucketEna: Nervous, but held up very well

Although looking somewhat nervous, (and more comfortable with English, vs. BM) Walski thinks Nuraina handled herself well. Even when it was insinuated that her speaking up for RPK (like that's such a bad and nasty thing), quoting her May 7th posting "A Step Back Into A Familiar Dark Realm", meant that Nuraina was anti-establishment in her stance.

Another thing that was insinuated was how "opposition" opinions are upheld. Well, unfortunately for RTM, who probably choose to live in a make-believe world where EVERYBODY loves BN, what is expressed in blogs probably mirrors more closely the feeling of the common person on the street, versus the illusionary "semuanya OK" atmosphere that the mainstream media has traditionally been forced to portray.

Or how about when Datuk Chamil asks another leading question: if Nuraina has writer's block or has run out of topics to write about, when she quotes other sources, like Bernama, or Rocky's Bru. Serious LOL-time here, people.

Perhaps the only intelligent question (to Walski) was when Nuraina was asked to contrast writing as a Malaysian journalist versus blogging.

Walski sincerely hopes that Datuk Chamil didn't have anything to do with framing the questions posed tonight. For one thing, it made him look rather dumb, out of his league and bending over backwards to be Government friendly. But his Bahasa Malaysia definition of "hogwash" really took the cake. And yes, he ate it, too...

But seriously, the overall line of questioning, from tonight and from previous episodes, it's occured to Walski that:

  1. Blog is a half-assed attempt to understand new media, with the other half-ass trying to paint blogs and bloggers as being anti-Establishment
  2. Their producers must be the absolute worst in Malaysian TV, and totally out of their league when it comes to new media
  3. Although trying to show the Ministry of Information's openness to engage bloggers, it seems to have an underlying agenda to paint a not-so-nice picture of blogs and bloggers, and position them collectively as being anti-Establishment, and very pro-Opposition (or at least not pro-BN)
  4. RTM is unaware of the sheer diversity of web blogs, or purposely painting a picture that blogs present a monolithic viewpoint, and are monolithic in format and content

Particularly when it comes to the poll that viewers can respond to via text messages.

Tonight's poll question was rather loaded: "Do you consider sedition (hasutan) to be freedom of speech?" Incidentally, the result was 44% saying Yes, and 56% No. Without any indication as to how many respondents there were. Or even tying it in with what questions were being asked during the interview. Half-assed, like Walski mentioned earlier.

In truth, 15 minutes is simply NOT long enough. It doesn't allow any line of questioning to be discussed in depth. And depth is exactly what this program lacks, or perhaps is incapable of achieving.

Image hosting by PhotobucketHost Datuk Chamil Wariya: Hogwash, redefined

Perhaps there are reasons for allocating such a short amount of time - maybe 15 minutes is all that RTM is comfortable with for a live segment. Or maybe it's in line with the attitude of "ala kadar, cukup syarat" (fulfilling the bare minimum) when it comes to wanting to understand blogs and bloggers.

So far, Walski has yet to see one review for Blog that has had anything positive to say. Climbing a steep learning curve is one thing, which is not something difficult to overcome, provided you have the essential aptitude and attitude.

RTM, basing on Blog has a long, long way to go in both departments.