What a Bummer!

by Eyes Wide Open

The Blogger event of the year – BUM2010 – was a highly anticipated affair this year. Featuring several potentially explosive topics (like the “kalimah Allah” issue) and panel speakers have taken controversial stands and who are at loggerheads with their fellow panelists, we were expecting sparks to fly.

But…the whole event just fell flat.

For one thing, almost all the most “interesting” speakers were last-minute no-shows. Utusan’s Zaini Hasan pulled out of the “Media Coverage” panel at the last minute. His slot was taken over by blogger Big Dog who gamely agreed to the last minute request to fill in the empty slot.

But there was a lot of head-scratchin’ going on as many were wondering how a blogger who was not an Utusan emplyee could justify Utusan’s editorial directions. The situation wasn’t helped by his bland and uninformed presentation – a sharp contrast to the hard-hitting style on his blog.

Citizen Nades also suddenly pulled out as he was chasing a lead. Otherwise it would have been interesting to hear from one of the more independent journalists around. I was especially interested as the Sun is own by the UMNO-aligned Berjaya Group, so technically it should be more or less just as cowardly as the other MSM. But somehow, the Sun seems to be showing at least some backbone.

The Star’s Gunasegaran came, but right off the bat he was presenting what was pretty obvious to many people – that the MSM are the obedient pooches of politicians. Come on la…only the most clueless don’t know that! So when it came to Q&A time, the much-anticipated question was popped “What was the Star’s rationale for retracting your article about the whipping of the 3 Muslim women?”. His reply was a just very, very bland “I can’t talk about that.”

He was obviously under a gag order not to discuss the issue. And since there were no other questions, the moderator Rocky hurriedly wrapped up the session 20 minutes early.

The “Kalimah Allah” discussion also turned out to be pretty tame. Sakmongkol – the call-a-spade-a-spade blogger – was supposed to moderate, but he went AWOL. Zulkifli Noordin the self-styled “champion of Malaysian Islam” was uncontactable for weeks, although he was a highly-anticipated speaker for BUM2010. That left Akramsyah to hold the fort for the “anti kegunaan kalimah Allah oleh puak Bukan Islam” side.

Tengku Faris – the UMNO Unit Media Baru head and admin of the odious FB page – was there but surprisingly chose to keep quiet. Funny, I always thought that people with real conviction would speak out even if they are the minority?

The only sign of life during the session was when a participant stood up to correct a reporter from Malaysian Mirror, who had asked “Why are the ‘bangsa asing’ not being effectively educated to heed the sensitivities of the Muslim majority?”

Very politely, the classy lady replied,  “I am NOT a ‘bangsa asing’. I am a Malaysian citizen who has lived here all my life!” to loud applause from the floor.

The other anticipated session was “Bloggers role in bridging the religious divide” because Uthayakumar had agreed to come. Many were wondering what he would say about religious issues since his was a struggle for his race.

Unfortunately, he spent his entire session highlighting the plight of marginalised Malaysian Indians and even implied that bloggers deliberately avoided Indian issues.

This got some participants up in arms as they accused Uthaya of being communalist and interpeting everything through racial lenses. There was some back and forth regarding this issue but moderator Helen wisely brought it to an end and steered the Q&A back to the topic at hand.

Uthayakumar and his entourage left immediately after the session and didn’t even stay for the roast lamb dinner!

Overall, I would say that the best part of the event was the 2 roast lambs for dinner – simply delicious in all their succulent goodness! And having it outdoors with comrade-in-pens at a table with a lake view was great.

Otherwise, BUM2010 turned out to be quite a dull affair as most of the controversial speakers were missing and thus the participants were denied the chance to grill them.

Let’s hope for a better BUM2011…

One Response to “What a Bummer!”
  1. M P.. Nabhan says:

    Dear Bloggers,

    I understand what Uthayakumar wants, but he still is in the oldies to racialise the minority group.
    Hello, you have to know how we Indians are being treated and the only party MIC should have fought
    strongly for us.

    Sorry to say, everything is down the drain. Now we have an opposition to fight for all Malaysians along
    the way to uplift all races along the concept of “reformasi”, which we should give a strong support to fight the all mighty monopolised by UMNO “coronies. UMNO, MCA and MIC are good parties, but taking vare for themselves. Please Uthaya, change your style of accusing the opposition and bring all we Indians to be Malaysian first then your race.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: