"Some of us may claim, in a very concerned way, that Malaysia currently is in crisis while some claim that we are on a sliding mode. Arguments in support are plenty and we don need to pay attention to them. At the same time though, in honour of our past leaders like Tun Dr Ismail and to mark the 50 years of our country independence, I would like to appeal for a much more optimistic interpretation of current trends toward our country's future.Musa was launching the book on Tun Dr Ismail Rahman in Johore Bahru yesterday. The launch was attended by over 100 guests from Malaysia and Singapore. After the launch, lunch and a press conference, the four bloggers flown in by the organisers to have breakfast with the author of the book and witness the launch (three are based in KL and the fourth in London) had a chat with the Tun.
"Politically I am sure Tun (Dr) Ismail would approve of what is going on now. He would not brood any nonsense, of course. But after seemingly sliding for many many years, the Tun (Dr Ismail) would certainly approve of the relatively more tolerant, open and liberal way that the present leadership seems to be conducting government. What more with increased emphasis on accountability with action being taken on cases of alleged corruption apparently without fear or favour. More, certainly, need to be done. But what is happening has been unheard of for many many years earlier!
"In politics Malaysians seems have reached a reasonable level of maturity. What used to be taboo subjects are coming out more and more into the open. Even the mainstream media is jumping into the bandwagon, not to mention the digital media that has come out completely unrestrained. Through the internet, furious arguments, most of them again, unrestrained and frank with not a few being highly emotion and even irrational, are continuously going on!
"I guess the late Tun (Dr Ismail) never imagined how our nation has become so so internet savvy in such a short time. Certainly, though, he would be happy to know that in spite of the furious debates on what used to be these taboo subjects, they are not accompanied by the inevitable unrest and even violence that used to be the order of the day! This is what a leading professor calls "Digital Democracy". And Thank God for that!"
Nuraina A. Samad, who covered Musa Hitam for many years when she was a journalist with the NST, asked: "So what do you think of us bloggers?"
Musa Hitam: "I have said in my speech .. Thank God for digital democracy!"
Nuraina A. Samad: "Do you mean it?"
Musa Hitam: "Of course! I will say it again. "
Go to her 3540 Jalan Sudin, Jeff Ooi's Screenshots, and Zaharah Othman's Kak Teh's Choc-a-Blog for their takes on Musa, the book and the author.
Shahrir Samad sat with the four bloggers at lunch and, based on The Star report here, remains very much a blogger at heart.
I asked the Tun to sign on my copy of Ooi Kee Beng's "The Reluctant Politician", which he had just launched. This is what he wrote:
Bloggers of the world, UNITE!"