Friday, September 16, 2005

Mack, Back The Hell Up

I mean, really. Just back the hell up.

I don’t disagree with what he says, no, at least the core message—what goodman did was wrong, he shouldn’t be abusing freedom of speech the way he is, if you shit on someone else’s lawn you deserve at very least a tight slap and at the very most legal proceedings.

But the minute he started bringing up Nazis my wank sense started… tingling…!

Mack, here’s what I think you did wrong:

You Broke Godwin’s Law.

Actually, you didn’t; your argument instead matched the observation that is postulated in Godwin’s Law. But that’s not as catchy as saying that you broke it.

Not that you’re not supposed to, mind you—but remember what Godwin’s Law is supposed to do:

[Godwin’s Law]’s memetic function is not to end discussions (or even to classify them as “old”), but to make participants in a discussion more aware of whether a comparison to Nazis or Hitler is appropriate, or is simply a rhetorical overreach.

Your argument was a rhetorical over-reach. The Nazi’s murdered 6 million Jews. Racists in our country have not yet killed anything close to that number. Neither are they in power the way the Nazis were, and neither did they dominate the nations the Aryans did.

The Nazis are semiotic poison. Unless the groups that are being compared to them bear more than just a passing resemblence to Nazis and Naziism, or are as virulent as the Nazis, avoid using them in comparisons.

You Went For the Groin.

Seriously. While ad-hominem attacks are generally de rigueur in situations like this, implying that goodman’s arguments are the results of insanity diminishes the whole edifice of people who do have a grieviance, however imagined, against Malays.

I’m Malay, with Chinese, Javanese and Indian blood in my veins. I can’t claim to be as rojak as you, but you do know that non-Malays have a legitimate grieviance.

And, to top it off, you called him a pathological liar. That’s wank material there.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

So You're Getting Fucking Persecuted.

There was once a time when Jeff called me contrarian1. I was flattered2! And then people forgot forgot me and I had to abandon my plan to make money of blogging, and instead get a real actual job. That sorta sucks.

Serves me right for not being regular. I wonder if bloggers have their own kind of bran.

Anyway! Enough reminiscing. We’re here to talk about the Freedom of Speech!

Getting Started / Get Retarded

Yes, it’s a post referencing that event!

First off. It’s interesting to note that while there’s a lot of reacting to what happened in the news, I didn’t actually see what those two forumgoers posted, so I have no idea if what they said was racist or not.

Secondly, assuming, of course, that the statements made by the two defendants were actually racist in nature, then all I’ve got to say, again, assuming that what they said was racist, is that those they had it coming.

Being Harsh On The Ones You Love Mildly Dislike

I’ve never been very kind to my fellow bloggers. I’ve heckled them, mocked them, belittled them and, in general, challenged them to actually prove that what they say is important in the general scheme of things.

My argument is that blogs are intrinsicly uninteresting—dull, even plebian and horrible at times. You get what you pay for in terms of low cost of ownership, and sometimes you may get overcharged.

Quality Oxymorons

Nothing gives you the right to be important, least of all being a blogger. Most of us will be trapped in the personal limbo of being uninteresting to all but the closest and most obsessive of our readership, while a select few will get to be the next Kottke or Ooi, or whoever it is that is popular.

While being read and respected by thousands is nice, it certainly helps to realize that while Jeff gets another fucking award from yet another international organization and Kottke gets his six billionth reader, you and I will be filling up what we can charitably call Sturgeon’s Bottom Ninety Percent.

If you’re still dreaming about making it to the big-time by blogging, get over it.

That ‘Fundamental Right’

And then there’s the ‘fundamental inalieable right to Free Speech’. While many people focus on the right to say whatever you like without fear of censorship, I say “bullshit”.

Freedom of Speech means freedom of living to the consequences of what you say. While you can say what you like online, you’re never, never free from consequence.

The government may not be able to do a thing to you4, but that doesn’t mean that what you say can’t get you fired, or get you verbally slapped around like a two-buck whore online, or cause your friends or lovers to leave you.

Welcome To The Land of Shut The Fuck Up

And so you do and must censor yourself. You think to yourself, “Can I say this? Is this right?” before posting your vitriol across the public wire. Of course you must. Being free to speak doesn’t mean you are free from being told, in very firm words, to be quiet.

As a matter of fact, as a Citizen of the Internet, you are allowed to speak whatever you like. Freedom to speak doesn’t mean that you must be listened or that your words deserve immortality. You are free to speak. What happens next is not up to you.

And frankly, like religious bigotry and outright stupidity, racism is hardly a defensible thing. You want to get in trouble, get in trouble by yourself. I’m not defending you, not because I do not care about free speech, but I have better time defending the right to the free speech of others who are more deserving.


1 And my work eloquently-crafted, but I’m a crafty bugger, and I can spot a backhanded compliment a mile away!

2 And yes, I know what it means! It means he thinks I’m on crack3!

3 Do not deny it, you crafty old bastard! You know it in your bones to be true!

4 But it can, and did. Oh dearie me. That’s so unfair! Whatever shall you do?

Monday, September 12, 2005


Pick Yin did this, and she tagged me. I had an odd time doing this, really. I haven’t thought about my childhood much, much less talked about it to anyone here.

But anyway, here it is.

1985: 20 years ago.

My earliest memory. I am in my grandmother’s house. It is late morning. I am walking in, and I see the family dining table. I see old photos, medals, rememberances. The floor is terazzo.

My grandfather calls to me, calling me by a name no one else uses: “Muhammad Tariq”. He is a jolly fat mamak man, who dotes on me and spoils me.

I have a younger brother, just two years old. He is chubby and cute, and I bully him often, as older brothers do.

I love the television; often too much, as I often stand in front of it, blocking everyone else’s view. It’s a bad habit I will eventually abandon.

I start kindergarten this year. My first day, and I see a beautiful, blond-haired fair-skinned girl and fall in love with her, thus setting a rather unfortunate trend on my relationships with the opposite sex.

The only times I will ever feel this way again will happen after harsh bouts of illness, when I am young and fragile again, and the world feels fresh and renewed.

I am 4 years old.

1995: 10 years ago.

I am a Cempakan, and I hate it here. It’s probably the hormones, and some of the isolation. I don’t feel like I belong here.

I have seen death visit twice; once to take my baby sister away after seven months of life, the second time to take my grandfather away.

I have another baby sister. She is 4 years old. After the death of my late sister, she comes into the family like tinkle bells and the spring breeze. Everyone loves her.

I have established a reputation of being an underachieving social outcast. I am often lonely and frustrated. My parents note how angry I often seem to be.

My brother is now taller than I am. He seems more popular as well. We don’t get along too well.

If Simple Plan was popular, and if I cared about music, I would have been their biggest fan.

I discover the Internet, and at almsot the same breath, thanks to the article in Time, easy access to pornography. Really easy. A love-hate relationship begins.

I am 14 years old.

2000: 5 years ago.

I am in INTI College Subang Jaya, which, after Cempaka, is a welcome change. I lose some of the rage, but the loneliness remains. A string of stalky “relationships” begins.

I move from my house in Ampang to a place in Petaling Jaya. At least we don’t have to wake up at bloody daybreak to get anywhere now.

I discover Half Life and Counter-Strike. I am not as good as I used to be, back in the days of Quake Multiplayer. But I have fun for quite a long while.

Not knowing what to do, one of the women I… well, ‘stalk’, gets the help of one of her more confident and aggresive friends to either scare me off or distract me. We start dating.

My parents aren’t exactly pleased; having had no experience in dating or what to do or behave, I screw up introducing her, among other things. The mistake takes years to rectify.

I am 19 years old.

2002: 3 years ago.

I have been in London barely four months, and my girlfriend calls and shatters my world. I don’t recover for a long time, but the aftermath leaves us stronger.

I have really long hair now. It reaches below my shoulder, and is the envy of hippies all around.

I’m beginning to doubt what I want to do for the rest of my life. Programming and computing science doesn’t seem as attractive as it used to.

Homesickness takes its toll. I’m beginning to realize, outcast that I believed I was, nothing compared to the sense of alienation I felt when I am alone here.

The isolation, doubt, and homesickness eventually will cost me my degree here.

Thanks to the urging of my friends, I begin blogging here. It was for friends, and was very sporadic. It will eventually die from lack of support, and a few HTML comments-based bugs.

I am 21 years old.

2004: Last year.

I come back, after two years of trying. Sometimes people need to go away to realize what they’ve already got.

I start a LiveJournal, mainly to keep in touch with friends who use this service.

Why Are You Here? comes to life. It doesn’t get at all regularly updated, disappointing people for some damn reason.

This is a time of relearning—I re-enrol to HELP and major in Business Information Systems. I begin feeling some degree of reverse culture shock, which is a shock in itself.

Hani and I spend more time together, getting a feel of each other after two years of no physical presence. She introduces me to bloggers. I get along great with a some of them.

I do something I’ve always fantasized about, but thought I’d never do. It’s fun, but exposes me to feelings that I never thought I’d feel from doing it. A couple more incidents like it, and that’s it.

My first birthday at home in two years is held in a Swedish Pizza parlor.

I am 23 years old.

2005: This year.

I graduate this year, with Second Class Upper Honours. My parents are understandably very proud. So is Hani.

I start looking for work, and I eventually find it. It’s a change from being a student.

I break the news to my parents, who are understandably upset and taken aback by my decision. Much negotiating begins, and the rest of my family becomes privy to something I have kept secret for almost half a decade.

My sister grinned and gave me the thumbs-up when she found out I had done the deed.

I call my brother, who is in Australia. We both talk. He expresses concern, and asks me if I think it’s a good idea. I say it is. He wishes me good luck.

I’m looking forward to Christmas.

I am 24 years old.

2006: Next year.

Performance Review Time. I get past that particular hurdle, and another stage of my life begins.

Another major event the middle of this year. It’s a frightening prospect, but I look forward to it. Probably more than some people, though…

I am 25 years old.

2015: Ten years from now.

“Daddy, what are you thinking about?”

Oh, nothing, kiddo.

Well, that’s that. So now, I’m tagging…

And, for the hell of it, these people:

Feel free to take it up, if you’d like. It’s a free-ish country.