“I remember saying, that I am affecting politicians one way or the other no matter what you think of me. Not that I look highly upon myself, no, but I do agree with Karl Marx, that what one thinks of power, life and self, is ultimately the product of political forces. I am the product of political forces. You are the product of political forces. Even Najib is the product of political forces. The real reason I do what I do is something none of you can fathom and is something I’d like future generations to discuss”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
There is a lot of thought that goes into each article I write. The first rule every writer should follow, is that an article, however well-articulated, must deliver the intended message and the right impression. For instance, you may want your audience to understand the difference between rape and statutory rape, but end up leaving people thinking that you condone sexual intercourse with minors. Perhaps you said it right but articulated it in a complicated way. Sometimes, we have to make things easy enough for people to understand so as not to confuse the audience.
Are you saying Malaysians are easily confused?
As a matter of fact, they’re getting smarter and smarter by the day. Actually, we bloggers spend far too much time trying to attract smart readers without realising that they’re everywhere. The internet has been here for so long, you have entire generations that grew up with it and many others who adapted to it. You even have pakciks and makciks hooked to WhatsApp and other apps these days. There is so much information that can be derived off mobiles, the tendency is for one to browse through an article and not spend too much time on it. It follows, that the more complicated the narrative, the higher is the chance for one to get confused.
What about the negativity?
Malaysians assume that the comment sections below articles reflect on the voter conscience. While that appeared to be the case during the 14thgeneral election (GE14), many forget, that those who commented represented less than one per cent of the voter population and comprised chiefly of cybertroopers. Just because the comments were as negative as the voter sentiment was towards Barisan Nasional, one cannot assume that the millions who did not comment felt the same way as those who did.
And the same principle applies today?
Just because there seems to be a wave of positivity in favour of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, it is wrong to assume that his popularity ratings are getting higher. Even the BN friendly IT people I talk to laugh at the notion and express dismay that UMNO politicians have not changed. If these politicians are hoping to influence readers by having them think that Najib is getting more popular, they’re in for a huge letdown. Readers these days are smarter than before and aren’t easily taken by comments online.
So Najib isn’t getting more popular?
That’s not my point.
My point is, if you’re one of those who judges based on reader comments, likes and shares, you’re just as naïve as you were prior to GE14 for thinking, that because Barisan Nasional’s truth campaign received more likes and shares, the coalition would win. Back then, I tried to convince someone from Najib’s camp that people already knew of Pakatan’s fake news propaganda but were just too sick and tired of Barisan Nasional.
unfortunately, that guy didn’t listen.
You’re very demotivating
No, I’m not trying to demotivate you.
On contraire, I think that Najib was the best Prime Minister our country has ever seen. I’m simply trying to get you to see things objectively, so that the next time you derive an opinion, it’s the right one. Believe me, there was a time when one could not easily differentiate between fake and legitimate news. Today, it is quite common to hear the man on the street ask if a news source that appears on his mobile is legit. So you see, people are really wising up here as they are in the United States and elsewhere in the world. There is a new wave of political awareness that’s fast sweeping the internet.
Today, almost everyone has grown accustomed to reading stuff ranging from those thought provoking to those outlandish. The world of the internet has grown a “wisdom pool” that’s so large, it has come to a point, that the more people are fed rubbish, the better they are at distinguishing right from wrong. People are no longer as emotional as they were half a decade ago. They read whatever that comes to them with cool minds and quietly derive their own opinions.
Who’s your target audience?
The idea of there being a “target audience” is no longer relevant. For instance, if you’re in the game of conspiracy theories, people are bound to keep coming to you for more conspiracy theories. They may be the same “right thinking Malaysians” who read thought provoking articles by other bloggers. But because you have 10,000 readers on average per article, you get all too excited, thinking that people are actually coming to your blog to listen to you. While that may be true in one sense, in another, they may not believe a word you say.
According to well established research, readers who brand you a conspiracy theorist are likely to come to you for entertainment, shutting parts of their brains that process complex thought. What this means, is even though you share the same reader base with the thought provoking blogger, you’re simply where everyone goes when they’ve nothing to do. In this day and time, a lie told a million times can no longer be construed as a truth given the wisdom pool that exists online. Don’t take my word for it – just ask yourself how many Malaysians actually believe that the national debt is above RM1 trillion.
Why do some politicians pay thousands to attack writers?
Perhaps the writer is good.
And because he (or she) is good, you get politicians forking out these thousands to get cybertroopers to shit on his (or her) blog. It is subjective whether or not the negative remarks below your articles are genuine. Some say, the more negative the remarks, the more effective you are. While that may be true, always remember, that those who comment online represent less than one per cent of the total voter population. What they say may not be reflective of what the majority thinks but can be taken into consideration for self-improvement. Of course, there is a need for the writer to develop a “writer’s sense,” enabling him (or her) to distinguish a genuine remark from that of a paid trooper.
Do people misunderstand you?
Of course they do.
There is no such thing as a writer who has the whole world agreeing with him (or her). Those who know me understand me and understand the subtle changes I’ve brought to our democracy. Those who don’t know me but think they do make assumptions and talk to me as if they have me figured out. They behave as if they understand the reader base better than I do when it is me who’s doing the writing. I keep saying, that one should not be too free with one’s criticism, that if anyone wants to know anything about me, ask. The problem with some people I know is that they so full of themselves and stubborn.
It’s typical with the older generation. I remember saying, that I am affecting politicians one way or the other no matter what you think of me. Not that I look highly upon myself, no, but I do agree with Karl Marx, that what one thinks of power, life and self, is ultimately the product of political forces. I am the product of political forces. You are the product of political forces. Even Najib is the product of political forces. The real reason I do what I do is something none of you can fathom and is something I’d like future generations to discuss.
But not only do I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, I have developed a political sense of my own and have the intuition to react in ways that serve my purpose…
To be continued…