READ Zainuddin Maidin's merajuk 'lecture' letter (below) to educate yourself his definition and his take of being a "LIBERAL" .
And how he, as the chief of the Government's media propaganda machine would like Malaysian "liberals" to think and behave.
What you get is a fairly good reflection of the kind of intellectual substance of a former journalist from UTUSAN MALAYSIA, who is now a Cabinet Minister in charge of INFORMATION (for crying out loud) on the world and on human thought. Oh, never mind what we think of his command of the English language (spoken and written).
It seems Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin WRITES better than he SPEAKS... or does he?
Question: Did he REALLY write the letter himself ???
Now compare his speaking skills (interview with Al-Jazeera TV) and his letter to the Group Executive Editor of The Sun(below).
Zainuddin Maidin Speaking to Al-Jazeera TV on the Bersih Rally:
Go to Rocky Bru's Blog to read the column in The Sun newspaper that got the Minister furiously mad.
BELOW: Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin's letter addressed to Zainon Ahmad.
Group Executive Editor / Political Editor,
4th Floor, Lot 6, Jalan 51/217
Section 51, 46050 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Your Column of Jan 22,2008 in the Sun
In reference to the above I would like to express some opinions about your commentary.
In the current atmosphere of open Government some writers are taking the opportunity to present themselves as being liberal by injecting cynicism into their work.
Pathological questioning of every decision and poking fun at the authorities is a badge that they wear to identify themselves as a liberal. Perhaps they think it makes their article more interesting to read.
I am saddened to count you as one of the writers painting themselves into a corner by limiting their work to negative commentaries just for the sake of playing to the galleries.
During the recent ‘Evening With the Media’ I spoke at some length about the Indonesian newspaper Pos Kota and their highly innovative layout and how they broke all the accepted rules of presentation in order to forge their own unique identity.
Their decision to cram the front page with snippets of all the important news contained within their pages is still considered cutting edge today as many newspapers are still adhering to the traditional rules of layout which gives room to just a few main pieces.
I mentioned Pos Kota and their brave departure with the rules because they took the initiative to free themselves of convention and I felt that this would be a good encouragement for the local Media to reinvent themselves as they face the assault of citizen journalism, blogging and online news portals.
What Pos Kota implemented some 20 years ago, is the same approach being used by many bloggers as they put only the first few juicy paragraphs of their entries on the front page to entice readers to click deeper into their website.
Pos Kota and its owner, Harmoko, who was Information Minister during Suharto’s administration, had correctly predicted what people wanted in the future and reaped the rewards of their vision by enjoying the highest circulation in Jakarta with almost one million copies sold every day.
It is strange, therefore, that someone as experienced as you could misinterpret my words, twist it backwards and use it against me.
Your commentary clearly painted me as someone who did not understand progress and innovation and from that it appears to me that you are cynical for the sake of being cynical. You criticize because you feel that defines you as a liberal and that is very sad.
Maybe it was a dry week and my speech was the only thing you could poke fun at but you clearly had to invent an oppposite parallel reality in order to do so.
This is a clear example of what I mean by Malaysian journalists feeling inferior because they are told by others that the country lacks freedom of the Press. You probably felt that if you did not criticize the Government for a week, that somehow you are less free as a journalist.
Instead of being proud of the latitude for criticism and expression that exists in Malaysia, you dwell on the few restrictions that we observe and somehow convince yourself that journalists here are not free to do their best for society.
Throughout the years we have seen senior politicians, civil servants and law enforcement officers brought to book and many cases of corruption, abuse of power and inappropriate conduct scrutinized in minute detain on the pages of our newspapers.
When these stories were carried no newspapers, their editors and journalists were not cautioned or reprimanded and this is a clear indication that the Government has always been open to criticism and scrutiny.
You are free to report what is wrong as long as the reports are grounded on reality and supported by facts.
We must accept that Malaysia comprises many races, religious beliefs and cultures and there is every need to ensure that everyone live in peace and harmony.
I know that many so-called liberals, like yourself like to trivialize the importance of staying clear of sensitive issues, thumping your chest and claiming that Malaysians are mature enough to discuss openly these matters.
It is true that Malaysians are mature but they are more mature than you would take them to be.
I would like to take your mind to a parallel in our daily life; If you talk to an adolescent, they will inevitably see nothing as sacred and would freely and openly talk about subjects that offends others because they feel that they are young and open minded. But as they grow older and become more wise, they understand that some things need tactful and sensitive handling.
As these adolescents grow older they still need to deal with the same issues as they did when they were young but they develop a more considered and thoughtful ways of solving problems, ways that offends as few people as possible while achieving the same result.
Many so-called liberals in Malaysia are still caught up in the euphoria of freedom, much like those adolescent who are allowed to go out unescorted for the first time, some can handle the burden of freedom while others run wild and bring all sorts of harm onto themselves and the people who love them.
Malaysia has a conducive and free atmosphere for the Media to serve the best interest of the people but it is important to remind ourselves that even the most open and free country in the world has boundaries which must be respected.
We are still a relatively young country and we are going through a period of accelerated growth and national integration, it is paramount that we never lose sight of this even in our most self-serving desire to become known as a liberal thinker.
In reality, the true liberal is one that looks at the big picture and is able to accommodate all points of view and interests without upsetting anyone.
A liberal is not someone who is necessarily cynical and it is certainly not someone who cannot be anything other than a cynic.
Maybe Chong, Zain and Mohan can talk about something more liberating the next time they meet for ‘teh tarik’ and not busy themselves too much with being liberals.
DATUK SERI ZAINUDDIN MAIDIN