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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

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Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Thank You, Dear Readers!

Thank You, Dear Readers!

On this, my 51st posting, I thank readers for visiting my website.

This exercise began purely for a practical purpose. I wanted an electronic repository for my published works so that when readers query me on my past essays, I can simply refer them to my website. It has rapidly morphed, much to my delight, to a blog of sorts.

I truly appreciate those readers who have taken their time to e-mail me or post their comments on my website, as well as through “Letters to the Editor” of the Sun and Malaysiakini.com, and comments on Malaysia-Today.net. These editors, Zainon Ahmad and Chong Cheng Hai of the Sun, Steven Gan of Malaysiakini.com, and Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia-Today.net, have kindly given me permission to republish some of their materials. I also thank them for giving me valuable space in their respective publications and portals.

A writer without readers is like a bird without wings; it simply would not fly. I do not fancy myself as a writer; I reserve that exalted designation for such talent as Kassim Ahmad and Shahnon Ahmad. I write simply to share my ideas, and to start a dialogue. In order to make myself heard I have to convey my ideas in a clear, rational and readable format.

There are billions of printed pages and websites out there, so I am fully aware of the competition for readers’ attention. I am also respectful of your time. Thus, I am mindful not to post or publish anything that would waste your time or insult your intelligence. My writings and postings have undergone multiple reviews and rewrites to ensure that they are clear and free of unnecessary words. Even that does not prevent the inevitable errors and typos. I am grateful to readers who have kindly brought them to my attention.


Minimal Deletion of Comments

As my purpose in writing is to initiate dialogues and encourage discussions, I have rarely deleted posted comments. Exceptions are the obvious spammers; in particular, those annoying relatives of now defunct African potentates who promise my readers fabulous riches, and operators of obscure casinos looking for lost winners.

I have also deleted the postings of protected copyright materials. This is not only a matter of Internet etiquette but also a legal one. There is liberal interpretation of the fair use of such materials, but I am certain that en bloc re-posting would not be viewed as such.

Referring to legal issues, I am always conscious of potentially libelous postings. Fortunately, I have not had to delete any on this basis. This reflects favorably on the type of readers I attract. I again thank you for your sound judgment on this matter.

I have also avoided re-posting other people’s materials. On the rare occasions where I have done so, I have asked and been granted permission. There is one special case. With his consent, I have posted my private exchanges with my dear friend Din Merican. My collaboration with Din goes back many years, and I value immensely his contributions.

Another possible reason for deletion would be the use of profanities. Again, reflecting the quality of the readership, I have not had to do this.

I am pleased that my commentaries have elicited many responses, some very passionate and forceful. It is immaterial whether I agree or disagree with them, the fact that I have started and contributed to the discussion is satisfaction enough.

No one has the monopoly on truth or wisdom. It is important that we hear a variety of views and ideas. A few are undoubtedly extreme and perhaps beyond the pale, but as long as there are no profanities and libelous materials, that is fine with me. I trust my readers to render their own judgment as to their merit or taste.


Heightened Obligation

I am truly grateful and humbled by the responses, and the obligations that go along with that. They heighten my sensitivity to ensure that what I write and post are fair, responsible, and in good taste. I strive to live up to the four-way test of my Rotary Club. Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all?

The Quran says it more succinctly and eloquently: Command good and forbid evil.

I am naturally pleased with the exponential increase in the number of readers. One figure not tallied but can be easily derived is the comment-to-readers ratio. It is gratifyingly high, meaning, my readers are engaging me. I am also grateful to the bloggers and others who have thoughtfully provided links from their websites.

A few readers have indicated their discomfort about posting on my website because of their perceived English language inadequacies. Rest assured my website is not a writing contest; we – readers and I – are interested in your views, not in your writing flair. I am comfortable in both Malay and English; readers are welcome to post in either language. Alternatively, you can e-mail me directly and I can suggest editorial changes and return the message back to you for your posting.

This website would have remained in its conceptual stage had it not been for the intervention from a fellow Malaysian here in Silicon Valley, Jason Pittam and his lovely wife Sue Ishak. I consider them to be part of my family. After one long discussion at my home, he knew exactly what I had in mind. The next morning I had a surprise e-mail from him, “Abang! I created a website for you and downloaded some of your earlier essays!”

I am committed to ensuring that the time you spend on my website is well worth it. I am equally committed to sharing with and learning from you.

Again, I thank you and express my heartfelt gratitude for visiting my website.

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