And Never The Twain Shall Meet?
Q: Tun, you have been telling people to read blogs. Lately the government has been responding to news that appeared in blogs, news which did not appear in mainstream news. What is your take on that?Those who attended the Press conference at Legend Hotel yesterday (Sunday, Feb 4) were treated to the usual Dr Mahathir Mohamad's sharp wit as he deflected questions about the Nobel Peace Prize nomination he received and the "war" against the blogs.
Dr M: Oh, I am afraid you don't have the freedom to talk about it.
And many of those questions - as well as on the Perdana Global Peace Organisation's (PGPO) "Expose War Crimes:Criminalise War" Conference and Exhibition", came from bloggers.
Reporters from AFP, Straits Times (Singapore), Berita Harian, Bernama, the Sun and Utusan Malaysia, to name a few, were there. So were several bloggers, including Jeff Ooi (Screenshots), Ahirudin Attan (Rocky's Bru), Ruhanie Ahmad (Kuda Kepang), Syed Imran (Kuda Ranggi), Bernard Khoo (Zorro-Unmasked), Stephen Francis (Shanghaifish), Malaysia Today, KMU and Gen M.
With Dr Mahathir were some of the speakers who will be addressing the delegates at the conference. Also there were Dr Mahathir's wife, Dr Siti Hasmah and their son, Mukhriz.
And guess who had to be the one to throw Dr Mahathir the first question?
Why, it was Ahirudin aka Rocky. Once a journalist, always a journalist, they say.
Or is it -- "old" journalists don't die -- they become bloggers!
Here's the best part. The party over, reporters had long gone and bloggers still chatting.
A hotel staff (in that smart dark coat-trousers uniform) made an announcement:
"Members of the Press, we have prepared some refreshments for you. Please step this way". Momentary silence. Bloggers a trifle stunned.
Did he just say "members of the Press"?
"Do we look like members of the Press?" somebody suddenly whispered to me.
Does it matter? Let's not confuse him. To his credit, he had made no distinction between those in the mainstream media and bloggers.
Well, what can we say but thank you to Legend Hotel for the coffee, tea, sandwiches and curry puffs.
Anyway, in case you are interested, the three-day conference and exhibition begins tomorrow (Monday Feb 5) at 9am at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.