Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Propaganda for Concerned Malaysians

Written by johnleemk on 2:45:25 pm Apr 30, 2007.

As most thinking Malaysians have probably realised, we are swamped with propaganda and lies by the government. The opposition tries to spin their own propaganda too, but it fails — and the results are often not too pleasant.

We need some nonpartisan effort for propaganda — a nonpartisan effort to inform and educate the people about our country. We need to make people understand why politics matters. Why Barisan Nasional is worthless. Why we are led by racists.

Now, that may sound rather partisan. But I think it is impossible to be a thinking, concerned and intellectually honest Malaysian, and not have incredible distaste for our government and how we have been led, especially these past few years.

It is becoming incredibly clearer and clearer that unless we do something, we will be witness to the death of Malaysia. We cannot afford to sit down and do nothing.

Blogging is one medium that has already been significantly exploited, but I do not think we are pushing the boundaries far enough yet. Our "citizen journalism" should be really called "citizen tabloid journalism".

We need to cut the sensationalism and start focusing on ideas for change. It is pointless to complain, but it is equally futile to take action before knowing what action to take.

But that aside, there is another very powerful medium for propaganda which I think can be exploited to the hilt by all concerned Malaysians, including those of the opposition, to inform and educate our friends and comrades.

This medium is video. Thanks to YouTube, it is now possible to disseminate a very powerful and emotional message to a vast audience with nothing more than a webcam and an internet connection.

The words we write here may play a role in the policies of change. But to effect change, we must first be able to win when it comes to the politics of change — and that calls for pure, unadulterated and honest propaganda. (This is only a tongue-in-cheek oxymoron.)

Studies indicate that voters vote with their hearts, not their minds. They use their emotions to decide who to vote for, and then come up with reasonable-sounding justifications to back up this emotional decision.

For this reason, we need a medium which can really touch people and rouse them to action. And that medium has to be video. With YouTube and an internet penetration rate in the high 40s percentage, we can already reach most urban areas, and I'm sure concerned non-governmental organisations and political parties would be more than happy to organise showings of rousing videos.

Now, I'm no propagandist. But looking through YouTube, I can see that there is already a lot of excellent material that can make apathetic Malaysians very concerned — material that we, the already concerned Malaysians, ought to use to spread the word.

Much of this material is probably only relevant for urban areas. Vote-buying may not be the right issue for rural areas. And some jokes are only relevant for the already-aware, such as most urbanites:

But some material will have a universal impact. It is difficult not to be moved, not to be shaken, not to totally re-evaluate how you think about your country and your government, when you see a video like this:

I rest my case. It is now up to you to get on YouTube and to get your friends on YouTube. (I'd ask you to send them here, to Infernal Ramblings, but considering that the written word has limited appeal outside an intellectual audience...)

Change is out there for us to seize it. We can all do our own limited part in seizing change — simply raising awareness, simply making people think twice before they cast their vote, is already a huge step up from nothing. To all those concerned Malaysians out there, it's time we got this propaganda machine in action — it's time we took our country back from the philandering and squandering excess of our self-proclaimed feudal lords.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.

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