Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow Me Down The River...

"Congratulations Bersih for making more and more people hate you guys..." was basically the sum of a tweet by someone I'm following.

"Now we have more people supporting Bersih because of you Jibby!" was basically the sum of a tweet by someone else I'm following.

So which is it? Have the recent incidences raised the number of supporters for Bersih 2.0 or have it actually made more people annoyed with Ambiga and gang?

Well, that depends really on your circle of friends. I made the assumption that a lot of people are for Bersih 2.0 simply because of some tweets indicate a growing number of restless individuals willing to risk everything in the pursuit of Bersih's "noble" cause.

But I was at a gathering recently, and the old folks there were really against the rally and Bersih. To them, street demo is not our style. I thought this is isolated to older folks but I started talking about it with some peers and apparently, there's quite a lot of people unhappy with Bersih.

My take on this is simple. Both supporters and detractors must realize that it's a self-fulfilling cycle of information if you keep yourself to only people you like to hear or conform to your views. 

Like Twitter. If you only choose to follow liberals and Opposition-biased individuals, then certainly your feed would be filled with rallying cries and "Najib's gonna learn the power of Rakyat!" shit. I am especially interested to see how single-track some Twitter personalities are when it comes to dissenting voices. It's like bloggers who can't take criticism. When someone criticizes them, the other loyal followers quickly back the writer up, creating a barrier that prevents the blogger from actually listening to valid points.

It gets worse when you consider that if we only follow the people we like, they in hand would continue to gain followers who are only there to say "Wow, you're so brilliant". As more people follow these people, and more of them say "Wow, you're so brilliant", the particular "influencer" would only get more and more cocky and belief that their views are accepted by the majority. I've had my duels with some of them using an alternate account (just for fun), and clearly they're as intelligent as the next person at a coffee-shop - meaning they might be genius, or maybe not.

The sad thing is that those who scream the loudest often appear to be right, when the reality there's a LOT of people who don't support or don't care or don't even know about all these issues (really, there's a lot more of these folks than you can imagine).

I've learned my lesson not to assume that just because NetraKL or Aisehman says something it is automatically correct and supported by all intelligent beings. It's not their fault, but their followers for leaving their thinking cap behind. Because democracy is useless if no one can think for themselves.


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