Friday, April 12, 2013


Front page of The Star today
These days reading the local newspapers is as good (= as bad) as reading advertorials. Page after page is filled with headlines proclaiming the glowing track record of the ruling government (now a caretaker government after Parliament was dissolved on 3 April). If ever there's any news report about the opposition parties, it's usually to tear them down.

Pro-BN - more accolades and promises 
So why do I continue to read the papers? Why don't I boycott the mainstream media (MSM), like most folks do, at least those who are disgusted with the one-sided, openly biased news reports? Thankfully, I can flip past the first 10 pages of local news, and get to the other sections which can be quite informative, educational and entertaining. I know not everyone will agree with me.

Most biased - only brickbats for the opposition
To make sure I get the other side of the news stories, I go online to read the alternative papers. For my daily news feeds, I read Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider and Free Malaysia Today. I also read the Singapore Straits Times daily to see how our neighbour reports on our current affairs. My extended family members and my network of online buddies keep me updated via email with reports about Malaysia in the foreign press.

It is interesting to compare pictures of pro-BN crowds and those taken at pro-opposition rallies. The 'I LOVE PM' banner is ubiquitous at all BN events, and those who turn up are usually in uniforms of BN parties or of government departments. Rarely do you see a crowd of all races, all ages.

On the other hand, pro-opposition crowds are a motley lot, comprising all ethnicities and demographics. The banners and posters they wave are mostly self-made and the t-shirts they wear are purchased with their own money, and of various colors and designs of their own choosing. The glaring differences make one wonder if the crowds at BN gatherings are despatched there with free banners, uniforms and transport, and maybe some free food and a token allowance.

Banners printed by the 1000s. A display of genuine love and support for the PM?
Malaysians of different colors but sharing a common vision for the country

People who have been to a Bersih rally or a PKR ceramah will vouch that no one forced them to attend, or paid them in cash or kind to be present. In fact, they are more likely to part with some money to help the cash-strapped NGOs and PKR parties. The majority attend either out of curiosity or to show their genuine support.

With nomination day fixed for 20 April, and polling day 5 May, news reportage on the MSM and the alternative media has heated up, and threatens to become explosive in cyberspace. Sex videos and porn photos of candidates have been posted on blogs. Mud-slinging is now the favorite game on the internet. Vitriol in comments, complete with expletives, has soared to flaming degrees. The atmosphere on social media is threatening to turn very ugly. Let's hope the venom and blood-spitting is confined to cyberspace.

For first-time voters and for those who have forgotten the procedure, please check that you are registered, and find out where your polling station is. Then view the videos that are posted below for a clearer idea of how (NOT who) you should vote. Choose wisely and vote for the most suitable candidate. Make your own decision.

Click here to access website

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