12
Jul
09

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WISHFUL THINKING

Six months into blogosphere, I need to review my blogging goals and objectives and decide whether it’s worth my while to pursue this newest and trendiest attempt at being discovered and making my claim to fame – if this is indeed my wish!

To be a popular or famous Malaysian blogger like CHEDET or ROCKY BRU one has to have a huge following – something like a million hits in one month! Not only must people read your postings, i.e. your thoughts and ideas but they must also respond to them with their own thoughts and ideas. Only then is the communication successful!

Indeed, the new cyberspace communication modes are popular because they are interactive and the feedback is immediate. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or your blog, you know very quickly whether your visitors cum readers like what you say or not. Those who don’t hit back at you immediately too, albeit behind the cloak of anonymity or whatever pseudonym suits their fancy.  

If my wish is to be a writer with a following do I really need to blog? Why don’t I just write and publish? I could write that one amazing novel or motivational treatise that will propel me to stardom in the Oprah Book Club. Which means I have to publish in the US!

Malaysians are just not the voraciously hungry readers that the Americans and the British are. In the US and UK the tradition of commuting to work on the train or underground has helped to foster the reading habit, besides of course the rich literary traditions of these two English speaking  nations.

So why do I need to painstakingly think of interesting topics and current issues to write about that will entice netizens to see what I have to say about them? And why would they be interested in the ramblings and reflections of  a middle-aged woman whom they don’t know from Eve!

Wishful thinking if I think I’m going to get one million hits soon! Why should I? I’m not a former Prime Minister or an outstanding newspaper editor or a popular social activist whose work is admired!

I’m happy to admit I have no such gradiose wishes or ambitions! It would be impossible to have a meaningful interaction with my readers if the following is larger than a handful! Sour grapes!

What I really wishfully think is that I should change my writing style or format to make it more accessible? So that people are not put off and they will want to comment!

But for the moment all is not lost! I do get a good traffic, impressive when the topic is controversial or when I couldn’t care a damn who I lash out at – which is rare!

My blogging objectives being respectable and responsible, I try to be analytical and objective in my discussion and, wherever possible, constructive in my criticism. If I don’t curse or swear it is not because I can’t but because I won’t! If I don’t condemn outright the perceived wrongdoings of people and organisations, of leaders and governments,  it is not for want of passion or commitment but because I’m not sure if black is always black and white is always white. Being a bit of an art freak I love painting the grey areas where I can be impressionistic or impressive for that matter!

stars

So I shall continue to blog because it is a wonderful training ground for an aspiring writer to dabble in and to gab about. It disciplines me to focus and to use language concisely and precisely if I choose to be concise and precise. But with my linguistic and literary background and exposure I tend to be generous with words! 

I may yet be the first Malaysian woman writer/ blogger to be acclaimed by Oprah!

Wishing on a star! Wishful thinking indeed!

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10 Responses to “”


  1. July 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    You look lovely and i like the dress. 🙂 Arent we all wishing for that claim to fame and to clamber into Oprah’s show lol….good luck n you can do it!

    ps dont worry about how many million hits you get or not…if you enjoy blogging that’s all that matters n if you make a few new friends along the way which you wouldnt otherwise have so much the richer your life is..;) look at it as a stepping stone to bigger things..god willing

  2. 2 ninitalk
    July 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Encouraging words Zurin! You are so right – my life is so much richer for blogging because it stimulates me and makes me think hard, not just how to write but to write responsibly.

    It’s a vast, vast world isn’t it! Salams!

  3. 3 ninado
    July 16, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    As salam…
    I found your blog quite accidentally as I am one of those blog hoppers who wish to blog but have yet to find the courage. Not to start one but to maintain one. Anyway, browsing through your writings I notice that you wrote at length about linguistics and language learning. I am/was (long story) an English teacher and at times get very confused as to the policies of the government not to mention the sentiments of the nationalists(?) who are fighting for the ‘kemartaban’ Bahasa Melayu. What is your take on this?

  4. 4 ninitalk
    July 16, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Salam ninado!

    We are in the same league of language educationists who have had hands-on experience in the classroom whether in the schools or higher institutions of learning. And we know fully well the English teaching/learning constraints we face such as poor language proficiency of the teachers and students. Teachers are expected to follow a syllabus and this limits creativity in teaching methods. Not all schools have up-to-date facilities and equipment. Not all parents are English speaking and not all homes have English reading materials. I really hope all these problems will be attended to so that the English language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing)of Malaysian students are much better.

    Re the Malay language nationalists – I understand their sentiments! They feel that the attention given to English takes away some of the impetus in the development of Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu which is the national language. I think their fears are real but they should be less emotional in articulating them. They should be expressed not in racial terms but in national terms.

    As Malaysians we must be clear about the role and function of the national language as the medium of instruction, official communication, literary and academic advancements and even international diplomacy (albeit through translators and interpretors). Why can’t we accept this? Malay has the potential to be an international language.

    But look at the real scenario at home! Sad to say even the Malays do not speak and write well in their own mother tongue! They may speak colloquial Malay or the dialect of their region but they are more comfortable communicating in English in their work place or socially and formally!

    I don’t look at myself as a hard core language nationalist but I am all for true bilingualism where Malaysians are equally at ease in both Malay and English and use them expertly at all levels.

  5. 5 ninitalk
    July 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    And ninado – do start blogging!
    I had the same fears but I now feel that if your intention is to be a responsible/ respectable blogger, it’s no big deal! Besides it’s a good discipline!

  6. 6 Liza Nordeen
    July 17, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Do continue blogging, Auntie Halimah! By doing any writing at all, you’re already one step closer to international stardom than the rest of us who are just thinking about it! If nothing else, it gives you the chance to let off stea,m besides sharpening your writing prowess!

    But I hope you are just using this as a stepping stone towards that amazing novel you mentioned, as there seems to be a dire shortage of good M’sian authors on the international scene (Tash Aw and Preeta Samarasan among the few I know!). And you do write well, which would be more of a shame if you abandoned the idea!

    I’ve come across some brilliant prize-winning books written by international authors portraying different cultures and societies recently (e.g. White Tiger, Q&A, Unaccustomed Earth, Kite Runner). It doesn’t seem impossible to break into the UK/US markets if there is something unique and interesting to contribute!

  7. 7 ninitalk
    July 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I’m truly inspired by your words of encouragement Liza!

    Yes – as I’ve told Mama it all comes with practice! The more you write the easier it is to select the right words and turns of phrase to express yourself. As I’m also constantly checking dictionaries and thesauruses, referring to relevant writings and self-editing, I’m on a continuous learning path! Which is a great activity to keep a retiree like me occupied and sufficiently stimulated.

    Re that amazing novel – you are right! I’m going to give it a go once the book on my father is completed! Your Aunty Halimah keeps her dreams alive by interacting with the young 10 cucu et al!

  8. 8 The Ancient Mariner
    July 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Dear Nini,

    If I may say so, the presentation format is quite important. I must confess that I have this morbid distaste for white fonts against a black background … a bit hard on me tired old sailor’s eyes you see. So there, ha ha.

    But I wish could write as well as you.

  9. 9 ninitalk
    July 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    A few people have complained Capt Yusof. For sure I’ll look for a less “offensive” theme if it will bring in the veteran commenters ha ha!

  10. 10 ninado
    August 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you for the reply. Actually I had lost your blog address and again I chance upon it while blog hopping. I have restarted blogging. You are right in a sense that it provides some form of discipline; putting thoughts into writing. However, my entries are not as intelectual as the ones I have been reading. Just mundane everyday things. When I am brave enough I will invite you to take a read. Until then, I will be in the background admiring writers like yourself who have the GIFT.


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