How to read partisan blogs 1: Shamsul Yunos and his “anger” towards lawyers

By Malaysian Heart

Of late, I have been writing quite a bit (most recently here) about why I believe that our Malaysian blogosphere has become extremely partisan, and increasingly bereft of honest argument and reasoned debate. When I surf Malaysian blogs and online news, I often get an uneasy feeling that there is something very wrong with the ideas being “sold”. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for me to put my finger on what’s wrong (and no, it’s not the tapai pulut I had this morning).

Definition of partisan adj.
  • From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition: devoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or cause
  • From the Collins Essential English Dictionary, 2nd Edition 2006: prejudiced or one-sided

I realise that I need to be better at thinking critically; therefore, I am starting a series of postings in which I shall attempt to analyse and describe the biased, prejudiced and one-sided arguments that I find in our Malaysian blogosphere. Will you to join me in this endeavour?

Let’s be very clear on one thing – there is absolutely nothing wrong with a blogger or writer having strong political beliefs and affiliations, or with expressing them vigorously and with passion. However, as I have stated before, we have a responsibility to argue our cases justly and honestly; if not to our readers, then at least for the sake of our own conscience. Democracy needs a forum for honest discussion and open debate on issues of National interest; telling one’s side of the story is fine, but pretending to tell both sides while misrepresenting the other is dishonest.

For this first installment, I’d like to analyse a post by Shamsul Yunos, who blogs at “My Anger, it May Be Yours Too“. In his recent entry, “Did you know lawyers are special?“, he criticises the Malaysian Bar Council for saying that lawyers should not be arrested while on duty. This statement was made by Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan on 16 August 2009, during the public inquiry by Suhakam into the arrest and detention of five lawyers of the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre at the Brickfields Police Station on 7 May 2009. The lawyers were arrested when they tried to see their clients, who were among 14 arrested that day for taking part in a candlelight vigil (for arrested political scientist and activist Wong Chin Huat), outside said police station. The Bar Council’s description of what transpired that day is available here, and you can read the five arrested lawyers’ own accounts here, here, here, here and here. The only statement from the police (regarding anything related to the arrests) that I could find was in this video.

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