The keyboard warrior manifesto


A spectre is haunting Malaysia – the spectre of fear, hatred and self-righteousness. Both the left and the right are feeling under siege. The left would regard anything from the right as extremist. The right is going hysterical with the threat of liberalism, pluralism, humanism, human right-ism, and all the other “isms” which I am too lazy to mention. With so much hatred in the air, it feels like we are at war with each other. You can’t be neutral in a moving train. Since we are battling each other out every day, we might as well have a guideline for our warriors. Thus I am presenting to you, the Keyboard Warrior Manifesto.

Ooi Kok Hin, TMI

The history of all modern society is the history of keyboard warriors struggle. We fight each other to the death in the virtual world, while sipping the hot coffee on our desk. We talk about change, but we will never go outside of our comfort home or take the money out of our wallet to bring about that change. Nevertheless, this is the keyboard warrior’s side of the story. To this end, all keyboard warriors have assembled in Facebook and Twitterjaya to sketch the following manifesto.

1. We refuse to be tainted by rational arguments. Rational arguments are very misleading and easily cause us to shoot ourselves in the foot. We say no to such confusion. For example, we say not all Malaysians are equal because the Federal Constitution embodies a certain social contract. But when the Federal Constitution clearly advocates secular laws, we say the Constitution is man-made and therefore we can discard the Constitution in favour of the extra-constitutional hudud. We have the right to exercise double-standard and no rational argument is going to stop us from exercising that right.

2. We refuse to engage so-called facts which do not align with our position. Nobody cares about the Rukun Negara’s long-forgotten aspirations. If you look at the actual document, the popular five pillars of Rukun Negara are actually means to achieve these aspirations : achieving a more perfect unity amongst the whole of her society; preserving a democratic way of life; creating a just society where the prosperity of the country can be enjoyed together in a fair and equitable manner; guaranteeing a liberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions; and building a progressive society that will make use of science and modern technology. One wonders why Tun Razak included the words “liberal approach”, not Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Sharia approach, in the Rukun Negara. But since this historical fact does not align with what we are trying to say, it is not a fact that we can accept. So let’s throw that aside. Meanwhile, we will cherry-pick certain words in the Rukun Negara to our advantage, like condemning the kafirs because they fail to adhere to belief in God.

3. We refuse to use ideas adopted from the West. They spread many dangerous doctrines that can threaten the very fabric of our society. These western ideas are diseases to our country. But of course, there are special exceptions that can be made such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, movies, cars, textbooks, and too many other things to be listed.

4. We hear only what we want to hear, read only what we want to read, and talk only to people who agree with us. We will just stay in our own echo chamber and demonise the other. All who disagree with us are extremists. You don’t like LGBT? You are an extremist. You don’t condemn satire by Charlie Hebdo? You are a free speech fundamentalist. We do not read the news to hear what we don’t want to hear. The liberals go to Malaysiakini, the conservatives go to Utusan. We all just live in our own echo chamber and not talking to each other.

5. We will argue endlessly with people we don’t know on Facebook on topics we don’t actually care about. When news broke that MPPP officers seized the properties of Nasi Kandar Line Clear, we don’t wait for detailed reports to tell us what really happened. Instead, we rush to condemn the DAP-led state government and lament how they bullied the small traders. To make it more dramatic, we laced our Facebook posts with toxic racial comments without regard to the truth or the repercussions. When reports emerged with allegations of the stall being dirty, operated without active license, and fought over family feuds, we ignored these facts. We only believe the comments on Facebook pages which we ‘liked’. But we actually don’t care about Line Clear. Many of us never even visited it.