Blogging and Democratization of Malaysia: A Civil Society in The Making

Blogging And Democratization

This book was published in 2008 right after the 12th General Election of Malaysia, when spirits were still high about socio-political blogging as the last frontier of freedom of expression in Malaysia. Things have changed quite a bit since then. I don't expect the bookshops to carry the books nowadays since it's been a while, though once in a while I stumble upon the book in a library and feel secretly pleased. I still have some copies lying around at home that you can contact me for, if you want to purchase the book (RM25), for academic or for nostalgic purposes.

Here's an old blog that I used to house the research.

Here are the commentaries on the backcover by notable Malaysian academics.

Zaharom Nain, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia:

Before the 12th Malaysian General Election, bloggers were called numerous, often unflattering, names by Malaysian government officials and other unsavoury charaters. Virtually immediately after the election results, they were hailed by many, including the same unsavoury characters, as "key players" and "prime movers". Some have even gone so far as to blame the dismal election performance of the Barisan Nasional on bloggers and blogging.
Amidst all this, and the post-March 8 hype, this original, well-researched and very readable volume by upcoming Malaysian scholar, Jun-E Tan and renowned and committed social anthropologist, Zawawi Ibrahim, provides a necessary resource for those who wish to understand Malaysian blogging more comprehensively within a wider socio-political context. This volume is certainly necessary reading for Malaysians who wish to understand how the new media may or may not be able to contribute to the expansion of democratic space. And it really ought to be compulsory reading for the unsavoury characters who still refuse to understand where Malaysia is heading."

Azmi Sharom, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya:

Jun-E Tan and Zawawi Ibrahim have written a most timely (and readable) book. The blogging phenomenon has been credited with playing an important part in the historic results of the 2008 General Election. It has also been lauded with the democratization of Malaysian public life in general. Here the authors have put together hard data coupled with interesting interviews with the main players to bring the discussion of blogs out of the realm of punditry and the anecdotal into a more studied empirical sociological sphere. For that, it is a significant work which hopefully would pave the way for similar efforts at studying the impact of new technologies on democracy in Malaysia.

The research on bloggers in Malaysia was a pioneering one and hence it received some media attention, most of which are obsolete by now. The interview by Radio Singapore International for instance seems to be forever lost as the radio station seems to have closed down. I was also interviewed by German newspaper Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung.

Here is a cover piece by Forward Magazine (which also seems to have folded). Click on images to enlarge.