web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: "...melaporkan untuk Buletin Utama"
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
"...melaporkan untuk Buletin Utama"

There's a small storm of sorts in my comments box, as wry wit awakens wrath. Hansac, I get what you meant : I shouldn't be surprised that TV stations sometimes put profit before pity. You're not entirely wrong, I'm afraid, but money is not the only motivation. A media organization in Malaysia is also moved by political purpose and patronage, and in this case, I am even more surprised that these considerations didn't come into play.

Perhaps not enough mokciks are complaining. Perhaps people really want to party, and here you may insert the teenage battle cry for freedom : it's a democracy.

Hansac, however, also included a reference to journalists in his comment, thereby equating these overworked souls with their evil employers. ( I meant this tongue in cheek. All employers are evil, whether in media or not) It's tempting to paint them with the same brush and confuse a station or a newspaper's stance with that of an individual journalist. It's a misconception that is hard to refute. You assume everyone who works at Utusan votes for the ruling party, yes? And journos for Malaysiakini must be bleeding heart liberals. And every one assumes in disaster or tragedy, a reporter is only interested in the story, because it'll sell.

Despite the shield of objectivity, I know of few journalists who can be totally stoic in the face of calamity. Nobody goes out there with a tape recorder and thinks of making money for the company. Nobody can sit in a morgue with wailing mothers, wives, sisters, brothers and not think of their own mothers, wives, sisters, brothers. Nobody ever forgets the face on a dead body. For every terrible story that comes out on TV or the papers, there is so much more that remains untold, so much more that was seen and heard first-hand by journalists that could not go to print. Reporters are people who know too much. That's why they numb themselves with cigarettes, or worse.

To some extent, cold-bloodedness does occur in a newsroom. On a slow day, I have seen editors pouncing upon accident reports with the question : Berapa orang mati? (How many dead?) An editor's main concern is his news bulletin, that he has enough stories to fill up the minutes, and that the stories has the right measure of correctness and spin so as not to put his boss or patron in political jeopardy. He has few hours to conjure this up, during which time he is a highly-strung, results-only-please kind a guy. Perhaps some editors weep over dead children at the end of the day, I don't know. At the end of the day, most are just happy it's over.

Reporters, editors and producers are cogs in a wheel, but they don't will the wheel to turn this way and that. They are not blameless, to be sure, but what they feel about a story matters little to the politico-media machine. I am dissapointed at the people who made the decision to continue celebrating at all costs. The cost of fireworks alone can repair so many houses in Kuala Muda. Isn't politics the art of the possible? Sadly, we can't even get past the do-able.

Here's something very do-able : donate to the MRCS fund. Thanks Mack Zulkifli for taking the trouble of setting this up. If you wish to donate directly to MRCS, you may send the money in person or send crossed cheques or money orders in favour of the MRCS Relief Fund, with "Tidal Wave Appeal" written at the back, to the following address:

The Secretary General
Malaysian Red Crescent Society
National Headquarters
JKR 32 Jalan Nipah,
Off Jalan Ampang,
55000 Kuala Lumpur

Donations in kind may also be sent direct to the above address. Victims in the northern states need food, warm clothing and blankets. You may also volunteer, and tasks could be as simple as sorting out clothes to be sent over. For further inquiries, call (603) 42578122. If you want to make a major, major donation and want to contact the PR Shuhana, email me and I'll put you in touch.


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