A person chooses to be anonymous when blogging for the simple reason of wanting to express himself fully: be uninhibited. Had he let himself be known, he will then be open to perceptions and judgement like his race – racism, his sex – sexism, his religion – ethnocentrism and his profession- elitism/liberalism etcetera. He will be judged by his identification characteristics rather than the messages in his writing.
The multi-cultural climate in Malaysia does not help in being known in cyberspace. As you may be rather conspicuous in your professional/business fraternity, the more you have to be anonymous online to express your ideas some of which are against the grain of the circle you are moving in.
If you appear to support certain causes, your readers will look at your background and make conclusions such as what the writer is saying is to be expected and could perhaps be bias as well due to his/her nurturing environment.
Unless you are famous scientists, economists and writers, experimenting, discovering, publishing and may be fighting for a Nobel Prize, there is no need to subject yourself to skewed judgement when you are writing to express yourself, for pleasure and for sharing your thoughts and experiences which you cannot take to your grave.
That is why many authors in the early phase of their foray into writing as well as for other personal reasons use pseudonyms and some would only make themselves known when their genre has become well established. Such well known authors who use pseudonyms (in bold) are Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Paul French (Isaac Asimov), Richard Bachman (Stephen King), Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) and George Orwell (Eric Blair).
A number of Nobel prize winners in Literature such as Orhan Pamuk (2006), VS Naipaul (2001) and Gao Xingjian (2000) , is my favourite authors and their works are extensively based on social upheavals and the courage and triumph of the individuals and community living in such areas of hardship and poverty. The descriptions are vivid and the content of their stories are intricately weaved into a rich and colourful fabric of life. These authors are in fact inglorious social scientists. They deserve the accolade and they cannot remain anonymous or use pseudonyms to promote their causes.
There are million of blogs that are anonymous from writing on diverse subjects such as cookery,investing,gardening to astronomy. Of course those anonymous bloggers who write on politics are the most partisan especially in Malaysia and the recent General Election saw some of the worst in inter-cultural mud slinging. From sex video tapes, insulting remarks to false and unsubstantiated accusations causing cultural disharmony. This has led any insecure government to want to regulate the internet through licensing and revealing writers’ identities. Singapore is doing it and Malaysia is said to be considering it.
Self-regulation when blogging is important but unfortunately you have all sorts in the cyberworld.
The internet has opened the field wide for sharing and it is what you share which matters. Controlling it is not going to stop all the ills in a society. Burying one’s head in the sand is certainly a defeatist’s method of solving problems.
I think that it is the dumbest thing that this elected BN government would do in stopping anonymous bloggers. As much as they would get the bad side of blogging , they would also lose the good ideas, information and suggestions that anonymous blogging would bring.
When the news of the proposal on compulsory revelation of identities of bloggers was first reported on 13 June, it was met with a furious uproar among bloggers and the wider community. Our existing laws are already sufficient to detect bloggers who are bent on sowing racial hatred, sedition and defamation.
Both Google and Yahoo have a clause in their Terms and Conditions where they will reveal the identities of bloggers who engage in illegal activities or operate in manners detrimental to the country when requested to do so by the government.
Yesterday 17 June 2013, I read about the retraction by the Malaysian government on the said proposal and am glad that good sense has speedily prevailed. Indeed, the power that be has decided that burying its head in the sand is foolish after all.