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Era of soundbites

  • Some have decided to use bits of what one has said for their own purposes.

By Azmi Sharom

We live in an era of soundbites. People are lazy and they like short punchy messages which they don't have to think too long about.

Unfortunately this leads to the loss of any deeper analysis and understanding.

Forgive me if this is egotistical, but I am going to use myself as an example.

Last weekend, I gave a talk at a fund-raising event. From this talk some journalists decided to quote me. And some have decided to use bits of what I said for their own purposes.

Now, let me be clear that I am not complaining, because so far what has been attributed to me has been accurate.

In other words, no one has so far misquoted my talk.

It's just that very few have also taken the full context of my talk.

So one local BM newspaper decide to headline their piece with me saying that voting for Dr M is like chewing glass.

The reporter was honest enough to say that I also said even this is the case, I will still vote for PH. But the headline just focused on the glass bit which gives quite a different impression of what I was saying in full.

Then there is a quote by me saying that to change we must vote PH because BN will never change.

This is also true, but I also said that we must continue to pressure the government if PH comes into power.

I said that if Mahathir is PM, let us not forget that there will be ministers and ministries, and we can always pressure these fellows if we don't trust and want to deal with the old man.

For example, in my field, I would like to see pressure on the new minister of education to free up academia from the restrictive laws we have today.

So what we read in headlines, WhatsApp messages, Facebook and Twitter postings, often times only give part of the picture not the full picture. This is why I am lucky to have this column because at least I can control my words that are being printed.

Ha ha ha! Unless my editors change things when they translate into Mandarin!

(Azmi Sharom is a law lecturer at Universiti Malaya.)

 

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