Written by Gabey Goh, published on 29 January 2009 in Malay Mail’s CyberSpot section.
It could be argued that humour is the first sign of a society’s loosening grip on a topic or issue that was previously perceived as “taboo”.
Eric Idle of Monty Python fame had this to say on the topic: “At least one way of measuring the freedom of any society is the amount of comedy that is permitted, and clearly a healthy society permits more satirical comment than a repressive one, so that if comedy is to function in some way as a safety release, then it must obviously deal with these taboo areas.
“This is part of the responsibility we accord our licensed jesters, that nothing be excused the searching light of comedy. If anything can survive the probe of humour it is clearly of value, and conversely all groups who claim immunity from laughter are claiming special privileges which should not be granted.”
Enter the LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) website.
Launched on Christmas day of last year, the site’s divine overlord and patron is “an ingenious simian General Chief Editor named Lord Bobo Barnabus, The Wonder Typewriting Monkey, who exists solely in cyberspace”.
Along with six Malaysian lawyers who make up the team, the site’s vision, is “to provide a forum for everyone with an interest in anything and who do not wish to take themselves too seriously”.
With its focus on law and human rights issues, it certainly makes for engaging and thought-provoking reading.
If 2008 heralded the impact of blogs in Malaysia’s plot of cyberspace, could 2009 signal the start of the next step forward? Of a country inching towards a society that is not fearful but enthusiastic about embracing tough, sensitive issues with an open mind, and always, with a touch of humour.
Cyberspot pinned down the elusive Lord Bobo Barnabus for a quick interview about the site and its goals.
Please tell us a little about yourself
My achievements are mostly intergalactic.
Since the honours are usually given by the respective galactic communities, organisations (both non-governmental and governmental) or planets, stars or comets in their native language, I am unable to explain them to homo sapiens. To explain the titles and awards given to me to this primitive life form could take at least 300 years, give or take 20 – 30 years, and that is just for the preamble. On Terra, my favourite accomplishment is in mind controlling six Malaysian lawyers to set up LoyarBurok and have them do my bidding.
How and when did you start the website?
I issued the command to initiate LoyarBurok more than two years ago. However, the Malaysian lawyers I controlled typically had too much on their plate and delayed its manifestation until recently. I am unable to disclose how many hits the website gets because my enemies may use it against me, especially those in Alpha Quadrant #45-TKJ. They are vicious.
What were your reasons?
There are many reasons I issued the command for LoyarBurok but I shall relate the nobler one because I noticed homo sapiens like noble causes even though they behave anything but nobly. The reason is that there is a need for sound, balanced and amusing opinions on political, cultural, artistic and legal issues to be issued in this corner of the world for the consumption of those in need of understanding or guidance on how (not what) to think about the issues.
The ancillary reason also is to create a platform for those who also wish to put out their opinions or articles on those issues, but do not wish to maintain a website, or prefer blogging in a group. Since we have just begun this long journey, we naturally have not accomplished them.
Has your blogging changed your life?
It has most definitely. I am able to utilise energy and information from the Internet as a source of nourishment and sustenance. It makes it easier and cheaper to remote control masses and has made pornography freely available, as it should be.
Yes. The quality of pornography on the Internet is dismal, especially on the free sites.
Foremost feature in cyberspace that amazes/irritates you?
If you had to really choose one website to interact with, which would it be?
If it’s not LoyarBurok, then the other blog I would only bother with is Navel Gazing because it has excellent writing and strange ideas. Through Cyberspace communication many things can happen.
What would you really like to achieve?
Intergalactic peace and meaningful spiritual personal development for everybody. And to create a body of public intellectuals who will fuse socio-political commentary with a sound grounding of legal principles.
There is so much information in blogosphere and it is necessary to cull the pressing issues into a legal context. It is a difficult but nuanced approach to blogging. This will, it is hoped, create a greater sense of rights awareness among Malaysians.
If there were someone you could influence to take up blogging, who would it be?
The legal fraternity.
Any memorable incidents?
Most of my memorable incidents are intergalactic because that is where I spend most of my time.
Terra is more like a vacation home. I come back to recuperate and rest after my battles in the various parts of the galaxies. If I had to do it all again though, I would definitely use different lawyers – those from Singapore, England or America, even – because I noticed they carry out instructions much quicker than those in Malaysia. But it matters not any more. I have grown accustomed to them and they to me. I hope they will in time to come assist me in making this a better universe to live and blog in.
(About Lord Bobo
Lord Bobo was kidnapped in infancy for a brutal and secret experiment held in Siberia sometime in the 1990s to reproduce the works of Shakespeare with several hundred other simians from various descents, using only three typewriters.
After several diligent years of producing original drafts of a play that came extremely close in artistic integrity and vision to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Lord’s almost completed final draft was destroyed in a violent riot caused by the other simians during an escape bid.
With nothing left to hold the Lord back after the destruction of the Lord’s masterpiece, the Lord managed to escape from the simian gulag.
After a great deal of trouble, the Lord found himself in a small corner of cyberspace where shortly after the Lord’s arrival, the Lord was able to mind control various homo sapiens with the Lord’s awesome powers of telepathy that the Lord also managed to develop in the gulag into writing and contributing to this blawg.)