From the Selangor Times Issue 33, 15-17 July 2011. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

This week, His Supreme Eminenceness talks about THAT rally.

Dear Lord Bobo, with all the news and noise coming out following 9 July, how do I know who to believe? (Kon Fee Yusd, via email)

Lord Bobo feels you. One side says 5,000, the other 50,000, another 100,000. One side says they were gassed, the other says no such thing, teargas was only fired in Pudu. One side says they were sprayed in a maternity hospital, another side says that the water cannons were never aimed there. One side says they want free and fair elections, another side says that it is an elaborate ploy to overthrow the government, and is funded by Jews, Christians, communists, and Lucifer himself. One side says tomato, the other side says to-mayh-to, and it’s actually a damn banana.

Yes, His Supreme Eminenceness feels you alright.

The best thing that you can do is to read, listen, and engage with all views. Do not boycott the mainstream media simply because they treat BN more favourably. Similarly, do not unfollow certain Twitter folk who obviously biased one way or the other. We are priviledged to live in era of unprecedented access to information. Take advantage of it. Read the numerous views that are coming out from all sides. Look at the photos. Watch the videos. Then digest what you’ve seen, heard, and read. Think. Come to your own conclusions. Add to the discussion.

Just as important as the above is that ability to engage maturely. Lord Bobo does not mean indulging in 18-SX behaviour. What we mean is to not react adversely or emotionally to differing viewpoints. Give the benefit of doubt wherever possible. Be humble enough to learn. Be intelligent enough to discern. Be patient enough to engage and put across your own views.

If all this happens, Malaysia will see society mature and develop into a true democracy. A true democracy is not about kicking out the government. It is about having several different viewpoints and parties which are allowed to operate on a level playing field. It is about check and balance. It is about reclaiming the power of the rakyat, taking it back from the ministers and politicians whom for too long have been treated as VVIPs when they should be serving the people. It starts with each and every single one of you – don’t let anyone take that power away from you.

And if you find yourself confused over a specific matter despite doing all the above, hey, ask-lah Lord Bobo.

Lord Bobo, what happened to those silat fellas? (FFK, via email)

His Supreme Eminenceness didn’t really follow up on these silat practitioners who supposedly were going to turn up and “defend the palace”. Perhaps they got the dates wrong? Or maybe they tried to drive in and got stuck at one of the roadblocks? And, you know, they had to turn back because they aren’t law-breaking ruffians like that Bersih and Patriot mob.

In all likelihood, they never intended to turn up anyway. Lots of people took advantage of the pre-Bersih hoopla to get into the news. Lord Bobo was half-jokingly chiding some of his minions that they should have said that LoyarBurok would provide free bananas to everyone at the rally or something – that kinda stuff would certainly get you onto the first few pages of our mainstream papers! An opportunity wasted.

Dear Lord Bobo, I’ve been trying to convince my friends that Twitter is now the best source of news. Do you agree?

Ah, interesting. It depends how you define “best”. In fact, it also depends how you define “news”.

If by “best” you mean fastest, then yes it does seem to be. Following Twitter on 9 July was sheer madness – the tweets were coming thick and fast. Certainly a lot faster than any of the online news portals were updating their “breaking news” pages, and most definitely a lot faster than any television or radio channels were saying anything.

However, if “best” also includes accuracy, then that very much depends on who you follow. After all, it is worth reminding ourselves that Twitter is about who you follow. If you follow all pro-government people for example, you’d think that there was nothing wrong with the government and that anyone who criticises the ruling coalition is in a pact with the devil himself. On the other hand, if you follow only opposition members or sympathisers, you’d think the country was going to be bankrupt tomorrow or every police officer is out there to beat you up and throw you into jail for wearing yellow underwear. Taking 9 July as an example, someone actually set up a fake account just to tweet fake news about the rally – people being shot, buildings being burnt, chaos and crowd violence. It took a few hours before this account was outed as tweeting fake news.

And as for “news” itself, well, there’s much more rubbish on Twitter than there is actual news really. His Supreme Eminenceness is of the view that people need to have much more discretion and be more vigilant of what they spend time reading. Between reading the newspapers, online media portals, international websites, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter – there’s hardly any time left for anything else. And what’s the point of keeping up to date with all this “news” – which by tomorrow would be mostly irrelevant anyway? Go for information that enriches your knowledge, and your experience of life. Seek out content that not only makes you more knowledgeable, but also wiser and more attuned to the world around you. You know where this is going – read lah!

I want to take my mind off Bersih, but it’s everywhere! Any suggestions?

Have you tried reading the local newspapers or watching local news broadcasts? Not much Bersih there since two weeks ago.

Though they have been mentioning some “illegal rally” organised by an unnamed “group” led by a bunch of evil folk trying to brainwash the rakyat into sacrificing their precious shopping time to overthrow their perfect government.

Is that the same thing?

Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive monkey-riffic LoyarBurok merchandise courtesy of Selangor Times. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!

Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered! It is the ONLY place that...