Born of a challenge on TwitterJaya, come Sunday, tweets on the Peaceful Assembly Bill will turn public debate, with the main twitterers facing off.

IT was a match made in Twitter. After exchanges confined to 140 characters in TwitterJaya, lawyers Tan Keng Liang and Edmund Bon agreed to bring their debate on the Peaceful Assembly Bill (#pa2011) to the public arena.

And #EdmundBonDebatesTanKengLiang will roar at the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism & Human Rights (PusatRakyatLB) in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief @TanKengLiang recalled: “I saw #EdmundBonDebatesTanKengLiang on my timeline (on Nov 28) and a tweet by @saroki19 – ‘@EdmundBon agree to live debate #pa2011, well done. @TanKengLiang how? 1Malaysia waiting 4 answer’.”

Tan believed that it would be a great opportunity for him to clarify the misconception over the Bill, and he accepted the challenge.

@EdmundBon, who is with, MyConsti and PusatRakyatLB related:

“On Nov 28 the Bar Council was in the midst of mobilising members to participate in #Walk4Freedom (to protest against #pa2011 at Parliament) and naturally conversations on TwitterJaya veered towards the Bill.

“I was trying to simplify how the Bill detrimentally affects the layperson through #FunFacts and Tan was tweeting in support of the Bill.

“Then out of the blue @saroki19 asked ‘Bon care to debate’, and I said ‘accepted’.”

In explaining his challenge, @saroki19 said he wanted to find out “what kind of man Tan was, as he was famous in TwitterJaya”.

Indeed, in TwitterJaya (the moniker of the Malaysian Twitter­sphere) Tan with 10,578 followers is so popular that he has his own hashtag – #KenLiangMania.

The joke in Twittersphere is if there is an election for P223 TwitterJaya, Tan will win it.

As @kcl1308 pointed out in his tweet: “I can see people are really excited about @TanKengLiang! He (is) almost like a movie star!”

The organiser, @saroki19, noted that there was interest in the debate because people wanted to see Tan in action.

“I want to see whether TKL is as articulate as he is in TJ (TwitterJaya). And the topic is quite hot at the moment,” said @NickLiewKY. He will travel from Penang to Ipoh and then together with @JoLum500 head for Kuala Lumpur to witness the debate.

The debate is a must-watch for @DatuWil as @TanKengLiang is his punching bag.

“I whack him on Twitter when I have a bad day at work,” he said.

“@TanKengLiang is oblivious to his own irritating persistence of fighting a losing cause.”

For example, referring to Perak DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming’s “Black Metallic” remark, @TanKengLiang tweeted: “So, will DAP take any action on @NgaKorMing + @NgehKooHam? Or hope Malaysians will forget about it? @LimKitSiang”.

And @MikiChoo retweeted: “yawWwnn”.

But to Barisan National cyber troopers, Tan is a hero.

@KhanOfWar tweeted: “@TanKengLiang is a real fighter we all #SupportTanKengLiang Kudos!”

Bon, with 3,406 followers, is no pushover in TwitterJaya.

Reading tweets about @EdmundBon, you can sense a certain adoration for him.

#BonCon is a popular hastag. According to him, “activists and friends think that I somehow ‘conned’ them to do activism work”.

Some Twitterers think #EdmundBonDebatesTanKengLiang will be bigger than the October Tweet Festival in Petaling Jaya.

The festival broke the Guinness World Records for the most number of check-ins (1,935) at a Tweetup.

On Saturday, @LimMengKeong tweeted: “I’ve been learning some karate moves to protect @TanKengLiang, just in case some of his fans get too excited.”

Just like maniacal Beatles fans, @PhilipGolingai expects women will throw their panties at Tan while he is debating.

The event will be moderated by @WanSaiful (Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the CEO of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs Malaysia or IDEAS).

And @HoongLing (Chew Hoong Ling, Voice of Women president, kidney donor and Durian FM DJ) has volunteered to cover the event.

Tan is hoping @TonyPua (DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua) will attend the debate so that he can consume a mug of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia’s (KR1M) Chocolate Malt in front of him.

The challenge (born in TwitterJaya) is if Tan dares to drink the malt drink, Pua will donate RM1,000 to charity.

Yesterday, Pua tweeted three photo­graphs of cheques totalling RM1,000.

Echoing the confusion on #pa2011, @DidiMazril cheekily tweeted in Malay: “You don’t need to apply for a permit to hold this debate?”

And Tan replied: “Police permit not needed 4 debate at @PusatRakyatLB. It’s a private place ….. unless demo outside the building.”

Is it game on for the lawyer vs lawyer debate?

Unlike Opposition MPs who staged a walkout before the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 was passed on Tuesday, it was unlikely Bon and Tan would #WalkOut.

And as @SmellyKateMoss tweeted: “Attention TJ! Must see!”

Written by Philip Golingai’s One Man’s Meat on 5 December 2011.

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