Lee Lian Kong’s Response to Criticisms of Her Article

This is Lee Lian Kong’s second and final response to the criticisms against her article “A Critique of KL: It’s Alive Video” which was republished on LoyarBurok.

This is the continuation of my rebuttal to the comments made on my article.

Again, I’m not going to repeat myself. Most of you don’t seem to understand the point raised in the article.

What is being debated is not whether they put passion in their labour or its recognition. What is being debated right now is the question of identity.

As for the purpose of the video the director has every right to highlight whatever he feels or believes to be KL. I, on the other hand, have every right, as a KLite, to criticise the video as a misrepresentation of my city and its failure to depict the hidden essence which makes us different from the rest of the world.

As far as the Malaysian identity is concerned, I stick to my belief that those depicted in the video lack originality.

How is it that wannabe mods are an original depiction of KL when the subculture originated from England’s working class?

How are the English speaking and Western-dressed designers crafting Western-influenced looking clothes like blazers or graphic tees resembling graffiti in New York any different from a designer with likely the same philosophy based in, say, Japan?

How is a Malay girl with hints of American accent opening a coffee joint with obvious Western motifs any different from the one we saw in the very white, very middle class sitcom Friends? Mind you, coffee and cafes are not Malaysian in origin.

Again this is a matter of opinion. If you believe this video made by a foreigner depicts KL, fine. But to dismiss my criticism without looking into the central theme of my critique indicates either ignorance or the subconscious or intentional refusal to objectively dissect the subject at hand.

If you believe that it’s okay for the world to see KL as no different to other major cities in the Western world, fine. I however disagree. And to me, the video is an insult as it portrayed my city to be no different from the rest.

As for the soul part, you’re being emotional. Critiques on youth with identity crisis (or bereft of soul, as how I figuratively put it) is not new. This has been debated by radical intellectuals since the 60s. What I did was pointing out the one-dimensionality of their enterprises. An example: A Malay artist puts his every effort to produce a painting very similar to Andy Warhol. Yes, we cannot discount the labour put in the effort. But surely, we can question the originality.

As for what I think is KL, I’ve stated clearly in my article and my reply. However, that is of irrelevance because my critique merely focused on the simplified perspective of the director and highlighting the identity crisis of those in the video. Again, passion in their labour has got nothing to do with my critique.

As for the accusation of arrogance, I believe that is a matter of perspective. I’d rather be raw and upfront than indulge in penning my articulation with a public relations undertone.

And the criticisms to the article reeks of hypocrisy. Critics against the video or those in the video are merely dismissed as “haters” when their criticisms, which is often the subject of debate by respected local intellectuals and artists, are valid and ongoing as far as the Malaysian identity is concerned.

You seem to want your critics to embrace your culture, but so often, you are the very people that reject other subcultures you find threatening to your class like rempits – an originally Malaysian phenomena be it negative – that you easily dismissed as “negative” without putting the slightest effort to conduct a holistic sociological research on the subject.

(For your information, the mod subculture as highlighted in the video is in many ways similar to the rempits. It is working class of origin often with negative attributes like violence although society as it progresses to be more open to diversity began to accept the subculture as an important sociological evolution of the English working class. So my question is this: how is it that we seem to have no qualms in embracing this subculture but not the rempits? Why? Because our postcolonial mentality teaches us that everything of the white west is good?)

I believe this explanation should suffice to draw us back to the original debate which is of identity crisis so this shall be my last response.

My contract has just been terminated by Selangor Times simply because my article did not seat well with most of you that it warranted the editor to sack me.

So much for freedom of speech and looking up to Western democracy.


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56 Responses to Lee Lian Kong’s Response to Criticisms of Her Article

  1. Village Panda

    At the end day, the one thing that hipsters can't do is to conform.

    Sadlt, LLK's termination from ST are being cynically viewed, hipster style, as a proof of validation of the hipster culture in Malaysia.

  2. ying

    What? You got sacked? On account of your hipster vitriol. That's so sad, it can't be true.

    You mean your editor exercised his prerogative, issit? Give us the full scoop la. Quote at least three different sources yah … good to triangulate your sources. If you're going to exercise freedom of speech, better do it responsibly.

    Alamak, now you're going to think I'm on the side of hipsters.

  3. jason

    This is all getting too frivolous. Whatever man. KL is KL. There is no real way to define what KL is all about. "Hipsters' can do what they like and "Non-hipsters" should also be allowed to to do what they like, like expressing their views- no matter how illogical or "ill-researched" it may be . If you put a video out there, please be prepared to accept criticisms , whether constructive or not. You get some " congratulations, your video looks awesome" and some " Your video is shit". Life is not fair. Man up. Deal with it. If you cant't , too bad for you.

  4. Shamaine Othman

    embrace the rempit subculture? right. yea sure, lets embrace a subculture that thrives on reckless speeding on motorbikes and snatch theft.

    • LaughingMeArseOff

      Oh and what of the illegal car racing scene? Because it involves the middle class or upper middle class its acceptable? The fear for the 'rempits' is merely the manifestation of class-consciousness. You have more to worry about who you buy your bootleg DVDs from than these 'rempits'. I don't think most have any idea what the rempits are other than what was depicted in the media. Isn't there a saying "don't believe everything you read in the media?"

      Don't be too xenophobic of the things you do not know :) I thought your type are supposed to be all 'unconventional'?

    • Zarul Wong

      Well, to be fair…one can say that the Vespa culture in the video is just a more pretentious, well-dressed variant of the Rempit culture anyway. They block the roads and are a nuisance to other road users the same way the Rempits are. Older gentlemen handling mid life crises joining Harley clubs ape the Hell's Angels culture, yet they are more pleasantly acceptable because they come from a different income group than the Rempits. I suppose the Vespa culture is acceptable because the people who indulge in it are not from the same income bracket as the Rempits, yes?

      No one is asking you to embrace anything. At the very least, acknowledge that other cultures more organic than the pretentiousness of the hipster lifestyle exists and that they contribute to the urban cultural makeup as well, some even more so that what the hipsters are able to. Or are the upper middle class too self-centered and bigoted to even be able to manage that?

  5. Puckr

    And I need to add that the sacking of the writer shows just how far Malaysia has to open up… Sad, bad.

  6. Puckr

    Ok I am late to the party and a expat at that (so I expect criticism for daring to comment even though I have lived in Asia for 24 years).
    The whole story seems to me "Sound and fury signifying nothing." 
    The interesting aspect is the discussion the writer stirred up – good you joined in. 
    Consumers, we cannot avoid being. Creators, often are the pioneer canaries down the mine who suffer the noxious gas of conformity. Chatters, connectors and coffee lovers can be the drivers of a culture, nudging it towards the new and vibrant
    And isn't culture more global and local than ever before? So what's the gripe really? 
    Let the flowers bloom, let the tribes proliferate and let the show roll on…

  7. ihadzri

    I am going to try to sound intellectual and ignorant at the same time as I am facing an identity crisis myself:
    – an ordinary white collar worker in a corporate world who wears a black rimmed glass (with lens due to my poor eyesight staring at the company for hours in a day)
    – prefers to dress down like a HOBO after work (wearing leather shoes, ties, suit for 8 hours sucks after a while) and enjoy the 'overpriced' coffee (although cheaper than starbucks) from a cafe that is built and run by a local entrepreneurs who happen to be my friends featured in the video and at times have milo ais at mamak stall. I use my hard earned cash, as my father who is rather wealthy has stopped giving me pocket money for years now. So i'm definitely not one of those rich kids who blows their parents money. (think that's the stereotype for hipster, not saying that I am one)
    – what the hell am I doing writing on a forum that is clearly adresses social and politicial topics. Am I becoming a socialist or politician myself?

    Anywhooo… back to the question of identity (this is the topic of debate, right?) I have no specific description of what KL really is, although I have live in Klang Valley for the most of the 30 years of my life. I dont need to drill down to the core to find my real identity nor KL's identity. What I know is that I was born 30 years ago and life experiences are the building blocks of who I am today. I'm gonna sound a lil cheesy by quoting a fictional character – Bruce Wayne "It's not who I really am inside, it's what I do that defines me"

    Similarly, this is how I see KL, what I know is that in the early 19th century, KL was a mining centre and has grown to become a well known city, I know that there's a stadium whereby first Prime Minister shouted "Merdeka" I know there's a cave that you need to climb hundreds of steps, I know there's 2 majestic looking towers in the heart of the city, I know there are some alleys that serve ridiculously delicious food, I used to go to the local clubs of various classes, I know the traffic can be horrifying and that some bikers are part time superman, some people still need to be educated on the proper usage of the public toilet etc

    However, never in my mind that I need to question the real identity of KL, just like I don't question my own. I dont need to nor should I give the right to anyone question the 'real' me. And what the hell is my point? Nothing.

    But as far a I am concerned, I don't need to find the real identity of KL nor having to show it to the world what the 'real' KL truly is. I love the city for what it provides to the different types, class, level of society. Imagine a dude from ermm..let's say New York or the outskirt of London who've never been to the city and came across the KL Alive video and says to himself "hmmm..these Malaysians are just like us"

    Or if the same dude were to watch the Tourism Malaysia video and says to himself "hmmm..these asians wear colourful outfits and look so polite with their smiles"

    Well I'd say "Dude..you need to get your ass down here and check it out yourself"

    Because come on, no matter what video that you put online to depict the identity of KL,(Tourism Malaysia/KL Alive type) nothing beats the real deal by being in the city and media can be so misleading and misinterpreted these days.

    To LLK, I admire and applaud you for your courage to share your opinion. Criticism is what you wanted and it is what you received. You have a potential to be someone great, (and I am guessing that you are still young) but you may need to tip toe from time to time when adressing the public because we Malaysian can be a uber-sensitive bunch sometimes and maybe this time your rawness may have poked certain hives that have let loose some crazy bees and voila – cost you your job.

    We can argue till the cows come home on this topic but I'd rather chat over a coffee or milo ais

    To all, let's live and let live and to some, you need to live and get laid. Maybe I need too.

  8. Pepper Lim

    Nice!

  9. Troll

    KLite? You?

    Last checked, Kajang is not part of KL.

  10. Radical whoo-hoo!

    I highly doubt Selangor Times can be bothered to be drawn into your petty disagreement with your readers and therefore it is unlikely you got terminated over your totally pedestrian and unoriginal views about identity and originality. There must be more to this so-called termination than you are letting on. Also, I have never before heard of a contract for columnists of local media — it's not like you were a full time writer — so what was there to terminate?

    Oh, and post-colonial critique is not very Malaysian, by the way. Nevertheless, congratulations for turning such a rich academic field into such a vapid, uncritical defence of originality and "soul". Your "radical intellectuals" will cringe. Unless the radical intellectuals you were referring to were Nazri Aziz and Rais Yatim.

    • LaughingMeArseOff

      And you know this for a fact or are you merely assuming? Don't sound to me like you've got much proof to back your accusation here.

      As for the post-colonial critique not being Malaysian, well, I can only laugh. Not once have I encountered any suggestions in her article that everything west is wrong. A rather convenient and superficial premise for a rebuttal which deserves nothing but a bit of sympathy and a smile :)

      As for radical intellectuals try Raoul Vanegeim or Antonio Gramsci or Theodor Adorno. Put a little effort. You'd be surprised that the author's critique, more or less, resonates with the views of those above :)

      Good try but just as good as most of what the critics here have presented – nothing. Here's a lesson: good English hardly makes up a good argument . A recurring misnomer prevalent among the bratty mid-up mid class melts :)

      As for her sacking its just blatant hypocrisy especially coming from a paper started by a political bloc who are often so loud about valuing freedom of speech. My question is this: if the editor thought that her article was flawed why publish it? So if you did publish the article then why decide to terminate her contract after? Yes I did a little bit of homework :) This only points to one thing but I will refrain from stating it. You go figure :)

      Regardless of what the excuses are the termination is an embarrassing episode to the paper and the opposition bloc as a whole.

      Lets stop this hypocrisy. The critics merely felt insulted by the writer's critique on their lifestyle. Trying to mask it as some fluffy intellectual argument only serves to expose the depth of the criticism. I'm sure you've heard of South Park? If you do you'd know that the lifestyle featured in the video has been the subject to ridicule. You can laugh then but when the critique hits the spot you go rabid. It has been entertaining nevertheless :)

  11. Loveseat

    [from previous]

    "The term "subculture" isn't just about a bunch of unknown people doing "cool" stuff that isn't featured and given attention to the mass. It is about, again, cultures that exist to challenge what is held as the so-called "mainstream." I have no doubt that the people featured in it put in their heart and soul into the things they do. That is not my point, my point is that the video shows such a shallow view of what these people are doing that it does them no justice, nor does it do the "subcultures" of KL any justice at all, and it paints a very very weak and hollow picture of what subcultures can be. Yes they evolve with time, but the core philosophy of subcultures and their existence is to challenge the norm. What do you think "punk", "hippies", or our very own "indie music/band" are about? Just a bunch of idiots prancing around showing how happy and cool they are? Because that's exactly what the video shows – a bunch of idiots, when they are more than that.

    What would I like to see in a video that proclaims KL city to be "alive"? I'd like to hear some depth from the people who are featured. I'd like to see, in an 8min video, that the young are not just having fun, but actually pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. I'd like to see the Occupy Dataran kids in there. I'd like to see graffiti artists that trail the thin-line of art and evading authority. I'd like to see the young people working at shelter homes. I'd like to see some obscure bands and musicians at half-way gigs with an audience that is truly appreciative of their music. Not just about creating, and buying and acting cool. but stuff with real depth, stuff that would avoid these kind of articles, stuff that makes people look at our young and be truly impressed and be hopeful instead of stupid "hipster" comments on youtube.

    There is a lot more a video can do in 8mins to "represent" KL than what it is now and to suggest this video has depth and value that cannot be shaken is total bull. And since it is as you say, a video that simply shows what is "cool" and "hip"? I sure as hell think we deserve a lot more than that".

    Anybody from Mercedes Benz reading this? You should have gotten this guy to shoot your video.

  12. Loveseat

    Actually, it was Phang who gave a very convincing defence of your piece. I am going to repost for the reader bits of it here because it was buried in the comment replies of the original post. LLK, you could do no worse by learning from this guy.

    "[To think that] there's no originality in KL [is] a very, very sad view, and very unfair to the people who are actually working their ass off in KL and Malaysia, wouldn't you say? The people in the video have each of them, their own originality. Unfortunately, the video failed completely to highlight any of that but instead merely cast them in the "oh i'm so cool" light"…
    "I am not "defending this article", I'm merely pointing out the fact that there are truths that the post hits home. [One commenter said that] "this video was created with the sole purpose to showcase the 'cool' and 'hip' happenings around Kuala Lumpur, as simple as that". There in lies the problem, the video was created with the sole purpose to showcase the 'cool' and 'hip' and here you are jumping the proverbial guns shooting everything that attempts to pass critique upon it. What? A video that proclaims to show my city does not warrant my comment? Does not entitle me to have a contradicting opinion? Does not allow me to say that MY CITY IS MORE THAN THAT?

    You obviously do not know enough young entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. There are a lot more people out there doing a lot more powerful, relevant and important work out there. Work that not only pushes the envelope of their individual work, but challenges perceptions, challenges ideas and not merely showing you what makes "a good time." [cont.]

  13. Loveseat

    As much as I disagree with you, Selangor Times firing you was just wrong on so many levels. One, it's obvious that you are a capable writer. Second, you have raised a very healthy debate on how best do we represent KL. However as Hollins pointed out, the lesson here is to be more tactful when writing for the Malaysian audience (we are a sensitive bunch, aren't we) and some humility would do you a lot of good.

    Here's what I think of one of your points in your reply. You say that "what is being debated is not whether they put passion in their labour or its recognition. What is being debated right now is the question of identity". Yes the debate is about identity but by refusing to recognise their passion and their hardwork, you have omitted these very real people in your debate, as if they don't matter. By refusing to consider whether these people value their roots or not you have robbed them off their identity.

  14. Chris

    Ugh, can we please move on?

    Firstly, her right to freedom of expression was not compromised. The forum for our voice has been provided and we have all have been very candid with our responses. She is a representative of Selangor Times, who deemed that her conduct misrepresented and undermined their credibility. Thus, she was relieved from her contract.
    Should she have been? Maybe not, and maybe the paper should have defended her; but maybe she should have been more conscious of the fact she spoke for more than herself in this situation. Regardless, it has nothing to do with Malaysia's or the newspapers "progressiveness."

    Secondly, as Zamar correctly quoted, "Nothing is original," not even Rempits, sorry. You can argue that there are institutions and rituals that have stronger/longer cultural ties to Malaysia, but that is all. So, instead of endlessly debating the definition, source, pro's and cons of certain 'subcultures' and 'hipsterism', the conversation would be of more value if we concentrated our efforts to uproot ideas and examples of what we each feel represents KL/Malaysian culture – something constructive that can move us beyond this debate.

    A few people finally arrive at this destination (albeit after a long preamble) offering suggestions such as the Occupy Dataran kids, the Chair Project, and Black Out Day to name a few. But of course, there are countless others. Local businesses should not be exempt from this list as they play a vital role in social responsibility and influencing culture.

    I suppose that trolls will be trolls, but on this forum my expectations are higher. @anishapasscuran hopes "or a Malaysia that is inclusive, one that encourages and embraces and celebrates what everyone" in this country has to offer, regardless of background – and I would hope that is the wish for the majority as well – for that will be the ground upon real, unbiased, debate with perspective about cultural identity can stand on.

  15. Just a girl

    The fact that her contract got terminated is sad. I thought we have advanced enough as a society to be entitled to an opinion. I don't agree with many of the arguments she made but it's not wrong for her to voice them.

    That being said, are rempits truly original? I swear I've seen similar crazy groups of motorcyclists in many regions around the world. Did we start this whole illegal racing subculture? Are there not big groups of rebels who race automobiles and do crazy stunts in other parts of the world. Seems to me that nothing is original in it's truest sense. I'm no expert in the history of the mat rempit though so please do enlighten me.

  16. dirtybird

    Lee Lian Kong, I think you'll find a better fit elsewhere than the Selangor Times.. Putting all arguments aside, you stuck to your guns and I won't forget your name. That is remarkable, good luck!

  17. Dear author,

    Firstly, I think its horrible you got fired for speaking your mind. Although I do not agree with your opinion, it is your opinion nonetheless and are entitled to it. I strongly believe in the freedom of expression and am sorry for their the paper's shortsightedness.

    What I'm hoping is that you have learned your lesson from this. You condemn the hipsters for doing what they're doing and verbally persecuted them. If our society was more progressive, you would not been fired, but praised for your integrity. Alas, we are not. And mostly, this is KL for you. Narrow mindedness begets narrow mindedness. I hope you see the irony in this.

    Good writers are praised for their depth of understanding the subject and not just making a whole lot of noise for noise sake. In the end, I still strongly disagree with your article, not because I'm a hipster, not because I'm not a hipster, but because I think if you were to write a piece critiquing a certain subculture which many strongly identify with you would need substantial understanding of it before you blindly attack it.

    And no, there is nothing you can say to justify the existence of the rempit culture. Its something that we as Malaysians are ashamed of. Its exactly like the bogan culture in Australia and the chav culture in the UK. They are a menace to society cause they don't create but destroy. As for truly understanding the culture, I can tell you that I went to a public school with many rempits living in the village beside my school. They disregard the safety of others and always only think of one upping one another to see who can 'superman' on their bikes better. They are also the most prevalent snatch thieves in the PJ area. So yeah, I know about rempit culture and my comments are not to dismiss them without "conducting a holistic sociological research on the subject."

    I strongly disagree with cyber bullying and do feel sorry for some of the unwarranted comments you got. But a lot of the non-trolling ones make sense. I hope you can take the positive ones and better yourself as a writer.

    • Zarul Wong

      "What I'm hoping is that you have learned your lesson from this. You condemn the hipsters for doing what they're doing and verbally persecuted them. If our society was more progressive, you would not been fired, but praised for your integrity. Alas, we are not. And mostly, this is KL for you. Narrow mindedness begets narrow mindedness. I hope you see the irony in this. "

      Wow…isn't that just vintage hipster arrogance right there. :)

      Ms. Lee Kian Kong, I am saddened that for some disastrously stupid reason the Selangor Times saw it fit to terminate your contract. Truly an injustice has been done. Of course, by the way the local pseudo-hipster zombies still clamour to so call "defend" their superficial borrowed culture and being narrow minded themselves shows just how much class some of our upper middle class youth really have. I thought this is Loyar Burok. Someone just suffered an injustice and what do we see? No point having an Internet Blackout Day when hipsters can't even take criticism and cause someone to lose their jobs. Not everyone can fall back on their parents money once the fixie shop shuts down for business, you know?

      "And no, there is nothing you can say to justify the existence of the rempit culture."

      Yes there is. AT LEAST the Rempits are ORIGINAL. KL Hipsters are fake, pretentious and narrow-minded. Are you sure the Rempits are responsible for snatch thefts? Or are you jumping to conclusions simply because snatch thieves use the same mode of transportation usually associated with the Rempits? Again, shows your depth of perception, really.

      I feel that I have to comment on the Rempit thing because I also referenced that particular local COMPLETELY ORIGINAL subculture in a previous comment. This is what Ms. LLK was trying to convey in the first place. But you hipsters were too shallow to see it. Of course, hipsters always miss the point anyway. Take away the look, the fixies, the template preferences to coffee culture, the self-entitled pretentiousness and all that's left in a hipster is a sad, soulless husk.

      Thank you Ms. Lee Kian Kong for your illuminating article. Don't take heart. One day the ignorant hipster masses will see your point.

      • Madaboutrempits

        Hi, first time troller and fan. Quite curious to know where can I get to know a rempit and find out more about this sub-culture. Are you a rempit? Do you run around in rempit circles? Are rempit girls hot? I find hipster chicks pretty appealing, so if you can sell me onto the merits of rempit-dom, I'm in!

      • Dear Zarul,

        For some reason you seem to think I'm taking a hipster approach to all my arguments. And since you did say that his is loyar burok, I will oblige you and take the legal avenue explaining why I wrote what I wrote.

        Under the law, there are 3 aims of punishment: Retribution, Deterrence and Rehabilitation.

        RETRIBUTION
        If you commit a crime, you should be able to take equal punishment. If you're going to make unsubstantiated statements, then prepare for the same to be done to you.

        DETERRENCE
        My first reply was given in a neutral tone, hoping that the author could see both points of view in the hopes that her reply would be a "I don't agree with you, but I see your point." She couldn't, and didn't want to.

        REHABILITATION
        This was the only reason I made the quoted statement, in hopes that she will learn from this and do a proper and thorough research before making such statements.

        Once again, I do feel sorry for the author as I still don't believe that she should be fired for stating her opinion.

        As for the Mat Rempit argument, I have 2 points. Firstly, to counter your argument on originality. It is not as original as you think it is. Unless you've never seen or heard of biker gangs in the US and everywhere else.

        Secondly, if I'm going to assert, I am going to prove. Instead, I shall give you these links. Here is proof enough as to why they are a public nuisance and endanger the lives of others, whilst committing crimes such as illegal racing, robberies and injury to others. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/4http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6

        This is the "depth of my perception."

        P/S: Thanks to my sad, soulless husk upper middle class youth background I can afford to never need to ride a fixie in our constantly hot tropical climate.

        • Zarul Wong

          Dear Nick,

          "Under the law, there are 3 aims of punishment: Retribution, Deterrence and Rehabilitation….etc etc"

          So by inference you are saying that Ms. LLK's (and by extension, everyone who agrees with her and not with you) critiques on one particular pretentious subculture, albeit a popular one currently, is a criminal act? You then haughtily explained how you attempted to "rehabilitate" her views, presumably so that she conforms to whatever it is that is agreeable to you.

          Who made you judge, jury and executioner? When was stating opinions, even unpopular ones, a criminal act to be judged harshly by an hipster angry mob?

          To persecute people (or at least, approach an issue with a self-righteous vindictive stance as you are so doing) simply on the basis that they do not agree with you? Seriously? A fine example of the class bigotry you so blindly revel in, I would say. I seriously doubt you fully understand the concepts of which you are expressing. Perhaps it is not surprising, as most of the other comments here are mainly surface understanding pleas to emotion anyway.

          Also, with regards to the originality of the Rempits. On a cursory glance one would see (unless if one were blind) that even on a superficial view (which you upper middle class hipsters are so fond of) that there is a vast difference between the Rempits and Hell's Angels. While Hell's Angels roam around in Harleys, the Rempits of the lowest common denominator have to settle for an EX5. While Hell's Angels have a nationwide network of affiliates, the Rempits are mainly just local kids banding together. And note also my view only concerns the originality of urban culture. For the purpose of this discussion, does it mean that if a certain group have the misfortune of suffering from bad PR, or that they are viewed as nuisances, that they are automatically not even considered valid at all?

          If you are indeed a lawyer (or at least, a law graduate) you should no better than to prejudge and have this awesomely shallow class prejudice which you are so proudly displaying. Shameful display, good sir.

          • Dear Zarul,

            Firstly, I did not say it was a criminal act. I just stated the reasons I wrote what I wrote. Not once did I mention that she committed a criminal act. Please read the text carefully.

            I still feel that there is no way you can justify the rempit culture. Don't even use to bad PR argument. They are invalid. Lets just hope karma isn't a bitch to you where you get robbed/stabbed/mugged/harassed by rempits on the highway.

            Also, we all have our prejudices, you have yours, I have mine, I'm not going to pretend that I don't have one, which you clearly are doing towards the video. Classy to tell me to lessen the hate while you go on. Not only are you a bigot, you are a hypocrite as well going along with all the anti-hipster hate… and we all know hipsters are about the conforming. Stop conforming you hipster.

            If you feel so strongly that LLK should be entitled to her opinion, then shouldn't everyone else be entitled to theirs? I don't like rempits, and never will.

            Regards.

          • Zarul Wong

            Dear Nicky,

            "Firstly, I did not say it was a criminal act. I just stated the reasons I wrote what I wrote. Not once did I mention that she committed a criminal act. Please read the text carefully. "

            You see, Nick…I *AM* reading the text carefully. You earlier said:

            "Under the law, there are 3 aims of punishment: Retribution, Deterrence and Rehabilitation….etc etc"

            Well, only in CRIMINAL LAW is there an avenue for punishment. In civil law the aim is damages. So, by going with your logic of applying your abovementioned "aims of punishment", it is clear that you view Ms. LLK's views as one of a criminal nature. If not, why would you even use criminal law principles in the first place? You see Nick, I am reading the text carefully. It's just that the commenter did not have the to foresight to think his statements through. Well, that's fine and well, I though…surely you would redeem yourself somehow. But alas it is not so. You went on to say:

            "I still feel that there is no way you can justify the rempit culture. Don't even use to bad PR argument. They are invalid."

            Here your bigotry shines through. Any argument you cannot (or refuse to address), you say is "invalid". Such a pity. The only thing invalid here is your ability to form coherent thoughts, it seems. Of course, you went on to say:

            "Lets just hope karma isn't a bitch to you where you get robbed/stabbed/mugged/harassed by rempits on the highway. "

            Ah…karma. The weak will always fall back on the karma argument. A vague notion that other people will reap what they sow. Of course karma will only happen to other people, won't it? It won't happen to you, because you're an outstanding beacon Malaysian citizenry. Nevermind that you seem prejudiced towards a particular group, and no doubt treat them with less respect in real life. Not only do you fall on to this comforting lie, you also went and displayed your distinct classy behavior of wishing nothing but ill-will to your fellow man, thinly-veiled as it is. I note that throughout out correspondence I have not wished ill-will towards you, good sir. The most I did was question your choice of lifestyle. I still think that it is shallow and pretentious, and you have so far proven that in spades. That you resort to using Rempits as bogeymen shows how truly progressive and inclusive you are. You weren't done, of course. You continued:

            "Also, we all have our prejudices, you have yours, I have mine, I'm not going to pretend that I don't have one, which you clearly are doing towards the video. Classy to tell me to lessen the hate while you go on…"

            Truly, good sir? It's one thing to admit your prejudices and pretend that it's alright to act on those prejudice, but to accuse me of having prejudice (or at least, the same level of prejudice as you do) is just tasteless. At least I considered the hipster culture…I acknowledged that it existed and that it was rampant. I also stand by my view that it is undeniably shallow and self-absorbed…and also a lot of other things I note only a few has rebutted satisfactorily throughout this exercise. You, on the other hand, cannot even mention Rempits without seething in hatred. No, good sir…my prejudice is not as horrid as yours. You can't even consider the Rempits as your equal fellow man. So it's true what I earlier said…Take away the look, the fixies, the template preferences to coffee culture, the self-entitled pretentiousness and all that's left in a hipster is a sad, soulless husk. Here's looking at you, kid.

            Then you went on:

            "Not only are you a bigot, you are a hypocrite as well going along with all the anti-hipster hate… and we all know hipsters are about the conforming. Stop conforming you hipster."

            Of course, you're just shooting at whatever that's moving and hoping you hit something here, aren't you? How am I a hypocrite I'll never no. Perhaps you'll tell me after you've regain some cognitive thought processes.

            "If you feel so strongly that LLK should be entitled to her opinion, then shouldn't everyone else be entitled to theirs? I don't like rempits, and never will. "

            I never said anyone else isn't entitled to their opinions. It is just you who cannot stand to see other people have different opinions, really. If you can't see past your hateful prejudice and view the Rempits as a more valid Malaysian urban culture than your borrowed hipster nonsense, then that's your prerogative…but don't pretend for one second that it's completely okay to act upon your prejudices. The moment you can't even acknowledge a fellow citizen just because of your shallow, self-entitled lifestyle, then you've got to seriously consider your worth as a human being.

            I wish you well.

  18. Raskolnikov

    Amazed: what do you have to prove here besides your arrogance?

    • Amazed

      Again, ffs , I still have to spell it out. The point is to prove that you lot are not exactly the brightest bunch. But the colourful language has been rather entertaining. Thank you very much :)

  19. Teej

    Truly sorry you got fired, if I were your Editor I would revel in the fire storm debate your article sparked off. But hey, Malaysia, truly sensitive eh?

    Although, I think it's a bit disingenuous to partially place responsibility on the people who took offence with your article. Sorry my dear, but you had a place on the pulpit, you preached your piece and it brought the barbarians to the gate. Barbarians tore down said gate, pillaged ( thankfully not many thesauruses were raped), and went about their merry way. C'est la vie, such is life in the wild.

    Now that you got some free time to plan your revenge, lay off that thesaurus and by that time hipsters would be just another dirty word. What's next? anarchisters? bohomeisters? douchekeisters? wanker bankers? third-worlders? 3rd culturers? Plenty of labels to aim your ammo at.

    Or maybe, maybe, you'll write that piece that'll deftly deconstructs the Malaysian identity crisis. From Singapore.

    • Amazed

      Another retard.

      The idea of putting the article is to spark a debate and as far as the writer is concerned, she has done her job. Surely, her simple language could not be construed as heavily reliant on the thesaurus. What, did you have to refer to the dictionary to understand the article? You're having a laugh.

      • Teej

        Well, you are right to point out that I'm having a laugh. And you know, I did mention I was sorry she got fired by her editor because of the debate her article sparked off. And… hang on a sec, why am I responding to clearly what must be a troll-bot!

        Desultory words? Check. Antagonistic language?Check. Non-descript nickname? Check.

        The troller has been trolled.

  20. Trolololololo

    hi amazed. loved you. aren't we are best of friends.

  21. Amazed

    Lol the petit bourgeois always clever with the language, never in depth with substance. Despite the writer's clear explanation, most of the response fail to understand the point of the article. She has literally spelled the points out for you. The writer must be laughing her arse off. You lot are retarded. Lol. Try reading more books, I'm sure you can afford to buy them. Geezuz. The common sense deficit in the response is unbelievable but then again, we are dealing with the petit bourgeois.

  22. Amazed

    Lol the petit bourgeois always clever with language, never in depth with substance. Despite the writer's clear explanation, most of the response fail to understand. The writer must be laughing her arse off. You lot are retarded. Lol. Try reading more books, I'm sure you can afford to buy them. Geezuz. The common sense deficit in the response is unbelievable but then again, we are dealing with the petit bourgeois.

    • zamar

      Dear amazed,

      You reek of the same brand of arrogance as the author if you perceive the petit bourgeoisie to be uncultivated, insubstantial individuals.

      The first piece should neve have been posted on Loyarburuk in the first piece. This is the place for researched, impartial discourse on social, cultural and economic issues. Not elitist, opinionated mastubatory syiok sendiri pieces.

      • Amazed

        No, I perceive you lot to be retarded if you can't get something as simple as the article right.

        Research and discourse? You're having a laugh. Don't seem to find any form of 'research' in the criticism against the article.

        Since you lot are not exactly the brightest bunch, here are some recommendations of what to read on the subject : Postmodernity, Post-colonial studies and critical theory eg. Orientalism by Edward Said, The One-Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Cheers. Now, children, go do some reading.

        • zamar

          Oh get off your high horse. You think youre the only fler here who reads?

          I call you on Said and Marcuse, and I raise you Foucault , Sartre and Weber.

          While we're on local cultural identity, how many *local* historians have you read? Syed Alatas? Farish Noor?

          Patronizing ass.

          • Amazed

            Wow and despite reading all that, you still can't understand the article. You're not a retard, you're a hybrid-retard. Lol.

        • Chris

          Dear Amazed,

          There is a difference between knowledge & wisdom, the arrogant lack the later.

    • kecik atas

      LOLZ

  23. Beemo

    Unsurprisingly, you have oversimplified issues and added insult to injury.

    Your obvious paranoia of western cultural hegemony is terribly telling of your private insecurity with KL’s identity.

    To the rest of us, there is no threat. We remain distinctly Malaysian and proudly so. In fact, our roots are so firmly lodged in this country’s soil that we know that being Malaysian does not have to be explicitly pronounced in everything we do or create.

    Quite unlike you, we are also able to distinguish drawing inspiration from being unoriginal.

    Please excrete the unwarranted smugness that has constipated you. Perhaps then you will be able rest the gravel in your hand which you have been using so fervently to dig your own grave.

  24. zamar

    A pity that you got sacked for expressing your opinion, but that is more common than you think when it comes to the rat race. I hope you have taken this lesson to heart, what more if you have any aspirations of commercial journalism.

    I keep company with quite a number of individuals you have admonished in your opinion, as do I frequent their establishments. All I can say is that it is unfair to lambast creatives and individuals at the forefront of various subcultures because you deem their contributions of less value to society than say, lawyers, bankers and activists. If nothing else, its people like these that add to the the richness and diversity of the city – ita vero, its "soul"

    I'd just like to share a quote from Jim Jarmusch, pertaining to the endless, pedantic and impassionated arguments on originality.

    "“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent."

  25. Hickup

    If your main argument in your article was originality or the lack of it, I'm afraid you've lost your way quite a bit. Please name me one thing that is original. We have been adapting for thousands of years. Even cavemen that never met each other made clubs that looked similar. Not original, I'm sure, in your opinion.

    KL is different to all of us. It's a series of converging circles of interests. That's why you have things in common with different people, not necessarily need to like everything and everyone. That's what makes life interesting.

    Live a little. Enjoy a coffee. And open your eyes a little. Make a few friends.

  26. "So much for freedom of speech and looking up to Western democracy."

    You ALMOST make it sound like freedom of speech is a "Western" invention. Perhaps they should put patent it lest any of us Asians steal it.

  27. Chris

    Two main observations:

    1. Your freedom of speech has not been compromised in the slightest. The forum for your voice has been provided and you / we all have been very candid with our responses. However you do not have the right to have your opinions represent or influence an organisation. Should you be fired? Probably not, in fact you likely increased the readership of the Selangor Times and their demographic reach. However, it is not a question of freedom of speech.

    2. The logic you use in this article would suppose that any outside influence is bad/unoriginal. So Teh Terik, Roti, any language but Malay, to the extreme that anything non-Malay is unoriginal – because you can't just pick and choose the culture that you find to have a better or more "original" influence.

    The commenter Renry puts it aptly when he says the lesson learnt for you is tact. You dived into to critiquing an entire generation, without understanding or even considering the question of 'why.' You are a very capable writer, and the point you raise about Malaysian identity is a good one, but if you truly believe in helping craft the future identity of Malaysian culture, you as well as your articles, need to have a sense of inclusIvenes to them.

    Good luck in the future.

  28. Johnno

    Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Chin up, we win some, we lose some. I am sure you have a very bright future. Keep us all posted with future articles. I am keen on your thoughts and insights. And your sacking goes to show that we have a long way to go to be a developed society where freedom of expression should be more than just a meaningless phrase. Adieu!!

  29. Renry Hollins

    "As far as the Malaysian identity is concerned, I stick to my belief that those depicted in the video lack originality."

    Yes, Miss Lee the question of identity is indeed debatable. You and I are on our own journey to find our true selves and to completely understand our heritage and culture. It will take both of us a lifetime.

    The lesson to be learnt through all this, is simply: tact.

    • Ian Mackaye

      Or you can be punk as fxxk and don't give a hoot. But hey that's another western subculture.

      I say we are all different. You don't have to respect someone for being a 'rempit' or for being a 'hipster' but to come out guns blazing on such a public platform.. well damn.

      Cause and effect. Karma.

      suck it up that you were fired. it's not the end of the world. go prove to the world that you are more than an article.

  30. unbelievable.

    wth.

  31. gracechin

    Tried to comment earlier, but not sure what happened:

    -> A week from now, this storm in a teacup wd have passed. The saddest thing abt this is that your contract got terminated. Hugs. I hope you don't feel too bad about it. Better things will come your way.

  32. Twinkle

    So we shouldn't drink teh tarik too since black tea is not Malaysian in origin?

  33. I can't believe you just drew a direct comparison between rempits and the people featured in that video. What "negative attributes" did you see in these ultra-creative people who are merely passionate about their work? Rempits not only endanger their own lives, but those of others. I REALLY don't see how opening a clothing store (Western-influenced or Malaysian-influenced or selling baju kurung or whatever) or a coffee shop (haiyo have you NEVER been to a kopitiam? Have we not been drinking coffee for generations?!) is in ANY WAY like the rempit culture.

    I don't know about everybody else, but I don't embrace rempits because they are DANGEROUS PEOPLE on MOTORBIKES.

    You do bring up something crucial about our "postcolonial mentality", but you don't really explore this. I do agree that's been a big problem here. But personally, the people in this video–by incorporating all kinds of influences in their craft–have shown us that being Malaysian in this day and age is awesome. They've shown us an alternative to the "Cuti-cuti Malaysia" identity that's been forced upon us year after year.

    I don't identify as "hipster", and I'd never even heard of these people/places/businesses before this video, and that is embarrassing. Because it just shows how unaware I've been of the totally awesome things these creative, brave people are doing!

    We are totally evolving as a society, and that is pretty damn cool.

    Also, I find it ironic that you included this line in your response: …you easily dismissed as “negative” without putting the slightest effort to conduct a holistic sociological research on the subject". With all due respect, neither did you, in your angsty rant about Western influences becoming the death of our culture. We're a generation of young people with no identity. We've been told to never forget our Malay/Chinese/Indian roots, but we've also been force-fed the merits of 1Malaysia–the whole point of our cultural identity is that we've been able to incorporate all kinds of influences into our own. That is never a bad thing.

    I'm sorry that the Selangor Times was stupid enough to terminate you; if those were their reasons then you're really better off writing for somewhere else.

    I hope for a Malaysia that is inclusive, one that encourages and embraces and celebrates what everyone–Western or Polynesian or otherwise–has to offer.

  34. SY New

    Hear, hear!