Last night, I attended the Bloggers United Malaysia (B.U.M.) Gathering 2007 at Lake View Club, Subang Jaya. And it was quite an experience!
To be honest, I was already kinda curious when I found out about this.. because although I'm not a socio-political (SoPo) blogger, I have been following many of such blogs. And I do personally know a few of the ex-journalists who are active and prominent bloggers.
So, when my friend `Lulu' asked me to join her for the dinner, it didn't take that much persuasion! At least i know I've company. ;)
The theme was "Embrace & Engage - a social and networking gathering with a preliminary brainstorming session between the 4th and 5th estates to embrace and engage the blogging phenomenon in Malaysia." Sounds interesting..
It was less people than I expected (around 80 maybe?) and more than 90 per cent of the bloggers present were SoPo bloggers. But I was told that the event was for ALL bloggers anyway..
It's good that we went for tea (and had A&W's waffle!) earlier because dinner wasn't served till after 8:30pm. That's because the program began with a panel of seven speakers who spoke on their thoughts on blogging based on their field of expertise and experience. The speakers included Jeff Ooi - the pioneer of Malaysian socio-political blog; social activist Marina Mahathir; Tian Chua of Keadilan; CEO and DAP man Tony Pua; The Sun's journalist R. Nadeswaran of Citizen Nades fame; Sonia Randhawa from the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia; and Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky, who was there to speak on the newly-formed National Alliance of Bloggers (All Blogs) of which he is the president.
Well, personally I might not agree with everything that was said but overall, it was an interesting and enlightening session, especially when the topic touched on freedom of the Press. And it was great to see individuals so passionate about wanting to make a difference through what is known as the 5th Estate (the blogosphere). But I shall not elaborate on the contents of the speeches here...
Dinner was good. Enjoyed the food especially the roast lamb. ;) I recognised a few faces but most of them wouldn't know me anyway.. but in the process, I got introduced to a number of them. And also said hi to a few fellow ex-journalists (now rather prominent bloggers) who were rather surprised to see me there!
Here's a pix of some of us at the table.. with the camera-shy lulu hiding behind her paper shield.
Call me shallow. But the highlight of the evening for me was the opportunity to `camwhore' with a few prominent bloggers! :p
It all started when Rocky, who is actually my former editor from The Malay Mail, came over and asked to take a pix with me..!
Next, someone from my table wanted to take photo with Marina, and so I grabbed the chance as well and briefly introduced myself to her.. Actually this was not the first time I've met her.
Then came the surprise! When I introduce myself to Jeff Ooi, I was rather shocked when he said he `knows' me! Being an avid newspaper reader (that's his bread-and-butter for blogging), he told me that he had been following my newspaper articles for many years! And he even noticed that I've left the paper.. hehe, it's quite an honour.. ;)
And last but not least.. popular celeb blogger Kenny Sia turned up towards the end of the evening and immediately was hoarded by quite a number of people! And since people were asking to take photos with him, I too jumped on the band wagon. After all, I have been following his blog quite faithfully for some time!
And finally before we left, I posed with the backdrop for the event..
It was actually quite fun..! So if there's any future gatherings of bloggers, Lulu I will be glad to accompany you! ;)