By Shanmuga K. | LoyarBurok


On behalf of LoyarBurok and all LoyarBurokkers, welcome to “Remember, Review, Reclaim” 1212.

LoyarBurok began as a forum by six people to publish our thoughts.

We started LoyarBurok as we were all inspired by visions of a monkey/ape-like creature who miraculously appeared to each of us at various times in early 2005.

We soon learnt that this creature was Lord Bobo Barnabus, the Wonder Typewriting Monkey: a simian who does exist, albeit solely in cyberspace, and who is not (as many claimed) a figment of our collective imaginations.

Artist Fahmi Reza was then similarly inspired to create the logo that we see today adorning LoyarBurok.

We began small, and we began very very slowly. After finally setting up our collective law blog — or blawg — in early 2006, we had only about 30 posts until the end of 2008.

Even the political tsunami of 8 March did not prompt many more posts.

It was only in 2009, and in fact with the unfolding of the Perak Crisis, that LoyarBurok slowly but surely developed to what it is today.

More and more of us were inspired to write, and more and more people wanted to become LoyarBurokkers seeing in the blawg a space for them to air their often controversial views.

In a short space of time, we number more than 170 members on the LoyarBurokkers e-group, and this community is growing. As an experimental DIY-indie model, the LoyarBurok community is unique because we have relied heavily on social media tools to establish our ties and strengthen our network. Each LoyarBurokker has his or her own field of work, and LoyarBurok provides support (some say inspiration) to them.

More and more people also have begun coming to LoyarBurok as a place for legal analysis. Despite our name, most of us who publish on LoyarBurok try to make the law accessible to the common person.

As we move into the new year, we have many exciting plans ahead.

We are establishing the “Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights” a.k.a. “LoyarBurok Rakyat Centre” — a place that will educate and train lawyers, activists and the rakyat with the tools needed to inform themselves and to empower others on the Malaysian Constitution and on their basic human rights.

We currently run cases on a pro bono basis through the “LoyarBurok Defence Team” and through that building a base for young, enthusiastic and new lawyers.

A “Human Rights Defence Fund” is being set up where we hope that lawyers who take up human rights cases will not need to offer their services pro bono anymore.

In the new year, we hope to launch a brand new look for the LoyarBurok blawg which will allow us to publish more varied and rich content as well as provide, according to Edmund Bon, “a multi-functional interface for addictive access by readers” — whatever that means!

And of course, today sees the inaugural book from LoyarBurok Publications!

Our thanks go to all the contributors to the Book – Judge NH Chan, Cheang Lek Choy, Azhar aka Art Harun, Professors Harding, Kevin Tan and Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Thank you, Deborah Loh of The Nut Graph, for the comprehensive timeline.

Thank you, Ong Jo-Lene, not only for editing almost all the postings on LoyarBurok but also for helping in managing the production of today’s book.

Thank you, Bright Lights At Midnight who did the design and layout for the Book: Most especially, thank you thank you thank you to Hana Abdul Aziz who worked tirelessly until late at night (including on the weekend) to cater to our inexperience and our constant amendments to the text in the editing process.

And of course, thank you to Audrey Quay, editor of “Perak: A State of Crisis”.

Eight months ago, Audrey had just left her lucrative but high-pressure job as a corporate lawyer. She decided to go to the Lake Club to read a book. As she walked along, she came across Edmund Bon and I. We happened to be discussing whether LoyarBurok could publish a book.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Bon: “Audrey — since you got nothing to do ah, edit a book for us lah?”

Audrey: (not realising how much trouble she is getting herself into) “Erm… actually, I’m already editing another book, you know”

Shan & Bon together: “Aha — so you CAN edit a book!”

And so, the BonCon was in place. Audrey has done a wonderful job in selecting which articles to publish, which comments to publish and cleaning up the posts so that its raw form in the blawg is now the clean copy you see in the Book.

Audrey, a huge Thank You from all of us.

And finally, thank you to all of you for coming here at 4 pm on a Sunday for this launch.

Keep LoyarBurokking!

This welcome speech was delivered on behalf of LoyarBurok at “Remember | Review | Reclaim” on 12 December 2010 at the Annexe Gallery, Central Market Annexe, Kuala Lumpur, at the book launch of Perak: A State of Crisis.