Berikut adalah contoh sebuah ulasan buku yang saya buat dalam tahun 1995.
Broadcasting in the Malay World: Radio, Television and Video in Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. McDaniel, Drew O. 1994.
Norwood, N.J. Ablex Publishing Corp. xii+339pp.
This book review appeared in the Journal of International Communication Book Reviews in Vol 2 No. 2 (1995)
Before World War II, development in broadcasting in the then Malaya
appeared to be crawling like a snail. Indeed, it took about half a century
from the starting of the first radio broadcast to the introduction of
black-and-white television, which made its debut in Malaysia in 1963. The
Confrontation — the undeclared war Indonesia foisted on Malaysia
following the formation of Malaysia — did not deter the introduction of
television, which appeared to be taking its own natural course of
development. In 1978, Malaysia introduced colour television. Two decades
after the introduction of black-and-white television, the first private
commercial TV station made its debut in 1984, a sterling move signalling
Malaysia’s new policy shift to privatisation. The new station is known as
TV3, meaning it is the third TV channel after the two government channels,
TV1 and TV2. And slightly more than a decade later, on 1 July 1995, a
second private commercial station came into being. From here on, things
are moving at a very dizzying speed.
If four is not enough, plans are afoot to add five more channels from
September through November 1995, all as subscription or pay television.
But viewing for the first three months would be free. Mega TV, a
consortium led by TV3, would provide these new channels. And to cap all
that, by April 1996, Malaysia is expected to have an additional 20
channels when the country launches its own domestic satellite MEASAT. With
or without MEASAT, the people of Malaysia will have access to more
channels after that when parabola dishes will become available in
abundance, legally or otherwise.
McDaniel’s book _Broadcasting in the Malay World_ provides a very useful
and important backdrop to the above development. Without knowing the early
development of broadcasting since the 1920s, one will not be able to
really appreciate the current progressive development in Malaysia and the
surrounding countries, especially in Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.
McDaniel had already recorded the possible birth of the fourth channel in
his book (pp 146-147). The nameless entity then, now known as the
MetroVision, is majority owned by the Melewar Corp. (a company connected
to the Negeri Sembilan Royalty), the company that submitted the proposal
for the channel as early as 1984. The new channel is also known as TV
Channel 8. But its catchword is MetroVision, with two crescents joining
together to form a reclining figure 8.
The appearance of _Broadcasting in the Malay World_ is most welcome, as
there is really a dearth of books on communication and the media about the
countries in the region. Information on historical development of
broadcasting in the region is not readily available, even though Malaysian
scholars are making efforts to carry out research. (For instance, Asiah
Sarji’s doctoral dissertation _The Influence of Political and
Socio-Cultural Environment on the Development of Radio Broadcasting in
Malaya from 1920-1959_.) McDaniel’s book not only touches about
development in radio, television and video in Malaysia, but also in
Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. While the title gives the name of
countries covered in the book in alphabetical order, Malaysia actually
receives the lion’s share. The book has 12 chapters. The first deals
briefly with the Malay-Indonesia Archipelago, its history, ethnic
component and the economies of the countries. This vital information helps
readers, especially those not familiar with the region, to follow the
later chapters with greater awareness.
The actual discussion on broadcasting development begins with Chapter 2,
which deals with radio in the Malay Archipelago between 1920-1941; and
this narrows down to a history of broadcasting in Malaysia and Singapore
between 1942-1969 (Chapter 3). Chapters 4 through 6 deal with broadcasting
in Malaysia, Chapter 7 with broadcasting in Singapore, Chapter 8 with
broadcasting in Brunei, and Chapters 9 and 10 with broadcasting in
Indonesia. Chapter 11 deals with home video.
This book is not merely a historical narration of broadcasting
development. Rather, it tries to see how broadcasting reflects cultural
pluralism, and the role assumed by media in cultural integration polities.
Indeed, as the author points out very early in his book (Chapter 1), the
countries in the region have to cope with a multi-racial population. Radio
and television in these countries have a special function to transmit
economic and special policies for national development. The author also
explores the formulation and implementation of national media policies,
and shows how mass communication is made to conform with national
political principles. McDaniel uses Sydney Head’s viewpoint as a central
point of his book that “each country will have uniquely adapted
broadcasting to suit its own need.”
While McDaniel has accomplished a lot in this volume, he has still omitted
a good deal of needed information. McDaniel has an open field if he has
the time to come again to this region. The most important development is,
of course, the use of parabola dishes to receive TV signals from
satellites in Malaysia, Brunei and Thailand while these countries are
coping with the problem of cultural invasion through television
programmes. The use of parabola dishes is illegal in Malaysia, but several
thousands are installed in Sarawak, a state on the eastern wing of the
country. These dishes are available just across the borders of Indonesia
and Brunei. One can construe Malaysia’s efforts to flood the market with
television channels as a strategy to curb the need for people to have
direct access to satellite TV channels.
It is interesting to note that McDaniel’s interest in the region
started in the early 1950s when he was a young shortwave radio listener.
The information and documents he collected then, plus working
stints in Kuala Lumpur and a research grant, enabled him to put together
this very informative book. It should be recommended reading in
communication schools, especially in the countries discussed.
Mohd. Safar Hasim, associate professor
Department of Communication
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia