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Publish and be damned

Sure, not every dot-com goes belly-up when it runs out of cash. The very existence of those who have entered the fray with billions in debt goes to show that we will continue to step on our own toes. We recognize the pain--and prefer to live with it. Age and experience have very little to do our knack of making mistakes. The herd attitude lives.

Catcha and MalaysiaStreet are poor second cousins to and Locals here just copied the idea, without adding any value. It is like eating chicken curry from a can. The package is different and it does not taste as good as the original. By the way, Alyssa makes a mean chicken curry, devilled too.

That is so with nearly every blessed Web site that has grown out of Malaysian soil. Instead of planting paddy, we plant wheat. What, do you reckon, happens to wheat grown inches from the equator?

So why do we go copy someone else? Do we harbor the thought of turning into instant millionaires when the original purveyors show up at our doorsteps? Do we really think copycats will be bought up?

When Catcha, currently staving off a bad flu, was first set up, the premise was to make it the premier portal in each individual country. Go global by starting local. Sadly, they have not delivered.

Originality is in delivery of content and service. That is what the Internet is about. Look at Cari. The four-year-old company's greatest strength is its local content. It also offers searches in both Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, apart from English.

Pewter maker, Royal Selangor, is another winner. It capitalizes on selling gifts made of an alloy of tin, that is still found in Malaysia. The products offer a unique selling proposition, and the company is smart enough to cap its marketing strategy with personalized gift handling services.

These are but two examples. There aren't many more to cite. At the rate things are going, our dot-coms are headed towards a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Perhaps they deserve to fail. But if we do not support our own homemade causes and prefer all-things imported instead, we are accessories to the crime.

That would give us the chance to stand by the wayside and happily point fingers. Just like in school.

Dispatch from Malaysia

Here's a nation that has built a first-world infrastructure. But can the country truly lead its people down the Yellow Brick Road to the smart city of tomorrow? Our Dispatch from Malaysia taps into the collective mindshare.

Check out previous dispatches from Malaysia:

Fear and greed on the Internet

PC revolution? Hmmm, says Anita D.

Bad PC vendors makes no cent$

Real world Net cynicism in a wired world

The art of resistance

Surfing on the Sulu


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