This website is a repository of content produced by Juana Jaafar. It’s altogether a sounding board, vault, laboratory, forum and platform to share new works and collaborations. A free-form podcast section makes its debut in this new space exploring Malaysian stories told from within a makeshift recording studio.
Juana Jaafar is interested in sociopolitical issues affecting women and young people. She is also a keen observer of media and propaganda. She produces in English and Bahasa Melayu.
Featured image: At an old signage workshop in Perak. Pix by Juana Jaafar.
In April 2008 I registered on a free blog hosting platform and began my journey in self-publishing. Until then it was unthinkable that I could be my own editor, publisher and distributor. Writing itself wasn’t a new venture as I’d contributed to various newspapers and magazines. But with my own website I discovered I could write about anything, take a stand on any issue and be blunt ‘AF’ (Internet youth speak for ‘as f***’), and not worry about getting spiked by an editor! It was thrilling, liberating and empowering for me as a young person living in Malaysia.
Expectedly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into—or the abyss that’s the Internet. As space isn’t an issue online I took absolute liberties with lengthy posts and even published pointless one-liners that made no sense to anyone but myself. While freedom may have resulted in senseless clutter, it certainly also enabled creative writing. I explored writing fiction and enjoyed it. But in between the self-indulgent and fun stuff I also wrote opinion pieces on current issues, some of which made their way to career editors who then republished them on news portals.
Self-publishing online taught me to value freedom of expression, the power of the Internet and the worth of my writing in a (more) democratic space. It enhanced my knowledge in the field of communications and laid the foundation for my work in digital media. Importantly, the experience made me aware that mine is a woman’s voice whose intersectionalities demand a more determined and consequential occupation of cyberspace. It’s in this spirit that juanajaafar.net is created. The website of my younger self is retired to make way for a more curated and purposeful platform (so help me God!).
I’ve selected and republished some posts from my old website, but here’s to creating new stuff! I’m also quite excited about podcasting, a content format I’m experimenting for the first time as I fumble through the rabbit hole otherwise known as audio editing. The podcast section is a means to share this space with other voices and to document their stories. I hope for it to provide an opportunity to think about the plurality of lives around us. Who knows, the stories just might help us be kinder to others. Or it might even help us be kinder to ourselves.