Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Citizen journalism ten years ago!

Ten years ago I was already involved in early stage of citizen journalism. I kept one topic as my favourite clippings. It is about Diana, the Princess that changed the fairy tale. Her story never ended by "and they lived happily ever after". Neither Cinderella story nor the Barbara Cartland's story fitted into her shoe...

These newspaper clippings are taken from the Jakarta Post ten years ago. Starting from an article about Princess Diana and citizen comments, it became like citizens' discussion. I contributed two letters. These days people are remembering Diana again. I remember these clippings, search for it and found it in my attic.

Too bad I could not find the picture taken by my brother that showed Diana inside a Minangkabau house. She was beautiful, seemed sincere...that was really matter. Hopefully I can write some more words in my next post as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Two South Korean Hostages Freed

It was a long silence after this article was published in OMNI (click on the title).
I am happy reading that the rest of the hostages are going to be freed. I heard that eight of them were already released on Wednesday, 29th August 2007.
Hopefully there will be peace on earth. Religions are not given for dividing people, they are all towards love and peace. Praise the Lord! (added on August 30, 2007)

Dirgahayu Indonesia

Sharing my personalized stamps to celebrate the Indonesian Independence Day.
The stamps shows the spirit I would like to share in the citizen journalism websites to build a peaceful and better world together.

Bangun Subway Seperti di Seoul?

This article in bahasa Indonesia is a comment for an article in Kompas. Asking the new government of Jakarta thinking about building subway like in Seoul is great, but they should also think about other consequences. I'd like to gain more comments from readers, but it doesn't work. May be they are apathetic towards the broken promise of government.

The public tranportation in Jakarta is really under the minimum requirement for a capital city. Recently (this post is uploaded long after the publication of the article in wikimu) an Italian was hit by a Trans Jakarta Bus. She died in an accident which was not the first time happened with Busway drivers! Either the drivers are arrogant or the street provided is not save! I'd say both could be counted in! When I drive near the Palace, our way should cross the busway line, and it was scary to cross while a fast bus take its way.

The government has a lot of clever scholars who helped them with suggestion and studies. Why don't they use it? I do hope that the new government can try to look at what were studied and give their best service to public. Not to achieve a monumentary achievement for their name, but to really serve the public.

Kapan Kita Menaikkan Bendera?

Nationalism is sometimes related with the Indonesian flag in front of your house during the month of August. I knew there is a certain rule of conduct towards our national flag, and people seemed not to take a real attention to the old regulation. Being uncertain, I just pose the questions to wikimu readers "When should we have our national flag flown?". Soon, an answer came from a reader whose father was in the army who fight for the Indonesian independence, three days before and three days after the independence day. He also told us that his father would take the flag down when it was raining and put it back to the flag pole after the rain.

Apresiasi Seni: Intimate Distance (2)

Intimate Distance as the exhbition accompying the lauching of book "Indonesian Women Artists: The Curtain Opens".

This is a personal overview on the exhibition, the meaning of feminism in Indonesia seeing through these artistical outputs. Unfortunately it is for so I wrote it in Indonesian. I do want to write for international readers but I need more time to do this piece in English.

Assorted thoughts

The most difficult thing for me to perform is to focus my mind and write something. I’ve got a very moveable attention. That’s a talent but also a weakness! While I want to write a subject, and did not have my mind really set in it yet, another subject is already filling in my head.

My daily activities are also a distracting factor. While I’ve got the volcano in me ready to make an eruption of all the words in my head, my boys or my other chores are waiting for my responsibility.

Writing diary is easier as it is on my own consumption. Writing an open blog is more difficult as I do need to verify and recheck all my back up data.
Today I want to make some short comments on my thoughts that might help me focus next time.

A subject that is long been in my mind is the migrant worker. Indonesian migrant worker is something that is very important to be put into attention. I am glad that some people in wikimu started to talk about it. One contributor in is also a woman who is working as a migrant worker in Hongkong. I just read that RI maids in Hongkong threaten to go on a strike. They were marching from Victoria Park to Hong Kong government offices in the central district to draw attention to the overcharging by recruitment agencies and their underpaid circumstances.

I was already thinking to write something on this matter when Dinah Sianturi published her article about Philippines’ migrant workers in OMNI. Soon after that more and more sad stories on Indonesian women migrant workers revealed in the national news. I know that something should be written on this matter. But I went to Seoul, being back with more new ideas that clouded this subject. Philippine’s women migrant workers seem to be more fortunate with their government attention than Indonesian women migrant. Some people are even considering closing the door for the Indonesian women migrant worker to go abroad. It is ridiculous; while we can not even able to help them find a proper salary here we are going to close their chance to have a better life for their family. And we should not forget that Indonesian migrant workers are not just the blue collar worker, we do have other trained and skillful worker as migrant worker all over the world. So, which migrant worker should have the permit, and which one should not? Isn’t it going to be an injustice?

Another subject that interested me is the editorial of the citizen journalism website. A recent article by Rajen Nair in OMNI interviewing Claire George, one of the former editors in OMNI is revealing the story from an editor point of views. Claire is also giving a very good advice of references to read. It would be a great input for my unorganized thoughts.

Editor is the front liner in meeting us the contributor. They are also the replacement of our readers, so they are really the important part of journalism. In citizen journalism they are having a more important place as some citizen might have no courage to write for the first time. They do need to build motivation and their self confidence to write. I saw it in how a person who was never fond of writing succeeded in writing a story helped by the editor. She was then continued to contribute in her style of writing. It might not be the first class standard of journalism, but it builds the spirit of writing. That’s what counted!
Citizen journalism is still a very dear subject to me right now. When I was in Seoul the editors in wikimu were busy with the allegation of providing a place for separatism articles. They had to endure long nights keeping their site clean from fake commentators (some were even using contributors’ name- which is not true as my name was also being used). As we go side by side with the mainstream media we could not really sure who sparkled the subject first. But before the separatism subjects come to the mainstream media it seems that the Papuan who had chances to write for had exposed their feelings. Now, mainstream media is focusing on the development of Papua. Kompas has even a team project who is visiting Papua. May be they had it already in their agenda. But a contributor to wikimu thanked wikimu as his village's activity for the indepence celebration was visited by the crew from Trans TV after the released of his article in wikimu.

I also learnt a lot from editors both in wikimu and in OMNI. Wikimu’s editors is nicer to contributor, they give detailed advice when we asked. They helped rearranging article of those new contributors, and keep giving support for readers or commentator to try to write. It is not that the editors in OMNI aren’t nice enough, they are also very supportive. Sometimes language barrier is also a problem. A minor mistake that they corrected sometimes is intentionally written. It is just like the editorial of the mainstream media. When you write inscription (as it is written on a stone) and they think you’ve mistaken the word manuscript, they’ll change the word!

The competition in OMNI is the real journalistic style, while in wikimu is the real citizen style. Perhaps it was caused by the different media readers. Wikimu’s basic are the real “citizen”, while OMNI’s basic are the real “journalist”. It is only a possibility taken from my perspective. I’ve seen that most of the featured writers in OMNI are journalist or scholars in journalistic. I’ve put my special attention to the women of the featured writers and saw that all of them have journalistic back ground. In Wikimu some of the favorite writers are not journalist, and did not have a journalistic training or background. Readers in wikimu also want a different style of writing. They tended to like a free writing style, and lighter subjects close to everyday life.

I think it is good to be able to release our views and help the mainstream media caught a glimpse of our thoughts to feed their newsroom. With their financial back up they could then perform a better investigative report for us the citizen. Then we can publish our comments in the citizen journalism website as our review of the subject. It is nicer as we do have space to voice out our views, the space in the mainstream media as in the readers’ letter is usually limited.

Now Kompas use the title Citizen Journalism for its Kokiers (I forgot what the title was before). But writing only for Kompas’ readers and gain the views of readers from the same media is not always enriching. We read a certain newspaper or a certain magazine because we share the same interest or public view. Participating in a citizen journalism websites made me aware of different views from other publication, or from other thoughts. It helped us to view things more objectively, and for Indonesian it is the real action towards democracy.

For wikimu I still had the idea about education for the blind. I’ve got it in my head, but I need to cut off my morning activities to be able to concentrate on writing. Hopefully it will begin on mid September.

I have to disagree with the idea that citizen journalism is death, it is not! It’s evolving and looking for its niche! I do hope it will grow together with the mainstream media as a complement of each other. It is the best way to survive together.

There are still some subjects dancing in my mind, but I think I’ll focus on the subjects above before leaping into another idea.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Apresiasi Seni: Intimate Distance (1)

The Intimate Distance is an art exhibition from Indonesian women artists, exhibiting together with the launch of a book by three Indonesian women writers on Indonesian women artists.

My first article for is mostly telling my experience brought my kids along to view this exhibition. I am planning to make another article as a viewer on the topic of the exhibition.

Ayo Ikut Merayakan Kemerdekaan RI dalam Batik!

Batik is also one of my interest in writing. To buy hand written batik is too expensive for me, but knowing how difficult the process to make a piece of this art work made me appreciate this kind of art work.

Indonesia Celebrates Centenary of Scout Movement

This article is also posted in my blog for stamps and post cards collection.

A Global Action is Needed for Mother Earth

The effect of the global warming is warning us how serious it is!

The former U.S. Vice President Al Gore had warned us: “We do not have time to play around with this”. It is obvious that the climate change is taking a big impact on human lives. While some regions are terrified by the amount of water from the flood, other part of the globe are praying for rain to come.

The Britain’s worst floods in sixty years, is forcing the world to face how serious the effect of global warming is. It is not only for the future generation but it is already presented into our own eyes. The global warming is supporting the increase of sea water level in the global world. A document from the Green Peace organization revealed that a significant amount of ice is disappearing from our globe. Another argument which excluded the human contribution on the global warming to the climate change is also existed. Scientists from the University of Maine reported the potential link between the solar activity and the Earth’s climate. Although there might still be disputes between scientists on this matter, it is important to start take a global action to help reducing the burden of mother earth.

In February the torrential rains had paralyzed almost the whole city of Jakarta, Indonesia. While it was already predicted for flooding, the city did not prepare to have such a disaster.

In July, floods are not only visiting Oxford but in the same time appeared in Sulawesi as well. To make things worse in Indonesia it was accompanied by landslides and earthquake. Then earthquake in the sea was performed in Maluku, small islands near Sulawesi. It will contribute to the high tidal wave to the bigger island. Fortunately it was not followed by tsunami.

The heavy rain also hit the part of Sumatera. It was followed by the landslide, and it made the users of the only route of transportation in east Sumatra stuck within days in the middle of the forest between Jambi and Riau. It was reported by Kompas, an Indonesian national daily, that a woman passenger of a bus gave birth to the nearby village of Suban only to find her baby passed away a few minutes after the delivery.
The disaster was made worst because the transportation to rescue or sending daily needs were halt due to the environment condition and the bad weather.

In Morowali, the Central Sulawesi, the flood and landslide’s rescue is still halt by the cut of transportation access. In the meantime, the victims found death are already 33 persons while 39 other persons are still missing.

In the Northern of Sulawesi, the tidal wave and the landslides together with the torrential rain made 10.450 peoples evacuated from 15 locations in the South East of Minahasa.

In Papuait was also reported by a citizen journalist in to have endured heavy flood.
In searching more news on flooding I found out that the climate change affected all Asia, including China.

While some part of this world is struggling to overcome the heavy rain, other part of the world is dry and praying for rain to come for watering their plants. The people in these regions are also badly in need for fresh water. Sometimes people need to walk for 710 meters to find fresh water like in Timor or in Gunung Kidul, near Jogjakarta.

The irony of this water distribution is not only the fact of life, but it is also the consequences of what the people in the world had done to their mother earth. The global warming together with the climate change and the human approach to its environment (such as the deforestation) has changed the water cycle. Last June, in a seminar about water organized by the Centre Culturel Français Jakarta it was already mentioned about the possibility of water crisis in the Earth. Wikipedia revealed that in the year 2025 two third of the world population will be lack of safe drinking water and proper sanitation. The longer period of drought could also be linked to the global warming effect although this theory is still in speculation.
It is time to take the matter more seriously. Prevention is not only for certain countries, but it needs a global action to help this old Mother Earth retain her health. It is our duty to help her gain the power to protect the all the living creatures in her lap. All citizens can help as the Green Peace has stated that to prevent climate change we need a revolution in energy policy and an evolution in the way we all use energy.

This article was supposed to be released for OMNI. The heavy rain has made South Asian suffered disastrous flooding, while here in Indonesia we are already struggling with dry rice fields.

Join Greenpeace 7 Step Climate Campaign

Disihir Harry Potter Bertemu Jambore Pramuka Dunia.

The strong impuls to go for the Harry Potter stamps serie made me encounter the first day launch of centenary of scout movement commemorative stamps. Click the title to see my writing in Bahasa Indonesia for

Borobudur, Keajaiban Di Hati…

Borobudur is still a forgotten wonder of the world. Seeing a painting exhibition by Rudolf G. Usman in the National Museum triggered me to write this article in Bahasa for

Pojok yang Menyenangkan di Museum Nasional

Link to the title above, that is my article in Bahasa Indonesia for