Friday, 14 September 2007

A diary of a citizen reporter.

When you are too busy and have too many problems at the same time you’ve got stuck! The rising prices are not only for cooking oil or other food but to the price of the toll road as well! While the amount of income is not yet fixed, but the amount of cost for children education is rising up you can have an eternal headache as a housewife!

At the same time a lot of issues are taking my interest but I could not really find the time to write them down. This post is going to highlight some issues that I cared about. It’s kind of a piece of my diary as a citizen reporter.

My post on global warming was not taken as an objective matter by the editorial of OMNI, but I did put a lot of effort to write it down, so I just post it in my blog. Surprisingly some comments came to the post. Not an expert myself, I was only voicing how I feel as a person living in the equator. It is really hot in the equator! There are things that I thought should be taken into a global action. To enrich my knowledge I was actually intended to come to the evening lecture of the Indonesian Heritage Society when Neil Franklin doing his presentation on “Tigers, Communities, and Carbon: Sustainable Solutions for Indonesian Forestry”. But the situation was not on my favor. Being single is always easier for woman and having a family had changed my whole life but it is a responsibility I’ve chosen and need to always be adjusted to.

My article in that grumbling about the toll road’s increasing price has also something about the government’s policy towards using gas as the replacement of kerosene. While I am already a gas consumer (as long as I remember my parents’ house used only gas stove), and I am also campaigning toward a better environment to prevent the global warming, I do not agree with this policy of making kerosene disappear from public. Using a picture I recently took in a place almost two hours drive from Jakarta where the house owner use the wood as it was in the old days (things that I’ve just seen in the National Museum of Korea) I’d like to show that this sudden policy in the tight pressure of economy will not effective. They’ll end up having more people cutting wood for cooking! It is just like the light bulb campaign. If the energy saver light bulb is too expensive people will not change their tendency as there is also the economic pressure to use the cheaper one. Or if we do not have a stable input of electricity why would we bother to think about a more expensive light bulb?

Being in the middle level is really something as I could easily look to the higher level of consumption or to look down to the marginalized people to gain more objective opinions. But being idealistic is something difficult to live with. A comment in my article about education is also a question that haunted me before I wrote my blog (it made me feel that writing a blog is different with writing my diary), “Commenting are easy but how to solve the problem?” Yes, it is a question that I’ll never be able to answer eve if I got enough money to finance charity. The problem will always be there, especially when we are working on our own. It would be solved if we are working hand in hand, the government and the citizen, and then intergovernmental…that’s the way out! I’ve chosen to forget about scholarship before as it would tied me to an institution, and I did not want to be tied up (I am a great fan of Chairil Anwar’s poem “Aku”). That question then mirrored in another question before publishing my thoughts in the internet “will this help to solve the problem?” I do want to have readers think about the subject and try to do something. Inspire people to give a helping hand, to be comforted. I knew that in financial term my contribution is nothing, while being only a housewife I’ll never have enough time to really serve the community as (for example) an NGO member. But I do believe that this is at least the thing I could do from my house without neglecting my own children. Serving the community sometimes took time. It gave the pleasure in giving service but in the other hand I swap it with the time for my children.

Other than the objectivity favoring for public I should also learn about the legal consequences of my writing. It is an open public reading. It is not a diary of my own consumption. While I do have the tendencies to make comments on political affairs, I also learn how to limit myself. I saw how an article could be read by readers in another perspective and received as something different than the real interest of the writer. The case of Time magazine with our former President Soeharto is also something that is really important. The freedom of the press is at the stake. If the press or the mainstream media, which should be prepared with the legal consequences failed in winning the case, how would be a citizen prevent herself from falling into the blunder? Who will back a citizen reporter? While we are not gaining more than our idealism when producing our stories, we should really be aware of the legal consequences. There is really a need to improve the citizen knowledge about human rights and fairness in order to establish a better citizen journalism websites (not only “professional journalists” as citizen…but the real citizen as journalist).

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