Friday, 2 November 2007

New Voices of Indonesia Speak Through the Internet.

Pesta Blogger Nasional Celebrating the First National Bloggers’ Day in Indonesia.

Indonesian government acknowledges the value of Indonesian grassroots’ voices that speak through the internet. Voices from the mailing lists, Readers’ Forum, to the voices of bloggers in the internet are now considered the new voices of Indonesia (Suara Baru Indonesia).

The Minister of Communication and Information, Muhammad Nuh, opened the First Indonesian Bloggers’ Party (Pesta Blogger) that served about 500 bloggers on the 27th October 2007 in Jakarta.

Indonesian bloggers came from Sumatera, Sulawesi, Java, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore joined the party. It was also a celebration of the first National Bloggers’ Day. The government gave its support and will guarantee the freedom of speech in the internet. Yet, bloggers do need to remember their responsibility in presenting their country through the cyber space, and to help building Indonesia through their views and developing critics.

As an archipelago with more than 17,000 islands the internet will surely be the best tool to make a faster and easier connection to unify the citizens. The Indonesian bloggers are now approximately 130,000 people, which is far beyond the huge population of Indonesia. While developing the ICT to serve Indonesian people, it is also important to raise people’s awareness of their position as bloggers in presenting Indonesia to the global world.

This bloggers’ day celebration took place a day before the celebration of the Youth Pledge Day. It was hoped that the spirit that unified the youth in 1928 will be renewed and unified the Indonesian through the power of these new voices.

The internet is more familiar to the young people in Indonesia. There are plenty of teenlits published by youngsters after their blogs. But as shown in this first Indonesian bloggers’ party, a blog is not exclusively maintained by youngsters. I met the oldest blogger in the party, a seventy six-year-old, Prof. Dr. Iwan Darmansjah. His blog is mostly about health and medicine, and he said that he already kept it for ten years.

As in an Indonesian wedding party, where people can meet a lot of friends and be introduced to new acquaintances, the party was served to all range of age. There were also some seventh grader students and ninth grader students who maintained their blogs for about one or two years.

Family and school seemed to have a good influence in introducing blogging to youngsters. I’ve met a family whose members are all keeping their own blogs. First, it was to cater a long distance relation between parents as the father had to work far from the family. Then it became a habit that was followed by the children. The eldest son, who did not really keen on writing, started his first blog about Play Station Games. Now he is also posting to another blog as a part of his school assignment. The younger son started his blog last year when he was a sixth grader student. While his father’s blog is called ndobos (Javanese word for nonsense), he named his blog anakndobos (the child of ndobos). He wrote about his daily routine. He was frankly said in his post about the bloggers’ party that he kept playing Game Boy as he did not understand what the minister was talking about. Yet, as he revealed to me, he never wrote any complaint about his parents in his blog.

I think this is the different between blog and diary. When I was his age I wrote a lot of things in my diary, including my complaints for my parents or teachers. It was wonderful to look back at the diary and learnt how I grew up and to keep reminding myself on things that I might now act as a parent. While diary can be keep personal, blog is meant to be a public share.

Blog is a way to communicate to each other, relate to new acquaintance, or even fight for defending arguments. It will do good deeds as long as we keep it in the cyber world noted Ong Hock Chuan. He is a Malaysian blogger, a former journalist who is now a technical advisor for Maverick (the Public Relation Company that also helped worked out this event). In his blog he posted an article about the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia on a traditional song known to Indonesian as a song from Maluku, East of Indonesia. He received 249 comments from Indonesia and Malaysia. While the discussion was heated in the cyber space, hopefully a better understanding of the different views could ease down the anger in the real world.

This big event was organized by some senior bloggers with Enda Nasution as the chairperson of the steering committee. The committee was consisted of some popular names like
Budi Putra
, Nukman Luthfie, Wimar Witoelar, Shinta Danuwardoyo, Wicaksono, etc. Bloggers’ communities came using their own T-shirts’ design. Some were advertising their community, and there was also an activity from the Bundaran Hotel Indonesia community (Jakarta) to raise education fund for children from Bangsari, a village near Yogyakarta.

In the first session which was moderated by Wimar Witoelar, stories of bloggers came out. From those who can have their books published, to those who found the spouse through blogging activities. Another blogger lost her job in a TV station after a story she posted in her blog provoked anger from the Malaysian Minister of Tourism. She revealed her gratitude to other bloggers who kept supported and encouraged her during her ordeal. In this session Adrianto as the CEO of was also giving his words. He said that as a citizen journalism website is the participatory form of citizen in revealing their opinions. I have noted that more people are now attracted to write for citizen- journalism websites, and only some of these writers have their own blogs.

The second session divided the participants into several topics. The topics were personal blog, celebrity blog, current issues, bridge blogging, women’s issues, on-line marketing and sales, and technology blog.

I registered myself in current issues as I’d like to know more about how to handle current issues in my limited time for writing. I think it is important to know how to make an objective view if I want to cover current issues for my blog. My blog Buah Pena was constructed after I knew citizen journalism website. I consider it as my diary as a citizen reporter. I like the term citizen journalism because it reminded me of my duty as a citizen of my country and also as a citizen of the world. The moderator for this group were Wicaksono (a senior journalist), and Rudiyanto (an NGO worker).

This second session was very informal so I did placed myself between two groups, Current Issues and Bridge Blogging, to be able to hear both discussions. While the participants for Current Issues were plenty, the participants for Bridge Blogging were only about ten persons. Moderated by Ong Hock Chuan, the topics Bridge Blogging was mainly concern about the function of a blog as a bridge to give information about Indonesia to the world.

Actually the conversation in the group of Bridge Blogging was more interesting for me, but my interest in grassroots’ objectives on current issues kept me longer in the bigger crowd. As an excerpt from Bridge Blogging, I got that language is still the main obstacle for bridge blogging but there are plenty of friends who will be happy to help out. Then, community of mailing list, forum, or citizen journalism website can become an additional resource of knowledge and help. The voices from bridge blogs are important to give more opinions on Indonesia outside the voice of the mainstream media to the world.

There are two important things that I dig out in this session. First, as a blogger I do not have to worry about current issues. Just be ourselves. That way we can produce a better view on any current issues that took our interests. Then, for being a bridge between Indonesia to the world it is important to be very objective. Networking communities can be a big help to gain more knowledge and to build a better blog performance.

Between the two session people made their vote for their chosen blogs. This vote brought some prizes such as Nokia Hand Phone. A lap top was a spontaneous gift from the minister for the most voted blog. It was such a party, but it was also a start for a bigger job. To be the real new voices!

1 comment:

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