Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Susahnya Menjadi Penulis Obituari

(This is not the translated version of the article but I'll try to cover as much of its content)

It's not easy to write an obituary, and it became more difficult when the readers are the international readers in the internet. The task became even more difficult when the person we are going to write about is a controversial person.

Writing about Indonesian former president, Soeharto, was a real challenge. I have to be careful not to cover him only from one point of view, and also not to let my personal feeling overcome the whole story.

The article that I uploaded to OhmyNews about Soeharto was not an instant article. I was writing a post for my blog because I felt sorry for the journalists who had to stay alert to cover his story for their medias. I asked friends to review my writing. Indonesian friend said: "It's the story of your childhood." My fellow blogger (foreign) comments pointed out things that he did not really familiar with. Both are not really grabbing the idea that I'd like to put forward. I could feel that the way I put the story might put others to misunderstood the real content. The article stayed in my google document.

When I got the news about his final departure, I was actually prepared to go to the German Cultural Center. That Cultural Center located near Cendana street, the location of Soeharto's home. My auntie objected my plan to go to the cultural center as she was afraid of any chaotic situation. My parents seemed to agree that it would be wiser not to go (I was going to leave my sons with them, so their advice should be taken into account). A bit frustrated (or angry) with their paranoia I went to my brother's house to use his note book and revised the written article. Fortunately I put it in my google doc.

I had some personal reason to write the article that way. People need to see through the way grassroots Indonesian see the former president. My editor from OMNI had some additional questions that help me enriched the article. I've put the quotation after
receiving his comment on the document I shared with him. I'm glad I did it! I think editorial is still a very important aspect of journalism, and we can not get that by doing solo journalism (borrowing this term from a fellow blogger).

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