Sunday, 25 October 2009

Colorful Korean Embroidery Bring Its Meaningful Lesson in Museum Nasional, Jakarta

Two years ago when I was invited by OhMyNews to come for its International Citizen Reporters’ Forum in Seoul, I have the good chance to visit Indonesian heritage in the National Museum of Korea. I wrote about that experience in the Jakarta Post, one of our local English newspapers. I have visited that beautiful modern museum and also other several traditional buildings. I was also enchanted to see how modernization in Seoul gets along with the existence of the old buildings and traditions. I mentioned it in another article for Tabloid Rumah in its architecture travel’s column. But back then, I did not really put my interest in Korean embroidery. Now, far away from Seoul I’ve got the experience of admiring colorful Korean embroidery and the meaningful lesson of preserving the intangible cultural heritage through the Korean Embroidery Exhibition in Indonesia’s National Museum in Jakarta.

The Korean Embroidery Exhibition is offering its colorful and beautiful embroidery exhibits from October 13 to October 18, 2009. As a part of the Korean Cultural Week in Jakarta, it offers around one hundred enchanting exhibits and also a demonstration of how to make those beautiful Korean embroidery. South Korean Ambassador, Kim Ho-young, before opening the exhibition introduced the curator of the exhibition, Han Sang-soo, who is also the founder of The Han Sang Soo Embroidery Museum in Seoul. The ambassador praised Han Sang-soo dedication in keeping the art of Korean embroidery alive.

In the written profile there is an additional information under her name: “Important Intangible Cultural assets No. 80 Master of Embroidery (Jasujang)”. While preparing an article for, an Indonesian local citizen journalism website, I learnt from UNESCO’s site that those who gained such a honorary title should share their valuable knowledge with younger generation by teaching them to master the art of traditional technique and at the same moment developing the cultural heritage by creating new motifs.

In one of her interviews with professional journalists, I heard Han Sang-soo praised the government’s effort to help preserving and developing the traditional cultural heritage. I think the way the Korean government tracked down their intangible cultural heritage, and gave special acknowledgement to the artists who help preserving and developing it is a very good example. Yet, the responsibility of a master like Han Sang-soo to trained students is something that is really thrilled me. As the information I gained from UNESCO’s site, this responsibility comes together with incentives. That way, those who are helping to do researches and developing intangible cultural heritage could have their full concentration on serving better contribution for the development of traditional heritage.

Embroidery was first introduced to Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) in the time of King Kojong. Coming from Persia, crossing India and China, it became known for the survival works mostly from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was generally known as royal court embroidery.

From the brochure given in the exhibition, we can gather information that the essence of the art of embroidery is not relied on its final presentation, but it is actually exists in the process of doing it. The artisan should be patient enough to concentrate on providing that beautiful design. It is inviting us, who live in the age when speed is the yardstick for judging things, to stop for a moment to reflect on the beauty of living at a slower pace. And, it is true…those colorful and beautiful designs are offering the peace they were sewn within.

In all hand-made arts; including Indonesian’s batik, tenun (weaving), or tenun ikat (tieing weaving) and songket, the process took longer time than needed by machine’s production. While actually the spirit of the beauty is within the process of being, it also raised its production cost. Therefore traditional clothes need to struggle to survive the market competition. Learning how it is done, the way Han Sang-soo’s master students showed visitors in their demonstration can give a better perspective of that “hidden spirit”.

On October 2, 2009, Indonesians rejoiced UNESCO`s decision to include batik in its list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity". While proudly wearing batik, some of Indonesians are not aware on how to distinguish the batik (which used the genuine process of batik) from the printed batik (only using the motifs). A contributor in mentioned this fact, and reminded others on how to preserve the existence of batik artisans.

Seeing the demonstration of making Korean embroidery in Museum Nasional made me realized how important it is to keep educating younger generations. I’ve seen that Han Sang-soo’s students who participate in the demonstrating the process of embroidery come from three generations. It is important to make sure that those who mastered the skill to hand down the quality that she/he mastered to younger generations. Then, to help others to see the beauty of the artistic process will help to keep the existence of markets.

The Korean Embroidery Exhibition is not only giving me the pleasure to see those beautiful colorful collections of Han Sang-soo, but it is also reminding me of how important to keep the spirit alive in generations to come.

Note: this article stayed in Saengnamu section in OMNI. The internet connection and OMNI section made me difficult in uploading photos there. When I used Speedy then my billing went up high as I reload several times. So, citizen journalism is not only working without financial reward, it's also a kind of volunteer work. (30th-10-2009: Edited version is already in OMNI's Art and Life Column, yet it has wrong photo caption; my fault, see

My favourite is this one (oups, it's not the embroidery...:))

Friday, 23 October 2009

News and Private Life

It is so obvious that celebrity's private life is considered as crunchy news, so sometimes we were uploaded with too many details...some are even very private and would do no good for spreading it!

This one article I've found in blog is something that I can consider news. It is about Susan Olsen from the Brady Bunch. I think I belong to the Brady Bunch's fan generation. Ali Landry wrote two interesting fact to share here:

1. [40 years after "The Brady Bunch" premiered and won over America, Susan has released a new book, "Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour," a song and dance show that Susan calls "spectacularly bad."]

Hmm...I wonder why she considered it spectacularly bad...Ali Landry's choice of words has arisen my curiosity over Olsen's book and the interview (yet, I'm not seeing the interview yet...bad internet connection!)

2. [On a more serious note, what really affected me was when we talked about a mother's instinct. Susan really followed hers when her son's pediatrician initially told her that Michael did not have Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. That answer didn't feel right, so Susan sought out additional opinions until they were able to figure out his diagnosis. She followed her gut instinct. I know that no one knows my child better than I do. I'm sure most moms feel the same way. For me, I really look to our pediatrician for guidance and help when it comes to Estela's health (after all, he IS the one with the medical degree), but after hearing Susan's story it gave me so much more confidence to really follow my instincts when it comes to my child and to not be intimidated by my pediatrician's credentials. If I feel there is something to be concerned about, I will speak up and do some research on my own. Thank you so much for sharing that, Susan!]

I've made the most important sentence written in bold letters...keep it in your mind, and have a succesful struggle with your own kids (at least that's what I'm trying to master right now!)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Just some links of my articles for Citizen Journalism website

My other tokens from the Thousand Islands were written in Menelusuri Relung Konde Nyai Roro Kidul, Konde Penangkal Tsunami yang Tercemar, Bermacam Gaya Kenangan di Pulau. It covers the trip, the fact about trash and our environment (including perhaps how legends could be helpful to prevent environment destruction), to a photo essay of how photographers were in action during our trip.

Recently I went to the opening of Korean Embroidery Exhibition, and I wrote it for wikimu in Pelajaran Dari Balik Ceria Warna Sulaman Tangan Korea Selatan Di Museum Nasional. I also wrote another version in English for OMNI.

Actually I have visited other art exhibitions, but I don't have time to write a report. I'll mention a bit of it later.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Climate Change and Poor Fishermen

I am joining my voice with other bloggers' voices through Bloggers Unite and Blog Action Day to share my two cents on climate change. According to, climate change will also affect the volcanoes eruption and earthquakes.

Indonesia is a very large archipelago with only five big islands from its more than 17,000 islands. It is located in the ring of fire, which means that we do live with abundant of active volcanoes. And its location is also above the tectonic plates boundaries. That kind of situation shows how vulnerable Indonesia is.

Indonesian ancestors were known as great sailors. They sailed on their traditional boats to Madagascar. Great sailors and traders perhaps, but we should also noted that they also lived from being fishermen. Yet, now study said that 60% of the poor marginal people are those who live in the small islands and beaches. Fishermen have got to run a very hard life.

There is an Indonesian film titled "Laskar Pelangi". It describes how hard a life of a fisherman. Lintang, the clever boy, had to wave good bye to his dream of higher education when his father did not return home from his night work at the sea. Even with a father, he was not able to enjoy the normal daily life of a children. His father's income was depending on how much he can sell his catch of the day (if he got any!!!). Without his father, Lintang had to take over the responsibility of being the bread winner for the family. He could not continue his dream, he had to look after his younger siblings.

Today fishermen has to fight the weather and climate, and also competing with others who look for big catches...either from national companies or foreign illegal ships or foreign fishermen. Life is just become harder with the climate change...

When I went to Carita Beach, I've met pak Nana. He is a fisherman, but he is also depending on tourists to gain more income for his family. He offers to bring us to other island or other relaxing activities like riding banana boats. He was nice to my children, and we had small talks. He was concern about his children's education. Elementary and junior highschool are not really problem, but the senior high school become more difficult as they need to go a bit farther from home to find the school they would like to attend. And it would need more transportation's cost. With his unsteady daily income he was not really sure about the future of his children's education. In time like this, women will be the first to sacrifice their studies.

At the time of my visiting Carita I had also seen a lot of sign board informing people on how to react (which road will lead them to higher location) if they have the bad chance visited by tsunami. The possibility of tsunami and the hot air at beach made people prefering to go to the mountain (which is a bit cooler than the beach) than risking their life with the unpredictable. So, visitors become more precious Pak Nana and his other friends. Fishing at the sea became a harder choice, yet waiting for guests to come is just another unpredictable income.

When I went to the Thousand Islands with I saw childrens of the fisherman helping out near the boat. They were not helping him catching fish, but instead they were helping sorting out plastic bottles. I catch a picture of one of those children. It is an irony as it was one day before the celebration of the proclamation of the Indonesian indipendence. A boy his age is actually in a schooling age. Normally a boy at his age is preparing his bike to join the fancy bike competition for the indipendence day celebration. But, there he was...already helping out selling used plastic bottle to gain more money for the family. Life is not easy for him, and will be harder with the climate change.

I'm not an expert of the topic climate change. I can't write detailed scientifical information about that. But, I know that Indonesia is also a home for the rainforests, and we do need to keep our rainforests in their balancing function...economically, socially, and environmentally...So, we do need to help the Indonesian government to look carefully on this matter. Fishermen who voted their voices for the government had put their trust to those on the chairs (either as representatives or as the government). Their life is so affected by the effect of climate change...they need help from those who gained their voices. Will you help them?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

What is the Future of Citizen Journalism?

October 10th is not only the birthday of my twins, but also the third birthday of There is no news uploaded from wikimu (except for the picture's column which is not an article). I've seen for almost three years. One basic thing that made it appealing for citizens and journalists to read it is actually because it is not in a form of "real journalism". Contributors use their own language (sometimes they can make a linguist frowned), minimal citizens are citizens who are trying to share their thoughts. It is just like a community blog, yet they are building a community from the cyber world. We get connected through exchanged of "news" in a certain corner of the cyber world.

Professional journalists were often commented that most of wikimu's contributors are submitting opinions. Why not? Citizen would like to share their opinions too. I've read a blog post (posted by Steve Boriss here) titled "Citizen Journalism is Dead, Expert Journalism is the Future" He said:

The problem with Citizen Journalism is that it tries to force news back to what it was. Actually, worse than it was. It takes the same stale, one-size-fits-all, center-left, authoritative-tone news model that news consumers are rejecting, then adds large quantities of material from unpaid amateurs who have no particular expertise in reporting, editing, writing, or their topic. It also unrealistically expects people who are not “losers” to do this work for free (a particularly odd expectation coming from your typical minimum-wage-supporting journalist). Citizen Journalism seems to serve the wishful-thinking needs of job-fearing journalists, but not the real needs of typical news consumers who would just as soon read quality material without being asked to help.

The model that will work — that will make news better, not worse — is one that combines the talents of topic experts throughout the web with those who have a knack for aggregating and editing their material to satisfy an audience. While Citizen Journalism has had no successes, this model has. Dan Rather was taken down by a typewriter font expert who knew a forgery when he saw it. Editors like those at know how to pick stories that energize their audiences. Citizens will be customers, reporters will be experts, and editing will be news outlets’ core competency. Expert Journalism is our future, not because it is good for journalists but because it is good for news consumers.

I agree with him in some part. Expert Journalism is good for news consumers. And the problem now is that the experts aren't willing to share their expertise in citizen journalism websites because they are afraid of ruining their image. Perhaps they are also afraid of taken as "losers"?

From the situation I've seen with, people who are professionals gained their paycheck for writing in their own way. Professionals who contributes to usually became known and get better in their own field of career. Then the problem of sharing time to write will come. They've got so many other commitments that strained them from writing for wikimu (a bit sad story tough...yet, if we are calculating it like in a multi level marketing then we should have more contributors as one contributors usually brought more friends into the community).

I am intentionally claimed myself only as a homemaker. Actually some contributors were contacting me about doing architectural job or constructional job, but I am not in that stage of life. Today I'm trying to enjoy my life as a homemaker (which is not easy too) and trying to see what people would say or think about opinions that come from an ordinary homemaker. I am also hoping that professional journalists will do their job better, and help us gain more informations...which will be good news for a bookworm (and a fanatic reader of printed newspapers) like me.

I wrote more for than for as it is easier for me to write in Bahasa Indonesia in a local topic. To write for international audience using journalism term is a bit harder, especially as I was not trained as a journalist. Writing for sometimes made me frustrated, and asking myself whether it is for citizen or only for journalists. My internet connection is also another handicap. My connection is slow, and I had spend more money (and time) for uploading an article than needed by friends who are blessed with reliable internet connection. Time passed by, the internet connection in Indonesia is developing. It has several choices with its own range of investments and services. Hopefully it will be developped to a better offering condition for its consumers.

My post title here is actually repeating the same title from Sandra Ordonez (see the Online Journalism Review). Her post's title is "So...what is the future of citizen journalism and social media?" It is an interesting post, showing the relation between citizen journalism and mainstream media, and also their relation with the new wave marketing. I think it would be better to read the whole part of her post to gain a better perspective on the multi-dimension effect of citizen journalism.

From wikimu I learned that contributors can use the citizen journalism website to market their skills. Eventough their writing is not always in their field of expertise, but being known by the community can also give them loyal costumers/clients. Of course it could also be ruining an image, that is why it is very important to post only reliable and (self)edited postings to prevent us from ruining our own name.

As a consumer I think citizen journalism and social media will also bring benefits to costumers. Producers can get better information on our needs. Mainstream media can also be labeled as producers. They produce news. We, the readers, are their consumers. Why do we read a certain media? Because they serve our needs!

The best thing of being involved in a citizen journalism website is the development of our sensitivity to our own environment (people, activity, nation, etc.) We look out with more curiosity. We care more...Hopefully we do more...

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Wondering on Etiquette

I am surprised to see my photo of The Textile Museum in the googling machine in the link of another online media. I think that is the same picture as the one I upload for my article for wikimu.

It was only stated as (istimewa), without any link of the source of picture, nor the name of the photographer (which was never asked by the person who uploaded that picture).

Actually it's OK with me if they use it, as I am consistent in promoting Museum to Indonesians. Yet, if they do not have the time to ask for permission to use the picture they could put the link where they got the picture. I am not sure about the etiquette for using someone's picture. I knew there are some complain over the usage of pictures (and content) from the internet, but I am still trying to figure out the etiquette for pictures or blog's content without copy right.

It is stated with the picture the size and the probability of its having a copy right "819 x 614 - 86k - jpg - bisa saja memiliki hak ciptaDi bawah ini adalah gambar di:

I hope one of this blog's readers can help me with the etiquette of using others' picture from an online source, and also about the description of using "istimewa" as a title for the source of pictures. Please share your knowledge and opinions...

Thanks to Teachers

This post is already late (again...oh's so difficult to share a bit of those precious time to write something here)...but I would really like to say thank you to my teachers. They are all in their different characters were forming who I am today.

I remember my Biology teacher in Junior High School, Ibu Suryo. She was the one who taught me about the living creatures in those dirty water. I remember how I loved to come to her lab. Then she was also the one who accompanied us, the Junior Red Cross members, to face the world. I knew at least three friends from my grade's year who became doctors. I am not! But I always love the environmental studies.

Then another teacher that ring a bell is Ibu Murni. She was my Physics teacher. I would never forget the term astigmatism because of her. She answered my curiosity with a clear explanation outside the classroom, and it was just stick on my brain until today.

I think I will never forget Ibu Vero, the one who taught History in my Junior High School. She is a little bit "antique" but her special notes were helping me in remembering those "hard to remember dates and years". I don't know was I interested in History first or she made me into it...Perhaps both ways.

In Senior High School I remember Pak Ibnu the most. I was never his clever student, perhaps I could be labeled his dumbest student. His subject is Chemistry, and I was never able to understand the importance of all those calculation (and neither could I count it the right way...) Yet, despite my being the "dumbest" student in Chemistry class (and still being able to play in his classes...I remember all those "missing shoes". We used to make someone shoes disappeared just when she needed it to go to the blackboard ), Pak Ibnu never show his anger to any of us. He was even being nice by giving at least some score for just copying those chemistry problems from the blackboard on my test paper...without any answer at all... I will never forget him as he was also backing me up when I was supposed to fail the graduation because of my Chemistry subject. As a student who had chosen Science as my major, I should have a better grade in Chemistry. I was lucky enough because my score from the national examination get a score of 7 while the average of students got only 4. Using the average score of the national examination and my score at school would not give me a passing score. One teacher revealed that Pak Ibnu was defending me as he said that he knew I would not choose any University with Chemistry subject as my major... I prayed for him when I heard that he had passed away.

I also remember a French teacher from my short experience of studying French language as a first grader. I don't remember her name, she taught me for the first semester before I've got to choose Science as my major. As a student of Science class I got German language. Being interested in French (as it was fun in her class) I came to CCF to study the language. Now, I forgot all those three years of studying German language, and become more adaptable to hear French conversations.

I think there are a lot of memories coming from my teachers. Actually each teachers had their own marks on my life and my perspectives.

My teachers from the elementary school had marking the outline of my future, then those from the Junior and Senior High School had put colors into it. The lecturer from the University had given other hues, so did all those mentors in my real life. Of course I should not forget the first teachers who came into my parents.

They share me their experiences in life, and also providing me all those kind and wonderful teachers. I think I'll share more stories about teachers in other postings to come.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Living in the Ring of Fire

"The death toll from the earthquake that shook West Sumatra on Wednesday is expected to run into thousands..." (read more here). It is just sad to see so many people passed away, especially youngsters. It was late afternoon, time for the school children to go to their courses. Most of the children who passed away were either attending their afternoon courses or their Qur'an reading in the mosque. I saw the hectic situation from amateur videos (so, thanks to citizen reporters) running on and on by the local television. It was just sad realizing that our buildings are prone to earthquakes. The traditional building without nails had better stand in earthquake.

Children who passed away under those collapsed building were plenty. Those who survived the earthquake were interviewed after the disaster, and The Jakarta Globe reported that
“I was scared” was the most common response from children when asked about the 7.6-magnitude quake that reportedly killed up to 1,100 people and brought untold suffering to the region. But for many, their answers were covered up with a blush, a smile or even laughter.
The trauma after the disaster would be the biggest problem for those victims. Those who can help are now working in the area to help stabilizing the situation. Clean water, medication, and food are the most important things over there. It was also agreed that there are some mass burial as it would be difficult to dig the body out from the suspected site.

This is the risk of living in the ring of fire. It has a very close connection to the activity of our volcanoes, and it was not only producing earthquakes, but also land slides. In Pariaman, we saw a village who lost most of its houses because of the land slides.

Earthquakes and landslides are the sad stories, a horrible nightmare for those who experienced it...but also news for others. Social media is a way of sharing news, collecting supports, and raising awareness...yet never forget the ethical rules! That's how an eyewitness' reports made things different, because they are one of those who experienced it...they'll use their heart in reporting it.