Is there no end to this trivia?
As part of "the price you have to pay for votes!
", I am indebted to C in Australia who's been writing to me offline.
"Yesterday I had a clean up and an old suitcase came to light. Several years ago we were preparing to visit Sumatera Utara and, in an op shop,
(a what shop?) I came across a very sturdy suitcase that was just right. Not only that but it had a classic old sticker 'Jakarta Hilton'. Yesterday I saw more recent connotations.
Now, I don't have much intelligence, from government sources that is, the kind which justifies travel advisories and mass hysteria among intending visitors from the music fraternity - or sorority in the case of Norah Jones who has reportedly cancelled her March 1st 2005 gig here. A rusty hand grenade was found in the Hilton grounds this week; for all I know, that was the perceived threat.
What I do know is that the biggest fear here is among the Christian community, for whom, as with Muslims, the observance of religious festivals and holy days is the cornerstone of life.
As much as I agree that governments have a responsibility towards its citizens everywhere, and, in the words of the new U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, B. Lynn Pascoe, travel advisories were essentially the government's effort to protect its citizens abroad, those of us who make a life in the country of our own choosing and try to make a contribution do feel that those issuing these advisories don't actually meet the people.
As abhorrent as any terrorist bombing is, the majority of those killed in recent outrages here were Indonesian. And the majority of expats and tourists die from drowning, road accidents and other 'natural' causes.
As Winston Churchill probably said, "The biggest fear is fear itself."
And as for "the price I will have to pay for votes", may I remind regular readers to vote every day. It's neck and neck at the moment between The Swanker, The Fool and yours truly.
In the immortal words of Dave Weinberger, as quoted by the Expat at Large in Singapore, "On the Internet, everyone will be famous for 15 people."
PS. Myrick in Singapore has this to say: Best Indonesia Blog: I am guilty of vote splitting here and have been single-handedly trying to engineer a tie. Daily, I look at the tallies and vote for either Macam-Macam or Jakartass, depending on who is ahead at that time. A bribe, or other incentive, would help me stop fence-sitting.
My riposte is simple, Myrick; vote for me or I won't continue to vote for you. Oh, and if I lose, the drinks are on you. And if I win ....?