Your democratic write
For those in the know, the whys and wherefores of blogging
The Jakartass reasons are apparent in the column on the right: I'm a Brit abroad with a perspective on an inter-cultural life in Jakarta. My main reason for 'going public' was to articulate common conversation strands and frustrations as perceived by many bulé
(white) folk here who lack the participatory freedoms one has 'back home'. These frustrations include an appalling postal service so my blog is a way friends and family can keep in touch with my life. However, having attracted a wider readership, as reflected in the various issues and events I've written about, I try not to get too personal, deep and meaningless except in musings such as this one.
No Charlton supporter, for example, wants to know how many Bintang beers I sank last night. (None, as it happens.) But they might like to know that this weekend sees our club under-performing live
on local TV for the third weekend on the trot. Whoops. Have I just predicted the totally undesirable result against our erstwhile landlords and perennial local rivals Crystal Palace tomorrow night?
I hope that Jakartass remains relevant if irreverent. I aim to entertain, to heighten awareness and occasionally provoke, and to offer signposts to others who can articulate issues better than I. Above all, I hope that my writing skills have improved.
In the real world, Jakartass doesn't have many checks (Am.Eng.
) and my balance is decidedly down. I steal links and ideas from others in line with the Simon World Do's and Don'ts Digest of Blogging
. But where it counts, here, there is the notion of fairness.
It could be thought that the blogging community is incestuous the way we link to each other, but what I see is a truly democratic network espousing concerns, exposing events and conditions which the established media either isn't aware of or would, because of the vested interests of its shareholders, prefer to remain hidden from public purview. The Guardian is a notable exception and I'm not just saying that because it saw fit to include my post
on the recent Presidential election in its own blog
as well as listing Jakartass in the worldwide blogs they like
That is but one reward. The main gratification comes from the ever-widening network of online friends and acquaintances gained since I started in March, many, if not all, of whom can be found in my lists of links. This network counter-balances the strange isolation of expatriatism. We are not alone.
The use of the net in Indonesia, although dependent as it is on narrow bandwidths and lousy connections, for the dissemination of expat concerns is slowly expanding. Brandon, who gets my vote for PhotoBlog of the Year
for Java Jive
started his six months before mine, in October last year. He offers a true flavour of Indonesia, one rarely experienced by tourists. In a similar vein, so does Alun of Merdeka Coffee
with his regular newsletter about his perambulations in search of the perfect cuppa.
Indonesia is a vast country geographically with the concomitant responsibilities towards its neighbours. That there is a readership interested in following the rise of democracy within this populous nation is inevitable. That there are so few of us offering our parochial insights is, I believe, a matter of real concern and regret.
Simon, the co-ordinator of the Asian Blog Awards 2004
, should have no difficulty in getting a short list for the Indonesian blog of the year
because the list is just that: (too) short. Not only should these awards, as he says, "generate more traffic
", but hopefully they will also encourage others who can voice the aspirations of those who can't. That is our democratic write.
Nominations close on Wednesday.