Best of Both Worlds
Expat columnist, Duncan Graham, has had a cursory survey of blogging
published in the Jakarta Post this week.
He says, "Enthusiasts push the slogan 'publish - and be read', which makes a blog the ideal soap box for those who can't get their letters to the editor printed, their poems accepted or their partners to hear their complaints. You can even get feedback. But because there are now so many blogs the problem is getting noticed.
I've found only a couple of blogs on the Indonesian economy, but plenty on Indonesian girls, Blok M bars (and girls), shopping, hotels and expats rabbiting on about archipelago life. Balancing this are blogs by Indonesians living abroad reporting on the foibles of foreigners.
The tone of his article is, to put it bluntly, snide. He appears to want the best of two worlds in that not only does he have his articles published in the Post, but he then feels them worthy of republishing in his own blog, Indonesia Now
and Jakartass have both had articles and letters published in the Post and other printed media in Indonesia, but not under our blogging pseudonyms.
There are very few expat bloggers here with a wider readership than their immediate family and friends. Brandon of Java Jive
is one, but he writes less because, in his case, a picture is
worth a thousand words.To rabbit on
(Brit.Colloq.): to talk continuously about unimportant matters
Corruption, human rights issues, Islamic fundamentalism, environmental issues, citizenship laws, Charlton Athletic? Unimportant?
Come off it, Duncan.
A more serious 'criticism' of expat bloggers is made by the estimable A. Fatih Syuhud
, who is compiling a very useful databank of bloggers focussing on Indonesian issues, with a particular emphasis on those who use English.
His most recent Blog of the Week was Nad's Notes
, about which Fatih comments that he suspects he might be a journalist or a columnist from the way he express his opinions so smoothly and in English; and also in quoting some few different sources.
He looks so active in following the current events in indonesia: from political, economical, cultural and religious perspective. By "active", it means following the indonesian events from two different sources: the analytical point of view written by journalist or experts on one hand and by "listening" to the voices of the grass-root, the people on the street, on the other.
Many non-Indonesian analyst bloggers who are actively following the Indonesian events almost on daily basis like Jakartass and Indcoup - both are British stay in Indonesia - often forget the latter. by relying your comments on what media and columnists said, you miss the real point any true analyst and journalist will never do: the interaction with the grass-root people on the street by mingling directly with them talking and listening to what they say and experience.
For Fatih's information, Indcoup has lived in Indonesia for more than 10 years and Jakartass will have been here for 18 come Xmas. We both have Indonesian families, neither of us live in an expat enclave so we interact with the local community. We also work in a predominantly Indonesian environments.
That we bring our British perspectives to bear on our viewpoints is inevitable. Similarly, Fatih, studying in Agra, India, will give you a certain objective distance, a duality similar to ours.
It is encouraging that Indonesian authorities have not followed, for example, China and now Burma
in filtering or blocking the internet. This is important in that we may attract the attention of those in power who may wish to protect their self-appointed élitism. That we often use the mainstream published media for our sources surely gives our commentaries a veracity.
Our blogs, therefore, come from the environment in which we live and work. We are not novelists and neither do we seek an income from our musings. Rather, we are concerned long-term residents with a stake in Indonesia's recovery yet with no citizen rights whatsoever.
We are merely doing our bit to make the world, yours and ours, a better place to live in. Our blogs are a vital component of the reformasi
era. Like your blog, Fatih, and those you list.