Blogging For Society
The Indonesian government is inviting five foreign bloggers on a round trip to Yogyakarta and Bali as part of the Pesta Blogger 2008
, to be held on November 22nd. The bloggers will be from the United States, China/Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia and are expected to start their trip in Bali on November 17 before going to Yogyakarta and then heading into the Big Durian, Jakarta.
I take 'society' to mean the wider community. Much as I applaud anyone's efforts to 'expose' themselves through their writing, sticking to tales of kissing the cat, hitting the boyfriend and then going shopping is insular and hardly societal in its impact. Nor is commenting about the latest widget, gadget and thingamajib.
Few of our blogs are societal. The coalescence of bloggers earlier this month around the issue of the release of the names and addresses of every school child in the country by the Department of (not very good) Education was the first collective effort, campaign if you will, from the Indonesian blogosphere that I recall in the nearly 5 years of Jakartass.
The now moribund Indonesia Help was set up in the aftermath of the Aceh Tsunami by Enda Nasution
, the blog pioneer in this country, and proved an effective network tool; it was revived following the Yogyakarta earthquake. However, although I was a minor contributor, there were few other folk seemingly prepared to contribute.
I set up Green Indonesia
a couple of years ago to disseminate information on the issues which have ever increasing importance here, the repository of so much of Planet Earth's resources. I really hoped that writing on specific topics could be tackled by 'experts', but there have been no takers.
Until this month, we've all followed our separate noses.
Can we expect better things from Pesta Blogger? I doubt it somehow because the government is involved and they inevitably subvert issues and groups to their political ends. This is not a criticism of the Indonesian government, but merely a comment based on the experience of a lifetime of political activism. (Note the adoption of green
issues by all shades of the political spectrum some thirty or so years after the first Green Parties were established.)
The criteria for the five international bloggers is that throughout the trip,
(they’ll) be expected to blog about Indonesia as a travel destination and the cultural heritage of the country as well as the interaction
(they’ll) be having with local bloggers’ communities in Denpasar, Jogjakarta, and Jakarta.
I've passed on the invite to a blogger who specialises in travel writing about south-east Asia. He regularly bemoans the fact that there isn't such a thing as a bloggers' community. (We're all hiding behind our computer screens.) But if Friskodude
does receive one of the invites, I do look forward to meeting up with him for a few beers.
Whatever, assuming I get an open invite this year, I look forward to putting a few faces to pen names. Perhaps too, we'll see bloggers finally becoming a force for the good of all, stimulating debate and, finally, kickstarting the stalled reformasi