Saturday, October 18, 2008
  Trolling For Truth

The Indonesian blogosphere is a strange beast. As Treespotter lucidly points out, expressing one's opinions is a good thing, and disagreeing with those opinions is also good.

There are a number of us who use this relatively new medium to ponder situations, ideas and events. It's not so much a matter of pontificating, but asking 'why' or 'why not'. Through our blogging we are trying to understand the environment we live in. There are others who offer a diary of social occasions or family life which offer a limited 'value' or perspective, and have a readership limited to those in the know. Then there are other bloggers who use this opportunity to showcase a particular talent or area of expertise. Photoblogs are but one example. Foodies, and even non-foodies such as myself, are also well-catered for - try the Jakartass Sausage.

We all have a set readership, our 'fans' for want of a better word, although 'audience' may be more appropriate. As we've got used to expressing ourselves through writing, rather than speaking or gesturing, we generally write for them. We can't predict what will strike a particular chord so we generally avoid a deliberate attempt to boost the number of visitors we get.

My 'greatest hit' has been my prescient post about Adam Air which has taken about three years to achieve c.6,000 hits. However, it look as if Treespotter's post, linked to above, is going to outstrip this in a matter of days.

Unfortunately this is largely due to a troll who has plagued a number of sites around town over the years. He either takes delight in deliberately not understanding the main message of a particular post, is genuinely educationally backward and lacks basic reading comprehension skills or suffers from a lack of social skills and basic courtesy. But Polar Bear is not my problem.

Not unless he's also postmaster, who either fancies himself as e.e. cummings or k.d. lang or has yet to learn the value of CAPITAL LETTERS. Whoever he is, and that's a matter of conjecture given that his email address appears to be connected to a non-trading company - PT. Seta Sentral Sejahtera, he's beginning to be a pain in the butt with his comments .

Commenting on yesterday's post, he writes (in lower case) "your entire post reeks of conspiracy, like there is something sinister going on, some kind of vote manipulation. i guess you are not just delusional, but in denial too."

I clearly state that my post is not about the election, let alone "vote manipulation". I also assume from his personal comments about me that, a. in so doing he clearly demonstrate his lack of competence to make such comments and b. has issues and feelings of social inadequacy. Why else bother to waste to read a blog that he patently doesn't like? Given his general naivety and lack of local awareness, I'm guessing that he is a relative newcomer to Indonesia and is still blinkered about goings on here.

Regular readers know that I rarely make statements without giving links to the source or to further reading. If I write about the goings on in Jakarta, I do so from the perspective of living for nearly 21 years in the same house, at street level, with my Indonesian family, and working in Indonesian companies with Indonesian colleagues. When I write, in English, about issues that effect groups of the population I generally try to articulate their thoughts and utterances.

My last post, about the proposal to bring forward the dates of the national school exams, is an attempt to bring out into the public sphere an issue that is still being aired sub voce. It has been suggested that when/if it becomes official policy there will be a national outcry, demonstrations even, from students, their parents and teachers.

What postmaster intimates is a figment of his own imagination. I am NOT writing about a conspiracy, but an issue that is being talked about in school staff rooms the length and breadth of the country - note the initial comment from Dr. Bruce - in north Bali.

As for postmaster's conjecture about a passing 'curve', do read Iwan Syahril's "insightful analysis" of the standardised tests (Ujian Nasional). Incidentally, English is one of the statutory exams, although I don't understand why this should be so.

This is Iwan's conclusion

The national exit examination has caused some seriously damaging impacts to the secondary education in Indonesia. Students, even the brightest ones, feel fearful that they will jeopardize their future plans by scoring one point less than the required minimum threshold in any given exams. Teachers are forced to sacrifice their creative, innovative, meaningful, and engaging lessons to allow time for students to practice the test drills. School administrators have to reallocate resources to meet the test-driven demands, even by partnering with external tutoring institutions to help the students obtain the skills needed to pass the test.

In addition, the huge gap between the needed capacity and the actual capability of schools to meet the demands of the national exit examination has resulted in serious psychological distress. There have been a high frequency of reports from the data that students are very worried and stressed. Some of them expressed their frustration through destructive acts, such as burning school buildings and committing suicides. A number of teachers and school administrators have to give up their professional ethics, by facilitating cheating during the exams, which in some cases involved the officials of the local Ministry of Education.

Suicides? And here you are, postmaster, suggesting that there would be little problem in bringing the exams forward by three months because the passing (and presumably failing) grade can be manipulated? You're the one with delusions. Once you get real, you're welcome to leave another comment. Otherwise, go back to your tabloids and keep taking those tablets.
Examples of practice test material can be downloaded here. But be warned that judging from this paragraph they cannot be considered to be a validation of the exam.

English language is are one of major problems in UAN for Senior High School in Indonesia, like the others major, more you take exercise by try to answers various type of English language problems. you will more ready to get and pass the UAN.



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