Are we ALL nuts?
It doesn't seem fair to castigate Indonesian bureaucrats and politicians all the time, so, with acknowledgements to the very wonderful J-Walk blog
for the first two items, I figured I'd start with a bit of Obama bashing
.As he justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year, President Barack Obama's description Tuesday of the al Qaeda "cancer" in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year.
The article doesn't give the number of Taliban combatants.
Sticking to the militarist theme for the moment, I have a standard Swiss army knife, most useful for all those little household chores which one seems to have when out of town. That it is also (not) a terrorist's weapon of choice means that when travelling by plane such gadgets need to be left with security personnel whilst en route and collected at the other end. All very time consuming, especially when confronted with the scenario which I once faced when I was in Batam airport before taking the ferry to Singapore. On that occasion I was further delayed because the gentleman in front of me in the queue had to reassemble and reload his machine gun.
I felt quite insignificant. However, if I'd had this ....
And now for local nutty stuff.
In the past week, in separate incidents three young people have jumped
or, as in the most recent
case, possibly fallen to their deaths at shopping malls.
Tragic though these are, when asked if the police could take preventative measures - though surely that's the responsibility of the malls - the City Police spokesman, Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar, said perceptively that they couldn't.
Why? Because "suicide is a personal matter."
Someone showing a more caring attitude is Armando Siahaan
who says that the (first two) suicides "demonstrate the dangers of Twitter journalism".It started with mismatching details over the person’s identity... Even more disturbing, people posted real-time pictures of the
(first) victim. On Twitter, a conspiracy theory emerged: the suicides were intertwined, some sort of re-enactment of Romeo and Juliet eternalizing their love through death, or at least something along that line.But even more alarming were some of the comments. There were sick jokes about how the victims took the “shop till you drop” motto too literally and that the malls should hold “Suicide Sales,” comments from people wanting to see a movie called “Hantu Grand Indonesia” (“Ghost of Grand Indonesia”) and one non-Jakarta user who wrote that Jakarta kids are so “gaul” (“sociable”) that they have to die inside a mall.The last point I want to raise is the stupid and demeaning comments written by some Twitter users ... for some people, web sites like Twitter are their main, if not only, source of information.
I can but agree, but I'm not sure that "internet-savvy" Tifatul Sembiring
, recently installed as Communication and Information Technology Minister, does. He recently stirred up the country
by suggesting that the regular occurrence of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis are a demonstration that Allah is displeased at the lack of piety shown by the victims. This provoked such tweeted questions as "did it mean that the people in Padang and Aceh had the worst morals?
Happy to face up to such criticism, he is now offering free cellphones
for the best responses on his Twitter account.
The latest winner, who actually refused the 'prize' of a Nokia phone, posted the following: “The Nazis are now spelled PKS
(the political party founded by Tifatul) and Tifsembiring is the Joseph Goebbels of our time.
” (The other two nominees sharply criticized Tifatul for blocking Blogger
I don't have a Twitter account, so it's probably not worth my while to denigrate this master of miscommunication.
But, what the heck, why not, eh?