Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  This one's for Thomas Belfield.


See his comment here


9:10 am |
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Yep, that's it, bye-bye Blogger.

Actually, I'm a bit sad because having got used to the simplicity of posting my musings here, I've had to move in order to save all your feedback and (occasional) inspirational thoughts.

Damn you JS-Kit and your greed in wanting to monetise our online conversations.

Now I've got that out of my system, please do come on over to my new WordPress site and if you've already bookmarked this site, please bookmark that one.

As always, feel free to leave comments. If you don't have a Wordpress site of your own, I'll have to give you my initial approval, but after that you may come and go as you please.


11:59 pm

Each year at this time I've posted a list of the folk who've made a difference, an impact, on my life and have passed on since the last time I posted such a list. And that's a nice sentence to encapsulate the circle of life - a beginning, middle and end, ever-flowing, one generation into a regeneration.

For some, today sees the end of the 'noughties', and presumably the beginning of the two thousand and teens. A clean start?

Hardly. The failure of the Copenhagen talking shop to sufficiently cap carbon emissions guarantees that, but at the same time perhaps there is hope. The 'people' are coming together in mass movements, not just in the global sense but also for more parochial concerns.

Some of these folk would surely have shared my faint optimism.

--1. Helen Suzman, 91, anti-racism politician in South Africa's apartheid parliament. "Let right be done."
--9. Dave Dee (David John Harman), 65, singer with Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.
14. Patrick McGoohan, 80, 'cult' film and TV actor. "I am not a number - I am a free man!"
16. John Mortimer, 85, popular writer (Rumpole), barrister, and defender of free speech.
18. Tony Hart, 83, much loved children's TV art encourager.
21. Mickey Gee, 65, guitarist
24. Gerry Crampton, 78, stuntman in many James Bond and Pink Panther films.
29. John Martyn OBE, 60, much loved singer-songwriter and innovative guitarist (Listen to Solid Air here.)

--7. Sir George Godber, 100, Chief Medical Officer who helped found the NHS and fought tobacco use and promiscuity.
--7. Blossom Dearie, 82, jazz singer whose "voice would scarcely reach the second storey of a doll's house".
25. Ian Carr, 75, UK jazz trumpet player, biographer of Miles Davis and, coincidentally, played on Blossom Dearie’s last album.
26. James White, Labour MP best known for his Abortion Bill

18. Natasha Richardson, 45, actress, after a skiing accident.

14. Simon Channing Williams, 63, film producer (Constant Gardener + most Mike Leigh films)
15. Sir Clement Freud, 84, politician, writer, panelist, and grandson of Sigmund.

--6. John Michell, 'discoverer' of ley lines.

--1. Danny La Rue, 81, "classy" drag entertainer.
--7. Hugh Hopper, 64, bass player extraordinaire, original member of Canterbury Scene (Soft Machine ++)
16. Charlie Mariano, 85, seminal jazz alto saxophonist.
24. Michael Jackson, 'king of pop'

--1. Mollie Sugden, 86, comedy actor with a 'pussy'.
31. Sir Bobby Robson, 76, great football manager.

--6. WS Rendra, 73, 'Father' of Indonesian theatre, poet, writer, dramatist, cultural activist.
13. Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss), 94, pioneer of multitrack recording, the godfather of the electric guitar.
26. Edward "Teddy" Moore Kennedy, 77, US Senator - "champion of the poor and needy."

--4. Keith Waterhouse, 80, writer and humorist (Billy Liar)
14. Keith Floyd, 65, restauranteur and original TV chef.
14. Patrick Swayze, 57, dancer, actor and singer
15. Peggy Fenner, 96, Charlton fan and jazz aficionado

18. Sir Ludovic Kennedy, 89, broadcaster and campaigner against death penalty.

12. Edward Woodward , 79, actor
16. Jeff Clyne, 72, jazz bassist
27. Fauzi Abdullah, 60, Indonesian labour activist.

17. Susan Rangkuti, 34, our 'daughter'.
21. Craigie Aitchison, 83, artist.
24. Tim Hart, 61, folk musician
30. Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, 69, cleric, pluralist, visionary, Indonesia's 4th President.

Cypress Tree and Beddington
Craigie Aitchison - 2005


6:00 am |
Saturday, December 26, 2009
  It was five years ago today

On Boxing Day in 2004 Planet Earth flexed its muscles, shifted tectonic plates and lives were shattered in what has become known as the Aceh Tsunami.

Banda Aceh - before and after

I was then one of the very few bloggers in Indonesia and I wrote a lot in the following month about the immediate aftermath.

Now Aceh has changed and I'll leave it to 'foreign' correspondents such as Peter Gelling of the New York Times and Dan Chung of CNN and the Guardian to give on-the-spot reports - the latter a video.

Whilst the Indonesian blogosphere has matured and now embraces social and political issues, as we must, I have one question.

How will we deal with the next massive earthquake which is expected at any time - from 30 minutes to 30 years?


1:00 pm |
Thursday, December 24, 2009
  A Way With Words

Every year I stock up with loads of links which seem to be interesting at the time but I never use because they are irrelevant to any particular post. I'm giving away these worthy words as my Christmas Gift to you.

1. 50 Ways That The Internet Has Changed Our Lives

For the better?

For example: Is the art of correspondence lost? Maybe for some, but I correspond much more, with many more people, in more languages, and in many more countries than what I could ever have done with paper. And it is real writing, not SMS-lingo.

Read the comments and decide.

And do you really want battery operated books?

2. Guardian Archives Twittererised

OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*

W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say

Wow. Habibie is Prez. Pretty cool eh??

3. Weird and Wonderful Words

Test your knowledge of the extraordinariness of English with this quiz, drawn from The Wonder of Whiffling by Adam Jacot de Boinod (pub.Particular Books 2009)

I scored 5 out of a possible 10.

This means that I'm not quite so much of a goostrumnoodle [fool] as I might be, but I'm still two ants short of a picnic. As the Aussies would say, the wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

4. Wise Words

I may have linked to a similar list before but I can't remember. Maybe I should have thought of this one:

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

Or this one.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you're a mile away and you have his shoes.

5. Our Kid is really pococurante because, as a teenager, he is indifferent, nonchalant and has an apathetic attitude towards the upkeep of his habitat. I know that because the word is one of 20 Wonderful Words Which Shouldn’t be Allowed to Wither.

6. Loo Paper

The Jakartass Towers little room, karzie, bathroom, WC or whatever you call it, has loads of reading material, mainly music magazines, which is most suitable for time spent in the privacy of a privy.

I know of no public toilets which have similar facilities. Come to think of it, I can't think of any public toilets in Jakarta!

Whatever, in the westernised world, the walls of private stalls in public and corporate toilets are often used for writing graffiti, some of which can be quite amusing rather than scatological.

The handwriting on the wall said
Cheer up, things could be worse.
So I did and they were

This page from the BBC is a fascinating read, so take your laptop with you next time you go.

Pens and markers are optional.

Finally, if you're not already over-lexified (a word I've just invented), do check out Michael Quinion's wonderful World Wide Words.

A recent edition of his e-magazine has a selection of this year's 'words of the year' complied by various dictionaries.

I trust you will continue to read my little ramblings and rants and don't unfriend me.
Until the end of this year, I'm posting everything on my new WordPress site as well as here. Past comments have been transferred but new ones won't be. So if you want to comment, please don't put them here but there instead.





12:00 pm |
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Actually, it isn't, but that's how Technorati describe their new beta version, one which, because they're lost them in hyperspace, has cost me the very many links and whatever (high) ranking I've garnered in five and a half years. They've screwed up big time and I've never seen so many complaints directed at one company.

You won't find my complaint there, albeit the same as every one else's - including every Indonesian language blogger who may have had a (free) account with them.

When I logged on and eventually found a complaints page, I carefully composed my harsh but fair comment, pressed 'submit' and was given the message that I had not logged on. This was daft as having logged on I found that they acknowledge two blogs that I've claimed - this one and Green Indonesia.

Their sheer incompetence in trying to 'monetise' their enterprise boggles my mind. The same goes for "their good friends at" JS-Kit; they are excited because having bought out Haloscan, they think that those of us who liked the simplicity of the old basic comments system will now happily pay $9.95 per annum for the new one with added bells and whistles.

No effing chance.

So they're going to ditch your much valued comments. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way of transferring them to any other blog platform.

But this is where my good friend Reveller has proved of immense service. ProbabIy on January 1st, I will be transferring this site over to Jakartass.net using a very pleasant to the eye WordPress template. All my old posts are already archived there and the comments will have a separate page, not that they will show up along with the posts. But, hey, your valued thoughts will have a home on a separate page.

You'll have to initially sign in for my approval for your first comment, but once I've given that I hope you'll continue to feed my ego interest and that of the other two or three hundred daily visitors.

And if you'd care to have a look at the work in progress on the new site, be our guest.


8:00 am |
Sunday, December 20, 2009
  A Peal for Xmas

In the western Christian tradition, this is the time for giving. This is a short list of non-profit organisations I regularly get emails from which have asked me to publicise their activities through Jakartass. Note that I have not included any of the too frequent spam comments regarding money lending or gold buying.

Nor have I included any Indonesian charity appeals. Please email me if you'd like a free plug for your charitable works.

Incidentally ....

The Coins for Prita appeal reached Rp.650 million which will be used for other victims of legalese injustice now that Omni Hospital/Hotel have said that they won't take the 'defamation damages' awarded by Banten High Court, presumably in a belated attempt to save face.

And I'd like some advice. Having won our case of unfair dismissal, through a legally binding Supreme Court decision, the financial compensation is being held up a clerk who'd like some uang rokok (cigarette money), probably as much as Rp.500,000 each - there are two of us, to make the payments.

There are grounds for believing that our erstwhile employers gained their 'victory' from the Labour Court through using the court mafia.

Should I/we succumb to the same immoral practice in order to access what we've been awarded?
Fresh Air Fund

In 1877, the Reverend Willard Parsons, minister of a small rural parish in Sherman, Pennsylvania, asked members of his congregation to provide country vacations as volunteer host families for children from New York City tenements. This was the beginning of the Fresh Air Fund tradition of caring for NYC’s neediest children.

The simplicity of our program is its strength. Looking back to 1877, we can reflect on how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. In 2009, close to 5,000 New York City children experienced the joys of summertime in Friendly Towns and at five Fund camps in upstate New York.
We are still looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Half-Marathon this coming March 21st.

This past summer OneSight reached out to us and helped over 3000 Fresh Air children by making sure that every child who needed the gift of sight was screened.

Educating For Justice

Jim Keady has been campaigning against sweatshops, and Nike's Indonesian operations in particular, for 10 years.

What is it like to live on a sweatshop wage in a developing country?

I found out.

I spent one month in an Indonesian slum living with Nike factory workers on $1.25 a day, a typical wage paid to the workers. In Behind The Swoosh: Sweatshops and Social Justice, I share stories of living with Nike's factory workers, stories from the trenches in my decade-long effort to end Nike's sweatshop abuses, and stories of success on how we have had an impact on this $18 billion transnational corporation.

Given the state of the economy, if times are tough for you right now and EFJ cannot be a part of your holiday cheer, I totally understand. But if you have been able to weather the economic storm and are in a position to share with us, your gift of $20, $50, $100, or more, will launch EFJ into 2010 with a solid foundation and keep us on the frontlines of promoting peace and justice in our world.

You can make your online contribution safely and securely by clicking here.

Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva.

here to learn more about our largest campaigns.


8:00 am |
Thursday, December 17, 2009
  A Bereavement - Suzanne Rangkuti R.I.P.

'Er Indoors and I were woken up at 6 this morning with the shocking news that Susan had died. What made it extra shocking is that we didn't know that she had arrived in our house at 3 am, along with her husband and three young children aged between 4 months and 5 years.

Susan had been feeling weak following an emergency caesarian operation, yet in her frequent visits here, she always seemed cheerful. Appearances are obviously deceiving even though she treated Jakartass Towers as her 'home'.

When 'Er Indoors and I decided to live together twenty years ago, Susan came too. She was then 14 and we became her surrogate parents as her mother, who died earlier this year, was unable to be responsible. I paid for Susan's senior high schooling, and when she became a young adult she started to explore life through a series of short-term jobs and boyfriends. She, and by association we, have had problems with her choice of husband, mainly because he doesn't have regular employment, as so many in Jakarta, and is/was misogynist.

This morning he was unable to cope with Susan's condition and was wailing loudly as their young baby sought sustenance from her mother. .Although she certainly appeared to have passed on, I detected a faint pulse and she very briefly fluttered her eyes. We fanned out in a mad scrambling rush in search of a doctor, but there were none to be found, or known of, in our area. We managed to wake up a dentist in our street who was able to contact the local puskesmas (community health centre) who sent an ambulance with a doctor.

It was too late and he pronounced Susan dead and went back to his office to sort out the paperwork. Other paperwork was handled by our RT (street leader), and the RW (area co-ordinator) with whom we've recently had problems. But not this time.

He handled nearly everything from then on: the special ambulance for the deceased, the prayer service in the local mosque, the burial place, the transport taking us there and back, including the ojek (motorcycle taxi) outriders as weaved our way through a horrendous traffic jam.. All I had to do was pay for it all, which later made me to remark to him that I wondered how the poor managed.

Two elderly ladies came and organised the wake in our rearranged sitting room and supervised the washing of the body and its wrapping in a white shroud.Our local imam lead prayers,

All the while, visitors came, several from Susan's new Betawi family, some old school friends, many more from the Batak 'tribe' of 'Er Indoors, and more kind neighbours, many of whom I should have but did not recognise.

I suppose it was all very efficient. Susan was laid to rest in Pancoran cemetery at 1.30pm and now a number of folk linger in Jakartass Towers, talking in small groups.

There are young children, including Susan's five year old daughter, running around squealing happily. They don't understand what the day has been about.

I do, but don't understand why our 'daughter' has gone before us.
Forlorn hope I know, but if the taxi driver who left the family here but drove off with their belongings including the children's changes of clothes, 'finds' them - they were on the back seat - please return them. Our address is on Susan's I.D. card which was in her handbag.


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