Jakartass and the world media
I first heard of last night's bombings via the local TV stations. Within 15 minutes I had put up yesterday's post. Concurrently, so had Brandon at Java Jive
Shortly after, I got an email from Martin Bright, the Home Affairs Editor of the Observer
asking me to pass on any news about the explosions. At that early stage, there was little concrete news, but I passed on the email address of a friend and colleague living in Canggu.
He wrote as follows to Martin:I live some distance to the north of Kuta but I felt two explosions that made my windows rattle and I immediately thought of the events of October 2002. The official number of people killed then is 202 but local people believe the real number was a lot higher. The number of Balinese killed was repressed and I think this was in order to prevent a backlash against the local minority Muslim population.
The families of of those killed in 2002 have formed a support group and, with the help of the Rotary Club of Seminyak (Bali), they are gradually getting their lives organised. They have formed a co-operative to earn money and support each other and a donation from the Hard Rock Hotel of Rp.118,000,000 (approx £6,700) has helped a lot.
This morning I received the following email from Chris Vallance:Dear Jakartass,
I produce/present a segment on BBC Radio Five Live that tries to look at the news through the eyes of bloggers and podcasters (archive here). I'm interested in speaking with an Indonesian blogger about reaction to events in Bali - not eyewitness stuff - but how people in Indonesia regard such terrorism.
I don't know if you might be able to talk with us? We would of course respect your anonymity - we are even happy to do interviews via skype which is somewhat harder to trace than a phone call, and certainly much harder to tap. It also has the advantage of offering better sound quality over a fast net connection.
Ideally we'd want to do the interview live at around 9:20AM Indonesian Central time on Monday - but we can record at other times if that is inconvenient.
Well, I think I must respectfully decline the invitation to spread my dulcet tones over the airwaves. However, I did pass on contact details of Nick of the Bali Blog, who seems to have a similar take on these outrages ~ a certain curiosity and sang froid.
At Kuta Square I peered over the police tape to see an ambulance and some glass. The Raja's sign was still intact, giving me the impression the blast had been small. Its amazing how global media is right now. While i was walking down Pantai Kuta my brother Chris called me from England to tell me exactly where the bombs went off. I headed straight there.
Well its 11.16pm now and I am going to look for a bar with Premiership football.
(Charlton 2 - 3 Spurs
. Ho hum.)
Yes, it is amazing how global media is right now.
What bothers me somewhat is that the telecommunications infrastructure here is not in place. Internet telephony via Skype may have the advantage of offering better sound quality over a fast net connection, but not in Jakartass Towers. I rely on a slow phone modem. Even if I did subscribe to the super-duper Telkom 'broadband' service, the speed is reliant on the number of users online at any one time.
So we make do. The world's media got their stories and pictures, no doubt editing out the body parts portrayed on our TV screens. Resident correspondents, such as the Guardian and Observer correspondent John Aglionby, satellite linked their stories back to base.
And we local bloggers can now, at last, say that we are part of that news gathering network.Postscript - 9pm
A list of the victims can be seen here in English
and here in bahasa Indonesia
Deepest sympathies to their families.