Friday, December 16, 2005
  A Commentary

When a thread in my comments turns into a theme, I think it's only fair to publish it openly ...............

Jakartass "broke the story" of the booze ban? Don't think so mate; check out the chat rooms on the Rev's website, specifically the "Off the Blok" page. You will note that the skanks, winos, whoremongers and general ne'rdowells of Blok M were discussing this issue a full week before you got in on the story.

Now I read the Expat Forum where everyone sniffily denies any knowledge of the Palatehan brotherhood but I thought you and the Rev were at least on speaking terms. So is it fair to claim his scoop?
Miko | "December 15, 2005, 9:24 pm" | #

You're right in one respect, Miko.

The Reveller had told me of rumours about the binning of the booze. However, his forums are 'closed' to those who are not denizens of the dens of iniquity in Blok M (which I know well) and this blog isn't. You should also note that my thoughts have been contributed to the forum by a couple of members.

Before posting the story, I made the effort to speak to the Post, who told me that they had no info about it. It's been good to see them subsequently run one of their 'campaigns'. After all, their readership is on a numerical par with the Reveller's. What I'm finding intriguing is that their street vox pops focus on the abolition of the back street stalls selling moonshine to the poorer dwellers of the city; we westerners are recognised as being more upmarket in our choice of booze, so the question remains ~ why pick on us?

Whatever, the Rev and I, with others, regularly chat about events here and share the opinion that blogging is a valuable extention of the 'Fourth Estate', so I think I am justified in saying that, in this case ~ just for once ~ that I was first.
Jakartass | Homepage | "December 16, 2005, 6:37 am" | #

I think the blogs are more than a valuable extension of the fourth estate. I think they are going to be a considerable power in the future. One reads daily of lay offs at the major newspapers and media organisations around the world and serious declines in their circulation and advertising revenue.

Why is this? It is because people are fed up of being told what to think by pompous newspapers who believe themselves to be the sole repository of truth and knowledge and instead people are turning to the internet to find out what is really going on without it being filtered through the mainstream media. This is happening both on the left and on the right of the political spectrum, indeed a further effect of the new media is the increasing redundancy of old terms like "left" and "right", I won't go into that here.

I myself subscribe to several British and international newspapers online, however over the past year I have found myself checking out the "blogs" first and reading the old style newspapers last and this includes Indcoup, Jakartass and the Rev long before I can be bothered to see what the JP has to say.
Miko | "December 16, 2005, 7:31 am" | #

Thanks for your thoughts, Miko.

Of course, bloggers do it for a variety of reasons ~ personal vanity possibly being one of the foremost. I started as I wanted to hone my writing skills and as a way of letting my family 'back home' know that I'm still here, Now I'm averaging over 100 readers a day it is immensely gratifying.

What you get from most blogs is one-sided in that we set forth our personal prejudices and obsessions. What else will we write about? That I seem to have occasionally stirred debate is worthwhile but not as much as knowing that I seem to have encouraged several Indonesians to express their thoughts and concerns about local issues, in English. This obviously helps raise awareness worldwide of a seriously under-reported country, except when disasters strike.

One or two blogs have become valuable sources of information not carried by, say, the Jakarta Post ~ e.g. Yosef Ardi. However, there is no way I can see bloggers supplanting regular news sources, if only because we don't have the needed resources, money or time.

As Jakartass will never be beholden to advertisers, not even (or especially?) Google Ads, my little venture will remain what it is for the foreseeable future.

However, as I reported last Saturday, there is a notion to set up a bloggers' collective to focus on life in Jakarta. Other cities have them so why not here? The Rev is already checking out wiki programmes which can support such a venture, possibly to be called Jalan-Jalan Jakarta.

Have a look at Shanghaist in ... , Chicagoist in ... and Urban 75 in London, for ideas of what may be feasible here.

Oh, and Miko .... care to join us?

Thanks but I doubt if I could muster enough interesting things to say to get a blog going, I'm very much a comments man.

The blogs are to the old media what the pirate radio stations are to big established public funded radio stations, they keep them honest. If one follows as I do the political blogs in the US you can see them eviscerating the "alphabet" news organisations (CBS, ABC and NBC) when they try to put a political gloss on issues whilst pretending to be neutral.

As I said this is on both the left and right, and the new media is causing people to reexamine where their political allegiances lie. People who might have considered themselves conservative now discover that they have nothing in common with the current US administration and people who used to believe themselves to be liberal have become disillusioned with much of the opponents of GWB, the debates are thrashed out and people are thinking for themselves and resent "the great and the good" in their marble lined editorial offices telling them de haut en bas how to think about the relevant issues.

So it is on a local basis, the booze ban is a classic example, the Rev's people where talking about it and working out how to circumvent it and then you bringing up the possible political background to it a fortnight before the English speaking paper of record could be bothered to find out what was going on. Well done to you, the Rev and Indcoup, you are the equivalent of the penny newspapers of the nineteenth century which spread literacy and debate throughout the world and broke the establishment's hold on information for the masses.
Miko | "December 16, 2005, 7:35 pm" | #


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