Rice is nice
To the surprise of many Indonesians, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is not a bule
. She's BLACK.
To the surprise (and delight) of Jakartass, the headline news about her first day
, of two, in Indonesia is not about terrorism, increased funding for the Indonesian miltary or the problems facing American corporations such as Freeport
, or the non-disbursement of promised funds to fight avian flu.
Oh no. It was much more important than all that. The USA is providing grant aid to the tune of US$8.5 million for the production of an Indonesian version of Sesame Street
. And she announced this just two days after I posted a picture of Kermit the Frog! Wow, is that serendipity or what?
Two generations of Jakartass offspring have become the sensible folk they are today thanks to the educational experts behind Sesame Street. so I'm all in favour of Indonesian nippers sitting in front of their televisions and learning to say 'please' with Big Bird and how to count with the Count (who else?). This is one export the US can be truly proud of.
That last statement does not come naturally to Jakartass, a true Brit. I hope that Tony Blair
, who is expected in Jakarta in a week or so, will uphold the grand traditions of British children's television by grant aiding the Indonesianising of, say, Captain Pugwash
Before you try to translate into Indonesian the names of the characters, Master Bates, Seaman Staines and Roger the Cabin Boy, let me assure you that their names were, contrary to prurient and popular belief, actually Master Mate, Tom the Cabin Boy, and Pirates Barnabas and Willy. (Willy? Isn't that another euphemism for .....?)
The most popular British children's TV show here, bar none, has been the Teletubbies
, not that the pre-schoolers were allowed to watch. Oh no, there was no way they could get in front of the maids and housewives who forsook their customary cinetrons
(soap operas) and household chores in order to get their thrice daily fix.
And this thought puts me in a fix. Is there a good programme on British children's TV? According to some of the British press
, there isn't one. Mind you, not having heard of, let alone watched, Pig-Heart Boy there may yet be hope
yet. Apparently it's better for your kids to watch TV and programmes like that than browse the internet.
What, and not read Jakartass?