From the Big Bang to woof wan-bau.
I have absolutely no idea what my headline means, but then I took it from the British Council-Indonesia home page
- which needs proofreading!. Apparently it's connected with"bite-sized snacks to get a taste of creative ideas from the UK about just about everything
I love creative ideas. Don't you? Creativity is about experimenting, exploring, enquiring and learning. Great stuff. What's more, the British Council claims to "connect people with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK to build lasting relationships around the world."
Until two days ago, the British Council here was at the forefront of offering overseas examinations
. On March 31st they stopped the delivery of all examination services as it "fits in with our move away from the direct delivery of services towards working on programmes in partnership with local partners.
So, there is no more one-stop service and you now have to hunt around if you want to sit IELTS, IGCSE, UK Universities entrance exams or various professional exams. And the "lasting relationships" in this part of the world are crumbling fast.
In their glib way, the Council sees itself as still being 'with it'. To help celebrate their 60th Anniversary, next Sunday afternoon, 6th April, in Ballroom 1B of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jakarta, 100 lucky people will be attending the British Council Blogger Day 2008
. If you haven't already been offered a place, tough titty, it's fully booked.
But then perhaps you should count your blessings and spend quality time with your loved ones instead. Those who do go will hear Excellent Blogging Tips and Tricks
from "famous bloggers" and be able to take part in a Live Blogging Competition
[which is] open for all bloggers and bloggers to be who need to simultaneously upload entries ‘interesting happenings at the British Council Blogger Day 2008’ in their own blogs live on the spot.The judging for this live blogging competition will be based on two categories:
1. Amount of entries. The more you post entries in your blog the bigger chance you have to win the competition.
2. Creativity of the entries. The more unique you post your entries, the bigger chance you have to win the competition.
Quantity is more important than quality?
Oh dear. It seems that the British education system is suffering from the same shallow malaise as the Indonesian one.
Let's be clear about one thing, and I speak as the writer of Indonesia's favourite English language
blog (and number ten nationwide), as the author of a book about Indonesia (which is the 'monetisation' of my blog, so to speak) and a Brit.
Writing is not easy. Yes, we can all rant, but if we post in haste, then we generally regret our utterances. The only
times I have ever posted more or less on the spur of the moment are when I have reported earthquakes, sometimes before the official media. Enda Nasution, the moderator of the session on 'tricks', has my respect for setting up the Indonesia Help
blog in the immediate aftermath of the Aceh tsunami. I joined him in posting various links, and the site was resuscitated following the Yogya quake.
Apart from those few times, I have generally ruminated and cogitated for some time before posting. This one, for example, has been worked on since Monday, albeit in my head, and subsequently re-edited. That old adage about 'sleeping on it' works wonders. I keep folders of notes which I probably won't use, yet are available as resource material if a spark of literary creation is ignited. Good writing isn't easy, and making it easy to read is even harder.
The only folk likely to be interested in the "interesting happenings" on Sunday are the folk who are there, so what will be the point of the exercise? If you want to send a spontaneous message, then text or email it. If you want to earn respect from more than your close friends, then you have to make an effort. And that takes time.
The British Council here continues to abrogate its former responsibilities of offering English language training and access to language qualifications and continued learning opportunities. It's as a Brit that I say that if all it can do now is offer gimmickry then maybe all its operations should be closed down.
Education is about a continued growth in self-awareness. If Sunday's social gathering enables those of you attending to gain the confidence to continue writing and to develop a recognisable opinionated voice, then that can only be good - for you and for Indonesia.