Wednesday, June 03, 2009
  You Do Not Have Permission

That was the message that greeted me last Saturday when I tried to do anything on the Jakartass computer. As this meant I couldn't open any document, email or folder, or even shut down, I realised that my life wasn't my own. My computer not only had a mind of its own, but it also had mine - the swine.

Yep, it was viruses, Win32.sality.aa and Net Worm Win32.kido.ih, that had crept in, possibly and ironically whilst updating my virus programme. I was using Comodo, not only because I thought its name has Indonesian connotations but because it's free, with daily updates.

So this has been a lengthy ho hum period whilst my neighbourhood computer expert piggy-backed his virus scanner to my discs and began what I can only describe as computer chemotherapy. His programme of choice, and now mine, is Kaspersky, which I find quite difficult to say or spell. It also costs but, hey, the best things in life aren't always free.

For the next day or so as some refiguring, reformatting and t'other complexities continue, I'm making do with a recycled Commodore 64, so excuse the lack of verification via hot links to most of the rest of this post.

Updates of stuff I wanted to write about

Manohara Pinot has finally, and supposedly dramatically, escaped from the clutches of her evil husband into the arms of her loving mum.

Opinion is divided as to where the truth of the matter lies, but the lass is still only 17. We'll have to wait for the projected film of the affair in which she has been asked to play herself. That should really 'enhance' her celebrity status. And if her reputed fee is really Rp.1 miliard, which I think is Rp.100 billion which I think is about about $1 million, then I wish I'd had a teenage trauma like hers and I wouldn't be typing this crap about her.

The Bakrie Boys are still in the news, and not merely because one of the scions of the soon to be ex-Minister of Public Welfare, Abdurizal Bakrie was Manohara's boyfriend before she got ensnared.

Spare a thought for the refugees of the Sidoarjo mud volcano which bubbled up three years ago. Last year, on 10th June (see my archives), I posted that it was generally agreed that the Bakrie company, Lapindo Brantas, was responsible, through negligence, for the whole sorry mess.

Two recent items of news about this are worrisome. The first, which may ultimately be good news, is that the Attorney-General's Office is asking the police to hurry up and provide evidence to enable criminal charges to be laid.

The second is a demonstration that for all the smiles and shrugs which folk say is the hallmark of Indonesians, institutions don't really give a damn.

The bank holding the title deeds to the now submerged houses have continued to charge interest and other penalties on the mortgages they hold. That the 'homeowners' have been unable to pay is mainly because Lapindo have been tardy, to put it politely, in paying the compensation which they were ordered to pay by SBY.

And the residents won't be paid until the banks return the housing certificates so that the certificates can be handed over to Lapindo who will then pay the compensation - which is sorely needed to pay off the interest and other penalties.

The arrogance of those who believe they have dictatorial powers beggars belief. And common folk.

Take the case of Prita Mulyasari, a mother of two. She wrote an online complaint letter, translated here, against the Omni International Hospital in Tangerang, one of Jakarta's suburban areas, and now she is being charged for violating chapter 27 verse 3 of the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (UU ITE).

Prita shared her experience of being maltreated by the hospital on a mailing-list. Last year they treated her for dengue fever when in fact she had mumps. Her complaint, written to a mailing list, was that the hospital refused to let her see her medical files.

For that she was jailed with the hospital suing her for umpteen million rupiah and she faces up to six years in jail and a maximum fine of 1 billion rupiah (nearly US$ 98,000).

Presidential candidate Megawati has intervened and got Prita released from jail, but into house arrest. She is due in court tomorrow, Wednesday, and the support of the Indonesian blogosphere goes with her..

(SBY has always refused to intervene in judicial proceedings, including that of his son's father-in-law, currently on trial for massive corruption whilst deputy governor of Bank Indonesia.)

A new Traffic and Road Transportation Law is nearing its final deliberations in the legislature. It does place the onus for road maintenance on the government, which should enable those maimed by the numerous potholes to actually blame someone.

However, it's a typically short-sighted mish-mash of cock-eyed thinking as is made clear in the latest newsletter from What's New Jakarta.com.

We do think that updating old laws and passing new laws is normally a good thing. However in this case whilst there where many good aspects of the new law, regrettably it also included this clause "Handicapped pedestrians are obliged to wear special signs that can be easily recognized by other road users". Ahem.

Should the special signs say "Hati hati - I am handicapped!"? Does someone using a wheelchair need a sign saying "Hati hati - I am in a wheel chair"? One would think that it would be obvious that they were handicapped and needed a wheelchair because, well, the fact that they are in a wheelchair!

Frankly we would have thought it impossible for anyone in a wheelchair to navigate themselves along the footpaths of Jakarta anyway. So perhaps it is because wheelchair users are forced to use the road that this new rule has been introduced. This would explain why this new rule refers to handicapped "pedestrians" and "other road users" because in most places around the world, pedestrians are NOT 'road' users. They are usually 'footpath' users. Sigh.

The law will come into effect when signed by the President or after three months have passed.

In another neat segue, I should mention that Boediono, SBY's running mate, has held a meeting with bloggers. He displayed his common touch by eating a fried banana using his right hand. I wasn't invited, but I'm pleased to note that he doesn't have a Facebook account.

This, of course, should please those ulemas who reportedly think that having one leads to all kinds of malarkey such as, ahem, sexual activities.

And now for something a bit different.

Some 20% of Jakartass readers are in the States so I am pleased to post this by now annual appeal from the Fresh Air Fund which gives city kids a chance to get out of their urban environment and to breathe fresh air for a while by staying with host families or going to a camp.

Dear Jakartass.

Thank you for helping out with The Fresh Air Fund. Your efforts have helped to generate awareness about our organization. I wanted to let you know that we just received a tremendous offer by some very generous donors. Any gift given from now until June 30th will be matched dollar for dollar. We are so excited and thought you could help by posting a tweet or mention again on Jakartass.

We are also still in need of hosts for this summer, so any help in getting the message out would be great.

Thank you so much,

Sara Wilson

My pleasure, Sara, and let me take this opportunity to say 'hi' publicly today to Andrew Sawdon, who is the chairman Oasis Children's Venture in South London, which I wrote about when I first mentioned Sara's winning ways. By coincidence, Andrew has just got in touch with me for the first time since I arrived in Indonesia.

It's nice to know that amid all the gossip and gloom, some folk continue to care - quietly.



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