Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Updates on Recent Stories

July 11, 2010

For those who follow this blog but don’t keep a close eye on Indonesian news, I thought now would be a good time to update you on developments concerning some of the more popular stories. 

Starting with the most recent:

Mental illness

In my second story concerning the practice of pasung, or chaining of the mentally ill, I found a clip which told about a local doctor, Suryani, who is working on this problem in Bali, applying modern medical techniques and showing miraculous results.   The sad thing was that the local government had cut funding to this project, putting a question mark over its continuation and bringing those patients who could not afford to pay for the medication the fear that they will return to their psychotic state.

I have since heard a rumour that the reason the funding was withdrawn was political jealousy.  Dr Suryani comes from an influential Balinese family and her detractors say she is conducting her work under her own name and not giving the government the credit for its funding.  They also imply that because she is seriously rich, she should pay for the treatment from her own pocket! 

Personally, I think people should put political issues behind them and consider the victims.  Even if she is capable of funding the entire clinic from her own resources, public health is a responsibility which the government has taken upon itself.  The potential cost to Bali’s economy if tourists shunned the island because of their handling of this issue is far greater than the cost of funding the clinic.  Government funds need to be allocated according to where they can do the most good.  Finally, I think it’s something to be encouraged when a member of the elite rolls up their sleeves and does some practical work, something Indonesia’s elite are not famous for.

Dr Suryani has a website for her institute if you would like more information about her work.  You can donate towards her work if you feel inclined to do so.

Tempo’s ‘Sold Out’ Edition

The publishers of Tempo ran a second edition of the magazine which was sold out.  The police are saying they were not involved in buying up the first edition and that it was just a publicity stunt on Tempo’s part.  Members of the police force are now taking a different approach.  They are suing Tempo for defamation in comparing them to pigs.  They are deeply offended because pigs are supposedly haram to devout Muslims.  I may be out of line here, but it has always been my understanding that it is the eating of pigs which is haram, not the pigs themselves.  So perhaps they are being a little precious in being offended on religious grounds.  Seldom mentioned is the fact that unbelievers in Islam are haram, yet I doubt any police general would shun his Balinese colleague on that basis.  More to the point, it is also haram to steal and it is also haram to use one’s position in a corrupt manner.

Perhaps the police would suffer less ridicule and criticism if concentrated on solving corruption within their ranks and got on with actual policing.  It is my feeling that the people respond well when they see their police giving a good example.

Peterporn

At this moment, Nazriel (Ariel) Irham is still being held in custody while Luna Maya and Cut Tari are free.  The prosecutor is obviously trying to avoid provoking the public’s sympathy.  All three have undergone physical examinations to check whether their body shapes match the images in the videos.  Intimate measurements were taken, including those of Ariel’s genitals. 

Meanwhile, police have announced they are ‘about’ to arrest eight suspects for actually uploading the videos.  That was a few days ago, I haven’t heard anything about that so far.

Smoking Baby

CNN have sent a camera crew out to Sumatra to verify that, yes, the story is true.  Although somehow they managed to misspell his name and the American public now know him as ‘Aldi’.   I deeply suspect this whole fuss is a beat-up by the big US tobacco companies to disparage Indonesia in the current trade dispute.  The US is banning flavoured cigarettes, including the kreteks which Indonesia exports.  However, somehow they don’t include the menthol cigarettes which the US manufacturers make in their definition of ‘flavoured’.  Self interest creates double standards.

This Site

There are now two people working on Aboutindo.  Neither of us full time yet 🙂  You might have noticed the marked improvement in quality. 

We are planning to make some big changes soon, including self hosting.   I started a bit less than six months ago, but it seems like only three.  Thanks for your support and comments.

New Indonesian Writer: Erick Setiawan

April 8, 2010

I’m quite impressed by this short story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/13/indonesia-boyhood-grandmother-erick-setiawan

Erick Setiawan is a first time author.  It appears that the story in the above link is a memoir.  However the novel Of Bees and Mists is fictional, but loosely based on stories true and mythic which he heard while growing up in Indonesia. 

He left the country after high school to study engineering, but after graduating he found himself increasingly drawn to fiction.  Interesting that he chooses to write in English, don’t you think?  I have my own theories for why that would be, but I’ll save it for another post.

There has been quite a diaspora of talented Chinese Indonesians over the past few decades.  I expect they will begin to return as the country becomes more affluent and lawful.

Rules on Writing

March 11, 2010

This link goes to an article about an article in The Guardian listing a vast number of tips on writing from published authors (I’ve even heard of some of them): http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/books/molly-young/rules-writing

The journalist says the most common tips are:

  • write every day;
  • rewrite often;
  • read your work out loud;
  • read a lot of books;
  • don’t write for posterity.

So far, I’m writing something every day, at least for the past three weeks.  I haven’t rewritten anything yet – I know there’s a few typing errors in my past posts.  I guess I’ll start reviewing my old posts each day too.

What’s this got to do about Indonesia?  Not a lot, but this is a blog, and it has to be written, and it’s my blog so I get to decide what’s in it!  Don’t worry, I’ll post something that’s truely about Indonesia in a little while – today.