Since emerging from its slumber in 2013, the area surrounding Gunung Sinabung in North Sumatra has been declared a no-go zone. Seven farmers returning to their fields were killed by pyroclastic clouds this week.
This week also saw the return of photo-journalists, all making obeisance to the one true God. Not the man-made constructs, but She who must be respected: Mother Nature aka Gaia.
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Sunday 22 May 2016. Comments Off on Image of the Week – 211 (Flying Scotsman)
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA
The Flying Scotsman passes Holy Island as it powers through the Northumberland countryside before heading into Scotland, its first trip to Scotland since the restoration was competed earlier this year.
Ah, the nostalgia of steam trains: putting your head out of the window, feeling your hair blowing around, getting a bit of soot in your eye, and, as happened when I was a lad, having your glasses whipped off your nose.
Real men built these machines, real men shovelled coal into the furnaces, and real men now stand on station platforms comparing notes as they wait for the restored, glorious machine to puff into view.
And here’s a video of some trial runs made earlier this year. Note that ‘she’ hasn’t been painted in ‘her’ true colours yet and that she needs the helping shove of a diesel locomotive at the rear to help with the very steep incline of Shap Fell.
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Saturday 21 May 2016. Comments Off on Branding Indonesia
“A brand is a totalisation process of developing soul, personality and visual“ – DMID Group
Eighteen years ago today the aging autocrat Suharto abdicated and we were happy. What the majority of the rakyat were happy about was that their economic situation might improve. The word reformasi was bandied about with few taking a long-term view about what that meant, or how it would be achieved.
Over the next few months the press was freed from government restraints and with the simultaneous growth of the internet, mental horizons were widened as the world of knowledge beyond the archipelago became accessible. Blogging became a medium and more people began to understand what they were thinking as they read what they and others were writing.
But then came internet-connected cell phones with instant messaging, emoticons, and LOLs. Personal communication became reactive, and creativity was to be found in machine driven apps, spam and hacking.
Two years ago, in his election campaign, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo touted a revolusi mental as being the core of his political message. I admit that I was sceptical at the time. I did not believe that building “a foundation to make people more productive and competitive in the economy” was the correct aim. As befitting a furniture company owner with 500 employees, he seemed to be talking about more efficient cogs in the (his?) producing machine, one which has rapidly depleted Indonesia’s natural resources.
“In my opinion, the first priority in economic development is to build the human resource through education… What kind of education? We should do mental revolution.”
There’s nothing in that statement about freeing minds, about creative thinking. Recent events indicate that his revolusi mental is about closing minds, and restoring Javanese paternalism at the core of central government. And it’s all to do with symbols and brands, and nothing to do with education.
Apparently, the country’s ‘creative economy’ was worth US$71.55 billion last year, with food and fashion together contributing 60%. Neither are of much interest to workers struggling to get by on the basic wage, the very people who were supposed to be Jokowi’s targets for a change in mindset.
While he promotes an unnecessary super-fast rail link to Bandung, 18% of the population have yet to benefit from access to electricity. Or the bridge over the river crossing collapsed a couple of years ago so their children risk their lives trying to get to school.
Source; UK’s Daily Mail– best watched in full screen mode.
What we’re witnessing and experiencing is tokenism: it’s all to do with symbols and brands, and nothing to do with education.
Indonesia has diplomatic relations at the embassy level with Cuba, China, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam and honorary Ccnsulate status with Nepal. What these countries have in common is a political philosophy which goes by a label which must not be uttered here for fear of a five year prison sentence. Two words associated with these hand tools, both readily available from your local hardware store, are verboten, and even suggesting that I love Indonesian coffee could get me into trouble. So, if you’re here, do not utter the names of these two tools, readily found in a local hardware store.
Jokowi has bought into this nonsense. Whether this is for autocratic reasons or without due consideration of the consequences has yet to be fully determined. The most ominous sign of the former is that the military have been involved in recent arrests.
Last week, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered some of his aides, including Badrodin, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutiyoso to take “a legal approach” in dealing with “the increasing number of activities related to the Indonesian Communist Party [PKI] and other leftist movements.”
What we are witnessing is a clamp down on the right to freedom of expression. Rights activists have lambasted the raids, accusing security officials of trying to undermine the ongoing national dialogue between the government, victims and families of victims of the 1965 tragedy.
But, no matter, there is a country to be developed.
According to this Jakarta Post article, at the closing ceremony of the National Development Planning Conference in Jakarta on the 11th of this month, Jokowi called on city leaders to invent their own branding. Like me, you may not see the connection with his apparent source of his bright idea.
Inspired by his recent trip to the Sunnylands private estate in Rancho Mirage, California, which hosts more than a dozen golf courses and is known as a “go-to” place for golf, the President has instructed regional leaders to build a particular brand for their cities in the diverse country.
The Post had a few examples of cities which have already taken that step into banality. Bandung : Everlasting Beauty … now changed to Juara Bandung (Champion)
The reality: transparency, removal of eyesore hoardings + from new mayor.
So, thankfully, a re-branding after the previous corrupt – supposedly Islamic – regime. Banyuwangi (East Java) : Sunrise Java
The reality: yep, it faces Bali to the east Jakarta : Enjoy Jakarta
The reality: traffic, pollution, noise, and traffic. Pekalongan (Central Java) : World’s City of Batik
The reality: it’s one of several ‘cities of batik’ Semerang (Central Java) : Variety of Culture
The reality: yep, and several other cities could say the same Sumenap : The Soul of Madura
The reality: the regency has only one-third of the island’s population. Surabaya (East Java) : Sparkling Surabaya
The reality: the ‘brand name’ has no meaning. Solo (Central Java) : The Spirit Of Java
The reality: A (not ‘the’) would be appropriate. Yogyakarta (Central Java) : Never Ending Asia
The reality: Eh? No mention of its rich history and culture?
Note: on the same front page, another idiot died as the consequence of taking a ‘selfie’ – with an elephant!
And this is the banner at the top of the page of the company which provided my opening quote.
Why is the family (but where’s mother, eh?) staring at the bottom of a large sheet of apparently blank paper. If it’s a supposed to be a map, what information could they glean from it? Besides, people who always smile … I mean Smile. Always! … are generally thought of as being a loaf short of a picnic.
So, not much of a revolusi mental then.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Footnote In his article entitled National awakening and gnawing doubt in yesterday’s Post, HS Dillon shows that he has a similar despair about the future of Indonesia under Jokowi.
… the real President Jokowi has to emerge as a “moral compass”and reject the demands of the politicians, authorities, businessmen and volunteers who have been unwilling to transcend their self-interest.
However, he also looks to the early foundation of the country in order to offer a vision, an outline of what needs to be done to “rediscover our beloved Indonesia“.
In the Guardian this week is a selection of images by “photojournalist Adam Hinton [who] spent time in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Jakarta, Manila, Cape Town and Caracas, meeting residents who deal every day with poverty and prejudice.”
In Jakarta, he focussed on a community under one of the city’s flyovers which … is centred around the collection of plastic bottles for recycling. The flyover is at Kampung Melayu at the other end of ‘my’ street, and that community is no longer there, possibly rehoused in the city’s low cost apartments because of the recent widening of the river Ciliwung.
For me, there is something repugnant about ‘slum tourism’, which is why I won’t post a photograph showing ‘happy’ smiling poor people, but prefer to let the ‘people’ speak for themselves in this video from Hinton’s website.
Fifteen drug traffickers may or may not know about their pending doom, although 150 Mobile Brigade personnel have been practising how to shoot accurately. For the mathematically disadvantaged, that’s ten rifles, one of which will only fire a blank, aimed at each condemned prisoner. The religious clerics who will accompany the convicts, but presumably stand behind the firing squad, have been memorising their useless final words of solace.
Each team also includes two Brimob members responsible for holding up a spotlight on the inmate.(eh?)
What is known is that of the fifteen, ten are foreigners. Philippines national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso who was belatedly but temporarily reprieved last year is not one of them. There are four Chinese, one Pakistani, two Nigerians, two Senegalese and one Zimbabwean.
Last year’s circus attracted opprobrium from Australia and Brazil because those countries have abolished capital punishment. So will Indonesia embarrass itself once again this year?
Not from China which, with 1000+ executions in 2014 for a variety of crimes, heads the global league table. Nor from Pakistan which executes by hanging for the crimes of murder, drug smuggling, terrorism, rape, unlawful assembly and blasphemy. Nor Nigeria which In 2013 executed four for kidnapping and sodomy.
Senegal, which abolished the death penalty in 2004, may object. However Senegal does not currently have any diplomatic or consular representation in Indonesia, so will have to lodge a complaint at the Indonesian Embassy in Dakar.
Zimbabwe, a de facto abolitionist for not carrying out the death penalty for over 10 years, does have an embassy in Jakarta so may lodge a diplomatic offensive.
A major question to be asked is why two-thirds of those about to meet their doom are foreign nationals when it is thought that ‘only’ half are not Indonesian.
It is almost impossible to determine exactly how many prisoners are on death row and their country of origin. The Attorney General announced immediately after the January 2015 executions that 60 people remain on death row for narcotics, 34 of them foreigners. But the list of nationalities he provided contained obvious errors.
One Indonesian drugs convict not on the list is Freddy Budiman, who was found guilty of smuggling 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China to Indonesia in 2012. The attorney general said that his case was undergoing review, and then stated the bleeding obvious.
“We will wait for a decision. If his case review is accepted after he is executed, we won’t be able to bring him back from death,” he added.
In March, another Indonesian on death row on Nusakambangan Island cheated the firing squad by dying. In 2012, the Supreme Court sentenced Hartoni … and his fellow convict at the narcotics prison, Syafrudin, for drug trafficking. At the time, the two convicts were serving sentences of 20 years in prison for drug crimes.
In March this year, Hartoni, 56, reportedly died. Authorities said he died after he fell into a toilet at the prison.
Eh? Was he a little guy or was the toilet an access point to an escape tunnel?
The article in the paper edition of the Jakarta Post I quoted from in my opening paragraph is longer, and closes with the following nonsensical statement from the Attorney General M. Prasetyo.
[He] has insisted that no matter what the government would carry out executions despite assertions that capital punishment does not deter drug traffickers.
“Although we have conducted executions twice, drug cases continue in the country; imagine if we don’t carry them out.”
“The yo-yo club. Too good for the Second Division, not good enough for the First Division. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Four FA Cup finals and never lifted the trophy once – a unique ‘achievement’. As my boss used to say in the mid-80s: ‘City will always let you down.’”
– Gary Silke (Editor of The Fox, a Leicester City fanzine)
I wish I could say that about Charlton this season.
This is just one of the hundreds – hundreds of thousands? – of articles about a fairytale which will resonate for as long as there is football.
And this is an article about community-based clubs like mine which had shitty seasons.
On 15 April 1989 at a FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the neutral venue of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium, a human crush caused the deaths of 96 people and injured 766 others.
In English football, most stadiums had steel fencing between the spectators and the playing field in order to prevent friendly and hostile pitch invasions. The crush occurred in pens in the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to Liverpool fans.
The truth has been known for many years, yet it has taken an inquest two years to finally vindicate the victims and their families who have resolutely campaigned for justice. The jury ruled that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.
Finally, truth prevails.
………………………………………………….. If you get the chance, watch the haunting hour long CNN documentary They’ll Never Walk Alone.
There are snippets here.