Mark your place in history, it says in the Jakarta Post ad today, and be a part of this exciting, first ever, all-Indonesian bloggers’ gathering. No matter what kind of blog you have, whether it’s a serious blog or just a simple online diary, you surely don’t want to miss this historic event.
Meet up with 500 other Indonesian and neighbouring country bloggers, exchange your thoughts and ideas and be part of the new voice of Indonesia. See you there.
I won’t be there, nor will the majority of non-Indonesian passport holders who blog from our homes in Indonesia because we have been specifically excluded from participating in the Pesta Blogger 2007 by the initiator and main organiser of the event, Ong Hock Chuan. He blogs as Unspun and is ‘technical advisor’ to a PR company, Maverick, based here in Jakarta. He stands to benefit from the kudos of organising a ‘successful’ event as that will keep him in the good graces of his main sponsors, Microsoft and Nokia.
The theme is “Suara Baru Indonesia”, whereby we’d like to celebrate the birth of a new generation (bloggers) who have used a new media (blog) to express their thoughts in a new paradigm (that is more informal, personal, and opinionated), and have started to form an influential role over the Net.
Great sentiments which are to be applauded. Since March 2004, I think I’ve done my bit with Jakartass. I’ve had a few scoops, I’ve blogged about the lack of customer service, about the hypocrisy and the lack of forethought of bureaucrats and business folk alike, consistently espoused environmental concerns and, perhaps above all, decried the consumerist society created here in Jakarta at the expense of the majority of its citizens.
So, yes, I’m opinionated and, like everyone else, I have every right to be. My writing has lead to a book contract ~ Culture Shock – Jakarta (in which I’ve actually given Unspun a plug) ~ and I’ve had several articles about Indonesian issues published in the print media. I’ve also been interviewed by the BBC, essentially as their blogging correspondent in Jakarta. They’ve also interviewed Nick of the Bali Blog after I put them in touch.
Nick is excluded from Pesta Blogger, as is Brandon of the truly excellent Java Jive (which started five years ago this month and predates Jakartass as well, I expect, all but Enda), Indcoup, The Reveller, Simon Pitchforth of Metro Mad and all other long-term residents here – because we are not Indonesian!
We all welcome and, I would suggest, have actively promoted and encouraged the massive growth in the number of Indonesians who are now writing online, partly, it must be admitted, because the software of Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, Friendster etc. makes it easier ~ assuming we have reasonable access to the telecommunications networks.
Writing about oneself is the first step to writing about one’s environment and then examining causes and consequences and thereby becoming a critical thinker. In a population which has been blinkered by authoritarian forces and formulaic schooling for far too long, this is truly remarkable and should certainly be celebrated, but surely not as an ego-fest/love in.
Thanks to Enda Nasution as the Chairman of Pesta Blogger 2007 and all steering committee members: Budi Putra, Fatih Syuhud, Lita Mariana, Nukman Luthfie, Priyadi, Ratna Ariyanti, Wicaksono, Wimar Witoelar, and Yosef Ardi who have shaped-up Pesta Blogger 2007.
Part of the agenda on Saturday is giving awards in various categories. These include: Bridge Blogging (apparently Indonesians writing in English), Celebrity Blog, Current Issues, OnLine Marketing and Sales, Pendatang Baru Terbaik (Best Newcomer), Personal Blog (Aren’t they all? If not, why not?), Technology, Women’s Issues.
Two of the five nominees in the Bridging Blog category are Enda and Unspun. Quel surprise! (To be fair, Enda probably deserves a special plaque or something as he was certainly one of the first bloggers in this country ~ except he was then based in Thailand.
Two of the five nominees in the current affairs category are Priyadi and Wimar W.
In the Newcomer category there is Juwono Sudarsono, currently Republic of Indonesia Minister of Defense since October 2004. But is he a blogger or someone who archives his thoughts and speeches online? Nought wrong with that, but he’s hardly a newcomer having set up his site (or had his site set up) in April 2006. Since then there have been just 16 posts, barely one a month.
The Women’s Issues category is predominantly devoted to blogs about cooking and fashion, domesticated housewives’ choices in other words. For a blog about real women’s issues (breast cancer anyone?) I recommend that of Pelf, who is doing an M.A. in Environmental Science and is also a contributor to The Giving Hands. Of course, she wouldn’t be invited to participate in the Pesta Blogger as she doesn’t hold an Indonesian passport.
As is Unspun.
So, sour grapes? Nah, everything’s peachy in Jakartass Towers, thank you very much.