That was the week that was for me …
That was the week that was for me …
Click for larger image.
If the walls inside this historic building could talk, they’d tell of serious agendas, of wars and peace talks, of wealth and poverty, of winners and losers … the whole spectrum of life.
Now they can add another chapter: tales of nepotism, bigotry, racism, misogyny and greed, all within one package: farce.
Quote of the Week
Donald Trump: a man so obnoxious that karma may see him reincarnated as himself.
– Frankie Boyle
I’ve been a fan of Senyawa for a few years now, but have missed two recent gigs in Jakarta. Reading this review of their latest album made me rue the fact that another matter kept me away from their show at Gedung Kesenian where the above photo was taken.
Their music is far from being ‘easy listening’, and they’re not ‘stars’ yet they are invited to play more festivals and gigs overseas than any other Indonesian musicians.
Here’s a review of a festival in Singapore last year.
A highlight of the entire festival was a full set by Senyawa, the powerful experimental duo who’ve been gaining more popularity in Europe and the US than in their hometown (Yogyakarta) in Indonesia.
It’s not as if they’ve been purposefully shunned by their countrymen – they’re already readying themselves for a big homecoming concert – but their symbiotic marriage of traditional Indonesian music and an adventurous sense of extremity has earned them countless accolades from people unaware of the band’s musical foundation.
This video was recorded in Denmark, also last year.
Watch and read: Senyawa in their own words, with subtitles.
Wonder Woman party plate.
It says here that the United Nations have given Wonder Woman a prominent role as UN girls’ empowerment ambassador and she is to be honoured at her 75th birthday party, attended by Ban Ki-moon, the current UN General Secretary and ‘surprise guests’.
Like Superman who arrived as a boy to save we earthlings in January 1933? His age is a matter of conjecture but my mathematically challenged guess is that he’s about 95.
However, it is implicit that because she comes from Amazonia, a land of women only, that she prefers the comfort of women. A cursory search offers very few potential consorts, such as Jesse Chambers (née Jesse Quick, daughter of Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, now 94). I don’t think anyone in their right imagination would invite Cassandra Cain who is illiterate, has very limited social skills, and is the world’s greatest assassin.
So how about Batgirl?
Nope! Since when was taking selfies a symbol of empowerment?
Are there no real women who could be honoured?
Of course there are!
For a start there are Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel, two documentary film makers in the US facing up to 40 years in jail for filming oil pipeline protests.
There are countless women around the world who’ve established projects to benefit their local communities: micro-credit, out-of-school activities, environmental issues, education …
This is a photo of Crazy Shoes (c.1979), a Saturday and school holiday project at the Howgill Centre in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Its co-ordinator was Christine Morrison, seen in the centre of this happy group.
Thanks to Christine’s creativity and support, in November 1979 I became the first paid co-ordinator of Oasis Children’s Venture in south London. It had been founded as a registered charity in 1973, but when I arrived it was a purely volunteer organisation. Much of its internal dynamism came from Eve Elgar and Queenie Moncrieff at different ends of the age spectrum. I am both pleased and proud that I managed to establish solid foundations which sees it flourishing today, and that it is still managed by the local community..
Selecting a fictional character to promote women’s empowerment is pure tokenism, and demeans the contribution of countless women worldwide who have devoted immense energy and time to the betterment of their communities without seeking reward. Jakartass salutes them, whoever and wherever they are.
One final thought: if the UN needs a prominent public figure to represent the cause, how about Michelle Obama? Her recent speech denouncing the serial misogynist Trump will echo down the years.
Click here for a LARGER image.
There’s been an “epidemic of clown sightings” in the USA this past week, and we’re not talking about the Trump rallies, although both are bizarre. The craze of crazies has spread to the dis-United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, although the police in Gladstone “were unable to locate anyone fitting the description” of a reported sighting.
There is a word for a fear of clowns – coulrophobia – which is not listed (yet?) in the World Health Organisation’s ICD-10 nor in the DSM-5 categorisation of disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.
Perhaps it should be because the fear is real. Young children are “very reactive to a familiar body type with an unfamiliar face … and that much clown behaviour is ‘transgressive’ (anti-social behavior) can create feelings of unease which carry through to adulthood.”
Clown history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years. Every regime needs fools to puncture pomposity, and that is the role of clowns, a more recent manifestation associated with circuses.
In our current world of ‘selfies’, of smug self-satisfaction spread through (anti)social media, Jakartass believes that the gaze into the inner depths of our psyches can only be a good thing. Confronting our own fears helps us look outwards and to see those real evils in the world beyond our immediate horizons.
We need fools and asses.
But stop and think a moment: behind that painted smile, grimace or leer…
Dealing with bureaucracies is a nightmare, but no this isn’t about my own woes which, two months after I posted this remain the same.
Back in the day before the internet, when Tommy Suharto, the ex-dictator’s son, was co-owner of Sempati Air with the Indonesian military, they had a ‘red-eye’ flight to Singapore. It departed from Sukarno-Hatta airport at something like 5am and with a return flight later that evening, it was possible to complete a visa run in one day. There was also time to do some shopping, take in a movie and enjoy the freedom to walk around the city.
One particular morning, with all the correct papers to let me stay and work here having previously worked as a ‘freelance’, I was taken to one side by an official of Indonesia’s Immigration Dept. for a chat. He was polite, and I was given a cup of coffee, but he insinuated that I must have been working ‘illegally’ up to that point and would have to pay a fine. I argued that as I had been working for an Australian company, my money came from overseas … blah, blah … I’m good at thinking on my feet and, as then, while sitting down.
“So,” he said, “you’ll be coming back on the later flight.”
“Could you buy me a present?”
“Ah, but I’ll be off duty then. Could you give it to me now?”
He may have said “please“.
My cash was in an undershirt money belt, so I gave him the biggest (only?) note in my wallet. It may have been Rp.50,000, a lot in those days.
I asked him a final question: what were the rules he was bound to.
“It’s for us to know, and for you to find out“, he told me.
Much has changed in the subsequent 25 or so years, but not for Harry Bond J. .
Does this remind you of a certain Tom Hanks film? His character was stuck in a terminal betwixt and between for a valid reason. Harry, however, doesn’t know why he is.
Harry is in the ‘entertainment business’ here, and I look forward to eventually watching this tale unfold in a sinetron, one with fewer tears and a happy ending.
Freeport Bakery in Sacramento, California, baked a cake with a Ken doll base.
Never having played with dolls, although I can still picture my Rupert Bear, I had to do some research into Ken. According to Wikipedia, Ken (Kenneth Carson) is a toy doll introduced by Mattel in 1961 as the fictional boyfriend of toy doll Barbie, introduced in 1959. Similar to his female counterpart, Ken had a fantastically fashionable line of clothing and accessories. In the Barbie mythos, Ken and Barbie met on the set of a TV commercial in 1961. Mattel has never specified the precise nature of their relationship.
They can get married if you buy them the appropriate clothes.
Having posted the picture of the cake on Facebook, Marlene Goetzeler, co-owner of the bakery, faced an angry backlash. She said: “Naively, I guess, I just thought this is a really cool cake, and look at how great they did with the butter cream. What’s wrong with a Ken cake?”
Shock, horror … it’s transgender!
Footnote: Real life Ken & Barbie hate the sight of each other.
(Yes, they’ve both had breast implants.)
Bad Behavior has blocked 1160 access attempts in the last 7 days.