Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Immediately I sat up. I am like that, being an Indonesia geek.
This Indonesian guy was promoting business in Indonesia.
Niceties over, the interviewer clobbered the Indonesian guy, with something like,
"Indonesia recently scored near bottom of transparency international's corruption index. That won't give international firms confidence in investing in Indonesia, will it?"
The guy floundered.
"We're improving yada yada yada"
"Doesn't look that way to me"
Needless to say it did not sound at all convincing.
Not that I like defending Indonesia's transparency international corruption ranking, but you could go about it as follows.
Transparency International reports on people's perceptions of corruption. Is it any wonder that Indonesians are more keenly aware of wrongs when they are reported on everyday in a mostly free manner. Indonesia has a problem, but at least its people are keenly aware of it, unlike many other places with lobotomised media (Singapore's Straits Times, anyone?).
It's a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous, you gotta be aware your problem before you can overcome it.
Countries with freer media will ironically tend to have worse Transparency International Corruption ranks.
Obviously you have to ignore the goings on in Timor Leste, Aceh and Papua during Suharto's reign.
You would have to forget how Suharto got going - by killing a cool half a million people or more. And how he went out, by sending thugs to rape and murder Chinese Indonesians.
Also, you would have to turn a blind eye to the Suharto incorporated mafia monopoly. He gave the license to one man, a thug called Yapto. Needless to say, Yapto is kinda like the Voldemort "he who shall not be named" of Indonesia today.
I have little idea whether the Indonesian archipelago is safer than it was 15 or 20 years ago. It's difficult or impossible for me to call. But I suspect it is difficult for most Indonesians to make judgements that go much further than personal anecdotes either.
Indonesia's press was locked down back then. Now, for better or worse, Indonesia has the freest press in South East Asia.
Perceptions count for a lot.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Best song. Hold on to Yourself, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. From the Dig Lazarus Dig!!! album. Just found out it's about escapologists (messrs. Lazarus and Houdini) based in New York. How fitting.
Best buy of the year. A pair of JVC marshmallow ear-plug-like earphones. They cost about 15 quid. Bought them in Dublin airport before heading off to the R of I on January 1st.
99% of background noise vanishes. I never walk on a plane without 'em now.
Best football match. Persija (Jakarta's biggest football team) v Persipura (from Papua, i.e. straight outta the jungle! ; )). The Persipura 11 were awesome. Eighty odd thousand Jakmania in Gelora Bung Karno were equally awesome though. Indonesian football is a relfection of the place. Once done right, I am sure Indonesian football will be huge! Thing is, it's pretty messed up at the moment. Thanks to the Jakarta Casual for getting me tickets.
I have read a few great books this year, less so now I am in New York and not commuting (I work and live on the same street). Things the Grandchildren Should Know is a book about Mark Everitt, the Eels frontman. I've never been a huge Eels fan, but it doesn't matter, it's mostly about his messed up life, family and how he loved them.
More to come!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
He doesn't like gay people.
This guy loves to think himself as an intelectual. So obviously there's a totally rational reason for his homophobia.
It's genius, we never heard of this before, don't panic, but it's er... **HUMAN EXTINCTION**.
Shite!! It's the big one.
If only we had some totally non camp James Bond to save us from our gays. I.e. more Timothy Dalton than Roger Moore.
So there you have it, the world is turning gay, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
It can be hit and miss but it's mostly pretty interesting.
By the way, anyone heard the recent interview by Alan Johnson with Ingrid Betancourt? I think it is the best interview I have heard in a long long time.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I haven't had the chance to use it yet, but reckon it will be a phenomenal camera.
This was one of my first pictures with it (with minimal light BTW!!).
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Upon receiving the donations the situation became a bit noisy, as the children became ecstatic trying on their new, precious belongings for the first time. Most of the shoes fit their new owners, but a few had to exchange with each other to get the right size. One child, a kindergartner, found himself with shoes much larger than his feet, but he did not make comment or complain. He tried them on seriously, observed the situation carefully and wrapped his new belongings again in a plastic bag -- he'll surely grow in to them soon enough"
This reminds me of my sister and I visiting slums in Jakarta and handing out simple shoes, school bags and whatnot with a friend's charity. They were jumping with joy!
Trust me, if you want your money to stretch a long way in these hard economic times, there's no better way than donating a little to Indonesian kids.