Blogger Indonesia Criticism

On my previous posting, a commenter named Raiyen warned me that criticising your country could be meant as a sign of weakness, of inferiority complex. After I explained my points, he then clarifies his comment adding that his previous statement was based on his “fact-findings” on some his friends in Australia who feel so down seeing the state-of-the-art infrastructure in the country, compared it with our own with a head-and-shoulder-lying-low kind of attitude.

Well, I’d be grateful first to Raiyen for that reminder. It inspires me more to explain further regarding this issue.

To begin with, I’ll reiterate once more why I often criticise and encourage those who’re so critical to Indonesian government policies, to the nation weaknesses and to each individuals of Indonesian: because I love Indonesia!

Secondly, being critical to ourselves, to our government policies, to our own nation, etc does mean self-criticism. We learn from history of great nations, that a great nation will only raises and is up to the expectation if we, as an insider, are critical and are regularly restrospect what’s wrong and what’s right. Our wrong history should not repeat, while the right one should be made better. The advancement of the West is not made in a day. It’s through a bulk of processes throughout centuries, dating back to the 11th century AD when the West civilization at its lowest state. At that time, the Western intellectuals starting waking up, realizing its minuses and pluses and fighting back from there.

Thirdly, there always be controversies–pros and cons– in the process. Those who agree with any kind of criticism and those who are not. While the former are those who have a long term vision in mind, the latter simply are those who love the status quo and enjoyed the stagnant condition.

Fourthly, being critical doesnt mean inferior. There should be clear differences between critical and inferior complex: while the former knows what the pluses and minuses, and move further to make it better; the latter just admiring everything from the more advanced nation without even knowing or critical, and hence, parrotting blindly whatever comes from outside. Unfortunately, I found a plenty of such latter phenomena in our country in which so many people just swallow up everything trendy who comes from “there”.

Fifth, critical does have to do with patriotism in its truest sense of the meaning. Never let the term “nationalism” and “patriotism” being hijacked by the corrupt Indonesian officials who enjoys so much the lion share of Indonesian money illegally and blame every citizen who criticise them as “unpatriotic and un-nationalistic”.

Blogger: On Dealing With Criticism

There’re a heating and contentious debate on my several postings in this blog regarding criticism: on how to criticise; what the rule of the game to convey your criticism and whether your criticism is in accordance with the “Indonesian tradition” (I dont know exactly what does it mean? What kind of traditions among various ethnic and tribal traditions in Indonesia which can claim as the most “Indonesian,” anyway?). And, especially, if you convey the criticism to the President of Indonesia.

Nitnot and Nishimoto, for example, dont agree with even constructive criticism to a head of state. Or if it’s a must, you must do it in a gentle manner in accordance with the “Indonesian tradition” or “Eastern tradition.”

Well,for me, the above views a bit weird, to say the least due to several reasons:

First, what Indonesian tradition or eastern tradition, anyway. The “gentle manner” the Indonesian way is not easy term to define. Indonesia is a country with no monolitic tradition. Gentle according to javanese or sundanese tradition could be understood as “hypocrit” from other ethnic/tribal traditions like Madura or Batak, etc.

Second, criticism is a good thing we “imported” from the West. It’s one package of democracy as part of freedom of expression and civil society live. Why we voluntarily adopted to democratic package of values, and want to put away one value i.e. freedom of expression which is inherent in it? How can we claim our country as democratic by excluding the tradition of criticism?

Third, we have taken more blindly and uncritically a-not-so-good tradition from the West like free sex, the pop culture, lesbianism, homosexualism. And never talk and debate about it. There’s no talk about the above points as “un-Indonesian”. I mention this point simply to emphasize there’s something wrong with the way we think: we, most of us, Indonesians, have a tendency to be “blind” on anything that’s not offended our individuality, our ego and feelings, whatever damage the things has caused to our society. On the contrary, we are easily angry on a little things that hurt the ego, criticism just a good example among many others. In other words, individuality is getting more emphasis than society.

Any criticism, including the one conveyed by Tylla to the President, and by myself in this blog are directed and intended for the betterment of our society, our nation. If this kind of criticism is disliked by many of us, certainly it’s a bad and sad phenomenon which should be regarded as very very unfortunate.

Blogger, President and his People

Photo: SBY need to learn from Bush in dealing with his people criticism
What do you think of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono’s first response the time he knew that his picture has been manipulated by a blogger Indonesia, one of his own fellow citizen? Was he angry? Or was he just smiling or even giggling to see his people still have a good sense of humour amid the ordeal life caused by his BBM (oil & gas)-price-hike policy? You can guess whatever you want in accordance with your perception to the current president. I, myself, was not sure then. But I’m crystal clear now that he must’ve been angry. Why?

Did you read my previous posting about Tylla Subijantoro’s question to the President in New Delhi recently? in which President SBY looked so angry to her. I thought then that President anger to Tylla simply because he felt ignored, which is quite understandable. It, however, turns out to be wrong, after I read Kompas daily today who specifically discuss about Tylla and president anger on her.

Kompas reports

“Presiden menyesalkan kritik yang disampaikan dengan cara menjelek-jelekkan
keadaan bangsa dan negara sendiri. Saat berdialog dengan masyarakat Indonesia di
India, ada warga yang sejak mulai bicara sampai selesai menjelek-jelekkan negeri
kita dan memuji-muji luar negeri. Orang itu bicara di depan saya. Saya
menyesalkan, ujarnya”

Well, if a constructive criticism still offend the President, what you expect from an “insult” of an enginereed photos done by Herman? As a just-reborn-democratic country, we still need long way to learn. what I mean by “we” is all component of the nation: the executives (bureaucrats) from top to bottom, the legislatives, the judiciary and the people. Why the people? Because they the wanna be state officials one day. And they should prepare from now.

Are you the Terrorist Blogger?

In the real world, the so-called terrorist defined as a person, community, or state who terrorise others through violence means for whatever reasons and purposes, either those terror acts carried out by individual, a group of individuals or states. The last criteria refers to any states who occupy other states, as there’ll be no successfull occupation without any physical violence . I think you agree with me on this regard.

But as we all know, there’ll be no physical violence ever happen without being ignited by mind violence. That’s why, the mastermind of any terrorist acts are regarded as more dangerous than the actual perpetrator.

Eversince I actively blogged one year back and doing some ‘blogwalk’ every now and then in the blogoworld, I found many “mind terrorism” which incite hatred, stereotype and generalisation. The emergence of blog and blogging technology needs to be welcomed with both hands as it give a chance to every techno dummy like me to express his/her opinion. But the terrorist blogger should be reminded of the danger of inciting hatred and stereotype instead of peace and commonality among the citizen of the world.

Blogging should be made use for advocating peace at heart and mind, not only for the sake of blogging and attracting traffic by making any provocative statements in the name of freedom of expression. Making sense is the nature of human being, and hatred blogging certainly in contradiction to that spirit.

An Indonesian Blogger Investigated by Police

An Indonesian blogger of Yogyakarta has been investigated by police because he has posted the Indonesian President SBY picture along with the picture of the currently hottest controversial scandal of Bambang Trihatmojo (son of former President Suharto) & Mayangsari, a popular pop singer as reported by Detik.Com today.
Photo: Engineered picture by Herman Saksono, Yogya Blogger

The police calls Herman Saksono the blog owner who manipulates the Bambang-Mayangsari picture into Bambang-SBY.

The police argues that such engineered picture could be regarded as blasphemy against the President.

For me, the Yogyakarta police action could never been more ridiculous and moron. Moreover, the context in which Herman manipulates the picture is to prove that the Bambang-Mayangsari hot picture was purely a hoax.

Even if Herman did intentionally want to “insult” the Indonesian president, it’s still undemocratic to call him into the police office. The Yogyakarta Police act has set a very bad precedent against the freedom of expression in this country. The security apparatus should and need to look up to other already-established-democratic system like the US, UK and even India where even an explicit insult (in the form of picture, cartoon or words) to the head of state is regarded as part of civil society live.

Let me make clear on this: the police forces should put their hands off any creativity, expression or whatever expressed by the Indonesian citizens in whatever forms. The head of police in Jakarta should train and brief their forces to learn and implement what democratic values really mean.

The president himself during his visit to New Delhi recently has reiterated the importance of democracy and democratic values with all its consequences. If the president really means what he said, he should recall the yogya police and give them a lesson or two.

My Second Interview as Blogger

My second interview as a blogger comes today (see my debut here, in case you want to know). It’s not from Indonesia, rather it’s from our neighbouring country, Australia. The interviewer is a senior researcher in a particular think thank organization who are interested with my posting regarding Herman Saksono entitled an Indonesian Blogger Investigated by Police.

In his introduction he said in his email:

I read with interest your posting ‘An Indonesian Blogger Investigated by Police’ on the investigation of Herman Saksono. Can you provide any further details of the investigation.

As the questions was not so hard to answer and can be read in many Indonesian newspapers, I give the answers with no fuss and free of charge.

Free of charge? You might be a bit strange with this word. Yes, unlike in Indonesia in some (developed?) countries you’ll get paid for giving an interview. I’ll get paid whenever BBC (Indonesian section) interviews me. It’s a common practice outthere. So, that’s why the Australian interviewer asked me wether I used to charge for a service i.e. giving interview is a form of service so you deserve a certain amount of money. And because the question is very ordinary ones, I make it free. :)

Well, why I share this story with you? First, blogging in English is really paid off. You become the first source for any non-Indonesian who wants to know about Indonesia (for this to happen, make sure to let the readers know that you are an Indonesian or whatever your nationality is).

Secondly, blogging –regardless it’s journalism or not–gains more respect from many corners. Many people turns to blog and blogger for more “first hand” source.

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