Blogger Indonesia of the Week (80): Rob Baiton

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (80): Rob Baiton

Rob Baiton as Blogger Indonesia of the Week #80Frankly speaking, I dislike anonymous blogger or ghost blogger as I prefer to call it, particularly those who blog/write on such sensitive issues as politics and religion. Speaking of the latter topic without giving a clear name and identity, to me, does not represent a good intention, and thus credibility. A writer or a blogger who rigorously writes on those issues while hiding one’s true identity and name –such as the one behind deserves our suspicion of having a hidden agenda. Specially when one is critical to certain religion while generously flattering or defending another most of the time.

I also notice that many foreign expatriates who blog on Indonesia tend to hide their identify or go pseudonymous. It’s of course their rights to do so as far as, as mentioned above, the themes they are talking about are not about certain sensitive issues. Unless they’re the ones who don’t care to keep their personal credibility and the credibility of their writings intact, being anonymous in writing such issues is a folly. Despite I highly appreciate those who are critical to themselves– like Juan Cole– I regard as far as writing, self-critical is the highest virtue; I still am able to find the way to appreciate those extreme right-wingers who talk rubbish all the time against others like Daniel Pipes (– who are vehemently anti-Arab, anti-Islam and Muslims and praises himself and the world he represents to the hill– for his gut to show his face. We may agree or disagree on something, but let’s do it on eye-to-eye basis. On blogging term, let’s not be anonyomus. That’s what a real man should do.

In short, what I would like to say is this: anonymous blogger is a coward. Sadly most foreign exparts in Indonesia are anonymous blogger. Rob Baiton, an expat in Indonesia for 15 years, therefore is a few exception. Go to his blog right away, and you will find out why.

36 thoughts on “Blogger Indonesia of the Week (80): Rob Baiton

  1. Indonesia, turned Islam into an arena of terror and blood-shed.

    I cry, to watch Indonesian young men being used to bomb themselves and their homeland.

    Islam is a religion of fear and terror. A diabolic institution based mainly on hatred towards any living creature.

    Islam sends innocent Indonesians to their death.Giving the impression they are Human-Islam-Message-Bombs. Facts, shows that the device is cellphone activated.

    After Islam murders the innocent they glorify then as heroes in Islam Martyrs.

    And no one seems to care about this suffering Nation

    My name is Listiani Lestari id:530971312.Born Islam in Tebet Timur Dalam.

    I have worked my way out of Indonesia. Nowadays, I am living the rest of my life in Switzerland.I have
    no intention what so ever in returning back to Jakarta where respect,honesty and human dignity are unknown.

  2. Look forward to reading more from you in the future. Join us in Facebook page and disscuss more. It is all about stop dreaming and start action.

  3. When it is all said and done this is Mas Fatih’s blog and he can write and do whatever he wants within reason (reason in this case being compliant with the prevailing laws and regulations of the Republic of Indonesia).

    The fact that he may have used the blogger of the week entry to jump on a soap box and make points about anonymous blogging, is once again a case of his blog, his right. My stats would suggest that at least sum of you fine readers swung by to check my blog out, some stayed and commented and some disppeared as quickly as they arrived!

    I do not give the proverbial rat’s arse whether you blog anonymously or not. It does not matter. If you feel that you can only give more credence to what is said by someone who posts under their own name, so be it! Do not underestimate our reading public, the vast majority are much more discerning than blindly accepting what is written as the truth!

    With respect to stereotyping. Stereotyping just clouds the real issues that we confront daily and detracts from reasoned argument. It is better we confront stereotypes and those that make them with a view to breaking them down and exposing them for what they are. But I am not going to engage in petty name calling or anything else.

    You want to pick me on the colour of my skin rather than the content of my arguments, then you should expect to get as good as you give when I point out the narrowness of your arguments.

    But the comments have digressed from the original point of Mas Fatih’s original post, which was highlighting my excellent musings as blogger of the week!



  4. One more thing – you complained about “xenophobia” / “us-them” on Ong’s email (see

    However, your “Orient” comment (among others) is so much more offensive that Ong’s “observer” email. Especially since Ong put himself in that observer category.

    You need to fix your attitude.

    Well, some bloggers have attitudes too, for example. But he’s consistent and he doesn’t take offense as easily as you. And he doesn’t mix his rationale with his emotions.

  5. Right, I just browsed around and found these :

    My mind still boggles from what I read so far.

    Treespotter probably said it best about you :

    You are just one twisted and gruntled old bigot, sadly. You keep talking about not discriminating people etc. etc. and yet, you persistently, over the years, over singling me out for one thing or another, why because i’m brown?

    I personally think you need to relax a bit more and don’t try to read too much about everything.
    You ended up contradicting yourself about many things, PestaBlogger for example (insult to you or finance transparency or what?)

    And we knew how PestaBlogger ended up – we got acknowledgement from minister of communication (among many other things) himself.

    Jakartass, you need to be a bit more positive. I’m sure you’ll be able to accomplish so much more that way.
    Stop looking down on us from your high chair (Free expression, as afforded by the internet, is generally a new concept here in the, erm, Orient) and start working together with us to make Indonesia a better place. I know you can.

  6. so it is unfortunate that you sometimes feel it necessary to criticise others who make Indonesia their home and only wish the best for this country.

    Right, you preaches freedom of expression but yourself can’t take criticism ?

    As is, Fatih’s criticism to anon bloggers may seem strong. But if you put the context (only political & religious topic), then it makes more sense.

    So I was lost when you gave example from a literature instead.

    To make it clearer, try reading these posts as well :

    This is an example of an abuse of “freedom of speech”, bordering on hate speech.

    Otherwise, like Fatih, I’m absolutely fine with anonymous blogging. Especially for whistleblowing.

  7. Sir

    I don’t think I get the point of the article or at least it’s not lucid.

    Would Indoneisan Literature have existed without the use of the pseudonym. Please reflect upon how Multatuli, Rivai, Munsji, Tan Boen Kim and Wiggers used their anonymity to help fight just causes and live as writers.

    #have you read all articles the link of which are given at the end of the posts. if not, please do. if you have, you might’ve missed the important points and thus reread them.

  8. Yeah, I hope they-who-mistakenly-aggregated-your-blog learn from this writing and take yours down, because you love to attack other people without any reliable sources. Some people do not enjoy onymous personal attack writings -include me-. As simple as that.

    #oh my, you seem harder to understand than i expected. sorry.

  9. You know what? You’re free to criticize anything in your blog. I did that too in my blog. But the way this writing is aggregated in makes me sick. You pretend to be a honest writer reviewing other bloggers, but you’re not.

    To J, thanks. Some people are just dumb to realize that there is a universal free speech.

    But the way this writing is aggregated in makes me sick.

    Trust me, had I blogged anonymously, my writings in this blog would’ve never aggregated in, of USA and of france. Also Koran Tempo and some foreign journalists would’ve never interviewed me, Tempo magazine would’ve never put me in the first place of its top ten blogger indonesia. See my About page for more. Some people may enjoy–to some extent– the writings of anonymous writers but some–including me– do not. as simple as that.

  10. Fatih.
    In your post about ‘Blogger of the week – Rob Baiton’ you write about others and offer very little appreciation of a fine writer and concerned long-term resident. You disrespect him.

    Dekisugi has described what constitutes bad ‘netiquette’ in the opinion of your critics. Interestingly, he’s Indonesian so I was mistaken in assuming that concepts of what constitutes a degree of respect to other writers is a ‘western’ concept.

    Some notions are universal.

    Respect to you Dekisugi.

    @dekisugi & jakartass: as far as defending anonymity in this comment box blogger is concerned Rob Baiton’s words is the most credible one simply because he’s defending something beyond his interest; himself is NOT anonymous. This is what i meant with this post and this post.

    Anonyomous blogger who defends anonymity is a common people phenomenon. Everybody wants to defend oneself interest. One who defends someone’s else interest is a rarity, like Rob Baiton and some others, and therefore deserves duly appreciation and respect.

  11. Yeah, the worms are out. I agree with most of the comments above. Your biased view of saying anonymous blogger is a coward is really baseless. You are writing about a “blog of the week” whilst you are actually bashing other bloggers unrelated with the subject of this writing with your own opinion. What is your aim with this post? Are you claiming by writing your full name (maybe with your phone numbers, email addresses, home address, your girfriend’s birth date, your bank account number, etc. you name it!) everywhere in your blog makes you a courageous person? Just show me your writing about a controversial issue with your full name. I bet you are afraid to do that. What you can do and this is what you’re doing is attacking other anonymous persons because you know they are anonymous.

  12. Hi again Fatih

    I’m not angry – just trying to indicate that there’s a ‘netiquette’, probably ‘western’ orientated. Free expression, as afforded by the internet, is generally a new concept here in the, erm, Orient, so there isn’t yet the ‘tradition’ of allowing others to express opinions. Given that it isn’t quite ten years since President Habibie abolished state control of the press, Indonesia has made quite remarkable strides.

    However, it is still only ranked 100 (out of 169 countries) in the just published Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 ~ a rise of 3 places. Bearing in mind that most of the mass media is owned by remnants of the old New Order, then the ‘alternative media’, of which we bloggers are part, has an important role to play as a disseminator of dissenting viewpoints.

    By all means, it is only right that arguments are offered which aim to refute opinions, but personal abuse is definitely unacceptable. Unfortunately, your repeated theme/comment about anonymity is taken personally and is definitely a breach of ‘netiquette’.

    That is why I took down your link. You have done as much as anyone in Indonesia to promote free expression through blogging, so it is unfortunate that you sometimes feel it necessary to criticise others who make Indonesia their home and only wish the best for this country.

    #Well jak, first of all, it’s ok if my good gesture is declined. the ball is on you not me. i’m just trying to be a bit magnanimous, if it’s not reciprocated it’d be fine.

    on netiquette, sorry to say you’re inconsistent. while you can’t tolerate personal criticism you did it yourself. self-righteousness, holier-than-thou attitude is what make individual–and sometimes a nation–deteriorates or at least need a long time to grow-up.

    Code of conduct is a moral call. It’d be used as self-justification and/or finger-pointing-others if it’s not attached to personal integrity. We see this often happens. We say “unethical” to others if we feel one makes us angry; implicitly we want to claim it’s “us” who are in a bigger level of ethics. It happened down the memory lane; it’s happening now.

  13. Fatih.
    It really is bad form to insert adverts into the writings of other people ~ unless, of course, they have given permission and you share whatever commission you may make.

    BTW. Indonesian Matters is as much a forum about issues in the news as a blog. So who are ‘they’ who are getting castigated? The debates are rarely with the host, as this one is.

    #Hi Jak, glad to see you call my name again. on indonesiamatters, i dont talk about the comments, i talk about the content. on ads, it’s automatic. i can’t control it. but if a commentator in this blog has problem with that he/she can email me or write here about it i’d delete his/her comment right away.

    one thing i need to assure you jak, that i’ve no personal grudge whatsoever with you. when i criticise anonymity, actually what i highlighted was a phenomenon not a person. not you. i may hug you wholeheartedly when we meet in person one day. and i still acknowledge you as a forefront blogger who introduced indonesia to the world when i and other indonesians still were not knowledgeable enough to start this campaign. i still admire you for that even now. but your anger expression when writing in my blog made me dont have enough chance to say this.

    BTW, how about blogroll-each-other again like old-days as a make-up gesture? :)

  14. Mas Fatih…thanks for the Blog of the Week credit…It seems that whether one chooses to blog using their ‘real’ name or whether they choose to blog anonymously and your comments on this has opened a real can of worms, so to speak!

    I would fence sit on this issue with regard to the pros and cons of anonymous blogging but I do not sit on the fence with regard to defending a blogger’s right to remain anonymous!

    Jakartass has made excellent and well-reasoned points as he always does! The fact that some of these ‘expats’ in Indonesia choose to blog anonymously is no inhibiter to whether I read them or not…The value is in the discourse and dialogue that can be had…there is plenty of stuff written that I do not agree with (perhaps it is because I am on that loony leftist fringe or something similar) but once again I vigorously defend the rights of those to blog in any manner that they choose…

    One final point — it is unreasonable to equate anonymous blogging with cowardice…there are sometimes good reasons that people hide their true identities from the big bad world that we live in — besides it took ages for Lois Lane to discover that Clark Kent really was Superman (or in the Indonesian pirated version Suparman) :)

    #Good points Mas Rob. We still can agree to disagree on this issue, that’s the kind of debates I like: keeping the civility and elegance intact in whatever disagreement we might’ve had.

  15. mas Fatih, i used to be anonymous because the contract in my previous job limit me to publish anything related to work without written permission from my office. i understand people who face the same problem. but once i am a student again, i name my blog after my name.

    but to be honest, i share the same feeling about indonesiamatters with u. hillarious, they think they are more intelectual and open minded than the islamic and nasionalist extrimist, but they are just developing another type of extrimism, liberalism extrimist. Scorning and mocking others for having narrow minded opinion, cursing ones who are not just as liberal as they are. and yet, anonymous.

    they are not libertarian at all. they are liberalism extremist. no, coward liberalism extremist.

    piuff..sorry for being so angry..
    thanks mas. u can delete my comment if u think it’s disgraceful.

  16. <b><a href=”,,2239162,00.html” rel=”nofollow”>Anonymity has an honourable history.</a></b>

    “Many of the great books of English literature were originally published without their authors’ names. It is one of the most frequent facts about literary works from before the 20th century, yet it is rarely thought worth a comment. We have forgotten that the first readers of Gulliver’s Travels or Sense and Sensibility had to guess who their authors might be, and that writers like Sir Walter Scott and Charlotte Brontë went to elaborate lengths to keep secret their authorship of the bestselling books of their times. From Spenser and Donne to Dickens and Tennyson, most of the great names of English fiction and poetry used anonymity at some time.”

    Q.1. What was the ‘real’ name of the author of ‘Alice In Wonderland?

    Does the answer matter?

    I doubt it.

    Anita, I think you’ve got ‘my’ book so have another look at my acknowledgments and you’ll see that Op Diner is Simon Grigg and he lives in Bali.

    I’m not sure if this information really helps the host of this blog. Knowing my ‘real’ name won’t be of any value either. After all, we wear different masks, showing different facets of our personalities to different people.

    I linked to Rob Baiton’s blog long before our host, so it would appear that Fatih and I may share the same ‘taste’ in blogs, but there is no way I wish to bare my soul to him. After all, he seems to be unprepared to enter into debate with those who don’t share his beliefs; his mode of discourse is to denigrate.

    In disparaging those who he thinks shouldn’t ‘hide’, he is attacking, rather than encouraging free expression. This is very strange coming from someone who offers a Blogger of the Week. As Dikkyz hasn’t quite pointed out, how can you trust someone who doesn’t publish his email address?

    (BTW. Brandon of Java Jive has virtually ceased writing opinion articles because of the racist abuse he and his lady received. So much for being open.)

    #Dear Jakartass, long time no see. Nice to have you here again. :) Thought, I’ve made clear as to when the clear identity/name is needed. Literature is certainly a kind of topic one could enjoy without knowing the one behind it. The content does matter in this case. Reread again this post just in case you havent: and

    One thing which is important in this discussion is that, we often feel free to criticise others on the behest of freedom of expression and democratic values but at the same time we can’t tolerate even the least of others who criticise us. We want others to be tolerant and open to our criticism and DO NOT WANT us to be criticised. This is the message I got from responses I’ve read from a few expats who responded to this post –none of the ghost critical bloggers are graceful personalities. Sorry to say this.

    Life, my friend, just as in love, cannot be one sided. When you enter the kitchen, be prepared to feel the heat. When you expect someone or something to be “graceful” to accept your ranting; the same should be applied to you as well. Life is simple but sometimes it’s complicated for those who don’t understand the rule of reciprocity.

    One thing I would like to say wholeheartedly to you Jakartass: you’re a good person. I know that. The thing you need to improve–sorry to lecture you–is your lack of openness to disagreement and unprepared to criticism. My apology if my words hurt you, but if you’re honest you’d know my intention on this topics is to set a higher standard when it comes to critical writings on religions and, to some cases, politics in our respective blogs by bravely showing our face and identity.

    We may have a different opinion of what “higher standard” is all about but let’s show what your points are without getting personal. It’s not personal matter as you may think. Every regular readers of this blog and my indonesian blog at would know that it’s not only expat that i cricitise; i’m also very critical to my fellow indonesian bloggers, government and indonesian as a people. Also, I got a lot of severe criticism and disagreement from my fellow Indonesian (see in my indonesian blog) against my opinion. To me that’s what openness is all about. Nothing personal Jakartass or whatever your name maybe. I used to like you, and still am. :)

  17. Blogging is an expression of freedom. Some are decide to be his/her self, but some of them are happy with his/her anonymous.

    Each blog has it own readers. Some readers concern about credibility some are not. Lets give them choice of their own.

    For blogs that we don’t belief the credibility of it writers, just leave it. In other hand, we re-visit and contribute to credible blogs.

    Fatih, I agree with your opinion, but lets focus on tasks, to build capacity, credibility, and understanding.

    BTW, showing your email address will ease readers to contact you personally.

    BTW, showing your email address will ease readers to contact you personally.

    Meaning you haven’t read my About page just like the Jakartass you can find my email outhere displayed. It could also mean you havent read the “further reading” articles at the end of the above post which may make you have a bit different outlook. CMIIW.

  18. Thanks for the inspiring words Cak Fatih. Somehow, it is a personal thing; blogging. So actually, for me, there are various reasons behind the pseudonym decision in blogging.

  19. I went to Indonesia Matters and see the blog list, and here’s what I found about expat blogs:

    -Jakartass-we know his real name when we buy his Culture Shock! Jakarta book,
    -Java Jive puts his name proudly,
    -Treespotter-no idea who, but I’m quite sure it’s a he,
    -Nomad4ever also reveals his true identity,
    -Unspun, everyone knows who he is,
    -Indonesia Now is Duncan Graham,
    -Metromad is Simon P,
    -Greenstump is Oigal but of course it pseudo,
    -Planet Mole is Barry,
    -no idea who the Opinionated Diner is,
    -Max Lane is Max Lane,
    -Jakarta Casual, if you’re patience enough to click on his many websites, you’d find out his name,
    -John Orford uses his name as the name of the blog,
    -Blog M hides under his/her pseudo,
    -Jakarta Urban Blog is Thomas Belfield
    -Roy Voragen is Roy Voragen
    -Ausdag is David something, but I’m sure he tells his last name on one of his postings in Indonesia Matters

    Sorry, I’m lazy to put the link on each blog. But from the above list we could see that we know the identity of most of the expat/westerner bloggers.

    Therefore, Mas Fatih, I also wonder, just like Doug, if Westerners mostly are ghost bloggers.

    Maybe not in Indonesia? As Indonesia, or Jakarta, is a tiny large village, where everybody knows everybody…?

  20. When you claim that “most” expats in Indonesia blog anonymously. Most is a semi-quantitative term, and your usage implies that you have some data to support your position. If so, would you please share it with us

    Hi Doug, there’s no such official statistic if that’s what you meant. but you can slouch over this link for the list of blogs about Indonesia to find out your self one by one and to make your own conclusion. I also would like to suggest you to blogwalk to many international blogs that discuss on Islam written by westerners as my conclusion is based on my own blogwalking to several blogs written by Westerners, in Indonesia and outside, that talk a lot about religion especially on Islam. this also my answer for Anita. And correct me I’m wrong. Meantime, too much focused on statistic, specially in the context of my writing will certainly miss the important point I’d like to convey namely: when we talk on such sensitive issues as politics and particularly on other cultures and religions we should be accountable and open to dialog. Anonymity doesn’t represent that spirit.

    Also, I don’t mind to those who blog anonymously/pseudonymously in some topics other than those two mentioned.

    For Anita: Anonymity means unclear identity and name in the blogs. That we or you know him/her in person is another matter altogether. Also, I dont talk about a nice guy like Java Jive who blog mostly on photography. His blog content doesn’t need a clear name/identity. Please make clear about this, and kindly read all the articles I wrote on this issue mentioned in the end of the post to understand more on the context we are discussing. Thanks.

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