Kurniadi Widodo”A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. ~Ansel Adams”
I always have a camera since my teenage years from various brands. Just to tell you, first of all, that I like photography (meaning, taking pictures). But, as some say, “Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner.” This quote reminds us of the fact that while everybody can buy a camera, only a few people can have it and “feels” it with passion to the extent of passion like a techno geek does to his/her computer.
As a “camera owner” sometimes I wonder and regret why I left the camera at home when I see something worths thousands pictures during my journey to a certain places. I think that’s one of many differences between me, and someone like me, as a camera owner and the real photographer. The passion with the camera, as the tools the take a snapshot of a mosaic of the universe. And comes with it is the sensitivity. The sense of what picture is “important” and worth taking and what’s not. Photographer is like a reporter who has the sense and “smells” and can differentiate between what the big news and ordinary one.
Kurniadi Widodo, who describes himself as “a professional procrastinator” is one of those photographer who has the sense of photography. Unlike you and me, the camera owners.
As a simple camera owner, I don’t have enough authority to comment on interesting pictures he took and put into his blog. So, whether you’re a photographer yourself or just a photography fan, I’ll let you to comment yourself on Kurniadi’s works by visiting his blog.
Yansen bengkulu IndonesiaAny non-Indonesian who has a little more time to take a closer look at Indonesian culture might wonder about one thing unique about this nation: a widely common use of single name. Two of Indonesian first presidents, Sukarno and Suharto, are using a single name. Symbolizing that this habit of single-name is practiced by all strata of Indonesian society.
I myself regards this thing as normal until the first time I travel abroad with a single-name friend when an airport official complained to him. In another word, an Indonesian who considers a single-name as “unusual” must have travelled to another country at least once.
That’s why when I read Yansen profile and he highlights his single-name, I knew he’s been abroad and might have an experience in which his single name did put him into trouble a little bit or raise his friends’ eyebrows. Here what he’s to say:
“G for green chronicle” is Yansen. He was born in Kepahiang, a small town in Bengkulu Province, Sumatra. He doesn’t have a family name. Yup, that may be funny. But, most Indonesians don’t have family names. In fact, a lot of Indonesians only have one single name, just like him.
If you read his profile further, you’d come to know that the single-name stuff is just the only light thing he writes. Other than that, he’s got a very good blog meaning a blog with a very good content. And that should not make you wonder. His brief CV would tell you the reason:
After receiving a Bachelor of Forestry in 2002 from Department of Forestry, University of Bengkulu, he was appointed as an associate lecturer at the same department a year after. He was awarded Australian Development Scholarship (ADS) to do master degree in 2005. He went to James Cook University, Queensland and studied at the School of Tropical Biology. He finished his master in 2007. Early 2008, he won an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) scholarship to do PhD. He is now doing PhD at James Cook University.
If you read Indonesian newspapers both in English and Bahasa Indonesia regularly, you’d find his name every now and then outthere in Op-ed pages focusing on such topics as conservation, environment, forestry and agriculture. If you don’t, you can still enjoy his writing in his blog.
As I wrote here, a blog with a particular niche and written by a person with academic authority could be called as an expert blog. A blog that would have a real contribution and impact in the long term and that will have serious attention from serious people. Such very good blog may not be instantly popular especially as far as Indonesian readers are concerned. One thing the author should remember is that he should not be discouraged by that. Because so far as blog goes, quality content may not automatically be in line with the amount of visitors and comments a blog gets. Likewise, a high traffic blog doesn’t necessarily have to do with quality content.
On our part, we should encourage people like Yansen to write more rigorously in his blog by having a visit or two to his blog and writing a good comment there. Making a good comment is a good start to create a good article and thus a good blog as well.
alia makkiWhen a person calls herself Hning Swara commented in one of my post, I was impressed with the way she expresses her opinion. I was impressed even more when I visited her blog– back then in blogspot. She certainly has the talent and obviously is a good writer with an eloquent English I hardly found in an average Indonesian.
The problem with her blog, or with her to be precise, is she uses pseudonym or ghost blogging as I like to call it.
I promise to myself that once she blogs with her true name, I’ll review her blog right away.
Now the time has come.
When I visit her blog again a few days ago, I found some surprising changes: First, her URL address now using top domain with hosting still with blogger.com, something I recommend. Second, she shows her true name.
I am impressed even further to find out that she has the opinion of this true-identity thing:. In her post titled Pseudonym vs Real Name she explains why she went pseudonymous before:
Security is the obvious reason. Where I grew up, Saudi Arabia was such a small, small place. As many Ghamdis, Otaibis & Sharbatlys as you can find, everybody’s related to everybody else by marriage or education or work. And it was relatively easy to pin them out: The old money and the abroad-graduates grouped together in Northern Jeddah. The drug dealers and shady businessmen around the southern part of Jeddah. And the rest of us in between.
The groups dynamics shrunk even further if you’re a second and so-forth generation immigrant, with a surname such as Felemban, Khan or Seeni. I don’t know about you, but just like in Jhumpa Lahiri’s poetic depiction of Bengali immigrants in the US, the Asians in Jeddah cluster together, rarely opening up to the natives.
It wouldn’t be so much a big deal if giving away your identity didn’t get you in trouble. We still hear about fathers and brothers practicing (and legally protected for) honor killings in these parts of the world. The point is, it’s not always out of vanity that pseudonyms are maintained and may take a while of testing the waters until you dare leave the comforts of anonymity.
And the reason why she changes her mind to start showing her true name now:
1. Because I haven’t been living in Saudi. The inherent cyber-paranoia has slowly been replaced with a sense of “fuck if I care what the Citizenship has to say about my work”.
2. Value for my work. I tend to think that credibility is increased with real names. Not that content is defined by that. Just credibility. It is credible that the writer of this blog is a pompous self-proclaimed curmudgeon, wherever she may be seen in the cyberspace.
3. The tendency to self-destruct, which also has been the reason that I’m protecting my relatives from being affiliated to me has also been sublimated into other directions. I’m into demon sightseeing these days.
4. Besides, most people already know that Alia, Adil and Anggi Makki are related, and all three are equally passionate about their unrelated fields of work. So if anyone of us starts screwing up, we don’t directly harm each other’s professional reputation. If anybody cares, really.
5. And most folks don’t care, really, about who you are or to whom you’re related. Most people care more about what you can do for them. How you can inspire and entertain them. It’s just the way the world works, right?
I am sure, the way she makes points of argument, to agree or disagree, has impressed you. You’d find yourself impressed even further once you visit her blog yourself. She’s tough, intelligent, rebellious and, well, “wild”. Some qualities many men like to have in a girl.
shahs milne blogger indonesia of the week 93On 27 May 2010, an Australian blogger and traveler commented on Blogger Indonesia of the Week’s Page thus:
I discovered your site for the first time today, and it’s very interesting to trawl through your past posts. I’m very interested in Indonesian culture, religion and people. I am a young Australian girl who moved to Indonesia at the end of last year and I have been blogging about my experience living in a small muslim fishing village in South West Java since I arrived. .. I’d love to be considered for your blogger of the week.
Unfortunately, the Blogger Indonesia of the Week’s feature has been inactive since then due to one or more reasons. Last night, when I thought to restart this program again, Sash’s blog came first to my mind.
The fact that she’s a cross-border and cross-culture traveler make her really suit the purpose behind the existence of this BOW feature: to introduce Indonesia and anything related to it to a broader world.
Shash has gone anywhere across continents you could only dream of: North America, England, France, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam. In 2010 she’s been living in Indonesia which was planned for 12 months. But at the end of her stay, she decided to carry on for another year. This is what she has to say:
17/12/2010: Back in Australia for Christmas, but no plans to remain on home soil. On Boxing Day 2010 I return to the village in Indonesia, the pull of Batukaras takes me home, like a magnet I am drawn to it… I don’t know for how long… I don’t know if forever. But for now, this chocolate beach surrounded by volcanoes is my home, another 12 months… another year of adventure.
What’s it that want her to stay longer for another year in Indonesia? Shah knows best. That’s said it reminds me of similar story of a British traveler who said to me back in 2006 thus:
I have been to all ASEAN countries. I stayed in each country as planned. Not for Indonesia. I planned living there for three months. It turns out I stay there for one year. The reason was I really love the warmth and easy-going Indonesian. I even planned to switch my citizenship to be Indonesian..
Does Sash have similar sweet experience with Indonesian people which motivate her to stay longer? Might be. In her latest post on March 4, 2011 she wrote:
…I am no longer just a traveler [in Indonesia], I’m no longer a temporary guest but its more real coming back here after Christmas at home… and in many ways its much scarier.
Commitment is always scary, leaving your comfort is terrifying… but isn’t that what we are all in this for? To feel alive… To truly feel alive. And even though I’m not always happy, I’m not always satisfied and I’m often trapped in a whirlwind of frustration, I can’t deny, I feel alive.
If she feels more alive in Indonesia than in her home country, we should warmly welcome her and wish her to live happily everafter here.
A Model of Good Blogging
Sash’s blog could also be a model of how a good blogging is all about: original content, blogging with passion and regularly updated.
There are people in Indonesia who are blogging in technical term but not in real sense i.e. they are called blogger only because they have website which are using such popular blogging platform as WordPress or blogspot. But the contents do not quite represent what blogging is.
Jennie S. Bev once complained to me why so many Indonesian bloggers are filling their blogs by copying other blog contents. I did not respond to her query back then. I thought then it’s ok for beginner. But now I think it’s time for Blogger Indonesia to be more dignified by not copy-pasting other’s blog content. It’s time for Indonesian bloggers to really write what they are good at and what they enjoy writing.
A good blog should start from original content.