Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com


Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Where's the concierge?

So we all read about Probosutedjo, a business tycoon and the half-brother of former president Soeharto. About his court case and now about his new address in East Jakarta:
The Cipinang penitentiary [1].

Well, we are not going to comment about law, or politics, or corruption or anything like that. It's just kind of a bit passé at this point.

We just thought, what a bummer it must be for a billionaire like him to give up a luxury palace and move to a, well, not so luxurious residence.

What do you think went on his mind when he found out he would be sent there? Do you think he would google the word 'LP Cipinang' to find out what kind of place it is?

Well, we did. And apparently it is not much of a bummer after all. Good for Mr. Probo. Here is why:

With a little bit of money, you can pretty much have a good life doing your time. You can choose your room, and depending on your budget you can get a simple room for Rp.100.000 to a VIP room for Rp. 2 million. Apparently, you can also equip your room with a stereo, tv, refrigerator and air conditioning [2].

If you are hungry and do not feel like eating the buffet provided there, you can ask one of the warden to buy you a nice meal from outside[3]. At a fee, of course, but hey. Think of it as tipping your concierge. While at it, the warden can also buy you prepaid cards for your cellphone, in case you have been chatting all night with your loved ones (or business partners) and running out of units. Cellphone? You get to keep a cellphone? You bet.

So you have your nice room, nice meal, and your loved ones are just a phone call away.
Oh, and one last thing: If you are having one of those sleepless nights, you feel kind of lonely and need a companion, just holler.
Escort service is available too [4].

Just ask your concierge.

[1] Jakarta Post - Probosutedjo sent to Cipinang penitentiary
[2] Detik - Biarkan Uang yang Bicara
[3] Detik - LP Bobrok, Penjahat pun Kabur
[4] Detik - Pelacur Keluar Masuk LP Cipinang?

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An email from MH

Recently, we received an email from MH. No, no. Not Michael Howard, the British politician. But close enough. MH is a UK national living in Jakarta. He/she wrote us in response to our blog here.
We like the email so much we thought we should share it with you. So here it is in its entirety, with our comment here and there to explain to you why we find this email interesting.

Dear Indonesia Anonymus,

I really enjoy your blog. However, in your latest posting I think you may be too hard on Indonesia.

I am a European (UK national) living in Indonesia. One of the reasons I feel lucky to live here is that the chances of being victim of a crime are far fewer here than in my home country.

This is new. At least to us. I don't know about you, but we never thought Jakarta would be safer than London for example. For some of us, the first reaction was:
"Well, if he is one of those expats who live in a big house (like this one) with 24 hour security guards and getting around town in a chauffeur-driven car, it is easy to feel safe. At least safer than being in a London tube.." But read on, because MH is actually more down to earth than that.

In your blog, you compare Vienna with Jakarta, and express admiration for Daniela's freedom to display her fruit in front of her store, while in Jakarta people would probably steal them straight away. You claim it is all about trust. But, is it? I would say that it is rather to do with the poverty in which many of Jakarta's residents live. If there were as many homeless, jobless people, living on less than a dollar a day, on the streets of Vienna as there are in Jakarta, Daniela's store would be burnt down by now.

This is where we part ways a little bit with MH. Not that we disagree. Poverty may have something to do with the crime rate in one way or another, but being dreamers as we are, we would like to still believe that poverty does not make criminals. You see, we did some pro-bono work with a local NGO a while ago to help people living in slums (small work, obviously not enough to make a difference) so we know some people that fit MH's profile above: People who are homeless, jobless and living on less than a dollar a day. They live in slums, making a dismal living collecting cardboards from trash. But they are not criminals.

So then why don't we feel safe?
Maybe this is the problem: law enforcement. This is where our trust is getting shaky. Wouldn't you agree? So it is still a matter of trust, but not among us, but towards the law enforcement. (Remember the cow joke: Lost a cow + report to police = lost two cows. Not a good math. And not funny either to some of us. Especially to the one whose spouse is a police officer..)

MH continues:

My own experience tells me that Indonesians (despite the corruption in high places) are generally law-abiding people. While living in the UK I was robbed of money and a TV when my apartment was broken into. While living in Barcelona, Spain, I was robbed at knifepoint in broad daylight in a city park, and in Rome, Italy, my partner was mugged right outside the main door to our apartment.

I have lived in Jakarta for several years and have never been robbed or assaulted (although a young fellow did once try to pick my pocket on the train to Bogor). This, despite the obvious wealth gap between myself, an orang putih, and the Jakarta poor.

People here often wonder if I am 'takut' living in Indonesia. On the contrary, it is far safer being an English(person) in Jakarta than an Indonesian in London (or even Vienna, I imagine).

Well, we won't disagree on this one either. How can we, when MH said all this good things about Jakarta.
So yes, MH, maybe you are right. It is safer being an English person in Jakarta than an Indonesian in London or Vienna. We have been to both places and we noticed a 'xenophobic reception' in certain areas of the city just because of the color of our skin. Not in majority of course. You in Indonesia on the other hand, will receive a 'positive discrimination' just because of being - in your words - an 'orang putih'.
(We are not saying that 'positive discrimination' is a good thing though.)

MH email ends there.

Thank you MH, for reminding us that we may have been too hard on ourselves. But maybe it is necessary. Maybe we need to be harder on ourselves, in order to move forward. We certainly see some people around us who do not push themselves enough. People who do not try hard enough, do not do enough, do not dream enough.
So maybe we should be even harder on ourselves in the future.

See it as our relentless passion to build a better Indonesia.

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Friday, November 25, 2005

I.. I don't want trouble..

Since Jakartass wrote about us on November 22, more of you have visited - and hopefully read - our blog. (we therefore thank you, Jakartass, for spreading the words). And since then too, we receive more and more comments from you. They are all great. We love them.

Some emails came in response to our blog "They wear suits" (if you do not know what we are talking about, maybe you should read it first). Many of which expressed deep simpathy to Joni and what he went through. For that we thank you.

Among those emails, we found one particularly interesting and we would like to share it with you. The email came from a lawyer. Basically what he said in the email was: "What the security guards did to Joni was against the law. If you have some kind of proof and witness to support the allegation, I can help you to hold the guards and the building management responsible." Wow. Just reading that gave us goosebumps. And some more: He will do it pro bono for Joni. Very nice of him. His name, phone number and address checked out, so we concluded he is for real.

Our first thought was, if we keep this thing rolling, it is going to get really interesting! But then after that few seconds of hype, logic set in. The incidence happened a few months ago, Joni has no proof, no witness, nothing. It will be his words against theirs. He has no case. Darn.

But since the whole story is about Joni, we thought we should involve Joni in the decision making, so we went to him. We told him about all the attention he got, all the email showing the heart-felt simpathy, and then about the lawyer. Guess how he reacted to it.
He turned pale and said: "I.. I.. don't want trouble.." You could see the fear in his eyes. Now that is NOT exactly the response we were looking for. Joni went on: "I.. I am just a slave, I know nothing. I just want to live in peace...." and so on.

A slave? Oh, come on Joni. Surely it is just a figure of speech, but still. Historically Indonesia endured 350 years of Dutch occupation. We were slaves then. And then three and a half years of Japanese occupation. We were slaves then too. And here we are now, more than sixty years after our independence, we still think we are slaves.

Ironically, on that same day, we had just spent the whole morning in an unbearably-long meeting with some government officials regarding one of our project. And we were tired of having to watch some of them acting as if they were (little) kings. Decisions made based on the mood of the day, schedules changed based on whims, money spent like it grows on trees*. Well, we had the kingdom of Sri Vijaya in the 7th century AD, so we had kings then. And then of course the kingdom of Majapahit from 1300 to early 16th century. We had kings then too. And here we are now, more than sixty years after our independence, and we are still ruled by kings.

What is going on here. If you ask us right now, to name one thing that desperately need fixing in our country, then this is it. Our mentality. Because we either have a 'slave mentality' or a 'king mentality'. Both are just as bad.
Why not have something in between for a change. We are not kings, we are not slaves. We are we. We are all the same.
An 'in between' mentality. In-between is good enough, ain't it?

Anyway, back to Joni. In the end he urged us not to write anything about him ever again. He said he just wants to live his life in peace. He wants to forget everything and move on.

He forced us to promise him that there will be no more blog about him. So my dear friends, this will be the last time we write about Joni.

We will keep our promise for sure, because we.. we.. don't want trouble.. (from Joni).

PS: To all of you who have been kind enough to drop us a line:
cindy, hasan_sat, shakiras lover, boboakunting, mia565#, mariam s., happy_pappy: thank you for the words of simpathy.
deni9875# : Yes, Joni is a real name.
kudalari, wawan21#, eva_t : Thank you but Joni does not accept donation, at least not at this time. Thank you for caring.
ananda, ym_fitri : Yes, Joni is married with 3 kids. 1 girl and 2 twin boys.
(Note: some names are obfuscated to protect the privacy)

* we urge you not to generalize and think that all government officials are like what we describe above. We just happened to stumble on some.
There is a lot of good officials out there who work hard to make this country better, and they have our sincere admiration.
The officials we were talking about are the 'bad apples', and in the basket there are more good apples than bad (but sometimes the basket needs some shakings so the good ones can emerge.)

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Monday, November 21, 2005

They wear suits !

In our job we regularly exchange documents with our counterparts' offices located along Jakarta's Sudirman street. Joni, one of our office assistants, is the person in charge of delivering these documents. (at other places Joni will be called an 'office boy'. We prefer the term 'office assistants' because their duty mainly is to assist us in doing something that we are too stupid to do, such as fixing paper jam in photocopy machines or sending a fax without mistakenly sending it to Timbuktu. Don't laugh. It actually happened! ). Upon request, Joni will take the office motorcycle and deliver the documents quickly and reliably.

We noticed however, that when we asked him to deliver documents to one particular office building in Sudirman street, he showed some reluctance. He would still do it, but you could see on his face that he did not like it. One of us decided to find out why.

He took Joni to lunch and then after a pleasant talk of other topics, asked Joni to tell him what is wrong. Apparently Joni hates the security guards of that building. He said security guards in all office buildings are mean to him in general, "but that is fine. I know I am not 'somebody', I am just a messenger, and I accept it", Joni said. "But some guards are just plain mean. Even if I do not do anything wrong, even after I parked my motorcycle properly, and left my ID at the desk, they still asked me questions and gave me a suspecting look." His last straw was when a group of security guards dragged him to an office at the basement and strip-searched him, suspecting him of concealing a weapon. They found nothing of course, but since that moment, Joni hated them. Hated the building.

We found this hard to believe. We go in and out that building so many times, and no security guard has ever come to us. We are never asked to leave any ID (although it is written specifically at the lobby desk, that all guests must leave an ID), we are never asked about what we brought in our bags, we are never asked where we want to go in the building. Never.
So we assumed Joni was being discriminated against. He received such treatment because he is a messenger. And being a messenger does not gain him respect.

So what do we do? Be a vigilante and storm the building, demanding justice for Joni? Well, of course not. We thought we should be sure about this.

We will do an experiment. Here is how it will be done:

We will ask a male volunteer, (can't ask Joni, his face will be too familiar), to go in and out some office buildings in Sudirman, and we will observe what happen. We will do the experiment twice. First the volunteer will enter the building wearing a simple outfit (T Shirt, jeans and sport shoes), and the second time, he will appear in a nice suit and a Nokia communicator in his hand. We want to proof to ourselves, that the same person will be treated differently just because he wears different outfit.

We will pick 10 different office buildings along Sudirman area, so we won't be biased towards certain building.

To make it more exciting, we will do the experiment on Saturday, when things are quiet. Yes. We want the security guards to notice when our volunteer enters the lobby.
We thought the experiment will be useless if our volunteer can walk in unnoticed. We want the guards to have a good look at him and then decide whether to approach him or to leave him alone.

One of our colleagues found a volunteer. It was her driver. His name is Didik. Didik is tall and well-built, so he will look good in both outfits. Perfect. Didik is excited too when we explained about the experiment. Especially the part where he will get to wear a suit and carry a Nokia communicator. He almost jumped for joy when we told him he gets to keep it after the experiment is finished (the suit, not the Nokia communicator. That one is borrowed from our friend who owns a cellphone shop, because none of us uses a phone the size of a brick).

We had the plan, we had the volunteer, we bought the suit. We were ready. We were so excited we could hardly wait until Saturday.

Are you curious about the result? Well, we were. So here we go. As the first part of the experiment, Didik went in and out the office buildings in his T Shirt and jeans. He carried nothing in his hand. We asked him to enter from the front lobby, go straight to the elevator, and go up to wherever. After a few minutes he should go down and leave the building. That was it. As a precaution, we asked him to memorize an office name located in the building. Just in case somebody ask where he was going, he would have the answer handy. We gave him office names and contact person names, just in case.

So how did Didik do? How many times do you think he got stopped by the security guards? Well, here it is:
Out of 10 visits to 10 different office buildings, Didik was:

  • Ignored, no response from security guards : 1 time.
  • Stopped and asked where he was going, but let go without having to leave an ID : 3 times.
  • Stopped and asked where he was going, and asked to leave an ID before let go : 4 times.
  • Stopped and told to leave the building : 2 times.

Yes. He got kicked out twice! Even after Didik offered to leave his ID, told them the specific office he was going to, and that he already had an appointment with so and so (he named our contact person). They still told him to get out. One of them said: "That office is closed. Shut up and get out!". Ouch.

After the first stage, we thought it would be stupid to dress Didik up in a suit and send him there again. Some of the guards might remember his face. So we decided to wait until the next Saturday to launch the second stage of the experiment.

The following Saturday, Didik was dressed up ready to go. He looked really convincing. With Nokia communicator that he pretended to use from time to time, he looked just like any Jakarta's young professional.

So how did it go?

Out of 10 visits to 10 different office buildings wearing a nice suit, Didik was:

  • Ignored, no response from security guards : 9 times.
  • Stopped and asked where he was going, but let go without having to leave an ID : 1 time.
  • Stopped and asked where he was going, and asked to leave an ID before let go : 0 time.
  • Stopped and told to leave the building : 0 time.

Yes, he was stopped once, but even that, the security guard asked him where he was going only to press the elevator button for him. The guard even held the door until he was in!

So there you go. The result of our simple experiment. Suprising? Hardly. Such phenomenon is known for years as the Warren Harding error [1]. Named after Warren Harding, who in 1920 ran for US presidency. He was elected despite being vague and ambivalent about policy, just because he had the good look. (He was tall, handsome and looked 'presidential'). Since then, researchers call a quick cognition based on appearance as Warren Harding error. Such cognition is said to be the root of prejudice and discrimination.

But still, it is sad, isn't it? It really made us think.
Is that what it takes to gain respect these days? Dress up in a suit and carry an expensive phone? Is that why we work so hard? Is that why we chase higher and higher salary? So that we can afford to wear expensive things and hence gain respect from people? is that why we choose certain model of a car? Is that why we choose certain neighborhood when we buy a house? So that we can portray a certain image, and that image will gain us respect?

Is respect so cheap it can be bought at a price of a nice suit? (Didik's suit was Rp.1.780.000, less than 180 US dollars).

No wonder we cannot prosecute the country's corrupt people [2]. Those people wear suits.

[1] Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - Malcom Gladwell, ISBN 0-316-17232-4
[2] Yosef Ardi - Blind eyes on Big-Fish Corruptors

PS: In case you are concerned about Joni, he no longer delivers documents. We decided to hire a startup delivery service company to do this. Joni is now responsible for our mail room (he sorts & distributes incoming mail, handles incoming & outgoing faxes, etc. He will only need to step out the office if he has to go to the post office to mail our letters.)
Didik, on the other hand, no longer works for us. A few weeks after our experiment, his father passed away, left his mother and him a small restaurant to run in Surabaya. Being the only son, he decided to help his mother run the business. The restaurant is now a must-visit whenever we are in Surabaya.

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Give me your tired, your poor...

We were reading The Jakarta the other day and came across this news: Jakarta administration will launch a large-scale crackdown on unskilled migrants entering the city after Ied holiday [1]. The migrants are blamed to be the source of many urban problems. The Jakarta Post also wrote that such crackdown "could be in violation of the Constitution".

We cannot agree more. We are all Indonesians. We should be able to move freely in within our country.

Let's think about it this way: Which kind of people would you prefer: People who are willing to work hard to change their lives, or people who don't even try and leave it to fate?
We think we like the first one better. The migrants come to Jakarta because they know their life will not improve if they stay wherever they are before, and they have decided to do something about it. Isn't that a good spirit? That is the kind of spirit we want Indonesian people to have. If everybody has this kind of spirit, Indonesia would be a great country in no time. Poverty? Let's do something about it. Corruption? Let's do something about it. We need this kind of people. We need this kind of spirit.

Now why are we punishing them for having such determination, by crackingdown on them? Why do we treat them as if we don't want them? Isn't this discrimination?

Here is one of the reasons mentioned in the news: "Every new influx (of migrants) puts an increased strain on the city's transportation, schools, hospitals and water supplies."
Well, ok. More people, more problems. That's logical. But let us think about this further: Is city transportation free? No. This people will have to pay just like anybody else. (which means they have the same rights as us). Are schools free? Not that we know of. Hospitals? Come on. Water supplies? It is a known fact that people who live in slums pay more for clean water [2][3]. Conclusion: This people do not get a dime from Jakarta government. They have to pay for everything.

Here is another reason mentioned in the news: "Public zones such as parks, riverbanks and the spaces under overpasses have been turned into slum housing by squatters, while road shoulders, pedestrian sidewalks and bridges are lined with migrants who earn their living by becoming street vendors."
We don't know about you, but we have visited slums before and talked to the people there. Guess what: This people actually pay rent to live there. We are not saying that they pay rent to the government. But there are individuals who allow them to live there, for a fee. Same thing with sidewalks and bridges for street vendors: They are not free. Conclusion: Again, this people have to pay for everything.

So if they don't receive a dime from the goverment, what right does the government have to turn them away?

We believe the government are blaming the migrants for their own failures. Slums? No, no, it's not because of incompetent city administrators, it's the migrants. Streets crowded with vendors? No, no, it's not because of corruption. It's the migrants. Lack of clean water? It's the migrants.
The Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta) chairman Azas Tigor Nainggolan said it right: "The administration should humbly admit that it has not been serious or professional enough in dealing with these problems and is now looking for a scapegoat,"

Enough of this. Folks, we sould not turn away people who are willing to work hard to change their lives. We should embrace them. They are the future of our country.
Don't we believe that if we work hard, we can overcome anything? This people believe in that too. That's why they are here.
Yes, of course we agree that the real problem lies in the inequality of wealth distribution. Yes, we agree that many regions have failed to take care of their own people nor create jobs for them so their people have to go elsewhere to earn a living. Yes, we know. But until that problem is solved, we will always have the migrants at our doorsteps.
What are we going to do? Two choices: Discriminate them, or embrace them as one of us.
We believe the second one is the best.

The writing on the Statue of Liberty cannot put it better [4]:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

[1] - Overpopulation remains a threat for Jakarta
[2] - Empowering Jakarta's Poor; The chance to break the cycle of poverty and injustice - Anugerah Pekerti
[3] Reason Online - Water Is a Human Right; How privatization gets water to the poor - Ronald Bailey
[4] Wikipedia - Statue of Liberty

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Monday, November 14, 2005

That's wrong. That's very wrong.

Last week a bunch of us were fortunate enough to get a chance to fly to Vienna Austria for a work meeting.
It was a pleasant short visit, and the city is as stunning as you see in travel photos.
But this is not a travel blog, so we won't go on about that.
What we will tell you instead is our encounter with a grocery storekeeper Daniela.

Daniela works at a small grocery store around the corner of where we stayed during our visit. Her shift starts early in the morning, so as part of her job she would clean up the store and get it ready for business. If the weather allows, she would also setup a table outside the store, arrange fruits for display. Buyers will then pick up the fruits they want and pay inside. (the store is a one man show, with Daniela doing everything, including manning the cash register).

One day we went to her store to get some fruits for breakfast, and that was when we got to know her. Unlike many Austrians we know, Daniela is very chatty, and after a few minutes we were talking as if we were good friends. We even joined in arranging apples, oranges and grapes outside her store.

It was then, when one of us said something that makes us think all the way until now. When we were arranging the fruits outside her store, one of us said something like this:
"You know Daniela, this method of selling will not work in Jakarta,"
Daniela looked up with a question mark on her face. "Oh? Why?"
And almost all of us answered in unison : "Because everything will be gone in 5 minutes and you won't get a dime."
Daniela was still lost, so we explained further: "If you put these stuff outside like this with nobody watching them, people will easily steal them. Passers by will just take whatever they want and leave without paying."
"But that's wrong." Daniela replied. "That's very wrong."

And that, my friends, was when we regret saying those things. As much as it is true, we still love our country so much we don't want Daniela to think that our society consider stealing as normal. We are not a bunch of thieves. Or are we?

Now don't get us wrong. We know we all are not thieves and we know that although we see fruits outside a store in a Jakarta street sitting unattended, we will not steal them. No we won't. Not in a million years. But here's what's interesting : We also know that they WILL be stolen. In fact, we are almost 100% sure that they will get stolen, and we will be very very surprise if at the end of the day they didn't. That would be really strange and 'not normal'.
So even if we don't steal, we still think it is normal.
And guess what. If they are stolen, instead of blaming the thief, we would blame the store for being an idiot. "What do you expect if you leave your merchandise unattended. Of course someone will snatch them.. That's just stupid."

Well my friend, no it is not stupid. What's stupid is thinking that it is normal that if you leave stuff unattended, someone will steal it.
Folks, theft is not normal and it should not be.

You see, it is all about trust. Daniela's way of selling her apples and oranges in front of her store is based on this and this only. A trust that people who would like to have her fruits will take them inside and pay. A trust that if they take three, they will pay for three, and not pay for one with the rest hidden somewhere in their coat.

Trust, my friend, is what we no longer have. We think people are out there to get us. They are after our property, our money, our jobs.

And if trust is earned, not given, we are certainly not trying to earn it. Look at some of our members of parliament. Is giving themselves expensive cars when people are suffering a way of gaining trust? [1] Look at our government. Is it keeping its campaign promises to gain our trust?
For God sake, look at ourselves. We think stealing is normal.

Maybe that's why our country is ranked 137 of 158 in Corruption Perceptions Index [2]. We are in fact more corrupt than Burundi, Congo, Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia.

Trust is hard to come by and I think we should start to build it again from scratch. If you are a member of the ruling government, you know what to do. If you are a member of parliament, you know what to do.
If you are just common folks, like us, well, just look around. Do you trust your neighbors? Come to think of it, do your neighbors trust YOU? Got you thinking right there.
So let's start. We have to work together here. Easy? Of course not. Difficult? Not really. Daniela's community has it. If they can we can.

Because we don't want our kids to think that stealing is normal. Instead, we want them to be able to say: "That's wrong. That's very wrong."

[1] Riau Spending Spree - Indonesia Today by Yosef Ardi
[2] Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2005

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oh Come On. Don't waste your time !

Yesterday we came across a gossip column at about an alleged affair between one of Indonesian ex President's son and a (somewhat) famous singer [1]. Does this news surprise you ? No.
To add more to it, there are some photos supporting the allegation. Is this a surprise then? Still a big no.
All right, how about this: among those photos, there is one picture of them kissing, and one with our (somewhat) famous singer wearing a skimpy dress. A surprise ? HELL NO.

What raised our eyebrows was what comes later: two wellknown IT experts namely Roy Suryo and Heru Sutadi took their time to study the photos and come up with some analysis (pixel size, resolution, flash effect, skin tone, Depth of Field, etc) to conclude that the photos are in fact real (i.e no digital manipulation) [2].

Wait a minute. Why should we be surprised, you may ask.

Well, if you are an IT expert, would you spend your valuable time analyzing photos sent by God knows who, taken by God knows who, containing pictures of some celebs doing personal things (we know what), to provide analysis to a gossip column?

Oh, come on.

40% of Indonesian people are below poverty line and go to sleep hungry everyday, and these two so-called experts spend their time analyzing gossip photos?

So is that a surprise? Sadly, no.
We are so used to this now. This distractions. It makes us feel better because for a while it takes our attention away from our bigger problems. We welcome it now. Homeless children of tsunami? bird flu? Fuel price? No! no! Look at these photos! They look real aren't they? They are having an affair! This is hot!

For once we would like to read news about these 2 IT experts doing pro bono work in a more useful way.
What about a free computer course for the poor? That sounds good. Let's give our valuable time to help the under-priviledged to catch up with the world. Help bridging the ever-widening digital divide.
Or help our country in information and communication technology? After all, according to the World Bank report[3], Indonesia is only in 78th place of all countries in the world in terms of capacity to exploit information and communication technology. (China in 56th place, Malaysia in 25th place, Singapore a runner up, Hong Kong is the champ). There must be a lot to do in this area, right? So shall we roll our sleeves up and start to work on it?

Oh no, no, no! What about those photos? They look real, aren't they? These celebs are having an affair! This is hot!

[1] - Beredar Foto Mesra Mirip Mayangsari di Internet
[2] - Foto Mesra 'Mayangsari' Asli!
[3] The Economist, November 5th-11th 2005, p. 114

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com