Mood: So busy


I haven't written much here since I started working closely to my journalist employer. There have been just so many things to learn and I have been kept busy with all the news and interviews. However, I've quite enjoyed things so far. Monday to Friday I am usually busy with the news gathering which include the main countries in South East Asia. I find it quite OKAY since I still need to get used to some stuff like the names of the politicians in the Philippines and Thailand... but I suppose if I have to do this as my main job I'll be going crazy. Good thing, though, this is not going to be my main responsibility. What we need to do is to wait another assistant, Carol, to start working (possibly on the 29th this month), then I'll spend around 2 week-time training her to do what I'm doing now, and when she's fully able to work independently, I can start assisting Fabio (my employer) to write on the book project on post-tsunami issues in Aceh.

What I found most interesting part of the job so far is the interviews I have to make. Most of them are attempted on the phone. There will be series of frustration at first when I get stuck in contacting the people related to the news -- phone not connected, incorrect numbers, people not available to talk to etc), but when I eventually get connected to the person, I can expect a bunch of drama and excitement to follow.

My first phone interview was to Yusman Roy, an Islamic leader who was accused of blasphemy for campaigning a bilingual sholat (praying) -- that is to use Bahasa Indonesia, in addition of Arabic, in communicating with Allah.
It was quite a challenge to contact him. Both of his phone numbers were not active, and his mobile didn't seem to work anymore, either. So I ended up getting an info about him from one of his lawyers, who sounded eager to be interviewed by an Italian correspondent (at that time, ME), but who didn't seem to really work on Roy's case in filing the law suit to MUI for giving him a bad name and getting him imprisoned for 2 years.
The phone interview was short and not really productive. Nevertheless, it was my first call and I felt quite excited. link

Yusman Roy, Image from Indonesian Matters

Two weeks after I finished my training, Fabio handed me more interview jobs. So, my second by-phone interview was to one of the lawyers of the three Bali bombers. It was not very easy, either at first. Sometimes you've got to press them really hard to get a name of an authorized person to declare the matters and when you do finally talk to that person, you've got to have the "sense" of what your next questions will be. Playing with their emotion will be useful, too. (Now I understand why those celebrities and politicians don't like press. Hehe..)

The interview with the lawyer went pretty well. Fabo was quite happy with it and he started writing as soon as summarized it in a transcript. The next morning he showed me the published article and told me that that was my first contribution. I was quite proud.

Coming up shortly after that was my first live interview. We came to this place called "Adopta Co-op." It's an organization of 5 widows of the victims of the Bali Blast. It's located not far from Kuta and so Fabio and I rode on a motorbike to get there.
Wayan Rastini (own picture)

We managed to speak only to one of the women whose husband, a taxi driver, was killed on October 12th five years ago, when one of the bombs exploded in front of Sari Club (SC). I asked Wayan Rastini questions, some of which got her very emotional that she started to cry. I stopped scribbling my notes when she began telling me that there were only 5 little pieces of her husband's body that could be found. I touched her hand lightly and wished I didn't ask those questions (but I had to, of course). I changed my inquiries with lighter ones afterwards, and tried to joke a little about other things. Before we left the place, Fabio purchased two of their goods (2 lady bags) -- one for me, one for Inga (his fiance).

It was quite an experience.

The next day, exactly on 12 Oct 2007, we went to the bombing site and Fabio interviewed the foreigners and I the locals. Unfortunately it was not really productive on my side. There were no Indonesians around who were directly linked to the bombing event (at the time we were there, at least). So Fabio suggested me to interview the staff of the nearby stores instead. I did to four of them, two of who claimed that they would protest to the Indonesian government if they did release the bombers from the capital punishment.

I had a few more calls/interviews after that... and honestly, I have to say that this is the most interesting part of my job so far. Interviewing, that is. Collecting news of South East Asia countries could get pretty boring sometimes (and frustrating when the sites are down or when there's a blackout, or problems with computer etc.)

Now I'm thinking to do a personal interview to some random people, OR the people I know already, and get them featured on my blog.

Anyone has an interesting idea of whom? :)



BLESS THE FAST INTERNET AND YOUTUBE!!!! Finally after 28 years, I can get to hear her music!!! And why my father loved her music so much that he gave me her name!

Who ever suspects that finding a room to rent can be such a heartpounding moment?

My boss is coming back from his vacation this weekend, so that was the reason why I felt that I needed to get my own place ASAP. I spent some time looking for rooms yesterday with Pam with a limited amount of luck. And just an hour ago I went looking by myself.
I visited some 15 houses that I thought to be kos-kosan. Most of them are full. Some of them are in a bad condition; or if it's good it's way too expensive for my pocket. There are two that I am interested in checking out again, so let's see my luck tomorrow.
ANYWAY, I've almost drawn a conclusion that the alleys in Bali seem to me like a farm. Every house seems to have a few cocks and hens, geese, dogs, cats, birds, ducks, etc. I'm not saying that we can't find them in Java. As a matter of fact, it's probably similar all over Indonesia. But do you also expect to see these in touristy places like Kuta or big cities like Surabaya, Denpasar or Jakarta?
So I walked down this small alley in the back of Panorama Cottages I, where my office is. A woman in one of the kos houses showed me another place with a kitchen and cooking possibility. The dirt-road to that place was actually blocked by a school of geese. I thought those cute little white animals couldn't be of any harm, but I still maintained my distance anyway.
Apparently the distance was not enough a distance for one of the geese. It might feel that I was threatening and disrespecting its group by walking past them without taking off and waving my hat. So it ran towards me while ducking its neck and beak and aiming at my legs. Its speed got me jerked off and I started to walk faster. There were 2 Balinese men sitting in the shade not so far away from where I was and I was trying to get their attention so that they could help me out with the angry goose. But they did nothing! They didn't even realise I was there!
So poor Carla had to run from the king goose and apologise for passing by its authoritive site without an official permission. And after some beggings and scared pleading, it let me go with a condition that I won't break the geese law again. I made my promise.
Now I think geese are not that cute anymore.