Youtube link is taken from Indonesia Matters

Ilham Anas, Indonesian Obama's look-alike, is delivering his "speech" in this very short video.

Don't embarrass Indonesia in the next Presidential election! "Jangan Bikin Malu 2009!"

PS: You need to understand Bahasa a little bit to get the fun from this video.
Fabio assigned me to go to this Buddha relic exhibition at the Buddha Dharma Vihara, Sunset Rd, about 2 weeks ago. I was excited because:
  • I was dying to be out there in the sun, although still on a work assignment.
  • I could meet new people.
  • I could take photos.
  • If chosen, the photo(s) could be put along with the article, and I would make my first photography debut in print media.
  • If chosen, I'd be paid, too. I don't know how much and to be honest I don't care. I just need a recognition from a media (thankfully as big as South China Morning Post) that it was worth publishing.
  • There was a free dinner!!!
It was not bad at all. Buddhism may not have been my preferred belief, but I could gather that the Buddhists are so nice. They have great manners and they could see things beyond their own religion (read: not closed-minded). None of their philosophy is to gain any power in this world like some religions I know (including mine) and their end goal is to get the peace. And peace is all we need.

A peculiar thing also happened, as I was reconnected with Pattrick Zaffini - a French fellow I knew through my late dear friend Pierre Flaneur. Patrick was the one organizing this relic tour. He was the one interviewed by the Jakarta Post. And he was the one I needed to interview as well. I met Pattrick when some of Pierre's friends were gathering at the Jimbaran beach to send him our full respect and love, just a few days after he was gone. And since then Pattrick has always been in my facebook friend list. Isn't it miraculous that we were met again this way?

Back to my photography/journalism carreer prospect, I am triggered even more to do better now. I just finished an article for the Vietnamese-based East and West magazine about Bali, which will be out in May edition. I'll let you know when it's published. It's rather big.

For now, enjoy Fabio's article and MY photo here.
So, the first part of the Indonesian legislative election is almost over. The air and atmosphere of negativity, personal and institutional attacks, money politics and all that have been decreasing a little bit lately. At least no campaigns and street convoys which add up to the complication of the existing messy traffic and which contributed to the already polluted land. Less real open attacks on how bad the present government has been performing, or any other parties whose leader had failed performing. Less manipulation on lower class people that it was not fair for them that they couldn't sell papers by the traffic lights or fake watches at the sidewalks. Less lies on the ups and downs of the petrol price that is blamed to be the sole reason of the people suffering.

Those accusations I just made are probably only one-sided since I only attended one campaign. Maybe the other parties are not like that. Maybe they're more fair and make more sense. But really with the constant news on how Party A attacks Party B, Party B attacks Party C and so on and so forth, it is not likely.

The campaign I was talking about was of Gerindra. Proposing Prabowo Subianto as the next president, the party tries to convince the people that the ex-military general is on the common people's side. It promotes a better life for farmers and street vendors and ojek drivers and the migrant workers. Nice idea. A big question mark that popped up, however, was HOW?

The next was even uglier. Let's say it is logical that you might win people's heart by pretending that you're on their side. That you don't want them to suffer more than they do now. But yeah, you'll need someone to blame. And whoelse to blame but Yudhoyono's administration? A metaphore given for President Yudhoyono's governing performance was ofIndonesia as a Mercedes Benz car and Yudhoyono as its driver. A quality car that kept being broken, they said, was all the fault of the stupid driver. And with a little provocation, they made the people sing in rhythm, "GOBLOK, GOBLOK, GOBLOK!"

Permadi, a paranormal and an ex house member for PDIP (Indonesian Democracy Struggle Party) who resigned from the first president's daughter's party and joined Gerindra funnily tried to remind the people of how good it was when Soekarno was still on the presidency and that Prabowo could take us back in that kind of condition. I couldn't make the best sense of it. How? If Megawati, Soekarno's daughter, failed in ruling this country because she is not, has never been, and will never be a figure her father once was, how would Prabowo make a better President?

No allegations against Prabowo made in the past were proven yet. Not sure if they will ever be rightly investigated. But I just hope there are more clever people in this country for not voting for a president who holds an uncertain past like activist abductions and their "forced dissapearance" and human rights violation in Timor Leste.
I've been practising to write articles in Bahasa Indonesia lately. I thought it would be a huge challenge since I am so used to writing in English. And I did struggle in my first few sentences. But after that, words flowed naturally and I even thought that it was easier to write in Bahasa!

So here is one of the two articles I wrote so far. It was first published in Kabar Indonesia, an Indonesian news agency that commits to the news for people and from people.


Caleg Bule, Mengapa Tidak?
Oleh : Carla Bley Ardian

20-Mar-2009, 16:52:25 WIB - []

KabarIndonesia - Denpasar, Ada yang menarik dari pemilihan legislatif di Bali, terutama dari kubu Partai Demokrasi Pembaruan (PDP). Partai yang merupakan pecahan dari Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDI-P) ini membuat heboh media massa baik lokal, nasional, maupun internasional dengan mengusung Calon Legislatif (Caleg) keturunan Jerman, Petra Odebrecht.

Petra (41) yang sudah menjadi warga negara Indonesia sejak tahun 1991 ini menyatakan dalam wawancara lewat telepon Februari lalu bahwa ketertarikannya dalam dunia politik Indonesia dikarenakan ia ingin membuat perubahan-perubahan dengan arah yang lebih baik di Indonesia, terutama di Bali.

Wanita berkulit putih ini mempunyai misi utama untuk menaikkan status para wanita dan meningkatkan kesadaran rakyat Indonesia dalam berpolitik. Sebagai contoh, ia menceritakan salah satu kunjungannya di sebuah kampung dimana ada pabrik yang pekerja-pekerjanya kebanyakan perempuan.

Di sana Petra bukannya ditanyai mengenai inti perjuangan PDP dan bagaimana PDP bisa mengakomodasi kepentingan rakyat setempat, tapi para ibu-ibu itu malah bertanya berapa uang yang akan mereka dapat kalau mereka memilihnya. Pertanyaan ini membuatnya terkejut dan ia jadi semakin ingin mengubah cara pandang wanita-wanita Indonesia.

Selain itu pariwisata juga menjadi isyu yang menarik bagi Petra. “Selama belasan tahun saya tinggal di Bali, kebanyakan saya bekerja dalam bidang pariwisata. Oleh karena itu saya ingin juga meningkatkan promosi turisme Bali,” katanya dengan Bahasa Indonesia yang cukup fasih, walaupun dengan aksen yang masih kental.

Ia juga sangat peduli dengan keadaan lingkungan bahari Bali yang mulai tercemar. Wanita dengan nomor urut 6 di PDP ini mengamati bahwa keadaan laut di Bali sering kotor dan terpolusi sehingga menyebabkan banyak ikan mati. “Seharusnya ini dapat diatasi oleh bupati disini asalkan penerapannya tegas,” katanya dengan antusias.

Ketika ditanya berapa besar peluangnya untuk menang di pemilu mendatang, ia tertawa dan berkata, “Saya hanya maju untuk DPRD Bali saja kok. Dan kalaupun saya tidak terpilih, saya tetap akan mendukung kolega-kolega di PDP dalam misi bersama kami.” Yang penting adalah kenyataan bahwa saya adalah bule pertama yang ikut pemilu di Indonesia, itu sudah cukup untuk menunjukkan bahwa tidak ada feodalisme di negeri ini, tegasnya. (*)