There are at least top ten reasons on why an Indonesian blogger should blog in English. If you run a Bahasa Indonesia blog, like I do, you should have an English speaking blog as well. Here’s why:
1. My English writing skill is not good. I’d like to improve it by writing regularly in a medium where editorial barrier does not exist.
2. English is undoubtedly understood –though not necessarily spoken or written–by many, if not by most, influential people in the world. Hence larger audience, more visibility and influence of some sort.
3. Most internet-literate Indonesians understand English. Using English in my blog, therefore, does not hinder Indonesian readers to appreciate what I’d intend to convey to them, my primary audience.
4. Indonesian voices very much under-represented in the outside world simply because hardly any books, academic publication and conventional media are written in English. Indonesia — a country with more than 240 million population– has a very few English newspapers / magazines / portals and none of existing Indonesian magazines are in English. And hardly any best seller Indonesian books written by prominent intellectuals are written in or translated into English.
5. Among 10 percent of Indonesian internet users, only about 0.4 percent of them are blogging which means if you blog in Bahasa Indonesia you have to be satisfied with that of 0.4 percent readers who does not necessarily read your blog. Less potential readers will lead to less blogging courages.
6. It gives non-Indonesian a chance to know you and Indonesia: the mindset, culture, faith, etc. And it gives you more chance to interact with them. Hence, more understanding of multi-polar world and broaden your vista and horizon of thinking.
7. Depending on your blogging influence, but at the least it’ll give you more self-esteem by making more friends from various cultures across the continents.
8. There are many people outthere with good intention to make an interfaith and intercultural dialogue; every now and then they need a person from a particular country, say Indonesia, to talk to. Let them know that you are the person they want.
9. If your blog content is good, the possibility of being published and then reviewed by prominent international book reviewer is not far away.
10. Blogging in English, like blogging in any other languages including Bahasa Indonesia, is basically history in the making. The difference is by blogging in English you are making history in front of many faces and backgrounds from many countries and therefore it adds more to your credibility.
How Blog in English Could Benefit You
First of all, I’d like to congratulate Budi Putra for being selected as a permanent contributor to CNET Asia. One of the big time techno portals in Asia, if not the world. That’s truly an achievement as he’s the first and only Indonesian to pen his piece regularly there, and is among the exclusive eight IT writers in Asia. He’s supposed to write twice a week for one year in a column specifically allocated for him.
What does make the CNET shows interest at him and how does it happen? Simple. Because he’s blogging in English. And that enable everybody outthere to take notice on your potential and capability.
Interestingly, he said that he’s blogging in English because of and inspired by me. And as an acknowledegment, he wants me to be the first person who should know the very good news. In his email he says:
Anda adalah orang pertama yang saya kasih tahu soal ini. Why? Karena Andalah yang mendorong saya agar terus menulis bahasa Inggris. Sejak bulan lalu saya juga menulis artikel IT untuk The Jakarta Post.Sekali lagi, terimakasih atas dorongannya. Anda dan blog Anda benar2 telah menginspirasi saya.
Well, to be honest that’s quite a compliment. I am happy personally. Having said that as I repeatedly say the other day, a personal happiness will last short. It’s a happiness that goes beyond my personal feeling and personal interest that last longer: to see Indonesian bloggers flourish with their English-speaking blog in the international blogosphere and gain unthinkable and unimaginable benefits out of it. What Budi Putra has achieved for now, I believe, just a beginning, a tip of an iceberg. Many more to come for sure, for him and for anyone who follows his path.
To Blog or Not to Blog
quit blogging?Marisa Duma, an Indonensian blogger whose blog I’ve just reviewed as Blogger of the Week made a surprising announcement here:
Fatih. I’ve decided to quit blogging.
Saya ingin fokus ke kehidupan pribadi dan profesional dahulu untuk saat ini, apalagi blog saya juga sudah sepi.
Again, thank you for your support (and traffic!, thanks to this post) and encouragement. Thanks everyone that has commented on this post also.
There are two other Indonesian bloggers who also said that they want quit blogging for various reasons: boring, not getting much attention, many other things to do “off the blog” meaning out of internet world, etc. Interestingly, just like Marisa Duma, the two bloggers are also women.
The question is why quit blogging? And why the three people who want to quit blogging (not to quit smoking) are women? Is it something to do with “womanhood” or just sheer accidental? If it’s a common phenomenon of boredomity and lack of passion then why there’s no such complain from their male counterpart? (to be continued)
To Blog or Not to Blog (2): Part Time and Full Time Blogger
To blog or not to blogGenerally speaking there are two types of bloggers: part-timers and professioal bloggers. While the former uses his or her blogging activities as a way to share one’s experience and thoughts, the latter makes it to make a living, so to say. That’s why we’d find the full-timers are blogging everyday and expect a high volume of traffic, readership, subscribers and, well, online earnings.
The Part-time Bloggers
The part-time bloggers, on the other hand, are those bloggers who don’t have any ambitious expectation. They are blogging i.e. writing in their blog / website as a way to express some of their ideas and experience they feel of beneficial to others or just feel uncomfortable to share it with their offline friends.
Part-time bloggers don’t have too high an expectation. They hardly push it too hard for themselves. They blog / write an article whenever they want. Short or long posting doesn’t matter. They comfortably write irregular posting / articles every now and then; it could be daily, weekly or even monthly. They don’t care. They own the blogs, not the blog own them.
Rima Fauzi rightly said here:
I would never stop completely or keep my blog private but that is because I am too ‘cuek’, I dont care if people stop coming to my blog, or if I am criticized or even if I get negative feedbacks or comments. I blog for myself, and unless I am too busy, I will try to maintain my blogs and update it as often as I can.
Part-time bloggers should be like Rima Fauzi. They should care less to traffic. And focus more on writing and with the intention to share it with others. With the larger audience that cross the boundaries of localities.
One should make clear what the purpose of one blogging activities in the first place: as part-timers or professional ones? Because the two have totally different ways and consequences. Being part-time bloggers are like being what you are before starting to blog. By being part-time bloggers, you just transform your speaking habit into a writing / blogging one. Only with a bit larger audience (readers) in the case of the latter. For part-time bloggers, writing in the blog is just an extension of talking. And therefore there is no question of quitting. If blogging is like talking, why the question of quitting should arise in the first place? (to be continued)
If you watch Metro TV, the Indonesia’s CNN, you’d find a moving text at the bottom of the screen saying more or less like this:
Metro TV journalists/reporters would never accept nor ask for money to the interviewee.
What does the Metro TV’s notice implicitly mean? Yes. You’re right. Some foot-soldiers reporters who are doing interview to some prominent people are asking for money to the interviewee; in some cases you can invite them to have you interviewed provided you giving them “envelop” or you can make the reporting about you become “less evil” if you give the reporters an amount of money big enough to make them smile.
The money given is usually put in an envelop, hence we call the reporters who do such practices as wartawan amplop (literally, envelop journalist).
Deputy of Indonesia Press Council Sabam Leo Batubara strongly urged government officials, politicians and businessmen to stop doing such practices (i.e. giving “envelop” to journalists) in order to make the effort to eradicate such “corrupt-journalism” possible.
The Root Causes
Just like any other corrupt practices, such as those done by government officials, at least there are two main reasons that cause such bad practices still happens even today. Corruption by need and corruption by greed.
In most cases, corruption by need is what happens in Indonesia journalism. The low salary of foot-soldiers journalists–so low that cannot even meet their daily basic need–is the main factor. A foot-soldier journalist of a big newspaper in East Java told me that he got only IDR 200 to 400 thousand (around USD 20 to 50) a month. An amount which is unlikely for anyone to live modestly, not to say if he has a family to feed.
AM of Kumpulan Catatan wrote that most big newspapers such as Grup Jawa Pos, including Rakyat Merdeka, Koran Tempo, Media Indonesia, Trans TV, or Seputar Indonesia. pay their foot-soldiers very badly. No wonder then if such “envelop journalism” still happens today.
So, the table is on the big boss in the Indonesian media: to get rid of such “envelopism” is impossible unless they raise the foot-soldiers’ salary. Only then can we move to another topic of another root cause of corruption: mindset as is happening in the case of “corruption by greed” done by many (if not all) high level government officials and DPR (MPs) members.
Blog-Media Relation Stronger
How to make your Blog appears in the Washington Post
If you regularly or occasionally read American media, you’d see some changes in terms of designs with blog look-alike. Just like your blog. There’re a visibly technorati logo outthere and even more than that. Technorati seems to do a good job in convincing the American media the power of blogs and how the blog with technorati’s technology can boost the media linking popularity. So, from now on, if your article link to a particular article in the Washington Post for example, you’ll find the glimpse appearance of your blog at the same page of the paper along with some other blogs.
I was just aware of that when I quoted Gus Dur op-ed article published in the Post and I found this blog title there.
So how and when it first took place? Peter Hirshberg from Technorati explains
…as a first step, Technorati is now connecting bloggers to the more than 440 AP member web sites in the U.S. that take the AP’s Hosted Custom News product, taken by local papers such as the Buffalo News or the Sun Journal. The new service will bring blogger commentary about AP news stories to communities large and small throughout the USA, giving bloggers a voice in trusted local papers throughout the nation.
What does it mean?
When readers visit an AP member Web site that uses AP Hosted Custom News, they will see a module featuring the “Top Five Most Blogged About” AP articles right next to the article text, dynamically powered by Technorati. Additionally, when readers click on an AP article, Technorati will deliver “Who’s Blogging About” that article. Now, if you have commentary about an AP story, you can get mentioned in that module simply by linking to that AP news URL, akin to what you can do with Washington Post articles, Newsweek articles, Der Spiegel articles, and a host of other media partners that currently work with Technorati.
Well done, Technorati! It means the trend will roll and the more world media follow that step the more media-blog relation grow.
As an Indonesian blogger, I’d love to see Indonesian mainstream media like KOMPAS, KORAN TEMPO, REPUBLIKA, MEDIA INDONESIA, and others watch this trend very closely and just join the chorus sooner rather than later. Whichever media does first, their popularity in blogosphere will skyrocket. I’m damn sure about that. Blogging is about writing all the time. And writing with link reference is getting more boost if Indonesia media are doing just that. In other words, media-blogs reciprocal time is up.
So, Indonesian blogger-journalists like Budi Putra and many others who probably read this writing, time to talk to the boss!
Giving up writing a book? Be a blogger, write in a blog and get blooked! Blook? It’s book which comes from a blog. And it has an awards as well called Blooker Awards. Blooker Awards is an award for books arising from blog. The 1st winner will get U$D 2,000. In other words, any book which is compiled from your blog will be called “blook”.
Well, has any Indonesian published a blook? As far as I’m concerned, I dont find any. It seems still long way to go. Interestingly, the winner is a ‘blook’ about cooking and recipe. A good news for Indonesian cook and chef blogger.
Unless and until blogging gains more popularity in mainstream Indonesia media and get enough media coverage, Indonesian blogger still needs to blog in English to compete with their counterparts in the rest of the world to get their blogs blooked.
And it’s amazing to see the anonymous Baghdad blogger calls herself as Riverbend was nominated for the annual Samuel Johnson Prize for contemporary non-fiction, the prestigious literary prize in Britain. (The winner gets $53,000; by comparison, the winner of the Blooker gets $2,000.).
Previously, Riverbend also got the honour to be the Best West-African or Middle-East Blogger
Riverbend Baghdad Burning and Baghdad Blogger, as I mentioned in my interview with Koran Tempo is two non-native-English speaking blogger who inspire me to blog and blogging in English and encourage other Indonesian bloggers to do the same.
The Winner of Blooker Awards
Grand prize and nonfiction: Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell (Little, Brown) blogs.salon.com/0001399
Non-fiction runner-up: Biodiesel Power by Lyle Estill (New Society Publishers) www.biofuels.coop/blog
Fiction: Four and Twenty Blackbirds, by Cherie Priest (Tor Books) wicked-wish.livejournal.com
Fiction runner-up: Hackoff.com: An Historic Murder Mystery Set in the Internet Bubble and Rubble by Tom Evslin (dotHill Press) blog: www.hackoff.com
Comic-blook: Totally Boned: A Joe and Monkey Collection by Zach Miller (Boxcar Comics, Lulu.com) www.joeandmonkey.com
Comic-blook runner-up: Dinosaur Comics: Huge Eyes, Beaks, Intelligence, and Ambition by Ryan North (CatPrint) www.qwantz.com
For more about blooker awards, read USA TODAY
I just want to say, “Hi!”, to Georganna Hancock, a Staff reporter, writer, photographer, book reviewer, stringer with The Miami Herald, The Fort Pierce News Tribune, The Broward Bulletin, The Indianapolis Star,..
The Louisville Courier-Journal who spare her precious break time to visit my blog and generously dedicated a special posting about me and my ‘vision’ in which she says, “I second Fatih’s urging. I’d like to understand the Indonesian culture and people, especially as expressed in their own English words.”
That’s very encouraging voice. I’d want to let her know that Indonesian-english-speaking bloggers are growing by the day and she might see some of those in the bottom of this page, or she can visit http://blog-indonesia.com the most complete Indonesian blogger aggregator (in Bahasa Indonesia and English) for more.
And thanks Georganna for your interest on Indonesia. There’s no better way to learn and understand each other’s culture but to read directly from the people voices represented perfectly in the form of abundant blogs easily and freely accessed from anywhere.