A few months back, a non-Indonesian friend asked me in the comment box why I hardly blog on Indonesia religio-political issues, to which question I replied that when I’m blogging, I’d like to write what I want; not what I have to. Besides, blogging a very serious topic is not in-vogue from “blog-marketing” point of view. And if he wanted to know my stand on certain “serious” issues, I ask him to to have a peek to my op-ed pieces written in bahasa Indonesia. Unfortunately, he’s not familiar with bahasa Indonesia.
I forgot then to tell him that in case he wants to know my stand-point in any religio-political and cultural issues, he could visit my friend Ali Nurdin’s blog.
Many of his writings are published in English newspapers like the Jakarta Post, the Strait Times of Singapore, etc. And I’m so glad, that he posts every piece published in any media into his blog. He also blogs specific commentary on the above-mentioned issues.Ali Nurdin, like myself, is from a santri background “sub-culture” (Gus Dur’s term)which pre-dominantly belong to NU socio-religious tradition. A traditional Muslim without any Islamic political attachment. For us, religion is a sacred personal preferences to guide the inner soul into its destiny: peace of mind in good and bad times; to help the mindset to be persevere in time of desperation and to control the heart in time of joy. And for that to happen, a Muslim has to follow the obligation required as the normal consequences as the believer of Islam, like what Nurcholis Madjid said in Islam dan Peradaban (Islam and Civilization).Thus, it should be separated from political affairs. As both are a paradox entity. That’s the basic principle of majority of Indonesian Muslims, including me.
There are a different view, however, in the country which call for the unity of religion and politic into one roof. There’re some the so-called Islamic parties whose campaign applied to that effect. For me, it is ok, so long they are using the proper means to further their goals; the political means. After all, that’s what democracy is all about. You supply “goods” to the market, and let the buyer pick them up.
And everytime you are interested in reading some commentaries on this issues, again, crawl the net and go to Ali Nurdin Blog. I hope, he’ll be more active in updating his blog to satisfy and enlighten everybody–especially non-Indonesian–who wants to know about some young-Indonesian Muslims intellectuals stand-points on religio-political matters.
It’s been long overdue for this blog to be reviewed. It should come a way earlier, considering its very good content, a collaborative of good writers behind it and its blog-for- justice-and-the-poor kind of vision. A vision I share in a great deal and shared by global community as well who wants to see the better world with the spirit of justice, prosperity, freedom and fraternity in its true sense.
So, what takes me so long to review Indonesia Anonymus blog?
Some guys might think because it uses pseudonym or ghost-blogger. The answer is, of course, not. When I questioned the rationale on ghost bloggers, doesnt mean I dont like them or pseudonymous is worse, and the real-name blogger is better in terms of credibility. After all, we saw many liars bravely use their true faces and many names in the real world. What I mean here is the corrupt Indonesian officials–not bloggers– who always plead innocent and talk patriotically until they’re docked with many undisputable proven documents. Besides, I’ve reviewed once on a very good blog written by a pseudonymous blogger call her blog simply as Nad’s Note
So, what takes me so long to review Indonesia Anonymus’s blog is because of a very simple thing which is unthinkable and too trivial to some, not for me: non-availabilty of its comment box. The blog owners have switched off its comment box, so the only access to comment on its content is through its email. I dont know whether it’s intentional or just the blog owners’ illiteracy or ignorance to the simple yet important thing in blogger world perspective. Either case, it’s still unacceptable to me for one reason: it doesnt represent the true spirit of any blogger who should be accessible to every single of its readers–the same fellow writers or not. Now, I see the comment box has been switched on. Considering the owners friendly response to every comment in their blog, I’m sure now, that the turn-off thing was un-intentional. And for that, I should apologise for my negative thinking.
Many things we can learn from the blog as can be expected from any writers-turn-bloggers, including the fresh info on current affairs and, sometimes, some news and analysis which we hardly find in the print or audio-visual media. For any non-Indonesian who are interested to know more on Indonesia and for Indonesian expats like me who just know what’s going on in my country only based on any news fed by the online media, the blog is highly beneficial.
The best thing, however, is their visible commitment to see Indonesia better by highlighting any abuse of power, injustices, the government-anti-poor policies and the big impacts of oil price hike to the have-not people, etc. If only all Indonesian journalists and writers spend their 20-minutes a day to blog (of course, in English), with commitment as strong as Indonesia Anonymus, it’ll be surely making a very big impact to Indonesia as a country, to the majority people of Indonesia as a “victim” and –beneath the line– to Indonesia’s image to outside world: as a country with full freedom of expression; as a country with the spirit of fraternity of its intellectuals to stand side by side with their most disadvantagous fellow countrymen; and as the true voices and representatives of Indonesian people vis-a-vis –more often than not– biases and prejudices judgement on Indonesia and Indonesians written by many foreign voices who claim themselves as all-knowing about Indonesia.
Last but not the least, I know and even meet personally with many writers and journalists who still keep their ideals intact. They’re not able to speak up in their media simply because their bosses dont want them to do so. Blog, therefore, is the right place for you to express your ideals and concerned without any need to worry about losing your job or, in the case of writers, your op-ed piece being rejected by the editors.
For those ever-worry journalists, blogging with pseudonym is very much justifiable. Afterall, we still have many media bosses who very much connected with some VIP officials who still hold their feodalistic attitudes.
The Education for All, India Case
Many Indonesian journalists who cover up the president’s state visit to India know her name. They only spell it incorrectly. Kompas, for example, spells her name here and here as Tya Subiantoro. Wonder, how come the biggest Indonesian newspaper like Kompas could make such a trivial yet important mistake? Why its journalist who covered the event in New Delhi didnt even bother to ask her or, at least, her friends, in the first place?
Several weeks back, I posted a series of reports and commentary on the president SBY visit to India. The posting concerning the educational matters asked by Tylla to the president impressed readers the most. One of the commenter, my friend Nads Note of Ciputat, Jakarta, requested me to write more on Indian education and campus life. I requested Tylla then to blog on that matter because she’s been doing active study this year and therefore her reports on Indian education and Indian campus life would be much more interesting than me who’s been busy doing only researches.Besides, Tylla’s previous study in Universitas Indonesia (UI), the leading Indonesian universities, give her more advantageous than me in terms of making some comparisons between the two universities i.e. UI and Delhi University (DU), her current campus.I’m so glad, that she’s voluntarily up to the “task” and starts blogging from then on. From now on, you can visit her blog here and make some comments or just visiting to satisfy your curiosity.
I hope her explanation in her blog on Indian educational system as well as her own commentary on Indian cultural and campus life, who’s been very rary covered by our media, make our thinking spectrum grow wider. I also hope that the distorted images about India–as expressed by Nads–could be sufficiently addressed. Indonesian leading media, like Kompas and others, are advised to visit her blog regularly to keep up with the information and to know more about educational system in a country which has much more similarities in every spheres: in poverty, corruption, mismanagement of its governance; yet, in terms of education India’s educational institution are very much accounted for by the advanced countries. What’s wrong with our country’s educational system, and what’s the secret of India to reach such level of prestige? It’s time for our educational observer, analyst, and policy makers to turn their eyes a bit to India. At least, by visiting occasionally blogging reports made by her.