Did Hashim get a fair shake in his “investigate and obstruct” quote?

This is controversial so let’s get Unspun’s motives and political inclinations out of the way.

Unspun is not an Indonsian voter but if he was he would have voted Jakowi for president. Not so much because Jokowi is great presidential material but because his election would put Indonesia further along the path of democracy. The election of a man with humble beginnings into the highest office would help crumble the power structures of the corrupt political elite in Indonesia.

Unspun is also wary of Prabowo because of his murky past and continuing stories that suggest someone not quite grounded in reality. That said, Hashim seems to be very reasonable and articulate and it is a constant source of wonder why he continues to back his brother, unless one subscribes to the theory tot irrevocable and inseparable blood ties.

So it was a bit of a surprise why Hashim would be so careless to say in his interview with Reuters and the Wall Street Journal in early October that the Red and White Coalition will “investigate and obstruct” Jokowi’s policies.

On October 8 Reuters published this story  in which Hashim was supposed to say: “We will use our power to investigate and to obstruct.” This quote has apparently been, claims Hashim, twised by the Indonesian media to portray him and th Red and White Coalition as destructive and spiteful entities.

Hashim on October 12 released the full voice recording of the interview on YouTube and listening to the interview is fascinating.

Hashim

Just after the 28 minute mark on the video Hashim was asked by Reuters if the Coalition would “use the power of the budget, the power of the purse” to stop Jokowi. Hashim interrupts before the question finishes and talks if its instances such as the purchase of Chinese buses while Jakarta was under Jokowi’s administration.

The reporters says yes, Hashim goes on and concludes that “we will investigate that”.

Then he delivers the statement that has become the controversial quote. In the recoding Hashim says: “”Um yeah, if we see that there is various problems we would use our powers to investigate and to obstruct.”

So the interesting question here, and this is one that journalists under pressure of deadlines have to constantly struggle with, is whether “We will use our power to investigate and to obstruct” as quoted in the Reuters article is a fair portrayal of his actual statement.

What do you all think?

Posted in Indonesia | 2 Comments

Connecting Deeper and soaring to great heights at the #APMF2014

Unspun had the privilege to be invited to attend and to speak at the Asia Pacific Media Forum (APMF) 2014, a biennial gathering of creatives, advertising agencies, media houses, publishers and advertisers from huge brands. And what a privilege it was!

It was what a convention is supposed to be – meticulous organisation, an eclectic and impressive list of international and local speakers from government with one or two musicians thrown in to spice things up, world class creatives and specialists with insights to share about the developments taking place in measurement, analytics and technology.

Throughout the two-day convention the speakers were almost always on topic and did not, like it is so common in other seminars in Indonesia, engage in hard selling. They were all there to share their insights and thoughts on what’s happening in their respective areas.

The convention actually began on the eve of the opening, at a welcoming dinner for the almost 700 attendees hosted by tycoon Harry Tanoe from the MNC Group where everyone got a chance to mingle, catch up with old friends and make new acquaintances.

The plenary hall of the APMF. http://t.co/kH5Kl3YrnB

Unspun was there for only a short time because he had seen the stage where he and other speakers were to speak from, and the hall at the Bali Nusa Dua Hotel and Convention centre. The size and scale of the stage – think two giant screens and a humoungous stage where you can train for a half marathon on – struck fear into Unspun, who was normally nonchalant about rehearsals.

The sound system was fantastic though and the technicians supporting us were so helpful they saved Unspun’s presentation from disaster by offering to edit  the videos in it.

The next morning and the opening ceremony started a little late with a keynote presentation from Ajaz Ahmed, the CEO and Co-founder of AKQA, a hot name in the creative community. Ajaz had founded the company when he as only 21 and bills itself as the “imaginative appellation of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products and services.” He talked about how to build a company in a time of great change and showcased some of their creative work. Unspun was more impressed musing how someone so young is able to persuade giant companies such as Nike and Red Bull to try out his ideas.

From there one speaker after another was introduced to the stage with a minimum of fuss. Just the name and their title and their topic, without the usual reading of their bios. Something for other conventions to learn here.

Unspun was the warmup speaker for lunch because of the overruns. I spoke on Social Media gone Wild, how wild social media can get where big brands are concerned. Sometimes it is a simple mistake they make or a wrong reaction to social media postings and they suddenly find themselves in a social media maelstrom. Unspun’s advice to the candidates was to incorporate crisis management practices when launching social media campaign. That way if things should go wrong the brand won’t shoot itself in the foot.

Unspun also said that an understated strategy in crisis-like situation, especially when social media – with its ephemeral and fleeting nature in involved – is to keep silent and not react prematurely.

Other speakers that day that impressed Unspun were Facebook’s Indonesia Country Chief Anand Tilak who spoke about the importance of using analytics in trying to make sense of the nation’s Facebook users, who are legion; Kudsia Kahar, the Chief Broadcaster of the The Star Group who spoke about how to deliver great content; and Executive Director and CEO of News Media Association Earl Wilkinson’s delivery on how Legacy Publishers  and how they need to adapt for a brand new audience.

The day’s session ended with a rousing presentation from Abdee from Slank who delivered a touching and electrifying version of Salam Dua Jari and the sardonic Where are you Mr President.

Abdee from Slank energised the audience of 700 with his “Salam Dua Jari”. Photo courtesy of AMPF committee

Pumped up, the attendees then went for an Indonesian dinner hosted by the Kompas Gramedia Group. True to its nature guests were treated to something very Indonesian – lesehan style seating on the floor – and something modern JFlow’s R&B electronic/music.

The next morning started with Chairmon (sic)/Chief Creative Officer of DM9 Merlee Jayme who has so many awards it might take need another posting to complete them all. One intriguing idea that Unspun got out of her presentation was that there was nothing stopping the creative agency to come up with a product instead of an advertising or PR campaign idea.

Paramadina University Rector and the founder of Indonesia Mengajar next took to the stage with a heartfelt plea for Indonesians to be more involved in their country, no doubt presaging the Mental Revolution that Jokowi will try to implement when he takes power.

Anies Baswedan:..we all clearly know our roles as husband, father, rector…but what about our role as an Indonesian? Photo courtesy of AMPF committee

Next up with Eric Tohir in his capacity as President of FC Internazionale Milano, explaining ho his acquisition of the football club was also a way of projecting Indonesia’s newfound confidence onto the world stage.

This was followed by the Big Break, an regular feature at the APMF where several startups had five minutes each to pitch themselves to the audience. This year’s candidates were Iphonesia, Marbel, PicMix and Karamel.

Unfortunately Unspun had to leave the APMF at midday to catch a flight and therefore missed two great presentations – according to the Twitter feed that Unspun ws still abel to follow – in the afternoon: That of Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil and the legendary storyteller the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Hakuhodo Kettle Kentaro Kimura.

Kentaro Kimura on why 1+1=3. Photo courtesy of @newsplatter

In spite of having to leave early Unspun had benefited so much by being at the APMF. It was a great place to meet people and network; it was very efficiently organised; the speakers and attendees were all taken care of very well; there were great speakers from within and outside Indonesia, and the convention was conducted entirely in English, something that would help this very Indonesian production reach international status soon.

The closing ceremony. Photo courtesy of AMPF committee

And why not, because it was a world class production. Kudos to the organising committee led by Andi Sadha, Ricky Pesik (who sacrificed his birthday and celebrated it early on the second day of the convention), and Jerry Justianto. The convention had truly delivered on its theme of Connecting Deeper.

Posted in Indonesia | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contracts not valid if it ain’t in Indonesian?

Whoa! This may have far reaching implications for foreign companies that have signed contacts with Indonesian companies — and result in lots of work for Indonesian lawyers and translators.

Another mess for the Jokowi government to try to sort out if they want to attract foreign investment.

INDONESIAN HIGH COURT AFFIRMS FIRST INSTANCE COURT DECISION THAT CONTRACTS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARE VOID

There has been continuing uncertainty and concern about the Indonesian legislative requirement that the Indonesian language be used in contracts with Indonesian parties.

In the absence of anticipated implementing regulations, there are many unresolved questions about the meaning and applicability of the broadly expressed requirement.

In May 2014 the Jakarta High Court rejected an appeal against the 2013 ruling by the West Jakarta District Court which declared an Indonesian law governed loan agreement between an Indonesian borrower and a foreign lender to be void on the basis that the loan agreement was written in English in contravention of the requirements under Indonesia’s Law No. 24 of 2009 concerning Flag, Language and Symbol of State and National Anthem “Law 24/2009” – please click here for our previous e-bulletin on the impact and effect of the first instance decision.

There was no new legal reasoning provided by the Jakarta High Court as to why the first instance judgment should be upheld. The judgment simply stated that the appeal submitted by the foreign lender to overturn the first instance judgment was rejected on the following grounds:the Jakarta High Court was of the view that the first instance decision was decided correctly in compliance with prevailing laws; andthere were no new facts submitted by the appellant that would undermine the first instance decision.

via 2014/09/17 – Indonesia Update | Indonesian High Court affirms first instance court decision that contracts written in English language are void.

Posted in business, Indonesia, Litigation PR | Leave a comment

Elisabeth Pisani’s Bad Boyfriend in a guide slanted to women and issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a book review I wrote for Magdalene on the critically acclaimed (by reviews in Economist, New York Times etc, and now Unspun) Indonesia Etc.

Magdalene

 

 

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A sorry apology over the “opportunity” arising from Robin Williams’ death

This is a timely reminder for all of us in the communications industry not to get carried away by our literary abilities and thought leadership skills, to the extent that we become insensitive on matters that matter to people most.

A mistake has been made, an apology issued but I wonder what PR professionals would make of the Twitter apology? To me it did not go enough. There was no mea culpa and then it segued straight into intent. It falls short of an ernest apology, especially for professional wordsmiths.

Personally I am saddened by the death of Robin Williams, who has been a part of so much of the lives of  people of my generation since Mork and Mindy days.

That he apparently committed suicide because depression only goes to show how vulnerable we all are to this condition. The role that depression plays in our lives, especially when we get older, is rap and scary. We all need to learn more about depression and its link with Alzheimer’s Disease.

RIP Robin Williams.

PR Giant Edelman Apologizes for Calling Robin Williams Death an Opportunity

But says blog post on sparking mental health discussion will remain live

By David GrinerAugust 14, 2014, 10:40 AM

Robin Williams died Monday. Authorities say he committed suicide. | Photo: Jay Paul/Getty Images

 

Edelman is usually tapped with helping brands avoid or disentangle themselves from public backlash, but the global PR firm instead found itself in the hot seat this week.At issue was a blog post from media relations strategy evp Lisa Kovitz, who said the suicide of comedian Robin Williams created a PR opportunity for groups advocating for better treatment of mental illness.

“As we mourn the loss of Robin Williams to depression, we must recognize it as an opportunity to engage in a national conversation,” she wrote. “His death yesterday created a carpe diem moment for mental health professionals and those people who have suffered with depression and want to make a point about the condition and the system that treats it.”

While she certainly has a point about such a high-profile tragedy bringing mental health and depression into the spotlight, quite a few readers found the post to be in poor taste.

Most of the backlash likely stemmed from Gawkers writeup calling Edelman a “soulless PR conglomerate” using a celebritys suicide to promote its own expertise.

Asked by Adweek whether she regretted the phrasing or the intent of the blog post, Kovitz directed us to Edelmans tweet of apology this morning:

 

Despite the companys apology, Kovitz said the blog post “will remain live.” Most critics of the post said they felt it was positioned as a sales message for the PR agency:”Using someones death as an opportunity to position yourself as THE PR company to walk potential clients through the best way to benefit from this conversation is callous,” said commenter Erin Blaskie, who shared her complaint with her 30,000 Twitter followers as well. “Instructing potential clients to pay your firm money to help them take advantage of this situation is gross. This isnt a PR opportunity. This is someones life lost.”

via PR Giant Edelman Apologizes for Calling Robin Williams Death an Opportunity | Adweek.

(Disclosure: I run a communications consultancy that sometimes competes with Edelman’s local operations, but this posting has more to do with how the profession should behave rather than about  competitor firm) 

 

Posted in communications, Crisis and issues management, Twitter | Leave a comment

What to do when a head hunter comes into town

This is a post I wrote for our office blog and it tells of our reaction to a headhunter of an international PR network that has been trying to hunt some MavHeads.

What do you do if you’re running a Public Relations Consultancy in talent-starved Indonesia — and you learn that the chief regional headhunter of a multinational PR network coming to town next week – and suggesting your talents to meet up with her through LinkedIn?

You can, like the knights of yore and their ladies, lock up their assets in chastity belts and put the key on a lanyard close to your heart, or other parts of your anatomy.

Or you can keep very quiet and see who takes leave, or goes MIA for a few hours, on the days that the Headhunter is in town most of next week. That way you know who are the ones that are looking elsewhere.

Or more radically, you can let your whole office know and using this fact to educate them on how to use their LinkedIn accounts. If they have been contacted by Headhunter, they have tarted their LinkedIn profile well; if they haven’t they still need to work on their profiles – or put in more time before they are eligible to be poached.As usual Maverick has chosen the radical approach….read more here

Posted in Indonesia, Public Relations | 1 Comment

Presidential Debate II: Muddling through the muddle

While watching the second presidential debate last night, one of my colleagues posted a trenchant commentary on the progress of the debate at-a-glance:

debate

To Unspun, it really summed up the debate last night: a muddle of unoriginal thoughts, lacking a focal point, confused but if you look closely you begin to see some patterns.

The patterns that we see are Jokowi stuck in concreteness at the expense of demonstrating to the public that he can also think big; Prabowo stuck in thinking in the abstract at the expense of being concrete. Each of the candidates are locked in their default positions and do not seem to be able to move beyond them.

In terms of their argument strategy Jokowi stresses on his achievements and how electronic solutions (his trump card? Sorry couldn’t resist the pun) will solve problems. He stresses on getting things right.

Prabowo hammered on a theme that his brother Hashim spoke about at the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent’s club – lots of money is being wasted now because of corruption, inefficiencies and bad policy. Leakage was his key message. And the solution to that was to get tough.

Both candidates did not display the vision or the courage to go beyond nationalist sentiments. Jokowi espoused the PDIP’s policy of holding contracts sacrosanct, giving some comfort to investors but at the same time spooking them by suggesting erecting barriers as a counter measure to the Asean Economic Community. Probowo has channeled him to champion reciprocity and trying to stench the leakage of Indonesia’s riches to foreign shores.

In terms of style, Prabowo appeared more confident and poised. Jokowi fumbled and mumbled, reinforcing his image as the Forrest Gump of Indonesian politics.

At the end of the night both candidates were disappointing and the question that needs to be asked is if any of them slipped so badly that it would cost them any vote; or if their lacklustre performance was staged purely for the benefit and schadenfreude of the chatting classes of Indonesia with their  social media accounts on steroids.

So what lessons can one draw from the second presidential debate?

For Unspun it was that both candidates are somewhat equally limited in terms of espousing a vision that could inspire change and rely the nation. Where does that leave the electorate then?

The answer has to be between, on one hand, Uninspiring Candidate #1, Prabowo who has no record of government, whose success in the military and business is difficult to attribute because of his elitist and privileged upbringing, who thinks he can ride the Islamist-Fundamentalist Tiger and triumph over them, like Lee Kuan Yew with the Malayan Communist Party and whose running mate Hatta Rajasa, who as Coordinating Economic Minister in SBY’s Cabinet, was responsible for the many of the economic ills he rails against.

On the other hand there is Uninspiring Candidate #2, Jokowi, who is good with homilies and getting things done, who is not adept at all at talking about policy, who is from a humble, non-elitist background, whose honesty and integrity has been proven and whose running mate Jusuf Kalla is the man who told the Pancila Youth in The Act of Killing that Indonesia needs preman.

The issues, like the painting above remain murky and confusing. And given the candidates’ inability to embrue the cut and thrust of intellectual parrying as we have been accustomed to expect through television, movies and Western politicians (as well as Rumpole of the Bailey books) things won’t get any less confusing in the few weeks left before the presidential election.

But the pattern is emerging strongly on where Indonesians should place their votes for the future. Provided, of course, that Probowo isn’t able to rise to the occasion and commandeer the emotions of the nation’s wong cilik to vote for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Indonesia | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments