Running out of good sense?

The Nike Bajak Jakarta run yesterday has propelled itself into a storm of controversy because of the massive traffic jams it caused in the city. The reason why it caused gridlock in the traffic was because Nike decided to hold the run in a busy part of town at 4pm on a Saturday – when traffic is at the best of times heavy.

(Note: for a first hand runners account read Romeo Gadungan’s posting here)

What ensued are furious commuters forced unnecessarily to sit in their cars or on their bikes as runners, egged on by Nike Indonesia’s tagline #BajakJKT and slogan of “You Vs JKT”, smugly showed their mastery on the roads with their branded and expensive shoes, heart rate monitors, water bottle holders and other accessories.

B4vgJCICMAAtbMd.jpg-large

This smugness caused even more resentment on the part of the fuming commuters  against the runners and the brand. How would you feel when, after fuming for hours on the road, you checked your twitter feed and you see lots of complaints on one hand and self-congratulating, self-congratulating runners on the other?

Runners are now being called douchebags, hipsters etc.

Nuelhip

This is not entirely fair to the runners but Unspun thinks that there is a lesson to be learned here by runners, bikers and other performing athletic feats on public roads: Jakarta roads are already crowded with too much traffic, so if you get a chance to use these roads you need to be aware that you are sharing these roads and you need to be considerate to the motorists.

Too often Unspun has seen runners and cyclists (and Harley Davidson owners too, although they somehow don’t fit into the athletic category) acting as if they owned the road during Sundays and when they are out in packs. They expect all other motorists and commuters to give way to them or be bawled out by them.

Most of the runners on the Nike run, however, were the victims of enthusiasm to the point of not exercising running prudence, perhaps because of the desperation to do something physical and outdoors in shopping mall-obsessed Jakarta.

So many of them signed up for the run even when they did not know the route and time of the Bajak Jakarta run.

run

If you are into running (and Unspun knows a little about this, having completed two marathons and several 10Ks and half marathons, albeit about 3 decades ago) you would want to be fussy about the route, the organisation (does it look like they will have good traffic control, crowd control, first aid, water, is it hilly or flat etc) and definitely the time.

We are living in the equatorial region. It gets very hot very quickly once the sun rises. It is for this reason that most runs are timed at 5am or so because by the time it gets to be about 9am it starts to get scorchingly hot for runners.

The other reason why runs are scheduled so early is because there is still little traffic on the roads thereby causing minimal disruption to the other road users.

Why Nike, a brand that must have deep experience in running and organizing such events chose to have it at 4pm in a busy part of town is intriguing to say the least unless it too is inflicted with her mentality when it comes to running.

Over the past two years, we have seen the rise of running as the sport of choice for hip, young and not to young Jakartans. The fact that they can now clock their performance on electronic gadgets and then show them off to the world through apps such as Nike’s +,  Endomondo, ICardio and Runkeeper has helped to fuel the popularity of running (and also cycling).

The popularity has reached such a stage that any enthusiastic but unimaginative marketeer will suggest to their bosses to hold a run if the brand wants to “connect” with the masses and the young.

So we have seen a plethora of runs happening almost every week being sponsored by all sorts of companies with the money such as insurance companies, health product manufacturers and banks (although the irony of a bank run does not seem to have fazed them).

This eagerness has resulted in some less than well organised events. In the Standard Chartered Half Marathon recently, for instance, the organisers ran out of water in the later checkpoints causing some runners to suffer from dehydration. Two were hospitalised. One of them apparently had a heart attack.

It is perhaps time for every body involved in such public runs to get together to discuss how to ensure that runs do take into account the safety and health of the runners as well as the commuters.

From the city government that issues permits, to the police who are in charge of diverting and directing traffic, to the athletic bodies, event organisers and sponsors, there should be clear guidelines on the timing, route, logistics and safety provisions for the runners.

Runners should also be more discerning about which events they join. There is no lack of choice these days so unless organisers publish the timing and the routes before hand, they should not sign up like desperados. Force them to be more responsible or they won’t get your participation.

Running is a great sport and recreation. Runs can be enjoyable – both of runners and the rest of the people they share the road with. But like that Sub 4 that most marathoners aim for, you need to work hard at it. Now hit the road!

Posted in Crisis and issues management, Indonesia, Twitter | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Insulting Islam or taking the piss out of ISIS?

One thing about Indonesia is that it always surprises.

Just when all of us thought that the Jokowi Government would user in a even more liberal regime that would value freedom of expression, comes news that the Police have indicted the Jakarta Post’s chief editor for insulting Islam.

The Post had carried a cartoon, demonstrated here on the Bisnis.com website today. Its crime: replacing the ISIS oval with a skull and bones. One might say fair comment, given ISIS’s propensity to lob off heads or hostages.

When the more religious readers raised a kerfuffle over the Post’s cartoon, the Post bowed to pressure and apologised. You’d think that people of a religious bent would find it in their hearts to forgive, given how all religions preach about redemption, love and all that.

The Indonesian Police, however, have a different take on things, charging the editor Dimas (Mediatama Suryodiningrat) with blasphemy.

Nice to see the nation’s enforcers so sensitive about the good name of ISIS and religion, to the point that they would not tolerate snark from journalists.

One wonders where the President and his Working Cabinet of putatively progressive leaders stand on things and how long will they keep quiet over this?

PEMRED JAKARTA POST TERSANGKA: Ini Komentar Meidyatama dan AJI | Kabar24

PEMRED JAKARTA POST TERSANGKA: Ini Komentar Meidyatama dan AJI | Kabar24

Bisnis.com, JAKARTA – Pemimpin Redaksi The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (MS) ditetapkan sebagai tersangka terkait dugaan dugaan tindak pidana penistaan agama. Langkah penyidik yang menjadikan MS tersangka mendapatkan komentar keras dari AJI.Dalam pesan yang diterima Bisnis.com, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Indonesia menyatakan tiga hal terkait dengan penetapan Meidyatama sebagai tersangka kasus penistaan agama1). Menolak keras penetapan Pemred Jakarta Post sebagai tersangka karikatur Laa ilaaha illallaah pada edisi Kamis 3/7/2014 lalu.2. Mendesak kepolisian RI tidak menggunakan KUHP untuk menangani kasus-kasus yang terkait dengan karya jurnalistik, dan kembali menggunakan UU Pers sebagai cara untuk menyelesaikan sengketa pemberitaan atau produk pers.3. Mendesak Kapolda Metro Jaya segera mencabut status tersangka Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dan mengembalikan kasus ini sesuai UU Pers yang bersifat lex specialis.4. Mengajak masyarakat pers, baik media massa, Dewan Pers, dan stakeholders lainnya untuk bersama sama menjaga kebebasan pers dan menegakkan kasus ini dalam koridor kasus pers bukan kasus pidana. Kasus ini apabila dibiarkan akan menjadi ancaman serius bagi kebebaaan pers dan akan bisa terkena kepada siapapun.Untuk itu, AJI mendesak kepolisian mengembalikan kasus ini seperti yang sudah tertuang dalam kesepakatan Dewan Pers dan Kepolisian dalam menangani kasus pers.Sementara itu, Pemred The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dalam pesan tertulisnya yang diterima Bisnis.com mengaku kaget atas penetapan dirinya sebagai tersangka oleh penyidik Polda Metro Jaya.

Read more…

Posted in ask the right question, communications, Indonesia, Islam, Media, Muslim, Religion | 2 Comments

The Look of Silence disrupted, doesn’t it make you now absolutely want to see the film?

When the thugs at Pemuda Pancasila, who used to be the Brownshirts of the Golkar Party but Unspun is not exactly sure who controls them now, want people not to watch a film, and try to disrupt its screening, then its a cue that you should definitely watch the film.

According to the Rappler story below, and the accompanying video, a religious wallah accompanied by uniformed Pemuda Pancasila flunkies stormed into the Warung Kelir in Malang to disrupt the screening of Senyap, by Jushua Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer, of course, is also the producer of The Act of Killing, a bizarre, absorbing and telling piece of filmmaking where he got the perpetrators of the 1965 millions to reenact their executions of putative Communists.

So you have your cue: when Senyap shows in a cinema or establishment near you go watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmOD12qksTo#t=234

The wRap Indonesia: Dec. 11, 2014.

Students gathered to watch the scheduled screening of Joshua Oppenheimer’s Senyap (The Look of Silence) at Warung Kelir in Malang on Wednesday, December 10 – one of 7 in the city and 500 across the country to mark Human Rights Day – were surprised when a group of men wearing Pemuda Pancasila (Indonesian paramilitary organization) uniforms arrived and demanded it be stopped. In the video above, posted by YouTube user Sasa Diana, the man in the white headscarf is heard saying, “Do you have a permit?” He looks for the organizers and asks the screening to be stopped. “My family were victims of communists. My father was jailed by the communist because he preached Islam to the people.” Tempo.co reported that the screening proceeded later on with military supervision.

Read more.

Posted in Indonesia | 1 Comment

Dream on Malaysia while Indonesia takes stand against “Islamic” crazies

I’ll never forget how wistful my Malaysian cardiologist was when he found out that I was from Indonesia and that we now have Jokowi as the President.

“He seems a good guy, isn’t he?” he said of Jokowi as I lay prone and half naked on the examination table.

“Yes he is,” I said.

“Ah, if only we can have a leader like that, simple, honest, straightforward…” he said as his stethoscope hovered over me and his mind conjured up the same qualities for his national leader.

Then he looked sad as reality bit. “Too bad, we can only dream what you have in Indonesia…” Perhaps he was conjuring images of his own leaders?

The sad thing about my cardiologist is that he is not alone among Malaysians. In my last trip back a few weeks ago my friends and acquaintances also reflected this sentiment. It seems that they are close to despair that the winds of change that have prevailed in Indonesia will ever reach them.

This despair is understandable though when you look at Malaysian society today and how religion, mainly Islam, is being used by an increasingly emboldened group to assert the superiority of the Malays overt the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia.

These groups have tacit, and sometimes not so tacit, backing from the Government and the ruling Umno party. A bit like the FPI (the Islamic Defenders Front) in Indonesia during the previous administrations.

Before the changes that swept the likes of Jokowi, Ahok, Riduan Kamil and other progressive leaders to power in national and municipal governments. The only power centre was the Government, made up of political brahmins out to rip off the country.

As the main interest of these brahmins was to enrich themselves by securing their political positions, they tacitly, and sometimes not so tacitly, supported organisations like the FPI and Laskar Jihad, essentially thuggish gangs abusing the name of Islam as a cover for their  extortion, intimidation and coercion of others, Muslim or not.

During Ramadhan the FPI would, for instance, conduct raids on licensed drinking establishments and turn those places upside down — unless they were paid protection money.

At other instances, depending on who paid them, they would harass whatever targets even to them.

For a long while many Indonesians despaired but there was little they could do. The police was reluctant to move against these organisations as they knew that their political masters were behind them. Companies went unheeded or left to wither in some mouldy file on some dusty desk.

Many Indonesian Muslims also felt trapped as to criticise them could be construed as criticising Islam. All a bit like Malaysia today, you just have to substitute the names of the organisations into Perkasa and other Malaysian organisations.

But while Malaysia still wallows in this unhappy state of affairs, Indonesia has moved on and have called the bluff of the bullies.

Jakarta Vice Governor Ahok, an ethnic Chinese and Christian, has borne the brunt of the FPI’s wrath over the past few months as they sought to block his swearing in (they didn’t succeed. He was sworn in yesterday). They called him an infidel and other names and say that he should not be allowed to lead Muslims.

But instead of keeping quiet or avoiding the issue Ahok has done something really brave. he took the FPI full on head-to-head. He has now filed a complaint with the Home Ministry asking that the Government ban the organization.

But what is heartening to note too in Indonesia is how the ordinary Muslims from all sectors of society are also speaking up against these self-proclaimed defenders of Islam and Islamic values.

All over social media, in small protests and in social settings they are making their voice heard that the real Islam is one of compassion, tolerance and understanding – and the FPI do not represent them.

It is through widespread groundswells like these that the tyranny of bullies like the FPI can be checked. Wouldn’t it be great if such groundswells can take place in Malaysia as well?

Posted in democracy, Indonesia, Islam, Law Enforcement, Malaysia | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Dramatic reversal of perception over JIS sexual assault case

How the worm turns.

It now appears – from the news story below – that the Police, according to the Commission on Missing Persons and the Victims of Violence (Kontras), may have coerced a confession from the janitors at the Jakarta International School that they had sexually abused a student.

Not only that but a representative of the school parents has also question the veracity of the claims by the so-called victim’s mother that he had been abused 13 times by four janitors.

Such an abuse, she said would not have yielded the findings of a medical examination, that stated that the child’s anal passage was normal, that it did not suffer from bruises.

With this the picture that emerges is starting to look the very opposite of what it seemed like in April 16 this year when the news first broke.

Back then, JIS looked like it was the guilty party because it said nothing for at least 10 days, before coming out with a weak response (see this earlier posting). That reinforced the public perception that they and their janitors must be in the wrong.

Whether they were or not is beside the point. Recent developments suggest that they are probably not.

But the lesson here is that the truth is usually the first casualty during crisis-like situation.

When serious accusations against an institution or organisation starts to fly, it quickly becomes a black and white world where the media is concerned. They either appear as the good guys or they are perceived as the bad guys.

JIS’s silence and initial half-hearted responses unfortunately placed them in the latter category. From there it is a slow and agonising crawl back to truth, if it ever emerges.

But now it looks like there is a good opportunity for them to clear their name. They must press home the advantage and lay the issue to rest as soon as possible or it will fester, and who knows how that will turn out?

Kontras : Rekayasa Kasus dalam Kasus JIS Semakin Jelas | Beritasatu.com

Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Kontras menilai penanganan kasus dugaan kekerasan seksual di sekolah Jakarta International School JIS menjadi salah satu bukti tindakan polisi yang ceroboh, tidak independen dan memaksakan sebuah kasus dari bukti-bukti yang sangat lemah.

Koordinator Kontras Haris Ashar mengatakan, kasus JIS memperlihatkan bagaimana polisi membentuk sebuah rangkaian cerita yang tidak berdasarkan alat bukti.

Akibatnya untuk memaksakan ceritanya, polisi melakukan tindak kekerasan dan penyiksaan terhadap pekerja kebersihan JIS agar mengakui kasus kekerasan seksual itu.

“Kasus JIS kembali mempertontonkan kepada kita bagaimana sebuah rekayasa terjadi. Kematian seorang pekerja kebersihan JIS dengan muka lebam menjadi bukti bahwa tindak kekerasan oleh polisi itu nyata terjadi,” ujar Haris dalam media Briefing bertema Tantangan Kinerja Polisi di Pemerintahan Jokowi yang digelar Kontras di Warung Tjikini, Selasa 4/11.

Haris menambahkan, kasus JIS merupakan satu dari tiga kasus yang sangat lekat dengan faktor kekerasan dan rekayasa. Dua kasus lainnya adalah kasus Brigadir Susanto, polisi yang diduga menembak atasannya di Polda Metro pada Maret 2014 dan kasus penahanan Muhammad Arsyad dengan dugaan konten pornografi kepada presiden.

Terkait kasus JIS, lanjut Haris, dari hasil monitoring dan investigasi yang dilakukan Kontras, banyak fakta-fakta persidangan yang bertolak belakang dengan BAP yang disusun oleh polisi.

Misalnya hasil visum rumah sakit dan keterangan sejumlah saksi yang dihadirkan penuntut umum semakin melemahkan cerita polisi.

Continued…

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

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 , , , , , , | 1 Comment