Minister scolds Western media for exploiting “tree Man”

No, this is not a Malaysian minister indulging in the national ministerial pastime of venting spleen at the Western media for a change.

It is, in fact, Indonesian Minister for Health Siti Fadilah Supari who was apparently in a foul mood after the President ordered her to do her job and tak care of Dede, dubbed the Tree Man because of some rare medical condition.

Siti was mad with Discovery Channel and Fox for “exploiting” Dede’s misfortune and featuring him in their reports, according to the Banjarmasin Post.

You have to wonder though whether Dede would have got the kind of attention from the Health Minister and her minions if Discovery and Fox had not “exploited” Dede.

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Dede, si Manusia Pohon: Ibu Menteri Pun Marah

Banjarmasin Post – Senin, 26-11-2007 | 02:24:13
Marah-marah. Tuding sana tuding sini. Inilah yang dilakukan Menteri Kesehatan (Menkes) Siti Fadilah Supari seusai menjenguk si `manusia pohon’ Dede di Rumah Sakit Hasan Sadikin (RSHS), Bandung, Jabar. Mengapa dia marah?
Ibu menteri yang diperintah langsung oleh Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono untuk segera menangani penyakit Dede, berang kepada stasiun televisi Discovery Channel dan Fox serta dr Anthoni Gaspari (ahli penyakit kulit dan ilmu kekebalan tubuh Universitas Marryland AS). Ketiga pihak ini yang membuat penderitaan Dede diketahui masyarakat seluruh dunia.
Siti Fadilah menilai mereka telah mengeksploitasi Dede. Mereka dituding telah `menjual’ pria berusia 35 tahun itu demi keuntungan ekonominya. “Ini merupakan eksploitasi, ini tidak bisa dibiarkan. Saya minta pihak rumah sakit harus mencari pengacara terbaik buat Dede. Ini persoalan hak, tidak bisa dibiarkan,” tegasnya, Minggu

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First Serumpun cyber skirmish?

Indonesian blogs are full of reports that an Indonesian hacker called GatCrash has managed to hack the Malaysian website at It was apparently retribution for malaysia’s appropriation of Reog Ponorogo.By the time Unspun checked the website looked normal but some Indonesian bloggers seem to think that since I’m from Malaysia I should know whether this is all true. Well, I don’t but I an sure some Malaysian blogging brudder out there can enlighten us.

If true, would this be a first cyber skirmish between both countries?

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Peperangan dengan Malaysia Malingsia sudah dimulai. Seorang hacker dari Indonesia dengan nickname GetCrash berhasil menembus server Malaysia yang beralamat di

Seperti diketahui di situs itu Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian, dan Warisan Malaysia Malingsia mengklaim sebuah tarian bernama Barongan sebagai bagian dari kebudayaan mereka. Padahal nyata-nyata tarian Barongan itu tidak lebih daripada penjiplakan Reog asal Ponorogo, Jawa Timur.

Situs itu disusupi dengan tiga tuntutan untuk Malaysia Malingsia, yaitu:

  1. Hentikan pencurian kesenian dan kebudayaan dari Indonesia
  2. Adili pelaku kekerasan terhadap WNI yang berada di Malaysia Malingsia
  3. Bubarkan Pasukan Rela

Perang sudah dimulai di dunia maya. Kapan perang yang sesungguhnya akan dilancarkan?

Sampai dengan saat saya menulis entry ini, pihak Malaysia Malingsia belum membenahi situs itu. Screenshoot hasil penelusupan ini bisa dilihat di sini

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Here we go again…

Yes folks, the Malaysians are pissing off the Indonesians once again with their apparent “appropriation” of yet another Indonesian cultural ite, from this report by The malaysian (Oi, bro don’t call Indonesians Indons because they don’t like it lah).

As Unspun‘s explained before, all this is probably because of the difference in the definition of “Malay” between Malaysians and Indonesians (see here).

For  Indonesian takee on the Reog Ponogoro controversy go here and here.

In the meantime Unspun‘s recalling what one of his readers told him some time ago: With all this appropriation of culture from Indonesia perhaps the Malaysian Tourism Board should change its logo to: Malaysia. Truly Indonesia! LOL

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Angry Indons Protest Outside Our Embassy In Jakarta, Call Us ‘Thieves’


It looks like some Indonesians are not in a particularly friendly mood vis a vis Malaysia these days. About a thousand of them held a protest today in front of our Embassy in Jakarta accusing us of promoting an Indonesian dance form as our own. So apart from the bad press we’ve been getting all over the world for being a fake democracy practicing a tempatan type of apartheid, now we’ve been condemned as cultural plagiarists as well.
The point of contention apparently was a Javanese mask dance, known as Reog Ponorogo which our Culture and Arts and Heritage Ministry has been claiming in tourism advertisements and brochures is a traditional Malay dance called Barongan. The similarities were obviously too great for the Indons to ignore, especially the dancers – men wearing enormous tiger heads and peacock feather masks, accompanied by acrobats.

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Fear and loathing in Bolehland

Just came back from a short visit back to Bolehland and as usual am quite depressed by the place while relishing the food there.

The big event that occurred this trip was the demonstration by about 20,000 Malaysians Indians of the Hindu faith demanding, of all things, RM 14 trillion compensation from the UK for bringing indentured laborers to Malaysia country and exploiting them for the last 150 years.

The idea of the class action suit that the leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is so out of nowhere that everyone sees through the ruse. It was an attempt by dissenting leaders of the Indian community in Malaysia to send a strong message of protest against Samy Vellu, who has been the leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress(MIC) since the dinosaurs walked the earth. The MIC is an Indian-based (non-Malaysians may find all this racial references strange but the truth is that race is the ingle most important factor in Malaysian politics) party that is part of the ruling Barisian Nasional coalition and it claims to represent the Indian community.

The problem, however, is that Samy Vellu – like many long-serving leaders of the Barisan – has been so comfortable that he has failed to look after the interests of the Indian community. Many of the Indian community in Malaysia were shipped over by the British as indentured laborers to work in rubber estates.

Although some of the Indians in Malaysia have done well – including Ananda Krishnan, who’s touted as the richest man in Malaysia and part Indian Mahathir Mohamad, who managed to convince the Malays that he was not an Indian and rode the coattails of Malay nationalism to become prime minister – most of the Indians, who are mostly Tamils, have had a rough ride. Continue reading Fear and loathing in Bolehland

Old love, mellow love

Unspun must be aging as he catches himself increasingly muttering to himself the Oscar Wilde quote that “youth is wasted on the young.”Another sign of aging is that Unspun found this article in the International Herald Tribute quite touching. What can one say? “I’m old, I’m old. I wear my trousers rolled.”

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SO this, in the end, is what love is.

Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s husband, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, has a romance with another woman, and the former justice is thrilled — even visits with the new couple while they hold hands on the porch swing — because it is a relief to see her husband of 55 years so content.

What culture tells us about love is generally young love. Songs and movies and literature show us the rapture and the betrayal, the breathlessness and the tears. The O’Connors’ story, reported by the couple’s son in an interview with a television station in Arizona, where Mr. O’Connor lives in an assisted-living center, opened a window onto what might be called, for comparison’s sake, old love.

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Dishonest argument #1: Use of emotionally toned words

At the request of reader BonarUnspun starts today a series elaborating the dishonest tricks used in  argument, as outlined by R.H. Thouless in his book Straight and Crooked Thinking.

The first trick Thouless talks about is:

#1 The use of emotionally toned words

This is a trick that is very common indeed, especially in hot topics where strong views are involved. We saw it early in the Rasa Not So Sayang, for instance.  It consists of using words aimed to disparage or put the other person in  a bad light, usually by imputing a negative quality or intention on th e other person.

So in Rasa not so Sayang we had these emotional words being bandied about:

Indonesians toward Malaysians: trouble maker, maling,  

Malaysians toward Indonesians: bodoh punya bangsa Indon,  indon goblok gonjol

Such words, when used intentionally or not, cause the other person to feel hurt and retaliate. The problem is that if you feel hurt and angry and retaliate, you begin to lose the argument because if you are angry the tendency is to also use emotional words back at the person. When these happens the argument starts to become a verbal brawl where both sides aren’t interested in getting any truth or understanding out of the exchange but to defend their psyches, often by hurthing the other person with similar emotional words.

The solution, says, Thouless, is to translate the statement into emotionally neutral words.

So the defense for maling might be “…without proper permission“, trouble maker could be substituted with provocative or unwittingly causing grief, bodoh and goblok could be substituted with words such as uninformed or misguided actions.

This way emotions are not inflamed and everyone has enough goodwill to find  a common understanding or solution to the issue at hand. That, surely should be the purpose of argument, to discover common ground or new understanding. Unless of course you’re iseng…

And a mouthful makes three

There’s apparently another English-language newspaper in town. This time it is a mouthful – The Jakarta Morning Observer – to give competition to the venerable The Jakarta Post and The Point, a newcomer itself.According to Moch Kurniawan, who works at The Jakarta Post, the Observer is starting life as a supplement in The Investor Daily and Suara Pembaruan, before taking a life of its own as an English-language paper proper. The managing editor of this new rag is Kanisius Dursin, the former features editor of The Jakarta Post.

All this is very interesting but the real story here is the Lippo group’s expansion into the media sector. It now owns Investor Daily, Suara Pembaruan (which makes them part owners of The jakarta Post), Globe Asia, Investor Magazine, View and Kabelvision, Direct Vision, First Media and I don’t know what else.

Why the move into media? There is a power play among the big groups in the media industry but it gets very little attention from the media (because they are afraid they’ll be acquired, because people in glass houses…?)

Interesting to watch who will emerge as the new media barons in Indonesia and what the regulators have to say about it.

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My office mates have been talking about the launching of a new English supplement in Investor Daily newspaper titled The Jakarta Morning Observer over the past two days. Investor Daily subscribers will get it for free, and in the afternoon, subscribers of Suara Pembaruan newspaper will also be able to read the supplement. It’s still free, but what I heard is the supplement will transform into a full English daily newspaper and will go commercial in the upcoming months. The supplement basically features general news in the country. There is also rumor that the same group will also publish an English business daily newspaper.Globe Media Group
Executive Chairman: Rizal Ramli
Publisher: Tanri Abeng
Editor in Chief: Z.K. Zaenuddin
Managing Editor: Kanisius Dursin
Editorial Staff: Yohannes GN, Camelia P.It means the existing English daily newspapers, the Jakarta Post and the Point are going to have a new competitor.

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