Blogger Indonesia‘s Fatih Syuhud, who was one of Indonesia’s first bridge bloggers and an excellent chap who encouraged other Indonesians to bridge blog more, was originally supposed to be one of the facilitartors but unfortunately he couldn’t make it.
Bridge blogging is writing your blog in English or some language other than Indonesian so that the world outside has another window with which to peer into your country. Most blogs in Indonesia provide fascinating insights and information on various aspects of Indonesia, but are mostly written in Indonesian. They are therefore inaccessible to someone who does not read Indonesian.
As a result, perceptions of Indonesia from the outside are skewered since they have to rely on the traditional media like CNN and other non-Indonesian sources to render information in English for them. Unfortunately, however, CNN is interested in Indonesia only when it comes to terrorists, bombs, riots and other mayhem. So lots of positive things about Indonesia do not get reported and people outside think that Indonesia’s a basket case.
Traditionally, the other source of news in English that comes out of Indonesia are blogs kept by expats (disclosure: Unspun is an expat, of sorts, who’s been living in indonesia for 10 years or more). There are some good blogs among the expats but most of them are droll and comprise of grouses about the country they live in, deprecating remarks about local women and mutual masturbation among unattractive expat men.
This picture is compounded by the fact that some of these expats were the only ones who blogged when blogging was stil a new phenomenon, so even though time has passed and the world has changed, they think they are still center for the action where Englsi-language blogs are concerned.
Fortunately for Indonesia, this picture has been changing, although perhaps not fast enough. In the past few years we have seen many Indonesian blogs written in English spring up and over a variety of subjects. Some are very good. Some are penned by Indonesians living abroad. Others are written by Indonesians living here. They are from all walks of life. Some even blog as groups. Many have great content if not grammar. Still some, lke blogs in any language, are downright bad. But that’s the beauty of it; together they provide a rich mosaic of Indonesian life, insights and outlook.
But they are growing and as a result they may yet be the best hope for Indonesia to change its image abroad. as more Indonesians blog in English they form a bridge to other countries and worlds. Sometimes it provokes disagreements and arguments but that’s just great because with conversation comes understanding.
Unspun‘s come across some interesting Indonesian bridge blogs and would like to start a comprehensive list of Indonesian bridge bloggers, so the list below is a start. If any of you know of Indonesian bridge blogs please let me know by posting a comment here.
Some Indonesian Bridge Blogs( Unspun is sure this list is not comprehensive so help me fill it up):
Maverick Indonesia (disclosure: Unspun works there)i
(more disclosure: some of these blogs belong to my work colleagues but, hey, I can’t help it if my office are full of bloggers)