Update: for an alternative view, and Unspun‘s response to blogger John, go here
Hear! hear! Unspun thoroughly agrees with Fatih on the folly and mischief of anonymous bloggers, especially expat ones. Well said Fatih.
clipped from fatihsyuhud.com
Frankly speaking, I dislike anonymous blogger�or ghost blogger as I prefer to call it, particularly those who blog/write on such sensitive issues as politics and religion.�Speaking of�the latter topic without giving a clear name and identity, to me, does�not represent a good intention, and thus credibility.�A writer or a blogger who rigorously writes on those issues while hiding one’s true identity�and name –such as the one behind�indonesiamatters.com�deserves�our suspicion�of having a hidden agenda. Specially when�one is critical to certain� religion while generously flattering or defending another most of the time.

I also notice that many foreign�expatriates who�blog on Indonesia tend to hide their identify or go pseudonymous. It’s of course their rights to do so as far as, as mentioned above, the themes they are talking about are not about certain sensitive issues.
  blog it

12 thoughts on “The scratch of folly

  1. Tell you what, I will declare my real name and KTP the moment you can guarantee a expat (or anyone else) for that matter could receive a fair and just hearing in any court of justice in Indonesia.

    What is more laughable is the complaint against expat sites as having an agenda (I actually agree, some do) but they pale into insignificance against some of the rabid hate sites that out number exapt sites about 100 to one. These apparently are of no consequence.

    Personally, I prefer to be critical of all religions and if you take offence ..don’t read..As for politics, they need no help from me to look like fools its like shooting fish in a barrel.


  2. @OIGAL: Another dishonest argument you are advancing by setting Unspun a task – guaranteeing that anyone would receive a air trial in Indonesia – that both you and I know is beyond my powers to fulfill. It’s a s far fetched as me asking you to guarantee that everyone will have a fair trial in OZ. (Most people do but there is probably one in a thousand that gets shortchanged and there goes the task).

    Agree on the probability of the proportion your statistics (although no one’s counted). But “pale into insignificance?” Significants has to do with contrast. Put a drop of black in on a huge white wall and it is significantly noticeable.

    Totally agree on criticality on religion. They’re all so up themselves that they suspend logic and reality of the improbability of a personal God who doesn’t even have time to blog but gets about creating mischief, putting followers to the test and other inane activities. Better She get a Wii.


  3. Dishonest (as well as a coward for writing anon, gee you guys are really going to town). Never the less, I believe it is still sanctimonious claptrap. I don’t have to guarentee anything as I am not the one calling people cowards etc (in the case our estwhile blogger fatih’s word). Although he should be careful talking about agenda’s as this post is a virtual copy of a 2006 post of his..agenda or perhaps writers block. I do note however your comment on that post.

    “I agree that Indonesia is a ver free and democratic society but it is not absolutely free. I was given a warning by someone working in high office for an article I wrote in the jakarta Post some time ago.

    Later, when the chap met one of my colleagues he asked if the taxman or the immigration officials had visited me. I do not know if he was overzealous or it came from the office, but I’m not willing to take the risk – I have employees who depend on me for their livelihoods.

    There is more leeway if you write in English but there is no absolute freedom – not from the occassional overzealous official anyway.”

    Happy to see you agree with me here then, oh and did you forget our friendly polly threatening the expat lady on IM and your site with deportation recently..petty and vindictive were the words you used as I recall?


  4. Oigal: Your arguments are going over the top a bit aren’t they? I merely pointed out that you’re advancing a dishonest argument and drew a parallel to show the dishonesty of it with… as if I asked you to guarantee that everyone in OZ gets a free trial. Nobody is asking you to guarantee anything.

    Thanks for doing your homework and quoting me but that quote only proves that there is the odd psycho and unreasonable person in government and outside who would resort to threats, just like anywhere else. It does not make the case that Indonesia is a more dangerous place to blog than elsewhere, and hence people are justified to blog anonymously.


  5. It seems that my selection as ‘Blogger of the Week’ has triggered a bout of name calling from all sides…

    Seeing it was this selection that started this off I want to add my “two bob’s worth” to the argument!

    I think that if people choose to blog anonymously then that is there right. I believe the ability to write anonymously is part of the free speech rights that we should all enjoy! However, it is a legal fact that free speech is not absolute nor is it free from limitations…as Oigal points out with the hate speech argument but here in lies the problem of anonymous writing and blogging — how do we as a free and democratic community hold those people accountable for their hate speech when we do not know who they are.

    So in this regard there is some value in the arguments (the arguments themselves not necessarily in the manner in which they may have been made — but to each his own on this frint!) advanced. To this end I would have characterized my concerns with anonymous blogging not as cowardice but rather having the ‘courage’ of your convictions to enter into public debate and be exposed to the full glare of public scrutiny for the opinions that one holds. Once again to each their own!

    For Oigal, I appreciate that you employ a lot of people or are responsible for their livelihoods and if this is your justification for remaining anonymous, then so be it!

    I also am responsible for a lot of people’s livelihoods, mine included, but in that sense I am replaceable! If the government or some other ‘big brother’ agency comes after me and boots me out of Indonesia after an inherently unfair trial because I am white, then as Ned Kelly is reported to have said “such is life”!

    Although when push comes to shove I think I would give a pretty good account of myself in an Indonesian court and my case (and hopefully the stars align in such a way that this hypothetical case never eventuates) might open the door to greater freedoms of speech in this developing democracy that is Indonesia so that you feel confident enough to reveal to us all who you are (but I am sure that plenty of people no who you are already and it is a small few that as you have so eloquently put it ‘have their knickers in a knot” — I did read that on your blog right? Cannot remember for sure but will check…my apologies if it was not you)…

    But in any event what I do professionally can be done exclusively online so if the worst case scenario was every to happen then I could conceivably base myself just off Indonesia’s shores until such time as normality was restored!

    Sorry for the length of this commentary but hey it’s a free world 🙂


  6. Rob: Congrats and thanks for your two bob. You are most welcomed here and I think they would contribute to this conversation. Agree with you that name calling and some emotive choices of words have marred the arguments that I think Fatih’s posting raised.

    The issue of a person’s right to blog anonymously is a non starter but this is the same old argument the unskilled pull out every time someone brings up the anonymous blogging issue . So let’s be clear and get it out of the way on this thread: We all accept that a person has the right to blog anonymously. What’s being questioned is not a person’s right to blog anonymously.

    What’s being questioned is whether disclosing a person’s own name and identity is a responsible thing to do, especially when they blog on sensitive and potentially emotive issues like politics and religion.

    There is also a question of whether a person has perhaps an added responsibility if they blog in and about a country where they are not citizens.

    On both counts I think that it would be irresponsible for someone to do so anonymously as they are commenting on things and ideas that people hold dear to their hearts. Revealing your identity also has a sobering effect of making you take responsibility for every word you utter (see Conan the Barbarian and Bloggers). I think the onus to accept responsibility is even higher if you are living and blogging about these matters in another person’s country, lest it be perceived – probably wrongly as us bloggers taking on what Kipling would call “The White Man’s Burden.”

    The only situation where I think it would justifiable to blog anonymously in Indonesia is if it is a repressive state or one where those criticized are more rabid than their counterparts in other countries to do violence to their critics. So far I have not seen any posts that argue persuasively that Indonesia is that dangerous a place. At most the arguments raised establish only that Indonesia is no different from other places with its share of overzealous officials, cranks and a psycho or two. My personal experience is that it is much freer and tolerant than at least its Southeastasian neighbors, hence I cannot see the need for people in Indonesia to blog anonymously whether they are local or expat. There is a need to blog responsibly, honestly and with full accountability, though.


  7. Unspun we are on the same page here I think. The points I made related to the fact that the right to anonymous blogging needs to be enshrined in the blogosphere.

    However, my point about anonymous blogging relates to accountability where the blogger crosses the line from inoffensive personal musings to using the medium for hate speech and other vilification under the guise of free speech!

    I disagree that there is any additional burden living in someone elses country to be known rather than anonymous. The determining factor must be the content of your writings and the legitimacy of public scrutiny for those that want to publish on sensitive subjects. If I was based in my home country I do not think that this gives me any rights to a lesser burden of accountability!

    I look forward to other exchanges 🙂


  8. Hi Guys,

    In general concur, its worth a debate but sorry I read it as just another thinly (very) swipe at expats. The name calling rendered the rest of the post as biased rubbish.

    Normally I don’t get involved in the ‘my blog is best or my pesta is best’ wars (easy to do when your own blog ranks number ten gazillion).

    I blog anon, for reasons that may or may not be in your view valid but to then link that to personal courage is making assumptions that are obvious rubbish.

    Rob, You make a point for hate sites but lets be honest if it is that bad, no one is really anon. My anon may just slow down that as Unspun puts it “Over zealous official”

    Perhaps some do not realise how precarious life can be for expats here. Every time the work permit comes up, i have to sit for an interview with a local moron who desides if I am fit and proper person and at the wave of pen desides the future of myslef and those who works with me.


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