No alternative to the Burmese junta?

This is an interesting from-the-trenches point of view of democracy in places like Burma and Pakistan.The author, Juwono Sudarsono, is the Indonesian Defese Minister and he posts the view that while Aung San Suu Kyi and Benasir Bhutto may be good to look at and be the Liberal thinking man’s crumpets, they do not have viable alternatives to the reprehensible regimes in power in their respective counties.

Better the devil you know?

clipped from
Reading and viewing Western print and satellite TV and their Southeast counterparts recently, it’s hard to believe that there is deep understanding about the historical, cultural and economic context of what these media call present day Myanmar and Pakistan.

The staple line of argument among liberal media circles in the West is that the “military junta” or “military regime” in Myanmar and Pakistan need to be changed into liberal democracies along the lines of what politicians, legislators and media pundits in America and Britain seemed to be obsessed with. The illusion that Aung San Suu Kyi, Benazir Bhutto and/or Nawaz Sharif and their coterie of politicos/lawyers are able to devise a alternative, competent and unifying “democratic”political system remains a strong and, at the same time, naive and dangerous one.

  blog it

Rasa this!

This (clip below) looks like another cultural time bomb for Malaysia.Perhaps the Malaysian government should just step aside, shut up and let Indonesia and and Malaysian bloggers set the relationship right.

Malaysian Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan, on the off chance that you even even get debriefed on blogs, please see the posting Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and here too) to see how much Indonesians and Malaysians admire about each others’ countries and peoples. And how much potential goodwill there can be between serumpun countries if only the politicians would take a reality check, get off their high horses, park their egos somewhere the sun don’t shine and stop living in denial.

Also read Bleu, an Indonesian expat living in Indonesia for perspective on serumpun sentiments here.

clipped from

“Bw putih Bw merah” cerita Malay?

Terserah mau dianggap nge-flame apa engga, tp gw mau tarik perhatian ke sini lagi: cerita itu dari malay (melayu)? Setahu gw versi Jawanya adalah “brambang bawang” dan ini udah dikenal dari jaman duluuuu banget (nyokap gw ceritain pas masih kecil). Kenapa gw rada nyolot? Karena ini mulai diaku2 lagi sebagai cerita Malaysia, lihat:

“I think the minister should also look into their recent Sinetron called Bawang Merah Bawang Putih which is a copycat of our folklore as well. Their TV series was produced in 2004-2005 while we make a film titled Bawang Putih Bawang Merah way back during the Cathay Keris era in 1959 starring the late Latifah Omar and Umi Kalthom.”

Diambil dari salah satu komentar di weblog ini:
By: kersani on October 6th, 2007
at 4:53 am.

  blog it

Rasa anything but sayang

Malaysia Boleh does it again. This time confirming that it boleh try to bully the Indonesians. I am very malu to be a Malaysian and I think many Malaysians feel this way, again. To my Indonesian friends: We are sorry for a very goblok government that seems to be losing control of even its own government servants. Please take note that it is the government and its aparat, not the Malaysian peoples that are doing this. Unspun, for one, feels strongly that the Malaysian government should apologize unconditionally for this latest act of stupidity.

clipped from
First, Malaysia Tourism dishonoured and disgraced Indonesian blogger-TV anchor Nila Tanzil.Next, Malaysian police beat up Indonesian karate referee, Donald Luther Kalapita.

Last Wednesday, Muslianah Nurdin, wife of Indonesia’s education and culture attache, was accused of being an illegal migrant, and detained while shopping in Kuala Lumpur despite showing her identification.

The vigilante round-up was conducted by members of a 400,000-strong volunteer force, Rela.

The Indonesian embassy in KL issued a statement late yesterday to condemn the arrest. Quote The Star:

“She showed her card to the officer who claimed that he did not recognise it. She was detained and placed with other illegal immigrants.
“Based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Rela officer has violated international laws by showing disrespect to a member of the embassy,” it said yesterday.

Read Associated Press/International Herald Tribune and Google News.

  blog it

Ain’t people

The Jakarta Post’s caption writer seems to be in the holiday mood already as its not people boarding the train but silhouettes. Happy holidays.

clipped from

HOMECOMING: Silhouettes board a train Saturday at
Jatinegara station on their way to celebrate Idul
Fitri with their families. The number of travelers
is expected to reach its peak two days before the
Idul Fitri holiday arrives. (JP/P.J. Leo)

  blog it

Malaysian Tourism Minister on Rasa Sayang

Wading into the Rasa Sayang controversy is the Malaysian Minister that every blogger loves – to hate mostly, because of Tengku Adnan‘s infamous comment that all bloggers are liars and unemployed and that 80% of them are women.Unspun thinks that the root of the problem may lie in the different understandings of the word Malay. To the Malaysians, especially the Malaysian Malays, seem to think it refers to a Malay race, as proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (see Wikipedia reference here). It is a theory that has been dismissed by anthropologists, continues the Wikipedia entry, but “is still often used in this context, and it is the basis for Malay identity within the Malaysian nation.”

If you go by the first definition then sure, Malaysia has the right to use anything in the Malay Archipelago because it belongs to the Malay race.

If you go by the second definition then, boy, Malaysia can’t even claim to be the king of the mountain of the Malay world. The Melayus of Sumatra especially can claim the right to the throne since it is in their island that Iskandar Zul Karnian (Alexander the Great, how did a Greek get into the picture? It’s all Greek to Unspun) appeared and all floweth from him.

To Indonesians and others, Malay means “the ethnic group located primarily in the Malay peninsula, and parts of Sumatra and Borneo.” In other words the Melayu is a small ethnic group holed up in mainly Sumatra where Indonesians are concerned. And they are a small minority compared to the javanese, the Sundanese, the Bataks and the Ambonese, who seem to be the undisputed source for Rasa Sayang(e).

So here’s a wicked idea to add to the controversy: What if Sumatran Melayus sue the Malaysian government for trying to pass itself off as the Big Swinging Stick of the Malay world? Iskandar, after all, did not see it fit to trample on their earth but Sumatra’s. And who’s got the Melayu River where Iskandar made his debut?

clipped from

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has dismissed an Indonesian legislator’s claim that the song Rasa Sayang belonged solely to Indonesia.

  blog it

Pesta Blogger registration starts tomorrow

Update: 12.55pm. Oct 5: It is nearly three hours since the registration opened and already there have been 72 bloggers who have registered to come to Pesta Blogger. So hurry, only 28 places left before registration closes. Unspun’s been told also that the Pesta Blogger is attracting a lot of attention from all quarters and as a sign that it’s being taken seriously some bloggers have taken to satirizing the event (and some are very funny indeed) and there’s even a group to boycott it. Well, that group had better hurry or it’d be like bolting the barn door after the horse has bolted

The registration for the 100 free places at Pesta Blogger starts tomorrow at 10am. Make sure you’re there as we expect these places to fill up fast. Ke Pesta Blogger Yuk! The link:

Whose Malay Archipelago is it anyway?

This remark by Malaysia’s Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister raises interesting questions such as:1. Who’s a Malay? (There is the Malaysian Constitution definition, popular usage in Indoneia and a fascinating account and discussion initiated by Michael Chick here)
2. What then of the concept of the Malay Archipelago? Is it political, ethnographic, cultural, what?

clipped from
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 (Bernama) — The call by Indonesian lawmakers for action against Malaysia for using the “Rasa Sayang” folk song in its “Truly Asia” tourism campaign which Indonesia has claimed to be its traditional song, has been described as unrealistic.Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the issue should not have arisen as the song like other folk songs such as “Jauh Di Mata”, “Burung Pungguk” and “Terang Bulan” were songs of the Malay archipelago inherited by the people from their ancestors.

“I think Indonesia or other parties will not be able to prove who was the composer of the song (the Indonesian version being Rasa Sayange),” he told reporters at the breaking of fast organised by his ministry at the Federal Territory Mosque here tonight.

  blog it