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?

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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.

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Now to rasa some sayang

Update: One of Malaysia’s most prominent and controversial bloggers, and a good friend, Ahirudin Atan aka Rocky, has written a post linking to this posting and joining in what may become a movement to seek more commonalities and to appreciate each other instead of finding fault with each other as malaysians and Indonesians.

Can we become truly serumpun neighbors again? Post your comment below and post one also in Rocky’s blog. Incidentally, Rocky admires these about Indonesia: Samsons. Broery. Widyawati. Ratno Timoer. D’Lloyds.  As Unspun has said, we bloggers may succeed where governments and politicians have failed. Hehehe)

Unspun‘s Rasa Sayang(e) posting has brought out many fascinating comments, insights and perspectives. Some commentators (both Malaysians and Indonesians) were bigoted and emotional while others were prescient and made very good points. All in all Unspun feels it contributed, and still contributes, to a vibrant discussion on the commonalities and differences, as well as the different perceptions and misperceptions of two similiar peoples divided by a narrow strip of water.

Just for the heck of it, and in keeping with the spirit of Ramadhan, let’s all, Malaysians and Indonesians, try this experiment: Leave a comment here, telling us whether you are a Malaysian or Indonesian and tell us what you admire about the other people’s country.

It’s all very easy to criticize but can we praise also? (You can still rant and rave in the other postings but just for this posting let’s all do an intellectual realignment and think positive thoughts of each other)

Jut to kick things off Unspun, as a Malaysian who enjoys and prefers living in Indonesia, will wear two hats and tell you what I admire of each country. There are many thing, naturally, but here’s just one, from each hat:

As a Malaysian I admire the self confidence of Indonesians. They are happy and contented to live in their own skins. They are all different orang (as in Sunda, Java, Maluku, Manado, Bali, Tionghua, India, Arab…) but they all view and respect each other equally as Indonesians.

If I were to use my decade of living here to think as an Indonesia, I’d admire Malaysia’s ability to build great infrastructure like its great highways and modern buildings that are clean, functional and is not breaking down after six months.

OK, that should start the ball rolling…over to you now. (Comments in English, Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu/Malaysia all welcome!)

Bengkulu quake update: Three weeks later

About three weeks ago Malysians, Singaporeans and many Indonesians in Sumatra felt the earthquake in Bengkulu. Now, it seems, most people have forgotten about it. But what’s been happening there? Here’s Hope’s report on the situation this far:

Progress Report Bengkulu Earthquake – October 1, 2007
HOPE worldwide Indonesia

The Government of Indonesia sent a team to conduct damage assessment in Bengkulu and West
Sumatera. Predicted that a loss of $165 million. 48,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, while
500 infrastructures of road, bridges etc are damaged. The Government of Indonesia are
coordinating to determine the housing reconstruction support for the victims, ranging from
$1,000 to $3,000. It will take some time before the victims are able to rebuild their houses.

HOPE worldwide Indonesia team arrived on the location within 20 hours after the earthquake
and has since provided medical support to the North Bengkulu District’s hospital and health
posts. Medicines and hygiene kits has been delivered to the Arga Makmur Hospital and the local
disaster coordination (Satkorlak Bengkulu Utara)

What’s Next
A distribution plan of tents (tarpaulin), blanket, mattress, water bucket, clothings, and hygiene
kits are being prepared for 1,000 families in Lais, Ketahun, Putri Hijau, and Muko Muko Selatan.
The team plans to complete the distribution by the end of the second week of October, before the
Muslims celebrate Idul Fitri.

Meanwhile health remains high concern despite the low numbers of casualties. The residents
who are living in tents and emergency shelters remain very vulnerable in such living condition.
In Mentawai District, from 1,948 patients treated, 63.2% suffer from acute respiratory infection,
while 24.5% suffer from diarrhea. Bengkulu Team is monitoring the health situation closely as
for future interventions required.

For further information and to support contact:
Willy Gosal, Outreach Manager
HOPE worldwide Indonesia
Gedung Putera Lt 7, Jl Gunung Sahari 39
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel: 62-21-600-9091; Fax: 62-21-601-0570

A tale of two rumpuns

Interesting to see the different reactions to the Rasa Sayang(e) controversy both in Malaysia (see comments here) and in Indonesia (see comments here). On both sides of the Straits we have nationalism come to the fore, good sense go out the window, fear and loathing of the other.

But what should the real issue be in the Rasa Sayang(e) issue where different countries have many things in common like food, culture and sometimes even history?

Is the issue one of rights or of marketing savvy?

If it is one of rights then Indonesia wins hands down. Rasa Sayang(e), Unspun is willing to bet, almost certainly originated from Maluku, Negara Ku is probably a spinoff from Terang Bulan, Batik was probably developed and refined in Pekalongan long before Malaysia got its hands on it, Orang Utans are more plentiful in Indonesia, Sate Padang was probably being fanned on the fire longer than the satay in Kajang.

If, however, the issue is one of marketing savvy, then Indonesia losses big time to Malaysia. It falls flat in packaging its cultural icons so that they come to be associated with the country. This is nothing new.

Continue reading “A tale of two rumpuns”

Beyonce Malaysia Boleh

What can one say? Invite Beyonce and ask her to wear conservative clothing? Does one ask the Pope to wear spandex? Malaysia Boleh lagi!

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Another victory for Indonesia over Malaysia!!

It’s good to see people standing up for what they believe in. So I was real glad to see that the bootylicious singer Beyonce has cancelled her Malaysian show after the authorities there had ordered her to cover up and wear “conservative clothing”. Fuck that for a laugh. Bloody Nazis. As if a woman in the 21st century can’t wear what she wants!
And anyway, what’s the point of going to a Beyonce concert in the first place if you can’t see her perform her outrageous onstage antics? What are the Malaysians actually thinking? That people would go along merely to hear her sing? Hahaha!
But Malaysia’s loss is Indonesia’s gain. Cos to make up for the Malaysian show Beyonce’s announced she’ll do a show in Jakarta on 1 November instead!
Bootylicious!! Long live Beyonce!!!!!

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Serumpun discord #2

Now, according to Koran Tempo, an NGO focusing on migrant labor, wants to report Malaysia to the UN Human Rights Council for the rape of Indonesian workers by a group of people from Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia.

This is getting a bit worrying. All it takes is for someone to fan the flames of nationalism and Malaysians in Indonesia may be sitting ducks. Unspun suggests that the Malaysian government looks at ways of managing its image in Indonesia, not least starting from correcting the misperceptions malaysians in malaysia have about Indonesians as a whole, as expressed by the Malaysian Ambassador to indonesia Datuk Zainal’s words to heart (see here)

Selasa, 02 Oktober 2007


Kasus Pemerkosaan Pekerja Indonesia
Malaysia Akan Dilaporkan ke PBB

Dalang pemerkosaan adalah polisi setempat.

Jakarta — Migrant Care, lembaga swadaya untuk buruh migran, akan melaporkan pemerintah Malaysia ke Dewan Hak Asasi Manusia Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa. Laporan itu terkait dengan pemerkosaan yang dialami tenaga kerja Indonesia, EW, oleh sekelompok anggota Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia (Rela).
“Akan kami laporkan ke UN Human Rights Council secepatnya. Selama ini tidak ada tindakan apa pun dari pemerintah RI,” kata analis kebijakan Migrant Care, Wahyu Susilo, kepada Tempo kemarin.
Selain itu, kata Wahyu, anggota Rela akan dilaporkan ke pelapor khusus mengenai hak-hak buruh migran PBB. Langkah serupa dapat dilakukan langsung oleh EW. “Seharusnya yang menggugat adalah pemerintah Indonesia. Sebab, pelaku pemerkosaan adalah anggota Rela yang resmi dibentuk pemerintah Malaysia.”
Menurut Senior Liaison Officer Markas Besar Kepolisian RI di Kedutaan Besar RI Kuala Lumpur Setyo Wasisto, anggota Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) berpangkat rendah menjadi dalang aksi biadab yang melibatkan 12 orang itu. Si polisi juga telah menyiksa Mujib, suami EW, serta merampas harta benda dan paspor korban. “Pelaku sudah ditangkap bersama sembilan orang lain,” katanya.
Ia menuturkan EW adalah tenaga kerja migran resmi yang memiliki izin bekerja sebagai pembantu rumah tangga di Klang, Selangor. Namun, tiga bulan kemudian ia melarikan diri dari majikannya. Lalu EW menikah siri dengan Mujib dan tinggal di Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Pada 7 September, Mujib dan EW didatangi dua orang berseragam yang mengaku anggota kepolisian Selangor. Dengan alasan tidak memiliki izin kerja, EW lantas dibawa ke Muar–150 kilometer dari Selangor.
EW kemudian dibawa ke Hotel R di Muar, dan di bawah todongan senjata api, dia diperkosa beramai-ramai. Pada 8 September, EW dibawa keluar dari hotel dan dijual kepada dua orang Melayu seharga 400 ringgit. “Oleh dua orang itu ia diperkosa lagi,” kata Setyo.
Saat ini EW berada dalam perlindungan shelter Konsulat Jenderal RI Johor Bahru. Menurut Setyo, kondisi psikologis EW sangat lemah. “Apalagi saat ini EW tengah hamil dua setengah bulan.”
Konsulat RI di Johor, menurut Setyo, akan menggugat para pelaku secara pidana ataupun perdata. “Tapi kita lihat dulu. Karena di Malaysia, untuk kasus pidana saja susah, apalagi perdata,” ujarnya. KBRI, kata dia, saat ini masih fokus pada pendampingan korban dan pengusutan kasus.
Berdasarkan catatan Migrant Care, pada April 2007, kasus pemerkosaan oleh aparat Rela juga menimpa SY, seorang tenaga kerja wanita asal Desa Kidang, Kabupaten Mujur, Lombok Tengah, Nusa Tenggara Barat. SY diperkosa oleh polisi Rela di Johor Bahru, Malaysia. “Saat melapor ke kantor polisi Kajang, ia justru dijebloskan ke penjara Semenyih karena tidak berdokumen dan ditahan selama lima hari,” kata Wahyu.
SY kini masih berada di penampungan KBRI Kuala Lumpur dan kehamilannya sudah berusia 6 bulan. Ironisnya, menurut Wahyu, kepolisian Malaysia justru mengirim surat kepada KBRI Kuala Lumpur agar SY segera dipulangkan ke Indonesia. “Tapi kasus pemerkosaannya tidak pernah ditangani.” NININ DAMAYANTI