Category: ask the right question

JIS and all those unasked questions

Last Thursday Unspun attended the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club’s discussion on child abuse, where Jakarta International School headmaster Tim Carr volunteered to be a speaker.

The other speakers were Seto Mulyadi from the National Commission on Child Protection and Child Protction Commission Secretary-general Elfrida. Unspun was at the discussion until about the end when he had to leave for a prior commitment, but it was one of the strangest journalistic events he’s attended because of the questions asked and more importantly, not asked.

Some might argue that local journalists may, out of cultural or educational reasons, shy from asking pointed and direct questions, but these were primarily Westerners so it was indeed quite disturbing to note the caliber of the questioning.

One of the questions the journalists there asked were of Carr’s opinion of  the “anti-Western bias” in local reports about the JIS incident. This allowed Carr to lace into the irresponsibility of the journalists covering this incident.

But what anti-Western bias was there in the first place? Unspun’s been following the news in the English and Bahasa newspapers and news portals. There was some very bad and insensitive reporting – failure to double check facts with all sources, harassing children, revealing identities of victims and others prematurely, indiscriminate and tasteless reporting of information etc. – but there did not seem to be any anti-Western bias in the reports.

Carr also laced into the local media that failed to ask for their side of the story when reporting about the child molestation cases. This was after he admitted freely that JIS had been slow and unresponsive in its communications in the week after the news broke.

Unspun was waiting for a journalist to ask him, “but who could have reached you during the first week if they wanted to get your side of the story?” Alas, though, no one did.

Then there were the unasked questions – questions actually being asked by the mums of international school students – that Unspun would have thought would come from at least one of the journalists – but none asked.

One natural question would have been: “What is the standard operating procedure for teachers when kindergarten kids go to the toilet?” Do they have to be accompanied by a teacher? Do they have to go in pairs? Do they have, like in some international schools, only five minutes to get their business done or else the teacher will come looking for them?

Five minutes out of direct adult supervision is a long time for a kid but not long enough for perverts to have their way with them (This was something that Unspun did not understand until he became a father). This gives rise to another question: How long did the perpetrators take with their victims?

A few of the perpetrators doing all those things to the child victims would have taken at least 15 to 30 minutes. Wouldn’t this be too long for a kindergarten child to go unsupervised? What was the teacher’s responsibility?

Another question: What, for that matter, is the standard operating procedure for teachers during recess time? Do they give them free reign and go to the toilet by themselves unsupervised? If so what is the procedure or safety measures to ensure their well-being?

Then there are the geographic questions:

How far was the toilet from the kindergarten? In some schools it was intentionally located very close to the classes. Was the JIS toilet close to the kindergarten? Was it 20, 50, 100 meters away or further?

And the CCTV camera: Where was it aimed at?

Toward the end of the JFCC discussion Carr was asked about whether he knew of a second case. He said JIS had been given no information about it.

And that was it! No journalist followed up on his statement. If Unspun had still been a journalist (they get first rights to question the guests at the JFCC function) Unspun would have asked a series of questions, namely:

“The news of the second victim had broken the day before, so have you conducted your own investigation into these allegations, never mind what you have been told or not?”

As it was, Elfrida from KPAI, shortly after Carr said he had not been given any information about the second incident, revealed that there was a second victim and she apparently (Unspun had left by then but was told by a journalist friend) gave out the victim’s name as well.

What no one asked also was whether Carr knew about another case of child molestation that happened about 20 years ago by a janitor. A JIS alumni wrote about her experience on Facebook. She said that when she reported the matter to JIS they sacked the janitor and was very good to her. She subsequently took down the posting because of some adverse factions she got from some of her readers.

Unspun knows that alumni and believes she was telling the truth (and confirmed with her that her case had nothing to do with Vahey, the pedophile who took his life after the FBI homed in on him) . If this is accurate, then JIS should have on record this child molestation case and had chosen to keep quiet about it, which gives rise to the question of what other cases it has chosen to keep quiet about. What did it do about the report on that case? How did it strengthen its procedures and other safety measures because of it, or did it learn nothing from it and did nothing?

Whether there are other skeletons in the closet is anybody’s guess but the rumour mill, especially among the parents of international schools, is going on overdrive about the probability of other cases.

Is JIS a responsible school and as much a victim as anyone else to the evil that child predators do? Or is it an arrogant institution so full of itself that it cannot come to terms with its weaknesses – and therefore, like the protagonist in a Greek tragedy, forever condemned to perpetuate its mistakes – is anybody’s guess right now.

The pity is that the one institution (if you do not have much faith in the Police) that can help shed light on this matter and JIS’s role in it – the Press – is not asking the right questions. Unspun doesn’t know why.

Old timers  that he hangs out with say that the journalists these days just doesn’t have that pit-bull tenacity in chasing down a story any more. But that is what the older generation usually says of the younger ones.

But still, why aren’t these questions being asked by the journalists?

Read also this posting, one of very few that raises the right questions.

 

 

 

 

 

Repent all ye skeptics: Gen. Moeldoko’s watch is a fake

Hush ye of little faith! The Indonesian Military does not indulge in corruption.

So all the skeptics who thought that Armed Forces Commander General Moeldoko was wearing a US$100,000 Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback – and therefore may be a bought man – were wrong!

The Military’s spokesperson has just revealed that the watch on the general’s wrist was actually a KW – an Indonesian term for a fake, that was bought in China. The General, apparently, has a fetish for fake watches.

(Just for interest: KW is an acronym for “kwaliti” in Indonesian. And fake goods are graded according to their quality of finishing, with KW1 being best and a degradation quality as the KW number gets larger. Then there is the super premium KW Ori, which stands for “original quality” which Unspun doesn’t really know what it means – maybe its original, factory outlet goods. Unfortunately Unspun is not a collector of KW watches).

Unspun’s said before that watches are usually a testament to the character of the wearer, so back to the same question: what does it say of the general?

Panglima TNI Hobi Koleksi Jam Palsu

Panglima TNI Hobi Koleksi Jam Palsu | -nasional- | Tempo.co

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Markas Besar Tentara Nasional Indonesia membantah berita media Singapura yang menyorot jam tangan mewah milik Panglima Jenderal Moeldoko. Kepala Pusat Penerangan Mabes TNI Mayor Jenderal Fuad Basya mengatakan jam tangan milik Panglima bermerek Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback adalah palsu.

“Jam tangan itu buatan Tiongkok, orang bilang jam ‘KW’,” kata Fuad saat dihubungi Tempo, Rabu, 23 April 2014. Bahkan Panglima Moeldoko disebut gemar mengkoleksi jam tangan ‘KW’ alias palsu bikinan Tiongkok.

Soal harga jam tangan yang ditaksir media Singapura sekitar Rp 1,1 miliar, Fuad tak bisa berkomentar. “Ya mungkin kalau yang asli harganya segitu.” (Baca: Arloji-arloji Mewah Moeldoko Versi Media Singapura)

Menurut Fuad, Panglima Moeldoko sendiri tak mau menanggapi tudingan miring berita media Singapura. Moeldoko juga enggan mengkaitkan berita jam tangan mewahnya dengan panas-dingin hubungan Indonesia-Singapura akibat penamaan kapal perang baru milik TNI, KRI Usman Harun. “Kami takutnya suuzon,” kata Fuad.

Menurut dia, Panglima TNI berencana menggelar jumpa pers dengan wartawan siang hari ini setelah membuka sidang Filindo, kerja sama militer Filipina dan Indonesia, di Hotel Borobudur, Jakarta. Moeldoko hendak memamerkan jam tangan tersebut ke media.

Sebelumnya, media Singapura, Mothership.sg, merilis berita tentang jam tangan mewah milik Moeldoko. Bahkan media tersebut menyebutkan Moeldoko sebagai kolektor jam tangan mewah beraneka merek.

 

Raiding the Ban for Popular Votes?

Even though you may no agree with it you could understand the reasons why Malaysia’s censors might want to ban a film like Noah – the ultra sensitive Muslims in that country bristle at any attempts to dick around with the religious texts.

But to brand The Raid 2 is a bit morelthan a mystery. Malaysia has let in ultra violent movies before. There is no religious element to the film unless your religion is violence and its the product of a neighbouring country. So what are the reasons.

We can take it for granted that Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo is being opportunistic and nationalistic to question the Malaysian censors. That does not detract from the fact that his question needs an answer.

One can only hope (against all hope?) that the Malaysian politicians and censors have enough wits about them to adopt a more open approach and provide some answers after their disastrous brush with openness over the MH 370 tragedy.

Because, if they don’t they’ll be delivering to Prabowo a golden opportunity to shore up his popularity. (Thx for the spot Andi).

A spat with Malaysia is something relished by many Indonesians and if a spat breaks out over The Raid 2 Edhie will be able to ride the wave of nationalism and Malaysia-bashing.

All not good for Indonesia and Malaysia…unless it is a conspiracy between the powers that be in both countries to advance Edhie’s electoral prospects in the first place…Hmmm…Unspun’s been watching too many conspiracy movies lately.

Presidential Hopeful Criticizes Malaysia for Reported Banning of ‘The Raid 2’ – The Jakarta Globe.

A scene from the ‘Raid 2: Berandal.’ (Photo courtesy of Merantau Films)

Jakarta. Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo asked Malaysia explain why the country’s film board had banned “The Raid 2: Berandal,” the ultra-violent but internationally acclaimed Indonesian martial arts film that was released in theaters last week.

“It is very unfortunate that the Malaysian government banned this movie without giving any reason,” Pramono said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The movie was scheduled to hit Malaysian screens on March 28, but as of Tuesday, it had not been shown anywhere in the country. There has been no official statement from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia on why the movie by Welsh director Gareth Evans had not been screened.

Calls to the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia were not returned — but the film does not appear on the board’s list of approved new films. The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment on the ban when contacted by the Jakarta Globe.

Pramono called on the Malaysian government to view the film as a positive contributor to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) film industry.

“I also demand that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively perform its mediation function with the Malaysian government,” he said.

A Malaysian movie site, cinema.com.my, reported that Malaysian audiences were disappointed by the lack of screenings in the country.

One moviegoer, Nicholas Lim, told the site he was disheartened by the ban because he had enjoyed the first movie, “The Raid: Redemption,” which was not banned in Malaysia. The second film, however, contains more scenes of graphic violence than the first.

“The Raid 2″ was released in Indonesia on March 28. More than 300,000 people saw the film during its opening weekend.

 

Are Buzzers worth hiring at all?

The real question that needs to be asked is: “Are Buzzers worth hiring at all?”

All but the most naive of Indonesia’s Twittersphere have come to realise that these Buzzers are all hired guns and will tweet on any product – politicians, soap, aphrodisiacs, milk, slimming powders, you name it – for the right price.

Knowing this they don’t believe them or are not influenced by their endorsers. So why pay for buzzers at all?

The reason why so many politicians and brand managers still do is that they are lazy and have no clue how to connect with today’s savvy, hyperlinked and skeptical audiences.

They can’t get their act together to figure who their actual audience is, what makes them tick and how generate their own content that is relevant and engaging.

So they take the easy way out and hire Buzzers. The question that arises here is why aren’t the CEOs wise to this and put a stop to this futile practice?

Media monitor gives Twitter advice to political parties | The Jakarta Post.

Political parties and politicians need to consider more than just how many followers as Twitter user has when looking at hiring “buzzers” for the 2014 general election, a media monitoring company says.

“The number of followers alone does not guarantee the success of engagement created via the buzzer. There are other factors to analyze and measure,” Awesometrics business analyst Hari Ambari said in an official release on Wednesday.

Awesometrics gave a number of examples, such as actor Ringgo Agus Rahman who charged Rp 5 million per message on Twitter to promote a campaign to his 1.7 million followers, while professional corporate worker Henry Manampiring could charge between Rp 5 million and Rp 15 million to “buzz” his 70,000-plus followers.

The comparison clearly showed that users with larger amounts of followers did not always receive higher prices for a “buzz”.

Hari said political parties and politicians who wished to use buzzers had to consider four other factors: the Twitter user’s potential reach, reputation, usual topics and engagement with their followers.

 

Poor little rich girl or jealous hoi polloi?

Unspun was agog when he came across a mention of this videoclip in Mr Brown’s Facebook newsfeed. Being in Indonesia Unspun’s used to seeing over-the-top events but this birthday party for a girl turning sweet 16 takes the cake.

(note: the person who posted this video has taken it private so you can’t view it. But you can see screen grabs of the video from this site)

Unspun’s first impulse was: “What a spoilt rich kid!” But that would have been unfair to the birthday girl Vanessa. She probably doesn’t know any better and having a silver spoon in her mouth is probably the most natural thing where she is concerned.

This reminds Unspun of a conversation he had once with a scion from one of Indonesia’s uber-rich families. When he heard Unspun lament about how ostentiously Indonesian children are being brought up these days, he sheepishly admitted that he was one of them.

“When I reached driving age my father asked me what car I would like to have,” he said. “I, of course told him I wanted a Mercedes-Benz because to me that was a car that we’d naturally select.” A Toyota, Kijang or Nissan was simply not part of the consideration.

He did say, however, by justification that his father was a pragmatist: “Son, you are enjoying this because we have money now. One day we may not have the money and when that happens just be glad that you got to enjoy what money could get you when it lasted.”

As far as I could gather, they continued to have money and he continues to enjoy the finer things that money can buy. No for him a lesson in come uppance from Heaven by striking him and his family poor.

This incident ricochets in Unspun’s mind when he was watching the video of Vanessa’s 16th birthday. There is nothing wrong in enjoying what money can bring you. And if you or your dad has nots of it, is it wrong to enjoy what lots of dough can bring you?

Is it more wrong for Vanessa’s dad to splurge on his daughter to this extent than a middle class family would celebrate their daughter’s birthday in, say, Pizza Hut? The latter would seem lavish if you are an Indonesian slum dweller. It all depends on your perspective.

Unspun‘s not so concerned about that but about whether Vanessa’s parents, regardless of their good intentions, is actually doing her a favour or ruining her life.

If she gets a birthday part of this scale and magnificence, what must her perception of the world be like? What would she expect from life?

How would she develop the compassion for other human beings less fortunate than her – and they must be legion, judging from the wealth the family must have.

How would she know who are her true friends? In the video, many of her friends were wishing her all the best in life. When you are that rich and that ostentatious about it, how would you know if they are hanging out with you for your money, the “prestige” of being seen with the privileged or really for your character.

Speaking of character, how does someone of that privileged league develop their characters? Hardship, deprivation, making do with less are certainly not shapers here. What are?

Another thing that Unspun‘s curious about is how this Vanessa would cope if, for some reason or another, the family’s money runs out? Would she be philosophical like my rich friend’s father or be unable to cope, should her life be stripped of money and its trappings?

Is there grist for the mill here for well-heeled Indonesian parents or is Unspun missing the whole point because he belongs to the hoi polloi?

On the @misbahkun vs @benhan case

Unspun’s reminded of the Gandhi witticism: “Those who engage in mudslinging often lose ground” in the unfolding case between Twitterati Benny Handoko (@benhan) and Golkar politician Misbahkun (@misbakhun). For the current development of the case  see here.

As things stand, Benny is now under detention for allegedly slandering Misbahkun over the Bank Century case, after the latter complained to the police. The series of twits that has led to this serious turn of events is captured in Jackson Purba’s Chirpstory feed “TwitWar Misbakhun Vs Benhan” by @misbakhun N @benhan.

As the Chirpstory feed clearly shows @benhan fired the first salvo by accusing @misbahkun. A Twitwar ensured where @misbahkun duked it out with @benhan, Twitblow for Twitblow. The virtual slugfest, after 100 tweets ended after @misbahkun warned @benhan to retract his statement and apologize or he would file legal charges.

Now it appears that @misbahkun has followed up on that threat and is getting the Indonesian Twitterverse riled up because of his action.

It is an interesting incident as the central issue here is whether you have a right to sue (or in the case of Indonesia, file a police report against) someone for slander after you’ve duked it out with them on Twitter.

True, the Internet and Twitter does not, and should not, exonerate anyone from slandering another person.  Twitter, however, allows you to talk back and have your say to whomever is interested in what you have to say. So several interesting questions pop to mind here:

  1. Would Misbahkun  have been morally justified to take legal action against Benny if he did not use his Twitter account to engage in a Twitwar with Benny. Would it have been Ok if he merely used his Twitter account (20,343 followers) to say that Benny was incorrect and that if he persisted he would take legal action, and left it at that?
  2. Did Misbahkun waive his moral right to legal action after engaging in a Twitwar? Would going to the law after arguably losing a fight with Benhan (a Twitter heavyweight at 49,799 followers) make him look like a sore loser?
  3. Finally here’s a question for social media and issues management typed: There is a lot of noise in the Indonesian Twitterverse. Would Misbahkun be better off had he ignored @Benhan’s tweets and let it pass rather than wage a Twitwar and file a legal action? Would such a course of action – benign neglect – have hurt his reputation? (not say he has a great one but would such an action lower his reputation from what it was before the Twitwar?)

Looks like its time for a vox populi on the issue:

The Buzz about Buzzers in Indonesia

So here we have it, the widespread use of buzzers in Indonesia to push the products or brands of companies.

The questions marketers need to ask before they embark on their next foray with buzzers are these:

  1. What competitive advantage is there for their brand when their competitors are all also doing the same – paying buzzers to endorse or “create buzz” around a product or event?
  2. Is there any credibility in it at all given that everyone using social media knows that buzzers are guns for hire and are a promiscuous lot? If there isn’t, what’s the point of using the buzzers?
  3. Are brands squandering their resources by using buzzers, since it is transplanting the old world practice of using Key Opinion Leaders to influence others? That idea is grounded in Edward Bernays’s theory of Influencing the Influencers that is at least 85 years old. A lot has happened since then, specifically the social media that renders most things transparent and demands authenticity and relevance from brands
  4. Shouldn’t brands focus more on how they can use social media to create a great customer experience for their audiences instead?

 

In Indonesia, buzzers not heard but tweet for money – RTRS
23-Aug-2013 04:00
By Andjarsari Paramaditha
JAKARTA, Aug 23 (Reuters) – In Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, a buzzer is not an alarm or a bell, but someone with a Twitter account and more than 2,000 followers who is paid to tweet.
Jakarta is the world’s tweet capital and advertisers eager to reach the under-30 crowd are paying popular Twitter users to spread their word through social media, starting at about $21 per tweet.
While celebrity endorsements via Twitter are common worldwide, Indonesia is unusual because advertisers are paying the Average Joes too.
These Twitter “buzzers” send short messages promoting brands or products to their followers, usually during rush hour, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m., when Jakarta’s notorious traffic jams create a captive audience with time to scan their mobile phones.
Jakarta has more Twitter users than any other city In the world, according to Semiocast, a social media market researcher, and Indonesia is home to the world’s fourth-largest population, with half the people under 30. All ingredients for a social media marketer’s dream.
“Indonesians love to chat. We love to share. We are community driven as a culture. For us it’s very easy to adopt social media because it is a channel through which we can express our opinions,” said Nanda Ivens, chief operating officer at XM Gravity Indonesia, a digital marketing unit of London-listed advertising giant WPP Group WPP.L.
For advertisers, using Twitter buzzers is a way to personalise the pitch, connecting someone who may have a special interest in a product with like-minded potential customers. A local photography buff, for example, would be a good target for a camera company.
An effective social media campaign will generate real conversations and genuine endorsements, said Thomas Crampton, Hong Kong-based social media director at advertising firm Ogilvy. But one issue with paid buzzers is that they may be seen as endorsing something only for the money.
“It’s not going to be transparent to the people reading the Twitter feed whether they’re being paid, and that’s not very honest,” said Crampton.
“The followers will see that this guy is for sale. It’s really like talking to a friend. If your friend is being paid to tell you something then a) you wouldn’t consider that person your friend and b) you’re not going to believe them.”

MEASURING SUCCESS
PT Nestle Indonesia, a unit of global food company Nestle SA NESN.VX, counts teenage pop singer Raisa (@raisa6690) and heartthrob actor Nicholas Saputra (@nicsap) among its brand ambassadors. They recently tweeted their experiences at a large Sumatra coffee plantation in a campaign supported by hired buzzers who were retweeting the celebrities’ comments and other sponsored messages from the company.
The challenge is measuring success.
“We do have quantitative measurement, which is the number of followers, the number of likes and the number of clicks,” said Patrick Stillhart, head of the coffee business at PT Nestle Indonesia. “But how do we relate that to brands and sales? There’s left a question mark.”
Stillhart said the company uses social media for more than a dozen brands and about 15 percent of its advertising spending goes to digital media. Apart from Nestle, competitor Unilever Indonesia UNVR.JK also followed similar path for their products.
Sometimes things go wrong.
Prabowo (@bowdat), 33, who quit his day job two years ago to scout for buzzers, recalled one cautionary tale about tweets meant to promote an Android product 005930.KS that were sent through a rival BlackBerry BB.TO or iPhone AAPL.O device. Followers could see the gaffe because tweets often include an automatic tag indicating how the message was posted.
Stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa (@ernestprakasa) fell afoul of the “twitterverse” last year while promoting the Mini Cooper, a popular car made by BMW Group BMWG.DE
“There was a viral video. The idea was, I had to pretend to be locked in a container for several hours and then I escaped with the car. I was asked to act as if I was captured,” said the 30-year-old, who charges advertisers 7 million rupiah ($670) for 10 tweets.
Some of his friends didn’t realise it was an act, and began retweeting he had been kidnapped. They were furious when told it was an advertising gimmick.
“I was cursed at, accused of only trying to create a sensation. I had around 15,000 followers so I didn’t think it could become big. But I also learned that whenever this sort of fiasco happens, stay silent. It won’t last more than two days. Something new will come along and people will forget anyway.” ($1 = 10,490 Indonesian rupiah)

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Raju Gopalakhrisnan) ((andjarsari.p@thomsonreuters.com)(+62 21 3199 7170)(Reuters Messaging: andjarsari.p.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))