Blog Fest by Angkor Wat

Kounila Keo, who is one of the most active bloggers and digerati in ASEAN, and her mates are organizing a Blog Fest in Siem Reap on November 1-5. Registration for the event is now open and those who are financially challenge may apply for a sponsorship.

Below is her message to Indonesian bloggers:

Dear Indonesian bloggers,

We are very happy to announce the BlogFest Asia 2012. The regional gathering will take place this year in Siem Reap, Cambodia from November 1st to 5th. It is organized by Cambodian bloggers (http://2012.blogfest.asia/blogfest-organizers). We also have a team of volunteers who will help us with arranging your travels within Siem Reap.

BlogFestAsia has been organized twice in Hong Kong and Malaysia in order for technologists, bloggers, social media enthusiasts and tech lovers in the region to come, share, learn and exchange information related to technology development in the region.

Visit our website (http://2012.blogfest.asia) for background information on the purpose of our gathering. More information will be provided very soon.

Please register now: http://2012.blogfest.asia/registration-form. The organizers here would like to provide accommodation as well as meals to participants, but participants or speakers should be able to cover their own air tickets from their home country to Siem Reap.

However, if you need an invitation letter to find sponsorship for your travel, please shoot us an email (blogfestasia12@gmail.com).

Over the next few days and weeks, we will be adding the complete program, adding speakers’ bios and a list of attendees. Please do keep coming back to the site http://2012.blogfest.asia for blog posts, commentaries from blogfest partipants as well as updates of travel funds as we’re seeking for sponsorship from different companies and institutes to sponsor you as well. We cannot promise, but we’re trying our best. This can only be informed to you after you register.

So far, the BlogFestAsia 2012 has been made possible thanks to the very generous support of the US Embassy, the Asia Foundation and several individuals. We hope to hear from other potential sponsors by mid October.

Thank you!

And the cycle of violence in the schools goes round and round…

School violence has been around in Jakarta for the better part of at least the past 25 years. Each time there is an intensifying of violence, the Government and others make the appropriate concerned voices and vow to put it to an end.

Then the problem ebbs from the headlines and everyone forgets about it…until the next spate of violence. This is a big pity because the ways of combating the violence have been discovered and even applied to at least one school. The solution is there but it’s all forgotten.

Unspun, wrote about it in this posting in 2006, about an article I wrote when I was still a journalist in 1997. But what do you do with a government with no political will to do the right thing and to make things right?

Government takes on brawling students | The Jakarta Post.

Iman Mahditama and Multa Fidrus

Potrait of grief: Endang Puji holds a picture of her slain son, Alawy Yusianto Putra, during his burial procession at the Poncol public cemetery in Tangerang, Banten, on Tuesday. Alawy was allegedly killed by a student of SMA 70 state high school in South Jakarta while he was having lunch nearby. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Portrait of grief: Endang Puji holds a picture of her slain son, Alawy Yusianto Putra, during his burial procession at the Poncol public cemetery in Tangerang, Banten, on Tuesday. Alawy was allegedly killed by a student of SMA 70 state high school in South Jakarta while he was having lunch nearby. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The death of 15-year-old Alawy Yusianto Putra, victim of the everlasting enmity between two  neighboring schools, not only brought tears to the eyes of many, but also brings hope for an end to fatal student brawls, as the government took matters into its hands.

Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh said on Tuesday that Alawy would be the last victim of student brawls throughout the country and that the government would take all necessary measures to prevent further clashes.

“We are sorry that violence is still rampant at schools. We are determined to make this case the very last of these brawls ever, and to transform these two schools into harmonious, top-quality neighborhood schools,” Nuh told a press conference with Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and the principals and the two school committee heads of SMA 6 and SMA 70 state high schools in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.

read more here

Crisis management enthusiasts: follow the Samsung crisis

Dealing with bloggers is not an easy task as they form a category of influencers. Misdealing with them invites a business crisis.

This story has been going viral among the online category, making Samsung look like an absolute shmuck for mistreating bloggers.

20120903-113642.jpg

And to add insult to injury, Nokia has leaped into the fray as a white knight to help the blogger stranded by Samsung. See the link here.

Unless Samsung acts decisively and contains the situation soon, more horror stories of Samsung’s behavior like this one will surface and garher momentum, forcing the company into a crisis situation that could see it losing missions of dollars and a huge dent to its reputation.

So get your popcorn, relax and sit back to enjoy the show.

Finally you know who gets infuriated over talk of sex

The world is a strange place. Usually it is the Moslem cleric denouncing some seemingly depraved talk show host for sexually-explicit and immoral trash talk. This time the tables are turned with the Government watchdog  the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) is playing moral gatekeeper and a Ustad has the role of poacher.

What a strange and wonderful world we live in.

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over ‘Vulgar’ Episode of Renowned Cleric Ustad Solmed’s Show

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over ‘Vulgar’ Episode of Renowned Cleric Ustad Solmed’s Show
The Jakarta Globe | August 01, 2012

Muslim preacher Sholahudin Mahmoed, better known as Ustad Solmed, hosts the late night talk show

Muslim preacher Sholahudin Mahmoed, better known as Ustad Solmed, hosts the late night talk show ‘Akhirnya Aku Tahu’ (‘I Finally Understand’). (Photo courtesy of ustadsolmed.com)

Indonesian television station Global TV was cited by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) after renowned Muslim preacher Sholahudin “Ustad Solmed” Mahmoed hosted a sexually-explicit late night talk show.Ustad Solmed discussed Islam and marital sexual relations on the July 15 episode of  “Akhirnya Aku Tahu” (“I Finally Understand”). The Islamic cleric allegedly discussed intimate details of the audience’s sex lives during what the KPI has called a “vulgar” episode of the show.

“The sex-ridden discussion happened between Ustad Solmed and members of his audience. They discussed contraception, intimate relationships between husbands and wives, the engorgement of genitals, oral sex and other ways to have sex,” the KPI said in a statement published on its website kpi.go.id Monday evening.

The show, which aired at 4 a.m., was rated “teen,” a fact that has drawn ire from the KPI, who alleged that this program violated Indonesia’s child protection laws.

“We classify this as a violation of child protection laws, norms of politeness, restrictions on sexual themes and the broadcast program’s rating,” the statement read.

The KPI urged Global TV to clean the show up and get its broadcasting in line with the commission’s standards in a letter signed by KPI chairman Mochamad Riyanto on July 30.

The commission sought the opinion of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) before issuing the letter.

“The MUI says the dialog was very vulgar and should never happen again,” the KPI says, adding a letter from the MUI was attached to a warning sent to Global TV.

10 years later in a company called Maverick

Been traveling so much lately that this is the first time I’ve had to update this blog.

The posting below is from my company blog Talking Points that I wrote on the fly to commemorate our 10th anniversary. I suppose it is a good sign that all of us in Maverick are so busy that we’ve hardly had time to commemorate our 10th anniversary, but there will be a time for partying soon.

When Maverick first set out on its journey exactly 10 years ago this month, we had an audacious ambition: to be the most respected communications consultancy in Indonesia.

We weren’t content to be a Public Relations agency as Public Relations mostly meant media relations; we also didn’t want to be an agency, doing the bidding of clients who may not necessarily know better on what’s good for their brands.

So we set out to play in the field of communications and to be consultants first and foremost, with agency work as the support for our consultancy services.

A decade has passed. How have we done?

Let’s look at the desire to be “most respected” first. On a scale of 10 I’d say we have hit an 8 or even a 9. The client list we have is nothing to scoff at with the likes of Acer, Airbus, Airbus Military, Brand A, Coca-Cola, Nestle, HM Sampoerna and SMAX.

Then there is the Crisis and Issues Management practice which makes Maverick the go-to firm for many of the nation’s largest and most established law firms needing litigation support, multinationals facing labor unrest or consumer food companies having problems with their products. The client list is equally impressive but the nature of the work precludes us disclosing their names.

Where social media is concerned, we officially set up Raconteur, our digital storytelling division, a year ago and already it is making a name for itself as the digital consultancy that delivers results, not hype. In the beginning of this year it won a huge account in SMAX snacks. It has also handled the launch of a Google Chrome campaign, just introduced Evernote to the Indonesian online community and is working to help the Taiwan Trade Office (TAITRA) promote the island-nation.

There is also Gauge, our media monitoring and analysis division that continues to establish itself as the most comprehensive and high quality service of its kind in Indonesia, in spite of newcomers to the industry. It’s addition of social media monitoring and analysis as a service has also been a hit to our clients.

And last but not least, we have Brio our newest division that leverages Maverick and Raconteur’s experiences and knowledge as practitioners to provide training to corporations in need of communications and crisis management skills. It was set up this year and already it has hit all the financial targets we have set for it.

Together these divisions add up to an offering greater than the sum of themselves. This is good news for clients who may need and want a full spectrum of communications advice and service.

All, this, however has been possible because of two things. The culture and the people in Maverick.

We like to think that we have a culture that is unique and un-replicable by other competitors. It is a culture where individuals are continuously challenged to produce their best, and then go one step further. At the same time it is a nurturing culture where each and every Maverick has the responsibility to support and encourage their co-workers to greater heights and successes.

Getting social in Central Asia

Let me start this blogpost with a confession: when i was first invited to be a trainer at the Tech Forum Central Asia in Almaty, I had to Google the place up.

I had never heard of it before and when I discovered that it was the old capital of Khazakstan, thought that I at least knew something of the country, but for all the wrong reasons, as it was confined only to Borat, him of the repulsive Slingshot costume.

20120622-062741.jpg

The other facet of the trip was also as monumentally confounding to me – I was to join a group of technologists to help train the youth in Central Asia about social media and its uses. What did I – who grew up with a typewriter in my first job – know about technology to teach the digitally savvy youth of today?

But not being one to pass up a challenge and a hint of adventure (think Mongols, think Silk Road, think of vast plains and the Soviet system) I signed up and that was how I found myself in Almaty last Friday and Saturday (June 15 and 16).

20120622-062908.jpg

The Tech Forum Central Asia was the first of its kind to gather youth form Central Asia to discuss how they can use social media to benefit their societies. It was organized by the Civil Alliance and sponsored by the US Embassy in Kazakhstan as well as several corporations such as Chevron.

It was apparently a feat to gather the participants from all the “-stan” counties – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgistan, Pakistan and, of course, Kazakhstan – because the governments in some of these countries are suspicious and fear the combination of youth and the internet. Although some delegates had a hard time of getting a passage out of the country they all managed to come to the forum.

The result is a very eclectic and spirited Tech Forum Central Asia where the curiousity and passion of Central Asian youth came into contact with the more exposed and savvy use of social media of the trainers who came from Britain, the US, Pakistan, India and Indonesia – represented by the very talented Hanny Kusumawati and myself.

The format of the forum was based in the Tech Camps run by the US State Department, where participants were first exposed to a speed geeking session – think speed dating but for geeks. Essentially, the trainers have five minutes to share a story or a case history, where social media has been used to great effect on behalf of an organization, to a small grpup pf participants. St the end pf 5minutes a whistle is blown and the trainers tell the story Again to them. They are allowed to ask questions.

I shared the story of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, a NGO that works to release captured Bornean orangutan into their natural habitats and how its foray into social media allowed it to be more searchable on the Net. It also allowed the BOS to become the primary source of information on the state of orangutan capture, treatment and release after a SCTV documentary put the topic on the national news agenda.

The participants were then given free reign to join groups for discussions ranging from crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to mapping, the use of video on the Net, gender issues and Net strategy. There were several discussions sessions, each one designed to sharpen their focus on their areas of concern, culminating in problem solving sessions.

Some of the problems they raised gave us a glimpse of issues important to the youth of Central Asia, namely women’s rights in male dominated societies, how to raise funds for causes, racism against Asiatic-looking central Asians in Russia and other Caucasian-dominated countries and how to help the disabled more.

What surprised Unspun was the extent of English being used in what was once a Russian-dominated region. What delighted Unspun was the warmth and curiousity of the delegates and the many volunteer helpers and translators that made the TFCA a success, at least as the begining of a discourse among the caring young Central Asians who want to do something for their societies and see the internet as a potential tool for making their missions easier and more effective.

Did The Jakarta Globe’s editorial go gaga over Lady Gaga?

Indonesia’s Twitterverse and the Liberal-minded are aghast.

In today’s editorial (below) The Jakarta Globe, seen by some as being until lately a progressive force in Indonesia, seemingly condoned the decision to nix Lady Gaga’s controversial would-be concert in Indonesia.

The editorial begins by saying that the organizers made the right decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show because of security concerns. Fair enough. It then says the paper does not condone violence or threats to forward an agenda. Good point.

Then it gets interesting: “It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment.

This is puzzling. Lady Gaga sings a lot of shit that typically appeal to youth. Rebellious, anti-establishment, aimed to shock. The same type of music that horrified the morals of the parent generation in the time of the Sex Pistols and Marilyn Manson. Go a bit further back and Elvis Presley, with his obscene gyrations, was considered a devil spawn by the Establishment then.

So if you take Lady Gaga in a historical perspective, she is as dangerous – or not – as the Sex Pistols, Marilyn Manson and Elvis in leading our youth to Hell and damnation. Surprisingly, may of these youth are in positions of responsibility and frowning on lady Gaga these days.

The Globe editorial then becomes a bit confusing: “But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one.”

Why canceling Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one when it comes to putting these youth on the correct path of Proper Indonesian Values is never quite explained.

And finally, the very interesting denoument which is actually composed of two half formed thoughts 1: “We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities.” and 2: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies” juxtaposed to give the illusion of proper reasoning.

Thought #1 is a truism. Nobody can argue against the fact that we all should show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. You can make that argument even in America, homeland of Lady Gaga and no one can disagree with you on this.

Thought #2 is a combination of a truism: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different” and a fallacious conclusion “we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.”

Which societies are we talking about. Saudi Arabia, Puritan America, The Mormons, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China? It would be helpful if The Globe were to elaborate on that. (And let’s not have the tired argument that you have only so many words to write an editorial. A journalistic rule is also that if a story or opinion is that important you should be creative and find space for it).

This editorial has, naturally, stirred up controversy and criticism in Indonesia’s Twitterverse, the current cool hangout for Indonesia’s chattering classes and liberal sentiment. One of them is a string of criticisms against The Globe by @AubreyBelford, the Asia Correspondent for http://www.theglobalmail.org.

But enough of what Unspun, Aubrey and The Globe says. What do readers really think? (and if you’re not satisfied with the poll, you can always leave a comment)

Editorial: Gaga Concert is Too Hot For Indonesia | The Jakarta Globe

The saga over Lady Gaga’s concert is finally over now that the pop star decided to cancel her Jakarta show. The reason was security concerns and, given the public controversy, it was definitely the right decision. Certainly her large fan base in Indonesia will be disappointed. It is also unfortunate that the concert was called off due to security concerns. The country’s police had assured both fans and organizers that it would be possible for the show to proceed. There are larger issues at play, though. Indonesia is a vibrant, diverse democracy and as such the authorities had to take into consideration all voices. It is their job to ensure that all segments of society have their voices heard. We do not condone the use of violence and threats to allegedly push an agenda. We do not condone breaking the law and damaging property just to make a point, as some groups have allegedly done recently. Such behavior is unwelcome in a democratic, civilized society. There are, however, many justifiable reasons for opposing acts like Lady Gaga, such as the messages these supposed artists project. It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment. But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one. We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.