Poems from Bali to Burma

Unspun enjoyed himself thoroughly at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival over the past week. He also had a great time moderating a session on Pamphlet Poetry featuring three poets: Ed Maranan from the Philippines, Cyril Wong from Singapore and Abe Barreto Soares from East Timor.

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(From left: Unspun’s alter ego, Ed Maranan, Cyril Wong and Abe Soares. Photo taken by Unspun’s partner, who did not laugh at him as he was struggling to sound intelligent in front of smarter people)

Since the subject was Pamphlet Poetry and whether poetry is an art form could influence politics Unspun felt it was appropriate that the three poets started off the session by what they had to say about the Burmese situation through their poetry. E Responded with a Haiku, Cyril responded by modifying a poem of his and Abe responded with one of his poems (the man writes in Tetum, English, Portuguese and Indonesian and also sings – amazing fellow!)

This is their contribution (Only Cyril has responded so far as Ed and Abe are still traveling – Unspun will post their poems when they send it through).

Practical Aim
by Cyril Wong

After great pain, what would the body
learn that it does not already know

of relief? When that fire-truck has raged
past, what do I rediscover about silence

except that I would always miss it?
Do trees mind if it is the same wind

that passes through their heads everyday?
After the mall is completed, must we

remember the field it now inhabits
where we raced each other as children?

If my lover forgets to wake me with a kiss
a second time this week, should I worry?

Does solitude offer strength over time, or
is denial of it the only practical aim?

After the earthquake, would it matter
if no one saw two dogs from different

families approaching each other
without suspicion, then moving apart?

As the workers wash their faces hidden
by helmets that beam back the sun,

should they care about the new building
behind them beyond a fear of it falling?

If my mother cannot see how else to be
happy, is it enough that she may lie

in bed, convinced God watches her sleep?
What happens after the monks stop flowing

like a river along the wound that is Burma?
After deep loss, what does the heart

learn that it has not already understood
about regret? When all light finally

forsakes a room, do we take the time
to interrogate the dark, and to what end?

Pesta Blogger badges ready

The Pesta Blogger Steering Committee has prepared badges for participants and supporters. There are two versions, one that says you are going to Pesta Blogger 2007 and one that says you are supporting Pesta Blogger 2007.It comes in several colors per version so you can pick the color that suits your mood. The logo was designed by Jerry Aurum Design. Jerry is a very talented photographer and designer. He recently published Femaleography, a book on the female form.

He contributed this design free of charge to Pesta Blogger, another instance of how some many people seems to come together to make this event a success. Thanks Jerry!
Follow the link below to get to the Pesta Blogger blog and to download your badges.

clipped from pestablogger.com
1. I’M GOING TO *untuk teman-teman yang merencanakan dan dapat hadir di Pesta Blogger 2007*Pesta Blogger 2007cut & paste code di bawah ini untuk mendapatkan image diatas

Pesta Blogger is under way!

Indonesia’s first large scale bloggers gathering is under way.The steering committee today held a press briefing to announce details of the gathering, Pesta Blogger, on October 27. They aim to attract 200 bloggers from throughout Indonesia and so far, judging from some of the comments in the site bloggers from Solo, Bandung, Yogjakarta and Kalimantan. Some commentators have also asked for the event to have a video streaming/chat facility.

Present at the press briefing today were big names in the Indonesian blogging community, such as Enda Nasution (who is also chairman of the steering committee), Budi Putra, Wimar Witoelar, Nukman Luthfie, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, Lita Mariana, Priyadi, Ratna Arianti. (see photo below from the Flickr account of Satya Witoelar (Wimar Jr.)

For more details go to Pestablogger.com. You can also find more information in the following links here, here, here and here for instance.

The Steering Committee will invite 100 bloggers to ensure that there is a spread of different interest groups. It will then open the next 100 places to bloggers on a first-come-first-served basis.

(Disclosure: Maverick, the company Unspun works in, is helping to organize the Pesta Blogger)

clipped from pestablogger.com

Konperensi Pers Pesta Blogger

Suasana konperensi pers Pesta Blogger 2007 di Anomali Kafe, Jalan Senopati, Jakarta. Duduk di depan adalah [dari kiri] Enda Nasution, Wimar Witoelar, Nukman Luthfie, dan Sinta (Bubunet).

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Bandying Branding in Bali

IPRA has its Regional Conference in Bali recently in which it discussed the role of PR in branding countries. If the Mix article her is anything to go by it seems that the old adage that PR people usually do not understand branding may have some validity.

The magazine reports that the participants discussed at length the manifestations of branding and bandied about words like strategic; invoked Al and Laura Reis’s The Decline of Adverting and the Rise of PR (which is quite a few years old); and asked why Malaysia had the temerity to hijack batik, orang utans and sate padang as their touristic icons, which the magazine – or the speakers, one is never sure – dressed up under the fanciful term unique selling propositions.

All sounds a bit too much and Unspun wonders if Indonesia will get anywahere listening to this heady talk. The problem with branding Indonesia comes from Ministers with no clue about branding and creating what they call a “brand essence” of the country and then be consistent and relentless in implementing the brand strategy; and their consultants who go on and on about the execution without getting the strategic part – convincing their masters that branding is serious business in which consistency is the main key to its success – right. Anything short of that and you’d be like a doctor treating the symptoms rather than the cure for a lack of country branding in Indonesia.

Then again, one never knows if it was the delegates or the magazine that got things a bit confused. I dunno, decide for yourself ( if you read Indonesian).

Almost exposed!

Strange things happen, and of all people Unspun‘s been invited to moderate a session on Pamphlet Poetry at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, that opens this Tuesday and goes on till Monday week.For a moment Unspun was worried that the organizers had realized that Unspun was barely literate, let alone understand poetry beyond Walter de La Mare’s Daffodils which he read back in school, or politics apres Harold Laski. The source of the panic was that the festival’s website name of another moderator for the Pamphlet Poetry session.

“Ha!” thought Unspun, “found out!” It will be tar and feathers for the imposter rather than moderating then. So worriedly Unspun sms’d the organizer Janet de Neefe, who said the entry was a mistake and Unspun was indeed moderating. “Whew!”

Since Unspun will be there, hope you guys can come to the session on Sunday between 1 and 2pm at The Left Bank Lounge. Here’s the blurb from the website:

Meet the Poets: Pamphlet Poetry
Is poetry as effective as other artistic forms in challenging governments and society, questioning the status quo and empowering the disenfranchised? Poets from Singapore, East Timor, Australia and the Philippines discuss poetry as a means of social activism. Featuring: Ed Maranan, Cyril Wong, Abe Barreto Soares.

Unspun‘s had exchanges online with these poets and thinks their brilliance will overshadow Unspun‘s ill-informed views about poems and politics. So come along and have a good time if you’re in Ubud (after visiting Ibu Oka’s, that is!)

clipped from thejakartapost.com
Bringing multicultural readers, writers together
The Jakarta Post, JakartaFor the fourth time, Bali will be the venue of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) from Sept. 25 to 30. Under the topic Sekala-Niskala (The Seen & The Unseen) — a Balinese belief that we live in a seen (conscious) and unseen (unconscious) world at the same time — the festival will encompass themes of religion, mysticism and modernity. It will host over 80 internationally renowned writers, poets, playwrights, filmmakers and performers from 18 countries. Among theses are famous figures like Indonesian seven-novel author Ahmad Tohari, Briton Patrick Gale, Tan Twan Eng from Malaysia and Shashi Tharoor, who was India’s candidate to succeed Kofi Annan in 2006.

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Malaysians chip in to compatriot in need

The Malaysia Club Jakarta has donated Rp 4 million to a Malaysian student who was admitted to hospital here after the 22-year old from Seremban suffered a stroke.His hospital bills are apparently quite massive so if anyone is able to help  Mohd. Hafidz please contact the Malaysia Club Jakarta through the link below. Also, it should be known that MCJ Committee member Raja Elona has been providing fantastic support to Hafidz and his family, including keeping the MCJ appraised of Hafidz’s condition.

(Disclosure, Unspun is Assistant Secretary of the MCJ).

clipped from www.malaysiaclubjakarta.com
A Malaysian student named Mohd Hafidz Bin Omar has recently been admitted to the I.C.U of Gleneagles Siloam Hospital, Lippo Karawaci on the 12/09/07 after complaining of a massive headache and vomiting. He was immediately brought to the hospital and the Doctor’s confirmed that he had a stroke and is suffering from�brain hemorrhage on the left and right side of the brain as well as a condition known as aneurism.�An aneurism is�a dilation, or swelling, of a blood vessel (where part of the vein or artery inflates like a balloon).

2 operations have been conducted�on his brain�to remove�blood clots. He also underwent a�tracheostomy, which is a�surgical procedure performed on the neck to open a direct airway through an incision in the�trachea (the windpipe)�to connect him to a�life support system. Currently, his condition is stable but is still�being�monitored in the I.C.U. �

Mohd Hafidz is from Seremban. Age 22 years old and is the youngest of 3 siblings from a middle class family.

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John Arnold to helm APCO Indonesia

Businessmen of the cocktail circuit in Jakarta have been wondering what’s happened to John Arnold, who recently retired as the head of Ernst & Young Indonesia. John – well known not least because he wears many hats at one time or another, such as head of BritCham, an active member in Indonesia Business Links and a dozen other organizations –  was for a while being seen and in the cocktail circuit enjoying his retirement but restless for new challenges.

Unspun has heard from the grapevine that his wishes have come true. According to Unspun‘s sources John has been appointed to head APCO Indonesia. APCO, as those in the communications trade would know, is a well-known public affairs (read lobbying) worldwide company in the US.

In Indonesia it also does public affairs but with a large dose of what one of John’s predecessors, Hans Vriens, has described in an Amcham meeting as “high class PR” (probably means usual PR with a high price tag to it). IT apparently has about 14 consultants and does count as it advisors some impressive names such as former Foreign minister Ali Alatas, Tempo English editor Yuli Ismartono and Former President Gus Dur’s Spokesperson Ratih Hardjono.

John has his job cut out for him. APCO,  says industry gossip has been on the downhill since Hans left a couple or more years ago. So John has the unenviable task of using all his experience in EY and other chambers of commerce, as well as his formidable stable of contacts,  to revive the business and handle the controversial issues that might  bump up against a PA firm, such as its handling of the Altimo account.

Congrats and Good Luck John.