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 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)

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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!)

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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).

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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.

Smokin’ in Hungary

A friend sent Unspun these photos of Djarum’s event in Hungary. Unspun presumes that the friend

1. is proud to see Indonesian companies going international and making a big splash in the social scene


2. wants to warn readers of the dangers of tobacco. Observe how catatonic and in shock, no doubt from nicotine, the young man in the photo seems.  Say no to tobacco! djspg_7.jpg

Bengkulu quake update: Day #8

From Hope’s Charles Ham, who’s on the ground helping victims in Benglulu after the quake.

Dear friends of HOPE worldwide,

The latest situation in Bengkulu Earthquake: total casualties as of Monday, 7th of September’07 are 15 death tolls, and 38 injured.  Meanwhile total damage of house are  increased to 7.905 units of totally damage house,  6.745 units of heavily damage, 13.184 units of light damage.

UN OCHA United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reported that hijack happened to several NGOs truck delivering disaster relief aid. Residents of several villages were restless waiting for assistance that they were willing to take aid intended for other villages.

The local government in the coordination meeting stated that security is not a concern at this time, but aid distribution should coordinate with Police if there are concerns about security.

The Arga Makmur Hospital’s Director reported this morning by phone that diarrheal cases has increased as well as chest infections. The region is already malaria endemic areas, and an anticipation of the disease spreading is needed while people are exposed to mosquitos by sleeping outdoors. After delivering Continue reading “Bengkulu quake update: Day #8”