Light as Antidote of Writer’s Block

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WRITER’S block is always considered the culprit of every writer’s low productivity (I can imagine some of you nodding in agreement).

But regardless of the triggering cause(s) of writer’s block, what can we actually do about it aside from complaining at all times and blaming it on others?

Two Harvard scientists in 2004 told the world that getting rid of writer’s block is possible. How is it so?

By LIGHT.

So Alice Flaherty who works at Harvard Medical School as neurology instructor and Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson experimented with light to find out whether it can dispell writer’s block or not.

Why light in the first place?

In countries with four seasons, more people are seen to experience a decrease in productivity and originality. The two researchers likened this phenomenon to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is getting more common and widepsread when days are becoming darker and colder. SAD can actually make humans depressed and less creative, which also translates to writer’s block.

The disorder can be healed by getting ourselves exposed to light. In the experiment, subjects were treated by means of light boxes (no sunlight is available in long winter; hence the artificial light sources). They sat in front of the light boxes so they can enjoy the light as if it had been from the sun.

As for me, my takeaway from this research that I won’t have to get myself a pricey light box in front of which I must sit patiently. That’s because I have the most effective, natural, free light source for this therapy: the sunlight!

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Reference:

The brains behind writer’s block

Online Privacy Made Easy: Cara Nggak Ribet Jaga Privasi Data di Internet

Jepretan Layar 2018-03-09 pada 18.47.47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Privasi di dunia maya. Hoahm. Mendengarnya saja sudah membuat mengantuk. Ngaku aja.

Tapi memang mesti diakui topik bahasan ini kurang populer dibandingkan tema-tema lain yang lebih ‘merangsang’ seperti “bagaimana mendapatkan 1 juta follower di Instagram”, “menjadi trending topic di Twitter”, atau semacamnya.

Baru dianggap penting kalau sudah terkena dampaknya di kehidupan nyata. Misalnya, pernah menjadi korban online phishing atau akun media sosial pernah diretas orang sehingga tidak lagi bisa masuk ke akun sendiri dan si peretas yang jahil ini berpura-pura sebagai kita untuk meminjam uang dari orang-orang yang ada dalam daftar teman atau pengikut kita. Kalau sudah ‘tertimpa tangga’ seperti ini, barulah kita ngeh,”Njir, penting nih topiknya!!!”

Diberi kesempatan untuk berbicara sebagai keyholder di Mozilla Indonesia Community Space tanggal 19 Januari kemarin, saya ingin menandaskan bahwa memang topik privasi di era digital sekarang sudah sangat darurat. Apalagi untuk masyarakat Indonesia yang masih tergolong awam. Tak heran di sini isu ini masih dianggap mengawang-awang. Masyarakat masih dalam tahap ‘mabuk asmara’ dan ‘bulan madu’ dengan dunia Internet karena meskipun hidup masyarakat kita semakin dijajah oleh beragam metode dan produk digital, kita masih dalam fase adopsi awal sehingga masyarakat kita belum sepenuhnya sadar akan dampaknya. Dampak yang paling banyak dikeluhkan sampai saat ini ialah fenomena anak-anak yang makin kecanduan gawai. Beberapa teman yang di sekitar saya pernah mengeluhkan hal ini, bahwa anak mereka sudah begitu susah dipisahkan dari ponsel cerdas karena ponsel itu begitu adiktif dan mereka menolak terlibat dalam dunia nyata karena dunia maya lebih asyik. Tapi kembali lagi bagaimana orang tua memberikan disiplin bagi anak-anak mereka. Siapa suruh memberik gawai pada anak-anak yang belul akil balig padahal Bill Gates dan orang-orang di Silicon Valley saja menghindari memberikan gawai pada anak-anak mereka sebelum mencapai usia 13 tahun. Di Indonesia, malah anak-anak sejak dini dibiasakan dengan gawai seolah termotivasi dengan semboyan “makin dini, makin bagus”. Seolah ingin mencuri start. Padahal malah efeknya kontraproduktif untuk perkembangan anak itu.
Pertama-tama, kita perlu paham mengapa privasi di dunia maya itu penting bahkan wajib dijaga. Sederhananya, di Internet kita mempertukarkan banyak informasi pribadi, misalnya nama lengkap, alamat tinggal, kantor, nomor telepon, sampai ke data keuangan penting seperti nomor kartu kredit (yang bisa celaka jika diketahui orang karena rawan disalahgunakan), PIN, kata kunci, dan sebagainya. Dari pertukaran itu, ada jejak yang ditinggalkan dan jika ada pihak yang berniat kurang terpuji, kita bisa menjadi korban kejahatan digital. Ini hanya satu di antara begitu banyak alasan lain, seperti kerahasiaan identitas pengguna, dan sebagainya.

Alasan-alasan teresebut ditambah dengan kondisi di Indonesia yang masih jauh dari ideal. Isu online privacy masih belum populer untuk publik Indonesia. Pemerintah pun belum secara formal dan resmi mengakui isu ini dalam konstitusi, sehingga apapun yang terjadi nanti masyarakat harus siap menjadi korban akibat negara, penegak hukum dan aparat yang masih terseok-seok mengikuti perkembangan zaman. Pemerintah kita juga terbukti masih belum serius untuk menjaga privasi masyarakat yang dibuktikan dengan sejumlah skandal bocornya data E-KTP. (baca di sini)

Di tengah kondisi yang masih jauh dari ideal ini, kita sebagai pengguna Internet tidak bisa abai terhadap privasi data kita sendiri.

Caranya adalah dengan menerapkan sejumlah kiat di bawah ini.

Optimalkan Kekuatan Kata Kunci

Jika tidak mau privasi kita dilanggar begitu saja, logikanya kita mesti memagari rumah kita dengan baik. Makin kuat pagarnya dan makin kokoh gerbangnya, makin susah orang masuk begitu saja ke rumah kita tanpa izin. Sama saja dengan privasi kita di Internet. Kata kunci adalah pagar kita yang paling pertama. Jika kata kunci kita sangat mudah ditebak, jangan salahkan orang jika akun kita disalahgunakan.

Kalau kita disuruh membuat kata kunci yang susah ditebak, biasanya kita beralasan:”Nanti susah diingat!” Dan perlu dicamkan juga bahwa kata kunci untuk setiap akun di Internet harus berbeda. Nah, di sinilah Anda perlu menggunakan penyimpan kata kunci (password manager) yang tersedia. Hanya saja, diperlukan kecermatan untuk menyimpan semua kata kunci itu di satu akun password manager. Jangan sembarangan karena bisa-bisa semua kata kunci kita diketahui peretas. Kalau mau berusaha 100% aman, catat semua kata kunci kita di selembar kertas dan kita simpan dengan baik dan hanya kita sendiri (dan Tuhan) yang tahu. Namun, memang cara ini kurang praktis.

Kekuatan kata kunci akan makin baik jika kita mengaktifkan autentikasi 2 faktor, yakni dengan mengaitkan nomor ponsel dengan akun digital kita sehingga jika akun kita tertimpa peretasan, kita langsung bisa mengembalikan kontrol melalui pengiriman kode ke nomor ponsel yang terdaftar bersama akun. Karenanya, sangat penting untuk langsung memblokir nomor ponsel yang hilang atau dicopet agar si pencuri tidak bisa masuk ke akun-akun digital kita dan membuat kerugian makin besar dan tidak tertanggulangi lagi.

Berperilaku Cerdas di Media Sosial

Memakai media sosial memang enak. Gratis pula. Tapi jangan lupa dengan pengaturan privasinya! Mungkin Anda lupa bahwa jika tidak diatur, konten apapun yang kita uggah ke media sosial bisa dilihat oleh sembarang orang. Dan tidak semua orang memiliki itikad yang baik. Ada yang bisa dengan niat yang kurang baik mengaduk-aduk linimasa atau galeri Anda di media sosial dan menyalahgunakannya. Bisa saja foto pribadi Anda atau anggota keluarga yang di dalamnya diedit atau dipergunakan untuk tujuan yang buruk.

Berbagi boleh saja tetapi sedari bahwa terlalu banyak berbagi (oversharing) juga akan menimbulkan masalah baru. Mereka yang berniat buruk akan bisa dengan mudah mempelajari data Anda dan kemudian mengeksploitasinya. Misalnya, saat Anda ingin mengabarkan bahwa Anda akan terbang ke mancanegara, Anda mungkin akan terdorong untuk memamerkan tiket pesawat Anda. Padahal di dalam tiket tersebut ada barcode, nama lengkap Anda, dan alamat.

Gunakan HTTPS

Pernahkah Anda menjumpai tanda kunci gembok bernama hijau di sudut address bar peramban dan tulisan “https“? Nah, itu artinya Anda dalam koneksi yang relatif lebih aman daripada simbol kunci gembok berwarna hitam dengan tanda seru. (Lebih lengkap di sini).

Pahami Cara Kerja Kuki (Cookie)

Secara sederhana, “kuki” bisa diartikan sebagai data kecil yang disimpan dalam piranti (ponsel, komputer) anda apabila anda menjelajahi sesuatu laman web atau aplikasi. Kuki dimiliki oleh laman web atau aplikasi tertentu dan tidak boleh dibaca oleh orang lain. Baca lebih rinci mengenai bagaimana cara Anda bisa mengatur kuki di sini.

Gunakan VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) dapat didefinisikan sebagai bentuk teknologi yang memungkinkan pengguna web untuk mengakses internet jika tersambung dari lokasi-lokasi berbeda sehingga operator ISP/jaringan lokal tidak dapat memeriksa atau memfilter trafik dan setiap situs atau layanan lainnya akan melihat alamat IP yang berbeda-beda. Dengan VPN, kita bisa menjelajahi web dengan lebih aman karena anonim. Namun demikian, tidak semua layanan VPN yang gratis itu juga sepenuhnya aman dari pelacakan lho. Ada juga layanan-layanan VPN ‘nakal’ yang menyalahgunakan kepercayaan penggunanya.

Maksimalkan Penggunaan Firefox

Dalam peramban Mozilla Firefox, sudah ada banyak ‘senjata’ yang bisa kita pakai untuk mempertahankan privasi daring kita. Sebut saja:

  • Master password
  • Private browsing
  • Facebook Container
  • Do not track
  • Tracking protection
  • Lightbeam

Selengkapnya lihat salindia presentasi saya di sini. (*/)

One Sure Way to a Better Writing

1130px-Albert_Anker_Schreibendes_MC3A4dchen_1902RAISE your hand if you hate reading a book that frustrates more than entertains you.

Well, I’m no exception.

I’ve recently started reading Yuval Noah Hariri’s “Homo Deus”. And in spite of the buzz that this book is extremely cool (and thus reading this in public makes you look intelligent, critical and impressively updated), I still have to struggle to find enjoyment in reading it.

But then I realize that a book is supposed to be a main food for thought. And reading a good book is like feeding yourself a nutritious super food. It definitely makes you healthier and more alive than ever before.

So I came to the conclusion that a good book is also like a healthy food: it’s not as delicious as junk food but it offers numerous benefits in the ways we’ve never imagined.

The fact that I write for a living also pushes me to read not only good but great books. It’s more about enriching my vocabulary, strengthen my linguistic ‘muscles’ than keeping up with all the trends.

Yet, what happens now is that I – and a lot of us – am reading more online materials than great quality books. We read more trashy, clickbait articles that are produced or reproduced within minutes and fewer book that are very well thought and heavily edited and revised by experienced editors of major publishers.

And it’s no wonder that our linguistic skills including our writing skills just suck, getting rotten and rusty from day to day underuse.

If you’re a writer or copywriter or anyone working in the domain of language and creativity like me, chances are you’ll find your work or your sentences monotonous, boring and less enticing the more you consume ‘junk’ content every day.

It totally MAKES sense! If you read trash, you write trash as well!

Simply put, to write better, watch your reading materials. Make sure you consume good quality materials.

And science even justifies this!

A study by the University of Florida and published in International Journal of Business Administration revealed that people who read only online content (social media content and popular online news outlets with less quality) have the lowest score in their writing complexity than people who read journal articles or great quality fictional works such as novels written by critically acclaimed authors.

What is ‘writing complexity’ we are discussing here? There’re many factors that show someone’s ability to produce advanced and complex structures in writing. This complexity may encompasses lengths of sentences that one produces, how sophisticated someone’s choice of word (diction) is, and so forth.

Complexity of writing sometimes does NOT necessarily mean you have to write lengthy sentences that confuse readers. Making complex yet efficient sentences means we are able to tactfully organize more than one ideas in a sentence without being lengthy. We just have to make sure that every word is impactful enough to be there. Each word has its own reason to be in a sentence.

What is interesting to note is that this is irrespective of duration. That means it’s not about how many hours you spend, but more about the quality of reading materials you consume on daily basis. Those who have better writing skills admitted they only spent several hours a week reading quality materials instead of online stuff that is packed with listicles, clickbaits, or hoaxy and sensational news items.

And because writing is a type of communication, this rule also applies in speaking skills learning. Someone who wants to master better speaking skills must also try to listen to great quality oral materials.

I know that not all online content available is bad for our writing skills development. But if you’re a writer or someone who earns a living by writing, please take this piece of advice: “Read well-written things”. A co-author of the study mentioned some of the best online news outlets such as “The Economist” or “Wall Street Journal” or “New Yorker” magazine but in my opinion well-written and well-edited books, be it non-fiction or fiction, are still the best option.

And because I’m Indonesian, I can translate the advice to this: Read more “Majas Kreatif” or “Tempo” magazine and less Detik.com, IDNTimes.com, Brilio.co, Tempo.co (yes, the online channel of Tempo just displays cheesy and racy clickbaits), Viva.co.id, Merdeka.com, TribunNews.com, Suara.com, OkeZone.com, etc. (*/)

 

Will Writers Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly intruding our civilization, everyone from every job sector seems to be frantic and anxious right now.

“Will I be replaced by a robot?”

“Will I lose my current job in the near future to a machine?”

“Will I be jobless because of all this AI trend in my industry?”

Regardless of your professions, these questions are haunting us.

As a writer myself, I also share the same worry with you all, people.

Wired.com took an optimistic view towards the issue by stating that “Narrative Science” is not going to replace journalists/ reporters with AI/ robots. Both can be hopefully complimenting each other if humans want to.

It says:

In 20 years, there will be no area in which Narrative Science doesn’t write stories.”

Still cited from Wired.com, we are also ensured that AI is actually useful for journalists but can never replace human journalists and editors for their more strategic decision making tasks.

But this technology seems to have taken over only some of the grunt work.

Undoubtedly, the development of AI in journalism and writing is intriguing and inevitable but only time can decide how it evolves in the next 10, 20, or 30 years from now.

But, here’s the thing. Imagine our news outlets are dominated by AI-generated content, which shows no empathy, no humane feelings, and to some extent, opinionated-ness. How dry is a piece of news written by a robot that has no past memories, beloved ones, or people they despise so much? You get my point.

So the good news for us writers is NOT ALL jobs will be replaced that easily by Artificial Intelligence. There’re four (4) types of occupation that are predicted to be impossible to be replaced by AI in the future.

Kai-Fu Lee – as quoted from his writeup in Times magazine this month – mentioned four types of irreplacable jobs in the modern history of humanity:

  1. Creative jobs: In creative processes, there’ll be no clear and rigid objectives.
  2. Complex, strategic jobs: You’ll see people like business executives, diplomats, economists here.
  3. Jobs created by AI and thus currently non-existent: Only God knows how this is going to be like.
  4. Empathetic and compassionate jobs: Good news for teachers, nannies, doctors! You all are indispensable workforce in the 21st century.

Fellow writers, we fall into the first category!

But don’t be too happy. If you’re a writer that only reports what you see (like what a conventional 20th century reporters did) or a churnalist (a pseudo journalist that merely rewrites other people’s work), you’re certainly going to be sacked sooner or later. And even if you can survive, you’ll be really suffering due to the crazily, inhumanely low salary and wage.

Don’t do the grunt work!

Don’t just compile facts!

Don’t just type and publish to get clicks or page views!

Be a creative writer that produces something worthwhile a robot, algorithm, application, software, or AI can never ever manage to create easily without humans’ assistance.

 

References:

https://www.wired.com/2012/04/can-an-algorithm-write-a-better-news-story-than-a-human-reporter/

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/

This Is Why We Naturally Feel Happier After Taking Photos on Trips

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Taking photos while traveling is a common practice, even an addiction among travelers. But to what extent does taking photos benefit us in experiencing our golden life moments? (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Nils Öberg)

There’re moments when I’m traveling I would be so enthusiastic I forget taking pictures. As a yoga practitioner, I’m told that being so immersed in your positive experience means that you just have to forget taking pictures. Because taking pictures is deemed a distraction of my genuine experience. Also, I see some friends who are going somewhere just to take pictures for their Instagram feeds instead of experiencing things around them: nature and themselves. So why ruining our life moments with taking photos that are just shown for the sake of impressing other people?

That was what I used to think of taking pictures during travels. But finally our addiction of taking photographs while we’re on travel is justified by science.

Cited from American Psychological Association, scientists found that those who like taking photographs of their experiences usually enjoy the events more than people who don’t. A team of scientists from the University of Southern California, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania discovered how taking photos impacts our enjoyment of life experiences. Compared to those who don’t take photos, those who do feel heightened enjoyment of positive exxperiences.

So how could this happen?

The explanation is this: taking photos helps us boost engagement in our activities we’re doing. And I can see that some of those who are enthusiastically document their experiences in photos are more enthusiastic and engaged. They look more motivated and high in spirits.

However, it’s not all about good news. There’re times when taking photos just won’t be advantegous to us as it is dependent on types of activities we’re involved in. If the activity is more about arts and crafts, chances are we’d better avoid taking photos to be more engaged in the experience. This totally makes sense. How can you enjoy making, let’s say, a vase with your hands if you’re always taking photos?

What is interesting is also the size and practicaility of the equipment of photography. Cumbersome cameras will slow down us on a trip and definitely less easy to use on the go.

The final conclusion is our documenting should not just about taking pictures with cameras. We also need to get actively involved and decide selectively as to which moments are worth documenting and which are not.

The researchers also touched on the importance of taking ‘mental photographs’, meaning that we so actively participate in whatever we’re doing we cannot forget all of experiences in it. So, again this is not always about how many clicks of camera shutter in your hands but more about engagement and participation with your mind, body, and soul. (*/)

Why Apples and Green Tomatoes May Be The Ideal Vegan Replacement for Your Whey Protein

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Thinking that only red meat can grow your muscles? Wait until you read through this.

Two natural substances (ursolic acid and tomatidine) found in apples and green tomatoes apparently can make your as strong as Popeye. They may help us combat aging processes in our muscles. As we all know, as our age advances, we lose more and more muscle mass.

This is a finding that scientists had after an experiment involving mice. Old mice that fed on apples and green tomatoes are known to have a higher muscle mass (10% higher) which enables them to be 30% stronger than their counterparts with no such fruit consumption.

Most of us may find out that muscles get weak and their strength decline as we grow older. And this means elderly people are more vulnerable to less quality of life. They should be able to lead an independent and productive life at an advanced age with sustained muscle mass.

Even if you’re not an elderly and young enough in your twenties or thirties, benefits of the two compounds are still existent. Eating apple peel and green tomatoes helps you replenish your muscle mass and strength, which may make both produces an ideal pre and post workout meal.

The research was conducted by Christopher Adams, who teaches internal medicine in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and senior study author. He founded Emmyon, Inc., a biotechnology company which worked in partnership with the University of Iowa.

BodybuildingWomanWe know the trend now that more and more people are told by advertisers that the more protein they consume, the better their physique and health would be. But that is not always the case because overconsumption of protein supplement such as protein powder can bring us more risks of health destruction than improvement. Cited from Harvard Medical School, protein powders may contain added sugar, calories, or even toxic chemicals. Which totally makes sense because they are artifically produced by humans.

Apples and tomatoes are different especially the organic ones as they are less likely to have such disadvantageous substances.

So, are you ready to replace that protein powder and whey protein with more FRESH fruits and vegetables? (Source: University of Iowa)

Finding Vegan Pho in Jakarta

I have developed a heavy aaddiction of vegan pho (Vietnamese noodles) recently. Jakartan weather has been getting frigid and polar-like in some way, with intermittent downpour and ….perpetual drizzle.
But because I’m living in Jakarta, Indonesia, there’s no way I can get the palatable food easily.
The first time I ate pho (the real pho made in Vietnam by Vietnamese chef) is when I visited  Vietnam in 2015 and I simply fell in love with it. Pho might be the equivalent of Indonesian soto. It’s anywhere to find in its country of origin and super affordable.
Yet, as I live in Indonesia, the price of pho is of course so un-cheap. This Vietnamese food chain outlet named Madame Mai at Lotte Shopping Avenue I found here in Jakarta sells vegan pho that I really like. Just because it tastes so fresh and warm in the belly..
One ingredient that I seriously get addicted to is the herbs that I can just add liberally and generously and guiltlessly. Seventh heaven!

 

Refugees and Literature

To some people, picturesque and Instagrammable panorama and places provide them a flood of inspiration to write. However, some draw inspiration from misery. And misery does love company.

Kurdish journalist cum Australian immigration detainee Behrouz Bouchani wants everyone around the world to be his company, too, in his lonely and gruesome life in a prison on Manus island, Papua New Guinea, a neigbouring country of my homeland Indonesia.

There is something about jail that no other place can have. Boochani reminds me of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, a renowned Indonesian literary giant who was once nominated as Nobel Literary Prize Recipient when he was still alive and sound. Toer was imprisoned for decades under Soeharto’s regime. His works were banned and thus erased him from the national literary radar. But that didn’t last long as the regime crumbled, he regained his dignity and lived a life he deserved. Toer was so prolific that he could not help writing while being jailed in Buru Island. The fact that guards may have come at anytime to ambush and seize any of his vey precious manuscripts, notes or materials did not seem to scare him. He even insisted on writing his words in paper and tactfully hid them all with the assistance of colleagues, fellow prisoners, and foreigners coming to the prison. He wrote on pieces of cement powder wraps as well as he knew that paper is so worthwhile as his tool of eternalizing his thoughts and feelings about what he had been enduring for so long behind bars.

The man just won Australia’s top literary prize early this month after he authored a book that he wrote on his phone, “No Friend But the Mountains“. The book won partly because it speaks about the author’s miserable life as a detainee in the remote island. Living there since 2013, Boochani definitely has amassed a myriad of materials. Even he could write and produce some works to get published, he has to face the next problem: how to get these materials out of the island? Thus, writing in a physical material is not an option.

Luckily, the island is not that remote as he is still able to be connected with the world outside. He has a mobile phone, on which he wrote bits of text and voice and video messages that he sent to his fellow literary worker who resides in Australia and acts as his translator. This kind-hearted fellow then compiled and stitched these long messages in various formats together and get them published as “No Friend But the Mountains”. Bloody genius. And of course, what a perseverance! It’s not easy to type long texts on mobile phone with touch screen as small as iPhone but he just managed to do that.

My next question is: “How could he get the mobile phone?” In a phone interview with Kristie Lu Stout of CNN, he mentioned about the fact that he actually got the phone by smuggling. He had one previously but then the phone was taken by force by guards and then he got another one somehow. Charging it also requires a power outlet, which takes me to another question: So are power sockets are readily available in the jail? Exactly how it is possible I still can’t fathom. But I admire him and all his hard work.

And I also get really curious whether the the signal reception in Manus Island is existent or strong enough to convey his message. Not to mention the way he pays the phone bill. Or is it a prepaid one? I am just crazy about these unraveled details. My hunch is he still keeps all these details to protect his own safety and of course, all of his ‘accomplices’ inside and outside of the jail.

As someone who has a bit of contact with some immigrants from poverty-stricken Africa and the tumultuous parts of Middle Eastern countries, I know first hand the kind of life they lead here in Jakarta. They live in a rented house in the heart of Jakarta, made available by the ‘generous’ support of the Australian Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and UNHCR.

In my capacity as a yoga instructor, I simply had talked with them in a very very limited amount of time, i.e. while I was teaching and some minutes before and after classes. They are usually very secretive and introverted. Few are agressive if overly stimulated and agitated. But that may be because I am a male and they are women. This gives us some distance in communication. I remember a large-bodied lady from Somalia who almost always came into my class and faithfully followed each and every of my movements and cues on the mat. Called mrs Fareha, she is a persevere student of mine who I can be proud of. She pointed out her belly and thighs whenever I was about to teach her and some of her fellow inhabitants of the camp. She just wanted to get her limbs toned and her belly flat and slim. She had acquired very little Indonesian and English, making us very hard to communicate smoothly without using gestures and smart guess. The more we tried to chatter, the more we realized we pushed a cold, motionless, giant wall. Useless.

Another Iranian girl and her sibling were ocasionally coming but they seemed to be on-and-off participants with unstable inner motivation. Very little I could do to encourage them to come regularly because we did not speak much in fear of intruding their private life and interfering. These girls were more comunicative and relatively more fluent in English but they again are hard to crack open. It’s just not a place to make friends.

They are sometimes allowed to go out with the prior permit from authorities in the camp. And they can just leave the house with their friends and phones to contact. So they are actually very connected digitally speaking. They can just talk and chat on the smartphones that they own anytime anywhere. But the problem is whether they still remember the phone numbers or social media accounts of their most beloved people who may be now scattered, living in distant places or in their country of origin.

Boochani again also mentioned about the ruthless treatment of the Indonesian authorities and law enforcement. Asked why he still wanted to go to Australia after having landed in Indonesia which is a muslim majority country, he replied that the people are not welcome and they can be captured by police and get deported. Religious similarity doesn’t guarantee any solution to life problems, for sure.

Still living in Manus Island with other 600 refugees, Boochani is entitled to $125,000 Victorian premier’s Literary Prize but he didn’t manage to attend the event. Instead, he sent a video in which he delivered his victory speech. He said:”I would like to say that this award is a victory. It is a victory not only for us but for literature and art and above all it is victory for humanity. It is a victory against the system that has reduced us to numbers. This is a beautiful moment. Let us all rejoice tonight in the power of literature”.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people, says Martin Luther King, Jr. And Boochani has proven that his literary prowess has managed to break the silence. Powerfully. (*/)

National Press Day: Indonesian Journalists Need More Protection

I don’t know if you agree or not, but a blogger is also a journalist in some way. S/he is sometimes more opinionated than a journalist is allowed to be and that what makes him/ her unique and more humane than a journalist.

In reality, the profession of writer and blogger and journalist more often than not overlap each other. In my case, that is also the case.

This year in Indonesia, we still see some unsolved cases of journalist murders in the country. As reported by Kompas.com, there are still ten major cases of Indonesian journo murders, i.e. Herliyanto, Ardiansyah Matra’is Wibisono, Naimullah, Alfrets Mirulewan, Agus Mulyawan, Fuad M. Syarifudin (Udin), Ersa Siregar, Muhammad Jamaluddin, AA Narendra Prabangsa, and Ridwan Salamun. I am not going into the details on how these journalists got murdered but murders are still murders regardless of the methods.

The recent news that made headline today is that the president of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has revoked the remission of Susrama, who has been convicted as the murder of AA Narendra Prabangsa. This definitely a major victory on the side of press activitsts. However, it is never enough as there are still many other homicide cases involving journalists in Indonesia that have gone unsolved for years and even decades! The murderer of Udin (Bernas Yogya Daily journalist in Yogyakarta) in 1996 has never been perfectly solved. And this is I guess one of the most monumental cases of journo murders in the country.

Murder is not the only type of crime that can happen against a journalist here. One can also experience violence. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) or Independent Journalist Alliance, one of the most progressive journalist organizations in Indonesia, recorded that the recent development of Indonesian press in 2018 was not quite bright. The data that AJI gathered showed that there are at least 64 violence cases involving journalists here. They were expelled, terrorized, physically beaten (or slapped), or sent to jail because of their pieces.

Journalists are now even expected to be more cautious than ever before as a new modus operandi emerges in Indonesia: doxing. It’s simply defined as an online form of persecution, in which people who hate the work of a certain journalist can just hunt him or her for any private details and then unravel them to the public to be judged. Horrible and disgusting on so many levels.

Sources:

  • https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2019/02/08/17302821/mengingat-lagi-10-kasus-pembunuhan-wartawan-di-indonesia
  • https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190209111833-12-367698/jokowi-resmi-cabut-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-radar-bali?tag_from=wp_wm_cnn
  • https://www.idntimes.com/news/indonesia/teatrika/jokowi-batalkan-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-bali-ini-kata-moeldoko/full?utm_source=lineND&utm_medium=lineND&utm_campaign=lineND
  • https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1160304/aji-kekerasan-dan-persekusi-wartawan-di-2018-tinggi