Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Effective Use of 60% Government Spending"

Is what the UK's Office of Government Centre (OGC) aims to do.

However, the jury's still out on its own £14,000 spending for the new OGC logo.

The logo appears harmless at first glance. However, when rotated ninety degrees clockwise, it--and I quote--"has generated howls of mirth."

According to the article, a spokesman for OGC said: " is not inappropriate to an organisation that’s looking to have a firm grip on Government spend."

It does look like the Government has a firm grip on something.


Thanks to Eko.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Only in West Javanese (Governor Election) #2

Candidates Hermawan and Dede Yusuf were backed by PKS (The Welfare Justice Party). In a surprising turn of events, this underdog pair won the majority of votes. The next day (April 14th, 2008), three guys in motorbikes threw molotov cocktails at PKS's local office.

On this incident, Bandung's Head of Police Ahmad Dofiri said, "It wasn't molotov, only gasoline in bottles thrown into the yard, [followed by] a thrown ignited flour sack."

My first reaction was, "Wow. Let's wait another day. He might say that it wasn't a bombing at all. It was just three guys burning excess gasoline they didn't need."

The insightful comments didn't stop. Head of Bandung Regency's PKS Victory Operation Arifin Sobari said, "...[it was] obvious that it was a professional job."

However, another article noted that one of the suspects were caught because "his Vespa (motorbike) broke down."

If that was a professional job, I'd hate to see the amateurish ones.

The caught suspect's name is Didin Tajudin Bin Marwan. He was reportedly to be, and I'll quote, "in a state of shock."

Professionally, of course.

Only in West Javanese (Governor Election) #1

One of Danny Setiawan and Iwan Sulandjana's campaigners made a slip during an event in Soreang (April 3rd, 2008). The campaigner shouted, "Danny (on) my chest, Iwan (as) my pride. Number two (as) my choice!"

The correct number is one.

It was a simple mistake. The campaigner's name however made it interesting. His name is Bool, which is slang for--guess what?--butt hole.

I don't know about you, but if I want to recruit a political campaigner, I'll want to know his/her name first. A forum member in Detik put it eloquently, "Ngaranna oge Bool, nu kaluarna ..." (With a name like Bool, you just know what'll be coming out.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

We Understand, Venezuela!

The Venezuelan government has stopped the Simpsons from airing on the Televen, a nationwide channel. Their reason? The show, which was aired at Televen's daily 11 AM time slot, was considered "inapproriate for children."

They immediately changed it with something they figured would be more approriate.

Baywatch Hawaii.

What ingeniousness! There's no better way to interests toddlers in numbers and letters than that. What's left would be Stacy Kamano standing at the end of show, with a voice over saying, "This program was brought to you by the number 36 and the letter C."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thy Name is Irony

Yes, I know that our government showed lack of better judgement by instructing to block Youtube. Obviously, they haven't learned their history of censorship.

Our ISPs followed suit, by reacting out of fear (and the natural ability to shirk responsibilities), blocking five to seven sites. Any site that they thought would risk Indonesians getting their hands on Fitna. Including Multiply, which is basically a social networking site like Friendster or Facebook.

One of their formal announcement is worth quoting:

Dear Customer,

According our Minister Communication and Info Letter No : 84/m.KOMINFO/04/08 April 2nd 2008: about The blockading of the Site and Blog That contained the Fitnah Film, then the site along with this for the time being we were closed until the further notification :

1. Youtube 2. MySpace 3. Metacafe 4. Multiply 5. Rapid-share

Was like this information that could be sent by us as information from our backbone internet Excelcomindo, upper the understood we say thank you.
Warm Regards,

*Customer Service Support**
**Corporate Solution* PT Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk.
Phone : 021 - 57959817
Email :

People who resort to transtooled messages obviously care much more about following orders blindly instead of consequences.

On April 7th, the Ministry of Information and Communication held a discussion about the electronic information and transaction law. More than seventy people from blogging communities attend. They voiced their concerns about the law having potentials to repress the freedom of expressions. And that the site-filtering decision is like--to borrow a blogger expression--a cannon blast to ward off mosquitoes.

What did the government had to say? Here's a key quote:

"If a husband can only get aroused after watching porn and then have sex with his wife, isn't this some kind of dishonesty?"
--Edmond, Ministry of Information and Communication staff member

As expected, the discussion led nowhere. The blocking continues. Multiply was officially shot down at April 8th. Indonesiaonlineshop, a community of about 1,000 online business owners (50-60% of them use Multiply) are one of the bystanders who suffer the blast.

A lot of Multiply users fought back by posting articles similarly, "How to Fight the Filter and Keep Accessing Multiply."

However, they posted these articles on their Multiply blogs.

I don't know about you. But if we want to show our government a better example of common sense, I don't think this is working.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Complete Tome of Government Wisdom

... .... (space available for rent) ... ...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ask Mr. Indonesian Man: Government Creativity

Q: Isn't it an oxymoron?
A: Let's not discuss semantics.

Q: Okay, then. Does it even exist?
A: Uhm, let's not discuss philosophy.

Q: What can we discuss then? Oh, hell, just gimme an example.
A: Well, the most recent one is our government solution to promote tourism in Kota Batu, East Java.

Q: What did they do?
A: They're going to issue a law which states that every masseuse has to wear a pair of chastity locks. (Caution: link leads to page in Indonesian.) One for the skirt, and the other for the undies. 

Q: Hahaha! Is this one of those instances of Indonesian humor?
A: No. I'm serious. You can see the skirt one from this Tribun Jabar documentation photo. (No underwear version. It's a family newspaper after all.)

Q: ... ... ...
A: Your lack of response is reassuring.

Q: And what does that have to do with tourism?
A: Since Kota Batu is a popular destination--

Q: Where is it again?
A: It's a VERY popular destination.

Q: Yeah? Is it somewhere in Bali?
A: Shut up. In short, the city needs to maintain a positive image. And that means, no sexual favors or harrassment in massage parlors.

Q: Can it be called harrassment when money is exchanged for service?
A: No semantic discussion!

Q: I'll rephrase it, then. So why not ban the business altogether?

A: I'll quote the Head of the Satpol PP (rough translation: Discipline Enforcer Police Unit), Imam Suryono, "Since Kota Batu is a tourism city, we can't ban this business. What can our policy do is protecting it from illegitimate business involving sexual favors."  

Q: Wait, wait. So basically, he's saying they can't ban the business because it is one of the main attractions of the city?
A: I don't think--

Q: And then, instead of people paying to get sexual favors, now instead people are paying to play Master Lockpick?

A: Look--

Q: It's not exactly stopping them, you know? Why not put a lock in their mouths as well, then?
A: No philosophy discussion!

Q: It is NOT a philosophy discussion, you dimwit. It's a matter of common sense.
A: What about it?

Q: I find it lacking.
A: Welcome to Indonesia.


 Update: The Jakartan government find the idea so brilliant, they intend to adopt it as well. (Link still leads to an article in Indonesian.)

Update Update: Both government still haven't realized that there's such thing called a "masseur."


Thanks to Jo and a few other tourism -news enthusiasts.

Beavis's Birthday Present

"Dude! Your toy's body is TWISTED!"

"(snorts) Uh huh. Uh huh."

Entertainment, Not Enlightenment

I sometimes visit Yahoo Answers because of conversations such as this.

Q: Is God like the Mafia?

A: No. God is NOT like the Mafia. God loves you and wants you to love him. He's the reason why you are even living.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nothing Risked, Nothing Learnt

A fellow blogger, Yasmin, posted his discussion with Addy Handy, a prominent figure in Bandung's creative industry and vocalist of a band named Forgotten. (The discussion's in Indonesian, though.)

Apparently, after the tragedy at Asian-African Cultural Center (February 9th, 2008), which took away eleven lives, West Javanese Police have tightened up their backsides and treated underground bands like leprosy. This, in turn, leads to more bureaucracy for event organizers to face.

Two cases to ponder:

  • A group of tattooists planned to hold a national tattoo event in Bandung. When they requested the necessary paperworks to the police, the officer in charge responded, "Because this concerns tattoos, you guys need to get a permission from MUI (Indonesian Ulemas Council).

    The officer knew full well that Islam forbids tattoos. So it was like asking permission to hold an all-you-can-eat meat fest to a hardcore vegan.

    Having no choice, off they went to MUI. And--surprise!--they got preached on instead. Defeated, they returned to the officer, "The MUI didn't give the permission, Sir."

    "Okay, then," nodded the officer. "So how much [money] do you have?"

    "Nuthin', Sir. We barely have enough to cover for the building rents."

    "[No money], no permit, then," brushed the officer.

    The tattooists finally decided to risk it. They held the event without permit. And it looked as if they could've gone through the day. No police in sight. No troubles brewing.

    Then suddenly, without warning, they were raided by FPIs (Islamic Defender Front).

    And of course, still no police in sight.

  • SMAN 8, a respectable high school in Bandung, planned to hold a an annual bazaar. Traditionally, the event involves several underground bands playing live on a stage. After the tragedy, the police instructed that no underground bands will be allowed to play, unless the stage's located outdoor. And since it was an outdoor event, the committee felt there would be no problem in requesting a permit.

    The police scanned the list of performers. When their eyes set on "Burgerkill," a known-name, they began to protest. They decided to visit the site. Then came the excuse. "This field is not eligible. There's no adequate evacuation route."

    So the committee scratched Burgerkill off the list.

    Then came another. "Four thousand tickets are too many. Make it two thousand."

    The committee yielded.

    Yet came another. "Okay, we'll give the permit, as long as you don't include live music."

    "But, Sir. Live music is the main attraction. We can't manage without it."

    "Okay, then. Make the event exclusive. Only people in [school] uniforms can attend. And limit them to 1,200."

    This happened on D minus one. One day before the event.

    So the committee yielded yet again. And the police promised to issue the permit the next day, right at D-day.

    Surprise! They lied. The officer vanished without a trace.

    And when the students went on with the event, two trucks full of officers drove in. They were supposed to be the security enforcers. And when they realized the committee hadn't had the permit yet, they turned to threats.

    "Sir," an officer addressed the principal. "You do know the consequences for holding an unauthorized event? Especially when things go out of control...?"

    The principal surrendered. The event was cancelled. The financial loss? Two hundred and fifty million rupiahs. The school reallocated the budget for laboratory, library, and sport facilities to cover for the loss.

    The sponsors were enraged, of course. So the committee went back to the police station, asking for written statement, that the event was cancelled because the permit was not issued as promised. It was, after all, what happened. And the sponsors had the right to know. The sponsorship directors needed to report this to their superiors as well.

    Like a good example of Indonesian law enforcement, the police refused.

    SMAN 8 have held the annual bazaar for fifteen years in a row. And this may be the end of that tradition.

So, considering these cases, what has the tragedy taught us? Addy said that "[tempered with these kind of things,] the boys (associates in the industry) have become more solid."

And the policy makers and enforcers? Addy added, "Nothing."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Irresistible Force

The key to be an irresistible force: paint it pink.

I know what you're thinking: "What's the point of stealth fighter painted in bright colors?"

Obviously, you have no clue. This is a great reverse psychology effect conducted by our military thinkers: make something so hideous that everyone will instantly look away. Voila! Instant invisibility.

No More Toilets, Please!

Last month, Therry asked me to take some pictures of what I call The Evil Toilets. After trying a couple of times, I've realized several challenges that I forgot to consider.

  1. A guy who carries a camera and walks into a place where almost every other guy is unzipping their pants, is definitely looking for trouble.

  2. One of The Evil Toilets is located inside the locker/shower room of a local gym. Inside are semi to naked guys with biceps bigger than my head. I might as well jump in front of a speeding truck.

  3. Even when you've made sure that nobody else is inside, there's a reason why these places are called The Evil Toilets. Let's just say that you can't take pictures while protecting your nose at the same time.

I have no idea how this guy could do it.

So, let's drop the idea. Please. For the sake of mankind.

As a secondary choice, I took the camera for product typo hunting. And I struck gold in the children toys section. Consider this exhibit A.

Yes, show your nerves of steal!--swipe your dad's wallet.

I guess you've pretty much determined your kid's future career by giving him/her this toy.

"Buy now and get a free "Get Out of Jail" card!


On the other hand, "No More Toilets, Please" sounds like a good sitcom title (featuring Tim Allen).