21 December 2007


Indonesia has designated 2008 as the "Visit Indonesia Year" with good reason as 2008 will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of 'Boedi Oetomo' in 1908. Boedi Oetomo was Indonesia's first concerted effort, and a first tentative step towards independence. Independence was finally achieved in 1945.
The Boedi Oetomo group and movement is identified as the moment of the indigenous population of the Dutch East Indies awakening. It is this national awakening that is to be traded on in the 2008 visit Indonesia campaign. There is much to see and do in Indonesia, of that there is no doubt, but with so much invested in this campaign you would think that a little more care would be taken.

There would have been no need to attach an expatriate native English speaker to the campaign just to prove read the advertising and campaign materials as there are many capable Indonesians who possess a technical appreciation of English far superior to some native English speakers I know. Unfortunately, it seems that none of those speakers are employed by the Department of Culture and Tourism. I am sure the Department could of found a native speaker to do the job for next to nothing or they could have called up one of the myriad private English language schools that dot the landscape of Jakarta such as English First.

Instead the slogan has become "Visit Indonesia 2008 celebrating 100 years of nation's awakening"...ummmmmmmmmmmm!

News reports suggest that the Department has recognized the grammatical error and is endeavouring to fix it. This is not going to be cheap as the government has already painted plenty of planes owned by the national flag carrier, Garuda, with the not so grammatically correct slogan. In addition to pulling down billboards and recalling other promotional material the costs of the campaign seem set to spiral upwards.

I think everyone should visit Indonesia, it is a wonderfully diverse place with much to offer new and seasoned travellers alike, irrespective of age. Simply, Indonesia caters to all tastes and budgets. Give it a shot you are unlikely to regret spending some of your hard earned cash here. Yet, I hope that if you do take the plunge and come to Indonesia you go to places other than Bali. Bali is nice and I love to go there myself but Indonesia is so much more than Bali - there are 17,000+ islands to choose from! But Bali always reminds me of one of my favorite tales...I once asked a friend when I was back in Australia for a visit whether or not they had ever been to Indonesia. The answer was, "No, but I have been to Bali!" I smile as I think about it now some ten years or so after it happened.

The error has probably been spotted by many but particular notice was taken after an article (commentary and analysis) was published in The Financial Times by John Aglionby
But the moral of this story and the lesson to all - proofread your work before you hand it in or publish it! (The photo is courtesy of AFP)

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