29 October 2010

Heath Ledger, "Whacked"...

I have heard some bizarre things, but Heath Ledger being "whacked" by some sort of Hollywood Hit Gang is way up there. Thanks to Mr Randy Quaid for letting us all know that at least eight actors have been victim to this gang of 'whackers'. Aside from Ledger, the whacker gang has also had success with Chris Penn and David Carradine.

Randy Quaid and his other half, Evi, have fled from justice in the USA to the 'safer' confines of Canada. According to Randy, he is being pursued by the whackers. Presumably this means he is next in line to be whacked.

The legal troubles and the stories surrounding the Quaids just keep getting weirder all the time. The Quaids legal problems include squatting and burglary among others. The fact that they need to flee to Canada in order to avoid being whacked is icing on the weirdness cake.

28 October 2010

The Democrat Party Response to a Tsunami...

The Jakarta Globe is reporting that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marzuki Ali, has an idea. Ali who happens to be a member of the party that acts as the political vehicle of the current president that allowed him to motor into the big chair, has decided that the best way to avoid tsunamis and other extreme wave events is to not live on islands.

In the world according to Ali, all people living on islands should be located to areas further inland in order to protect them from being swept away during a tsunami. I wonder if it is also part of the world according to Ali plan that Indonesians also be forcibly removed from active volcano areas and any low-lying area likely to flood (like Jakarta for instance)?

You know, Ali's idea is good. The safety of all Indonesians is paramount. Although, there is a small problem. Indonesia is an archipelagic nation. Ali, my dear friend, this means that it is a nation that is made up of islands. If you depopulate all the islands in order to protect the people from tsunamis, just as a matter of interest, where are you going to relocate them to?

Maybe what Ali meant to say was that he was all for relocating the DPR to Mentawai and relocating all the villagers of Mentawai and the surrounding islands to the DPR housing complex.

Ali, mate, a word of advice, if you do not open your mouth then you cannot get your foot in there!

Funnily enough it was Ruhut who had to trot out and apologise on behalf of the Democrat Party for Ali's insensitivity. Ruhut is the fellow that can no longer afford to buy Cuban cigars on his parliamentary salary.

Schapelle Corby Still Doing Time...

It has been a long time since I posted something on the plight of Ms. Corby. It is not that I do not care, but rather there is a process and a course that matters like hers take. I really did not see the point in writing a post as there are more than enough people enlisted into the cause of keeping her name front and centre in newspapers and magazines around Australia.

Yet, a recent comment to an earlier Corby-related post that suggested that I was "toxic" for commenting on her case has inspired me to write a post. So, Anonymous, whoever you are, thank you! Hopefully, this post ruffles a few feathers and sees me called all manner of things. I must say to Anonymous...toxic is a little lame.

It would be hard to find an Australian who was not at least aware of the name Corby. Whether they care about that name is a different issue. Recent surveys would suggest that people reckon she has been punished enough. Then there are a sizable chunk of the population who really do not care one way or the other. Such is life!

The case is in the clemency appeal phase. This means that all ordinary avenues of legal recourse have been exhausted. What is left is an appeal to the president. The president has the authority to grant the clemency appeal or deny it. The president is on the record, consistently, stating that he will not view clemency appeals from drug convicts favourably.

The Corby clemency appeal is premised on humanitarian grounds. To all you lay people out there; she's crazy. In fact, there is little dispute that Corby has suffered mentally while incarcerated. In fact, there is little dispute that she is suffering from depression. If you are to believe the eminent shrink Dr. Jonathon Philips then she is suffering psychotic depression and it is only a matter of time before she successfully pulls the plug on her existence in Kerobokan. In contrast, if you belief the somewhat less recognised doctors treating her on a daily basis, then Corby suffers from treatable depression and she will live. The fact that she is alive is testament to the fact that her mental illness is treatable.

The Indonesian Supreme Court has recommended a significant sentence reduction to the president. It has been suggested that this reduction might even be as large as time served. This would mean if the president was to agree then Corby would be out of Kerobokan before the ink dried on the paperwork. It must be noted that the clemency appeal is not for a pardon. Corby will remain a convicted drug smuggler. The reality, despite those arguing to the contrary, is that the Indonesian way on pardons is that the convicted person needs to admit guilt and show some remorse.

Corby has steadfastly maintained her innocence, and the clemency appeal is sensible in avoiding any request for a pardon. It is important that people understand this critical difference if they are to get their collective heads around what might happen next.

Generally, a Supreme Court recommendation would be confirmed as a matter of course. But, this is no ordinary case. The importance of this case is that the presidential team responsible for assessing the clemency appeal have demanded a report from the Head of Kerobokan. This report was less than flattering. It suggested to all intents and purposes that Corby was not a model prisoner, her family was bothersome, and she was purposefully exaggerating the seriousness of her illness.

This sort of balances out the favourable views of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the plot thickens because the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister, Marty Natalegawa, have allegedly weighed in with a suggestion that a favourable clemency appeal decision would be beneficial to the overall Indonesian-Australian bilateral relationship. A more accurate description would be the Ministry drafted a report that would argue that an early release would be viewed favourably in Australia by ordinary Australians. The report would have been pragmatic to the n-th degree.

The likely outcome is that Corby will have her sentence reduced. It will be reduced to a point where she would have already served 2/3 of her sentence. In the Indonesian justice system, where a person has served 2/3 of their sentence they become eligible for parole / release. In the event that Corby's sentence is reduced to the 2/3 limit she might be released on the grounds that she be placed in an Indonesian psychiatric facility for a period of six months and then released / deported back to Australia.

Then again, the president, SBY, could just say "bugger that for a joke! The girl tried to smuggle 4.2kgs of wacky weed into Indonesia. Nah, she can do her time!"

The safe ground for the president is somewhere in between these two positions.

I hope she is released. I hope she gets back to Australia real soon. And, I hope that she takes the time to step out of the public eye and take the time she needs to recover from her ordeal as best she can. Life will never be the same for Corby. She cannot get the years in Kerobokan back. The smart choice would be not to cultivate the celebrity. Maybe she should look to David Hicks as an example. Get on with your life, and then at some point in the future put pen to paper and share your thoughts with those that want to know.

I wonder how many people I have annoyed with this post?

Image from here.

The Dangers of Sexting -- Megan's Story...

Sexting is a problem, a big problem. The prevalence of technology and the ease in which images can be transmitted means that an inappropriate image that was destined for someone "special" can quickly end up going viral.

This advertisement from Think You Know Australia highlights the dangers of sexting. If nothing else, as the law currently stands children with child porn can be, conceivably, convicted of a serious child porn crime and be placed on a sexual offenders register.

I would encourage all to watch and learn.

27 October 2010


Here are a couple of photos of Will.

This is a recent one.

This one is from March 2010 (but it is a favourite).

Miami Loses...

A Team of Stars vs. a Star Team...

...and the winner is the Star Team!

I would have to admit that I am more a Boston Celtics fan than I will ever be a Miami Heat fan. Perhaps my enjoyment of watching the Celtics play is an extension of watching "Cheers", and harbouring secret desires to see a Baiton educated at Harvard. Who knows.

But, as they say. "look at the scoreboard...88-80 Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat!"

LeBron James might be "The King" and he might have a pretty awesome supporting cast with the likes of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh...even the King gets lost in the crowd of superstars in the NBA, sometimes!

Obesity and Airline Travel...

Obesity is a problem that extends beyond just the health implications. It can be a factor in many matters from employment to travel. In this case, travel.

A Canadian woman has been given a full refund for having to endure a 1 hour and 45 minute flight from Halifax to Ottawa in Canada. The woman, Janet Ogilvie, was forced to squeeze into about 25cm of seat space after the obese woman sitting in the seat next to her also took up half of her seat as well. The plane was fully-booked and Ogilvie decided that she did not have any choice but to endure the very cramped and uncomfortable conditions. In fact, to her credit Ogilvie did this without complaining to the woman sitting almost on top of her in order not to embarrass the obese woman.

Nevertheless, Ogilvie did complain on getting off the Porter Airlines flight. But, in essence she was told to suck it up, get over it, and there was no chance of a refund. Great customer service skills there Porter Airlines. You know what they say, "A happy customer tells five others of their experience, an unhappy customer tells more than twenty people about their experience".

Airlines in Canada have to supply a second seat at no extra cost to passengers with disabilities. Obesity is a disability. However, this does not mean that passengers with disabilities can front up at the airport and just get on the plane. The way the regulations are written require that passengers with disabilities notify the airline of that disability so that appropriate measures can be taken to facilitate the comfort of all passengers on the flight. Technically, it is my understanding, where an obese passenger fronts and check in without having notified the airline of their requirements for an additional seat, the airline can refuse to board that passenger.

Ogilvie received her refund and a more extensive apology of sorts from the CEO of Porter Airlines.

Tifatul, Where Is The Red Nose and Over-sized Shoes?

Tifatul Sembiring (aka TitS) is not one to miss an opportunity to take the tragic outcomes of a natural disaster and use it to inflict more pain and suffering on those who have already lost so much. The question needs to be asked, "why is this clown still a Minister?" He is an embarrassment as a minister, he is an embarrassment as a man, and he is undoubtedly an embarrassment to Indonesia.

When SBY makes it back form Hanoi after having left early from an ASEAN Summit to deal with the natural disasters of late that have plagued Indonesia, one of his earliest pieces of business after visiting the various disaster zones in Mentawai in Western Sumatra, Mount Merapi in the Yogyakarta area and the flooded areas of Jakarta should be to fire TitS.

The idea that these natural disasters are an opportunity to comment on the sinfulness of the community at large and that these disasters are nothing more than God's way of settling the score is something one might expect from the Westboro Baptist Church. The very idea of a vengeful God runs counter to the basic tenets of all religions, doesn't it?

But, as TitS is prone to do, his fingers got into gear way before his brain and out goes the Tweet that says to the effect “if they deny Our verses, then we will curse them for whatever (sins) they commit”. What exactly does that mean Mr TitS? Does that mean innocent men, women and children are being punished because of pornography or does it mean that if Indonesia does not become an Islamic state where there is 100% adherence to the faith that this is tantamount to "denying 'our' verses" and leaving God no option but to kill people at will through natural disasters?

The first Tweet that I saw from TitS was one that suggested those in need could contact certain organisations for assistance. Another was about those wanting to donate could do so through the Indonesian Red Cross (I think). However, it was only a matter of time before this religious oriented Tweet was made. Once again, TitS disappointed in his inability to exhibit any self control. If he truly believes that this is a case of a vengeful God settling the score, then so be it. He does not need to Tweet that and add to the pain and suffering already out there in the community.

The eruption of Mount Merapi claimed the life of her spiritual protector, Mbah Marijan. So, TitS, what was his sin?

Having perused the news I discovered that TitS is not the only one connecting these natural disasters to matters of religion. Din Syamsuddin, Head of Muhammadiyah, has also suggested that Indonesia's leaders introspect and think seriously about the sins of the nation.

Just as an aside. If these are connected to sin and God is being pro-active in making them happen, then they are not really natural disasters but part of the intelligent design of an all powerful God. So, maybe they are not natural disasters but God disasters?

Ariel and the FPI...

Amongst all the serious and tragic news today of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, there is this piece of "news". It appears Nazriel 'Ariel' Irham of Peterpan (aka Peterporn) fame has decided to repent and make his peace with God after his recent escapade into the sex-capade business of amateur porn.

There is nothing wrong with people deciding that their previous ways were in error and seeking to make their peace with whoever they think they must. But, the very idea that you would be seeking out the FPI to repent your sins and make everything swell with God again is funny in the most perverse kind of a way. Although, I am pretty sure that in order to repent, one must first acknowledge and admit to their "sins".

So, does this mean that Ariel is ready to say "Sorry Cut for not getting around to this sooner as I have been too busy trying to save my own arse, but yes that is us in that sex video, and you were good! In fact, one of the best that I ever had. Can I just say, your husband is a lucky man!"

The very idea that one would seek out these white-robed thugs parading as the enforcers of God's laws is sure to be a source for further embarrassment.

However, if the news in The Jakarta Globe is accurate then it would seem that it is Ariel and his team reaching out to the FPI in order to make things 'right'. The FPI visited Ariel in Kebonwaru Prison in Bandung today, and specifically with Hilman Firdaus. Hilman is, of course, interested in this development. If for no other reason than it provides some legitimacy to the FPI as being important in matters of religion rather than just promulgators of violence.

Yet, hearing it Hilman style is a little scary because he seems to think that if Ariel wants it, then the FPI is williong to help set him on the straight and narrow, while simultaneously helping Ariel and Peterpan regain their former glory.

The mind boggles at the thought of how the FPI envisages 'helping' Ariel and Peterpan regain their previous days of glory.

Hitler and SBY...

Another parody of the German film Der Untergang (Downfall). There must be a thesis in these parody videos somewhere. There is absolutely nothing funny about Hitler, but these videos...

26 October 2010

Corruption Perceptions Index...

The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International has been released recently. I was reading about this on a blog, "the two-way", hosted over at the National Public Radio (NPR) site and came across the following excerpt:

Corruption is something that just becomes ingrained in a society and once it's there it's hard to stop. It becomes a habit of mind, a sense that this is simply how things done. An official pamphlet given to Iraqi refugees who are heading to the States advises them not to bribe police officers. After working in Iraq for years I came home from one trip and had to go to the DMV. I'm waiting in line, as one does, and all I can think is, "Who can I bribe to make this go away?" To address corruption you have to change a society's whole way of thinking about what the cultural norms are, which is not easy, to say the least.

There are no real surprises in the list in the sense that Somalia, Burma, Afghanistan and Iraq rank as the most corrupt countries on earth. There are also no real surprises in Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore being the least corruptible nations going around.

Indonesia has stayed pretty much steady. The fact that Indonesia has remained steady is not a real positive outcome for Indonesia or Indonesians. It is, though, and accurate indictment of the failures of SBY and his government in delivering on the core election promise that he made in 2004 and 2009 to clamp down on corruption. However, that is for another post.

What struck me about the NPR piece is the idea that to address corruption requires a fundamental shift in the way the community thinks. The cultural norms that have developed that allow corruption to persist have to be broken down and new norms established. This idea is just so true for Indonesia. Yet, it is also the reason corruption eradication efforts have been so unsuccessful. Entrenched interests have been very successful at thwarting most efforts for reform and change while simultaneously encouraging others to be change-resistant as well. Corruption is something that is ingrained, no doubt about that.

I am the eternal optimist. Change will come to Indonesia. It is only a matter of time. Corruptors need to known that they are on borrowed time, the game is up!

Teaching Indonesian...

I am on my final practicum and I am enjoying it a great deal. I am working in a great little country town. The school is well run, the staff are accommodating and helpful, and the students for the most part are engaged in the learning process. I am learning, and learning lots. Hopefully, I will be a better teacher for the opportunity and the experience.

I am teaching three classes; Modern History, Advanced English, and a LOTE class (Indonesian). I enjoy them all. However, the LOTE class raises some interesting issues for me. Most significant among these is the syllabus and the expectations of proper and correct Indonesian. The materials / content that I have been teaching is most definitely Bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar. Yet, herein lies part of the problem, which might be best noted as a question..."how often do Indonesians use Indonesian that is proper and correct in their daily lives?"

To be honest, this is not really a dilemma for me anywhere but of my own making and in my own head. The reality is that I have to teach these youngsters the material and content that will allow them to successfully negotiate their half-yearly and yearly exams.

Today was fun because we were doing sentence drills. It was fun because I quite often find myself trying to remember what it was like for me as a beginner, particularly in trying to pronounce the foreign words. Today reminded me a lot of that MTV advertisement that played in Indonesia for a while, "gue banget". This was almost always pronounced "gooey bang get".

What is interesting to me is that a small country town like the one I am in chooses Indonesian. What is even more enlightening is that there are students who are really keen to learn. So, hopefully, I can help them gain an appreciation for Indonesian and the opportunities that being an Indonesian speaker will open for them in the future.

Breastfeeding and Facebook...

Seeing we are on the topic of breasts and their gratuitous, and perhaps pornographic exposure to the masses, I add this contribution by that self-appointed arbiter of all things decent and art-related, Facebook.

It would appear that Facebook has deemed the photographs taken by Melbourne based photographer Christopher Rimmer as being inappropriate for children. I am no artist in residence, even on my own blog, but in the art and porn stakes, these photos are so art.

It seems that the Zuckerberg afficionados have been taking themselves a little too seriously in Facebook land. They might want to peruse their fiefdom a little more and have a look at what is out there and go all out on this censorship crusade that they are on.

In the meantime, you be the judge!

This photo was pulled off the essential baby website.

Taylor Momsen...

To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of this girl until a couple of weeks ago. Or if I had, then it had not really registered as being anything special. However, it seems that it is getting increasingly difficult to avoid knowing more than one wants to about this 17-year-old with a penchant for trouble and going beyond the edge of the "appropriate" line.

Yet, the latest antics which involve exposing her 17-year-old mammary glands to a whole lot of music fans attending The Pretty Reckless concert at Don Hill's in New York City last week. The idea of an underage girl flashing her 'assets' is disturbing. However, it would seem that Momsen had thought this through sort of as the most naughty bits of her assets were covered with gaffer tape. So, this begs the question "did she really flash or not?" I ask this question in a strict legal sense. If you cannot see the naughty bits, then has she committed a crime by doing what she did.

It is a desperate act of sensationalism, agreed. But, is it illegal?

Needless to say, there has been plenty of outrage in the cyber-sphere about how bad and evil this is, and why it is high time her parents intervened and brought her under much stricter parental control. Maybe they should. Sometimes it is easier said than done. There are plenty of parents out there in the real world who will attest to that!

Momsen's antics sort of make the attempts by Miley Cyrus to portray a more adult image look pretty tame. In fact, the recent kerfuffle about the of-age GQ photo shoot by the stars of Glee look almost angelic in comparison.

I have no qualms about posting the picture of the gaffer-taped breast bearing shenanigans of Taylor Momsen. Simply, what is under those pink little stars is gaffer tape. There is nothing to see!

However, whether these sorts of actions are appropriate for a 17-year-old is a different debate to the strict legal one. Whether Momsen has any obligations to behave in a particular way because she is a role model is worth a thought. Ultimately, though perhaps the consumer is the one who needs to be pro-active here. Is this a case of supply and demand, the larger the demand for the sensational from her the more she strives to satisfy that demand. Chicken or the egg?

I wonder whether the producers of Gossip Girls are going to reprimand her for her silliness and stupidity? Or, do the ratings outcomes justify the means and the ends in this case? If what Momsen did was bad, then advertisers could conceivably pull the plug on all the advertising that they do on the show, right? This might make a statement that would have people taking notice for all the right reasons; certain behaviour is not tolerated and will cost you.

The final point is that perhaps this stupidity on Momsen's part will lead to a more sustained argument about the sexualisation of our children and who drives this, adults or the children themselves.

The How Sad Files...

In some truly very sad news, Ruhut Sitompul can no longer afford to smoke cigars since becoming a member of the Democrat Party and entering parliament. All together now, ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, poor Ruhut!

It would seem, if The Jakarta Post is to be believed, that Ruhut is now scraping the bottom of the very deep cigar barrel he owns. As Ruhut describes it, he is almost running on cigar fumes as his only remaining cigars are gifts from former clients of his legal practice days.

However, I do not feel for Ruhut. He reckons that while working as a lawyer he was earning somewhere between USD 100,000 and USD 300,000 per month. Now, a man of his smarts must have surely socked some of that away in a shoe box that he now hides under his bed, right? I reckon the man can still afford to buy cigars. This latest "look at me" sound bite reeks of arrogance and a real lack of appreciation about how tough ordinary Indonesians are doing it on a daily basis.

Seriously, if Ruhut cannot afford to buy cigars then buy cigarettes. Ruhut, no one cares but you! If you are really poor, but still need to chomp on a cigar then buy local, buy the cigars that Indonesia produces. My guess is that your paltry parliamentarian salary will stretch far enough to buy locally produced cigars. I am pretty sure that Sampoerna makes a cigar. If not, then Gudang Garam makes one, right?

Indonesian parliamentarians might not be the best paid parliamentarians in the world but, in the big scheme of all things economic in Indonesia, they are far from being at the "poor" end of the Indonesian salary scale.

Ruhut, time to focus on the really important stuff, mate. Your lack of cigars is not that important to those Indonesians living on or below the poverty line, particularly those who choose to buy cigarettes in preference to feeding or educating their children.

Mr. Sitompul when you have something serious to say the feel free to pipe up and share your wisdom, but in the mean time...Ruhut, please deh!

Jennifer Dunn and that Baby Gossip...

So, the latest gossip is that Jennifer Dunn, drug star, has given birth in jail. The alleged father of this youngster is the married father-of-two and gangster wannabe, Sunan Kalijaga.

Now, my happy-go-lucky readers, this rumour is just that rumour. It is gossip that Ms Dunn's mother has been doing everything in her power to deny.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kalijaga seems to be doing everything that he can to stoke the flames. The man has a bad case of needing to be in the news to justify his existence.

Anyways, Ms. Dunn is still in jail for drug-related offenses. So, I am not sure that there are any new sexy photos of her to post. The following will have to do. But, if you long for the good old days, then follow this link.

Deponeering and the KPK...

Will they or won't they, that is the question?

It seems every man, woman, child and perhaps some of our friends from further afield in the animal kingdom are weighing in with what the Office of the [Acting] Attorney General should do in the case of the "fabricated case". So, not one who like to be left out, I figure I will weigh in with a few "insights" of my own.

Deponeering is a legal remedy that the Attorney General has at their disposal to discontinue the prosecution of a case where the discontinuing is in the public interest. This case should not be deponeered. The simple reason is that there is nothing that is subject to deponeering. There is no case!

The case from the outset was a complete and utter fabrication. It was a fabrication constructed to tarnish the good names and reputations of two men whose crime was to passionately believe in the vision extolled by the current president to rid Indonesia of the scourge that is corruption. For their passion they were sent forth as sacrificial lambs by the president who they have so faithfully served.

What should, no, what must, happen with this case is that it should be dismissed with prejudice. There needs to be a very public apology issued to both men, Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Riyanto, that states unequivocally that the case against them was fabricated, that there was never any evidence to sustain the allegations, and that they will be compensated if they so choose to pursue any civil claim.

Anas Urbaningrum, the Chair of the Democrat Party, has been vocal in expressing the Democrat Party view that the best course of action now is deponeering. I beg to differ. Mr. Urbaningrum represents the political vehicle of the president, and perhaps the deponeering view is the president's view as well. And, if it is the SBY view, then I would suggest that the president is a coward. Deponeering by its very nature can be interpreted as there is a case to be answered but rather than force the answers to be brought forth at trial the big picture of social and civil stability calls for a trial to be avoided.

Once again, it is time that the president stepped into the great abyss that is Indonesian politics and said, "This case is not going to be deponeered! There is no case to be answered! This case is going to be dismissed because the 'evidence' that it is based on is not evidence at all, but lies." Is this going to happen? No! Why won't it happen? It won't happen because deponeering is a face-saving measure where the president can claim that he was right not to get involved, that justice has run its course and justice has been done. The president has just about always been somewhat two-faced on anything that is significant to Indonesia making real progress.

Once again, deponeering this case is not justice served, it is justice denied.

25 October 2010

TitS and the Porn Star Phenomenon...

Poor old Tifatul Sembiring (AKA "TitS" for those of you who are yet to read my earlier posts on the man and his mission) has a problem with porn stars! I am not sure that the preceding statement needs any further clarification. Nevertheless, it is going to get one. It seems TitS has determined that hiring foreign porn stars to star in local horror movies is just another way that local film producers are going about poking fun at the moral standards held dear by Indonesians. The other problem that TitS seemingly has is that hiring international porn stars undermines his anti-porn message.

The recently released film "The Moans of a Virgin Ghost" (Rintihan Kuntilanak Perawan) which starred the [in]famous porn star Tera Patrick and the less famous Indonesian [porn star] wannabes of Catherine Wilson and Angelique came in for special mention by the poorly-performing Minister of Communication and Information.

The Minister has taken this film, and the bringing in of Tera Patrick to star in the film, way to personally. It really is not an attempt to either mock the Minister or to mock Indonesia's anti-pornography laws. According to TitS, Tera Patrick "personifies the resistance to morality". Nice call, Minister. So, self-confessed polygamists are not a moral challenge to the Indonesian community? Violence against women and children can take many forms. If one is going to campaign against moral evil, then it makes sense to line up all the morally reprehensible and deal with them all at once.

The exploitation of porn stars in non-porn roles, particularly big-name foreign porn stars such as Patrick, Miyabi (Maria Ozawa) and Rin Sakuragi is nothing more that smart marketing designed to generate as much cheap advertising as they can by orchestrating controversy. What is really sad is that the Minister and the FPI, among others, continue to fall for this viral marketing strategy.

But, thanks TitS, this would seem like a most gratuitous time to post more pictures of Tera Patrick in "all" her glory!

She must be wearing a different cut of swimmers to what she normally wears...

Mount Merapi...

Fire Mountain...

Back in 1993 I lived in Condong Catur in Yogyakarta for a couple of months. It was the first time I had ever been to Indonesia. I lived in the shadow of this really impressive mountain called, Merapi. I will have to dig through my photo albums and scan a few of the images I have. Meanwhile, I will make do with these ones that I borrowed from the internet.

Mount Merapi is in the news of late. The vulcanologists are suggesting that a rather large eruption is imminent. The evacuations have started. There is a 10-kilometer exclusion zone around the mountain.

When I zoomed in on the map I was able to locate the little gang (lane way) that I lived on. I stayed in a "home stay". Although, I have now lost touch with the family that put me up all those years ago, I remember them fondly. They were instrumental in setting me on my way with learning Indonesian.

Tattoo Regrets?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does...

Oh dear, I wonder how this one might end up?

Fail Blog?

The internet is a place of some truly weird and fascinating stuff. It is also home to some real nasty stuff as well. But, I had never heard of this site until today, failblog.org. Yet, if you are looking to lighten up your day then this might be a place to visit in order to see how the other half lives...

Photoshop? Anyone?

epic fail photos - Surfing FAIL
see more funny videos

Well, now back to work!

Corruption and SBY...

"My President is not capable of stopping corruption! Save the KPK! Save Indonesia!"

It has an almost "Hereos" ring to it, "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World!".

But, the reality is that nothing is likely to save the presidential legacy of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. There is little likelihood that the dysfunction that is the SBY presidency will generate any debate like the Soeharto presidency. There will simply be no debate as to whether SBY should be declared a national hero. It is sort of like not cleaning up spilled wine straight away; the longer you leave it the more ingrained the stain!

The funny here, in that really perverse kind of a way, is that SBY came to the Indonesian presidency on a promise that he has not been able to keep; rooting out and eradicating corruption. The problem, corruption, is big. Yet, when Indonesia most needed leadership, SBY has been missing in action. Some might want to argue that SBY is the Teflon president. I would suggest that nothing ever sticks because he is not there to start with as all the hard yards are done by others and then spun by those closest to the president to intimate that he was at the forefront of any response.

To the contrary, why is it that corruption still exists on such a grand scale six years into the SBY presidency? Although, I am waiting for the presidential spokespeople to start spinning the apparent decision of the office of the attorney general to allow prosecutors to drop the fabricated case against Bibit and Chandra. It would be just too funny now for the spin to come that the president worked hard behind the scenes to see that the case was dropped, particularly after the claims that he had to keep arm's length and let the judicial process take its natural course.

Unfortunately, Mr. President, there was never anything natural about this case from the start. It was a "stitch-up" and an attempt to forever smear the reputations of two good, decent, and honest men who put all those personal traits on the line to fight your war against corruption! These men are the epitome of the testicular fortitude that you yourself lack. I am sure in the future that you will not see Bibit or Chandra lobbying to become national heroes. Two good men who are more concerned about the direction of their nation and the futures of their children and grandchildren! Now, if you ever need some pointers on how to maintain dignity and lead in times where the forces of evil line up against you, then you should give them a call; you might learn a thing or two.

Mr. President, it's time for a little 20 / 15 vision!

24 October 2010

Religious Tolerance, Nah!

Indonesia would be our home if we were not currently residing in the Land Downunder. Yet, a recent story our of Tanjung Balai in North Sumatra has me wondering whether Indonesia is all that it claims to be when it comes to arguing that it practices a moderate form of Islam and that there is a constitutionally guaranteed right to the freedom of religion. To my mind, this piece of news out of North Sumatra suggests that not all religions are equal under the constitution, particularly if they are a minority faith. This piece of news is also indicative of a lack of leadership across all levels of government and the community.

The news relates to a rather large 6-meter statue of Buddha which finds itself sitting atop of a 3-storey temple located in the heart of Tanjung Balai. After a great deal of agitation by a local Islamic group, the Forum for United Muslims, there was allegedly an agreement reached that would see the Buddha moved to a more "respectful" location. More respectful seemingly means out of the eyesight of Muslims. I am not sure that there are all that many Muslims that would be tempted to convert to Buddhism based solely on seeing a large statue of the Buddha, but then again, perhaps the temptation is just too great that it is better to remove it.

However, the longer the statue remains where it is the more likely it is that there will be protests to see it removed with all haste. The local Islamic Community Council seems to think that removing the statue is all about maintaining religious harmony. Perhaps some other minority religions in Indonesia would beg to differ. This is about one religion using its numbers to dominate other religions by forcing compliance and issuing threats. If the situations were reversed and some followers of a minority faith linked together with others and demanded that all local mosques not use loud speakers to make the call to prayer as it disturbed them, what then would the likely outcome be?

Tolerance is a two-way street. It requires the ability to tolerate and be tolerated. Yet, I am not sure this current dispute evidences a two-way street. It seems more likely this is a one-way street where you do as your told or suffer the consequences of your non-compliance.

The cold hard reality here is that Buddhism is an officially sanctioned religion. Followers of the faith have a constitutionally guaranteed right to practice their faith. They also have a right to their religious symbols and deities in order to fulfill their religious obligations.

The government and courts at all levels must do all that they can to protect religious freedom. Unfortunately, another cold hard reality is that populism means that elected officials rarely maintain the testicular or ovarian fortitude that they extol as candidates.

I wonder whether this is another nail in the coffin of tolerance in Indonesia?

SBY To Make A State Visit To Vietnam...

I wonder if there are any RMS people in Vietnam who are willing and able to lodge a petition for SBY's arrest for crimes perpetrated against the people of South Maluku?


RMS being the Republik Maluku Selatan or the Republic of South Maluku. Another band of separatists advocating their right to be free and independent.

23 October 2010

Wayne's World...

So, Wayne Rooney ends up with a new 5-year deal at Manchester United which is set to pay him a paltry 250,000 quid per week or a royal 60 million over the five years..

I am not sure about anyone else, but a simple apology is not likely to cut it with MU fans. Let's face it, this whole thing reeks of nothing more than a young man angling for a much bigger salary. This is his right of course. I am not advocating that footballers with talent do not get the best deal that they can. I am suggesting that the way this one played out was particularly unsavoury, and simply the fans have a right to be a little peeved at the way it was done.

I really should have done more to be famous. The 250K per week is made up of a base salary of 160K and a further 90K in image rights. How many images do you need to be moving to justify 90K per week? I am guessing that image rights also includes products like playing shirts and the like.

Time for bed and a dream or two about what might have been had I been more dedicated to my footy!

Obama and the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar...

The White House has cancelled a visit by the President to the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar during Obama's visit to India. The fear is that all visitors must wear a head covering and the likelihood that a photo of Obama wearing the head covering would spread virally throughout the internet. The expectation is that the photo would be picked up by those wanting to re-ignite the debate on whether Obama is actually a US citizen and qualified to be president. The White House is also concerned that any photo that became available would re-ignite the debate about whether or not the president is a Muslim or a Christian.

Obama vs. McCain in 2008 produced this billboard, perhaps this billboard is what triggered that fear.

Ho hum...

Soeharto As A National Hero...


21 October 2010

Glee & Promoting Pedophilia...


Glee is a TV show that airs on Fox in the US. It is classed as a musical comedy-drama, and it follows the trials and tribulations of high school teenagers as they wend there collective ways through some good old teenage angst issues. Interesting a lot of the cast are not teenagers at all but adult actors playing the role of teenagers. Apart from being a pretty popular TV series, Glee has come in for some closer scrutiny after a recent photo-shoot of some of the 20-something actors (Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, and Corey Monteith) from the show appeared in GQ magazine.

The controversy arose because the Parents Television Council in the US has labelled the photos as "bordering on paedophilia". This in turn raises some interesting legal issues as to how one should proceed when adult age actors who are play the roles of teenagers then pose for sexy photos. Can the sexy photo of a 20+ something actor ever be an image that promotes pedophilia. It would seem that the assumption is that because these actors play the roles of not yet of age teenagers then any image of them that sexualises them is promoting pedophilia.

The reality is that if these young people use their fame to promote themselves through sexy photo-shoots, even ones that overtly sexualise them, don't they have a right to do it? After all, the people involved are all of legal age, and by any definition of the law have a right to make the decisions that they have. The photos themselves are not pornographic and do not violate any decency standards or norms for television or for print media.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting legal issue that extends beyond this particular instance. For example, can purveyors of porn be arrested and jailed for the upload / download of images of adults wearing, or part wearing of, school uniforms? In a lot of jurisdictions the law has been amended or worded in such a way as what the image attempts to convey or the content as being the key determiner in whether an image is classified as child porn.

So, simply if the point is to provide sexual gratification through the belief that one is looking at a naked or near naked child, even where the "child" in question is in fact an adult, then a crime has been committed. At least this is how I understand the law to work (time for more research and update myself on the laws in this area).

Therefore, if that interpretation of the law is accurate, then is it possible to mount a child porn case with images like the ones in GQ? I would argue not. Any reasonable person would know that the young people depicted in these images are adults and not children.

I am not sure how these particular photos promote pedophilia. I must be missing something.

Presidential Tears...

It must be said, there is nothing wrong with men shedding a few tears. It is not a sign of weakness. However, when a man sheds contrived tears over the granting of public land to poor farmers, which was stolen from them in the past by a previous government, then one has to wonder whether this is another poor attempt to direct attention away from the mounting failures of a president that has lost his way on the things that truly matter.

Now, don't get me wrong. Giving this land to poor farmers is a big thing. It is a big moment for the farmers and their families. They now might have a shot at some degree of self-sufficiency and make a life for themselves and their communities that they might not otherwise have had. Yet, in the big scheme of things, what is more telling are the tears that SBY does not shed.

The president has not shed tears over the stitching-up of two honourable men at the KPK. The case against Bibit and Chandra has been shown to be a fabrication yet the courts and the prosecutors have failed to end the charade. The president, by association, is guilty of not involving himself in this matter. It is a matter of state and he is the head of state. It is a matter of state because how this case plays out has a direct impact on the world's view of justice and law enforcement in Indonesia. The case potentially impacts upon all Indonesians. As president, it is SBY's responsibility to be pro-active.

The president has not shed tears in the Munir case or for Munir's widow or children. After promising that justice would be done and the perpetrators brought to justice, the case remains, to all intents and purposes, open as those that committed this political assassination remain free.

The president has not shed any tears for the victims of the mud extrusion in Sidoarjo. In fact, the president still seems to want to appease the devil in that instance. So, Mr. President, how about a tear or two for those Sidoarjo victims with no home, no income, and very little hope? How about a tear or two for the children who  no longer go to school because their school no longer exists or is in a state of disrepair, or those children with no school uniforms. Isn't education free through primary school and up to class 3 of junior high in Indonesia?

Yes, Mr. President, there are things worthy of tears besides the contrived little show of earlier today.

So, is it important that poor farmers get the land back that has been stolen off them over the centuries, yes! Did the founding fathers' envisage an Indonesia that was prosperous for all, they did. But, Mr. President, this was not premised solely on the redistribution of land, this was premised on a 'fair go' for all. It was premised on the belief that all men and women were equal, it was premised on a belief that all men and women would be free from the scourge of corruption, it was premised on the belief that all men and women would be free from political violence, it was premised on so many other things.

Mr. President, please shed some tears for the things you have not delivered on as you promised.