So last night I arrived home at half-to-midnight (to be clear, that's 11.30 pm wib) after a long day of procrastination and (somewhat usefull) discussion with the intention of going straight to bed after checking my mail and Wikipedia watch list. Particularly I had expected someone to follow up on the somewhat lacking aid effort in Nias. It turns out that noone has, so I started a flurry of postings to Wikipedia, Wikinews, and Indonesia HELP. Hopefully someone would hear by now.
The number of Indonesian dead (currently at 94.000) certainly is concentrated in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, but the number of displaced and homeless and hungry and injured and still living is most definitely not insignificant in other areas. Half the population of Simeulue island have no home left. That's 7.500 households. In Nias the number is 4.500.
I should be glad that any aid has arrived at all
, I guess.
But I won't complain anymore. The quake/tsunami so far is a candidate for the worst natural disaster in modern history, and there's an overwhelming amount of tasks to be done. Relief has come very fast. In fact too fast; too fast for proper authorities to manage and distribute efficiently in a coordinated matter. Too fast for pausing to think before acting. Like the hasty mass-graves threatening local underground water sources. Like Medecins Sans Frontiers request for pausing monetary aid to itself. And the mind-numbing number just keeps going and going...
Official death counts have passed 150.000 already. Unofficial death estimates total over 500.000. The number of homeless have yet to be confirmed, but in India alone estimates are at 1.500.000. That's one and a half million people without homes.
There's only so much anyone can do. There's only so much I can do (very few, in fact). We can't recover from this disaster. Not if we as a whole humanity refuse to work in coordination. I hope the Emergency Tsunami Summit [bbc.co.uk] to be held tomorrow in Jakarta would provide that coordination.
At the very least it would be excellent PR for all parties involved. (heh).
Speaking of coordination (although I've yet to search for sources you can check-up on), the Indonesian relief effort has gotten lots of money but are short on volunteers. While a number of illegal TKIs (Tenaga Kerja Indonesia, Indonesian migrant workers) have been recently deported back to Indonesia with no job and no money. There was a suggestion during my family's annual New Year's eve gathering to combine the two together: hire the TKIs using relief money to help clean up Aceh. And North Sumatra too, of course:)
The Essence of the Tougher Standards Movement:
Speaking about learning at gunpoint, blogging in Indonesia can be considered as such if we take into mind that we pay for internet access by the second here (quite expensively I might add). There's weblogs: a history and perspective and waging peace: using our powers for good from Rebecca's Pocket.
Rebecca Blood is the author of The Weblog Handbook.
Oh and did I mention We the Media?
And before I forget (again), Happy New Year's Everyone! :)
Post-script Clarification: Just to be clear, Rebecca Blood did not write 'We the Media,' Dan Gillmor did. Forgive my tussled mind:0)
Back in around '98 or '99 when I was just a freshmen my senate faculty room was a lively place. There was a somewhat healthy mix of people of diverging ideologies (left, right, up, down, blue, yello', and green) just basically hanging. There was a PC with an ass-slow coax cable link to Computer Sciences (the faculty next door self-assigned to be the whole university's backbone) providing free Internet (don'cha jez loooove the beginning days of MP3:) ), an old FM radio, a little TV, and an old air conditioner.
The thing with the old AC is that if you turn it off, you can't turn it on again unless this guy with an 'intimate' relationship with the darling do some sort of voodo-type incomprehensible thing with it. Or some would say; I never actually had the good fortune to witness the ritual. And if you adjust the thermostat the wrong way it would just do this menacing shriek that just plain gives you nightmares.
So the esteemed members of the Senate deemed it necessary to place some sort of warning upon the AC's controlls to prevent innocent bystanders from accidentaly doing things which they would regret. Just enjoy the air, and if it becomes weird, get help. And they just happen to have a bunch of these old stickers from OPT '97, an initiation party about two years before. The writing on the sticker was, 'Don't let the system opress you!'
Nowadays things are somewhat depressing around the house, what with the TeVee constantly reporting about 'the thing' all the time, getting Mom all teary-eyed with all the pictures of all the dead, crying, sad, hysterical people lying around or getting swept away by lots and lots of water, especially little kids... well, you know. Like yeah. Major Bummer. You watch all those videos, and you don't even have to want to feel to just get this like 'you can't possibly not feel anything' feeling.
You can go to campus/office, do your thing, keep it away from the top of your mind,... but it just kinda stays in your head. You laugh and kid around but it always just stays in your head, a shadow that you just can't totally shake away, looming its grief upon you.
And so people ask, what's the meaning of all this?
What, you're asking me?
Like, we do what we can. We don't pretend that we're a big help. We don't pretend to be wise. And we remember that there's still lots of people living that we can actually help. Its actually pretty amazing what one can do nowadays with technology and a bit of faith.
So to any FISIPers reading this, I just thought to mention that Hajir is organising a cross-faith remembering session tonight at campus. To show sympathy as best we can, and to pray for all that still needs help. The gathering begins at around 6-7-ish in the evening, with a moment of silent prayer planned at midnight, new year's eve.
And to others reading this, it might also be usefull to know that aid to Naggroe Aceh Darussalam and Nias, in the form of instant noodles and bottled water, has bottlenecked at Tanjung Priok due to lack of delivery systems. So if you happen to know someone with a Hercules or ten handy, or some Cobra Bells...
And thus, after all that barely intelligible diatribe, in the great tradition of essayists from yesteryears, I end with a circular reference. Don't get depressed. Don't let the system opress you.
2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake [wikipedia.org]
For those of you wondering where I've been the past five days, I'd just gotten a new addiction: Wikipedia.
But I guess the article I visit the most, and the article gaining the most attention nowadays, is the one on Monday's quake. Definitely a must read resource, with technical details, damage estimates, and links to donation web sites and pages. Some have even started an Indonesian version of the article, though te English version moves too fast for the Bahasa version to keep up. The English article has developed so large so quickly that they've (we've?) had to split the article into three; aside from the main page there's the donation page and the country damage and casualty list.
I guess the kicker is how great I felt to get involved. Just like Eben Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law on our need to innovate (read the section titled Because It's There: Faraday's Magnet and Human Creativity). "The feeling was exhilarating and addictive." Indeed.
USGS: Asian Quake 5th Largest Since 1900 [yahoo! news]
Most accounts on the Web focuses on the damages at Phuket, Thailand. Coverage of Indonesian damage as far as I can find mostly focuses on Lhoksemaue, Aceh (granted its closest to the epicenter). But according to relatives living at my parents' home island of Nias, a small island to the north of Nias called Sirombu disappeared.
Don't know if anyone died, but I overheard my Mom talking on the phone that even southern Teluk Dalam was affected. It might be deducable that the damage shouldn't be worse than in Lhoksemaue, but considering that only a single coaxial phone cable links phones from Nias's capital of Gunung Sitoli to Sibolga in nearby Northern Sumatera, and also that as far as I can remember Nias is the poorest second level territory (kabupaten tingkat II) in Indonesia, I'm not too sure if anything will be heard from Nias until someone actually goes there in person to find out...
I hope for the best nevertheless.
addendum: Oh, and to all that celebrates it, Merry Christmas:)
addendum 2: Okay, okay. It seems that originally most reporting actually looks at Srilanka. And that Sirombu is west of Nias. While Bahewa is south. So I haven't been to Nias in eight years. It was only a couple of hours after the event that I originally posted this blog. And I was rushing, okay :0)
It seems that international focus is starting to shift to Indonesia and Srilanka, but I must add that the quake effected several nations more or less equally including Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar and Malaysia. Total death toll so far is about 10.000, over 4.000 in Indonesia alone.
And I should be asleep. Its 3:25am and I'm having a Communications Ethics and Filosophy final test in about five hours. Talk about priorities, eh:)
addendum 3: For the avoidance of doubt (as can be confirmed by various media), the island of Sirombu has not disappeared, though the worldwide damage has mind-numbingly multiplied.
There is a certain something that I felt my audience should be able to at least infer by reading the texts in my blog; that I don't conform too well to my social surroundings and systems, that I feel my education system cheats me, that there should be more important things in life other than grades, degrees, and pieces of paper called 'diplomas.'
On a recent trip to Kuro5hin's culture section, I discovered a little piece about an alternative teaching method called Programmed Instructions. The main focus of the article is about an alternative to public schooling.
At the end of the article, it referenced a series of /. articles entitled "Voices from the Hellmouth" and an online book entitled "The Underground History of American Education". Both are only available as either online web sites or as a printed book buyable (obscurely) from Amazon. No PDFs or CC-licensed downloadable copies, unfortunately.
If any of these writings can convince anyone that my learning problems are real; if any of these writings can convince someone to put real effort into changing the system; if even just one person can be rescued from the illusion that it is him/herself that's at fault instead of the system....
All I ask is please, don't tell me I'm not trying hard enough without at least trying to understand me first. The social pressures to conform pushed two human beings, having been pushed beforehand into insanity, into killing thirteen and wounding hundreds. Not videogames. I feel for them all, victims and gunmen, though I'd never do something like it; I just don't have the guts.
I'd been gutted already.
Beautiful business move. Just beautiful
Ever clicked on MSIE's help\about menu? If so, then have you ever wondered who Spyglass, Inc. is? Then check out this Wikipedia article. Yes, there is a spyglass, and in fact it was set up by the governors of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to capitalise on the commercial success of the Web way back in the early '90s. It was subsuquently killed by Micro$oft. Very sweet.
You gotta admire Bill's business acumen. Damn. Very sweet. Remind me never to tackle Microsoft's businesss without an army of consultants.
I found it while reading up Wikipedia on the origins of the World Wide Web. And after doing so I must hurry and fix my statement I made in my TKA that Mosaic was Open Source when in fact it was not. Microsoft contacted Spyglass for licensing. And look at what happened to Spyglass. And Netscape. And Linux if We the Community are not careful enough.
A point I've always tried to make to myself is that I am part of a community of human beings which survive by relying on each other. By helping each other. I've had the above word thrown at me several times, and I sincerely would love to actually be able to believe it.
Its not important wether I do or not. What is more important is that my thoughts are going to waste.
The world is such a neo-capitalistic lard-soup-paste that indigeneous Dayaks in the middle of Borneo are hurt everyday by this over-Borg-ian need of Machinima-Economica to rule so completely all the way to our very breath-processes. You either become a screw of Capitalism™, or you get screwed.
I don't have marketable skills. I don't have a college degree. I don't have a million Dollar$. I can't follow a system through. All because my mind (and therefore essentially I) love to wonder.
But I can't give up. At least not until the 20th.
BIG BOY! BIG BOY! BIG BOY! i GOtta BE a BIG BOY! BIG BOY! BIG BOY!
Here's the latest version of the piece of paper which people says would facilitate my escape from this mental institution I'm currently living in.
Its still far from being 'layak sidang' (admissable for academic defense), but its closer then I've ever been. Let's see wether I live or not...
What is the Gift of Writing? Why would someone be expected to be able to form concepts into clear written language? What is this segregation imposed upon those that cannot form words consistent with a structured norm?
What are words?
What is a paper?
Why can't I write one?
It is silly for me to be able to bore my friends to death speaking about Free Software and then go on to say that I cannot write a paper outlining a plan to promote Free Software. I totally agree. Why am I silly?
I don't write intellectually. I write expressively. I don't claim to be accurate, fair or thorough. I don't wanna get stuck on certain topics. Though I sometimes do. But not that often. I'd like to expand. I wanna write more poems. But I'll only upload them if they're good. I only rant about my life's hardships if it will rescue just a little bit of my sanity. I'm saner than I make myself out to be, though.
If I am an OS kernel, and I just had a kernel dump, I'd imagine that the text in this blog is what it would more or less look like.
There. Do you get it?
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sidesection last edited 08/02/2005