Photographer

Filtering by Tag: Indonesia

Re: Award Winning Images from Indonesia

Added on by Ridzki.

Dear International Photography Competition Juries. It has been a great pleasure for me to see that the images from Indonesia had won an award (again), the latest being the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2013 for the single image category, in which ironically the image was taken by non Indonesian (again).

However it is in my great sadness I should say that I get bored easily by the winning images, not because I live near the action (mind you I am living in one of the 17,000 island here, the action is happening in another island most of the time) but because I feel that the judges often "pick" the same images, from time to time, cough-Pacu Jawi-cough. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong about picking the images, after all they are indeed beautiful, "showing movement and energy" and best of all promoting Indonesia. But then why do I feel bored? perhaps because more and more photographers are taking the same picture, creating the same similar template and then get picked by the jury again and again, creating a cycle that taught the photographers from the region, if they wanted take picture for the sake of winning a competition or getting as many like as you can from their facebook friends then they should come to Indonesia where the exoticism will hypnotize the international panel of juries.

Andi Sucirta Water Symphony

Andi Sucirta Water Symphony

Let's go back to the winning image from Chee Keong Lim, I am sure that this image has not won any LensCulture Exposure award at any time, however, I am pretty sure that the winning images or similar ones have been taken countless times. This one by Andi Sucirta was taken on 2005, long before Mr. Lim had taken his, based on Mr. Sucitra Facebook post, he stated that he was the one that come up with the concept of this photograph (titled Water Symphony), the image was subsequently winning the SalonPhoto Competition in Batam, Indonesia and few other ones overseas. The image of course like what happened with the Pacu Jawi, drive people from overseas to come to Bali to photograph the scene in Unda River, Klungkung, to the extend that if we search the term on google, most of the image associated with the place are those of Balinese kids playing with water and/or splashing around with bucket. The scene was so infamous that according to Mr. Sucitra, led the kids know that if a photographer wants to make such images, then they shouldn't be doing it for free.

http://www.andisucirta.com/photo_gallery.php?id=108
http://www.andisucirta.com/photo_gallery.php?id=108
Google Image Search Results for Unda River Klungkung
Google Image Search Results for Unda River Klungkung

Then what is the point about all these that I wrote? I suppose it was a realization that Indonesia; being the country with the most number of islands, ethnic groups, cultures and traditions in which are transforming slowly by the influx of foreign cultures from the West, the East and the Middle East, a thriving scene of civilization, the biggest economy in South East Asia (was) or basically this place of where the documentary photography tradition could take place and thrive (and even a more contemporary approach) are going to be known for the place where you can take a picture of Pacu Jawi or the kids at Unda River and other countlessly similar exotic images. That realization lead to another one, that most photographers here will become not so keen in pursuing documentary projects or looking forward to make one, because aside from the lack of knowledge, they realize that there is no real rewards in pursuing one, but will wonder in amazement when they saw a foreigner make a story based in Indonesia. So it goes, a classic story that is being repeated from time to time, Indonesia, the land where all the resources are there but the people are not able to savor it, this time it is not about natural resources though.

Of course all of this could be changed, the Indonesian photography scene with their for their penchant for exoticism, are the home of few talented photographers that are experienced and capable of creating a solid body of works. Often however, they are not given the chances, also there are gaps of knowledge or understanding of how photography could be used. These photographers needs to be informed and taught and the easiest way to teach them is not through series of articulated articles or series of workshop (language too, a barrier here), but by promoting more profound pictures from Indonesia which are judged by the merit, not only based on their exoticism or their quirkiness and this can be done by you the juries of many international photography competition.

With that I end my long rants, I do hope you understand my concerns and hopefully my peers would be as well.

Regards

Ridzki.

A Brief Recapitulation.

Added on by Ridzki.

With regards of the column series that I have written over the course of six months for Whiteboard Journal, I wanted to give a brief recapitulation pertaining what I have written and why I have written it. I was approached by Dinda Ibrahim of Whiteboard Journal one day and she asked me to write a series of columns on Photography, me and her was already part of a writing class tutored by Ayu Utami, each session of the class always feature a lengthy discussion on photography, arts, culture and living with none other Erik Prasetya and Dinda thought that the whole discussion could be summarized into the column series.

Thus the whole structures of column were devised, instead of tackling a new concepts or rather a pretty complicated ones I decided to give my perspective (a modern one, if I may say) on the photography world in general and in Indonesia at some point. My argument is that the photography world has been consisted of these following elements: the camera, the photographer, the photograph, the editor, the gallery and the photobook,  and will continue to do so.

The biggest criticism of the columns is that the writings were not comprehensive and didn't touch the deeper layer that some people (photographers) wanted to see but it was deliberate,  mainly because of the 700 words limitation and I don't feel that the audience and the critics didn't have a similar understanding.

That aside I am happy that the writings have created a brief debate and people do actually take the time and read it, I hope it could get compiled some day along with other WBJ columns.

For the column you can visit them here: 

The Camera

The Photographers

The Photograph

The Editor

The Gallery

The Photobook

Catatan Akhir Tahun: Tentang Fotografi Indonesia.

Added on by Ridzki.

2013 adalah tahun yang sangat amat mengasyikkan untuk fotografi, karena seakan-akan semua yang selama ini berjalan di tempat saja tiba-tiba bangkit dan bergerak secara bersama-sama. Hal ini nampaknya juga ditentukan oleh kekuatan media sosial yang berperan untuk menjadi corong kegiatan-kegiatan hal-hal yang mengasyikkan ini tadi. Tahun ini dipenuhi dengan banyak sekali peluncuran buku baik secara independen maupun dengan metode-metode yang konservatif, walaupun dari segi kuantitas buku yang diterbitkan belum sebanyak di Eropa atau Amerika, namun untuk ukuran Asia Tenggara kita mencatat produktivitas yang cukup baik. Catatan utama tentu saja diberikan untuk peluncuran buku Encounters karya Rony Zakaria, berdasarkan percakapan di artist talk didapatkan sebuah konsensus bahwa buku ini adalah titik tolak pembuktian bagi para fotografer generasi muda dan membuat semacam standar pencapaian baru, baik dari segi teknis pembuatan, penerbitan dan penjualannya buku tetapi terlebih lagi kontennya yang selama buku foto di Indonesia selalu didominasi oleh topik-topik jurnalisme dan coffeetable book. Selain buku Rony, juga ada karya fotografer muda lainnya yaitu Aji Susanto Anom yang meluncurkan buku yang hampir serupa yaitu tentang dokumentasi kota Solo yang berjudul Nothing Personal. Dari rekan-rekan fotojurnalis kita, Safir Makki pun mengeluarkan sebuah buku tentang perjalanan yang dilakukannya di Iran bersama dengan Tjandra M. Amin yang juga mengeluarkan The Colour of Sports, tak lupa pula yang baru saja mengeluarkan pre-order kemarin yaitu Intip karya Roy Rubianto. Sebelum saya lupa, publikasi alternatif The Future of The Past sebuah zine photography analog juga menjadi sebuah pengingat bahwa zine tidak lagi sebuah karya yang diproduksi secara massal dan murah, dengan kerjasama yang baik antar tim dan kedekatan pengguna fotografi analog di Indonesia ini menjadi sebuah publikasi dengan desain dan kualitas terindah di tahun ini.

Selanjutnya dari segi grup atau kolektif, akhirnya Indonesia memiliki sebuah grup yang kira-kira dapat menggambarkan apakah Street Photography rasa Indonesia, Sidewalkers.Asia yang muncul di tahun ini menyatakannya dengan hasil-hasil dari kurasi yang mereka lakukan dan artikel-artikel yang mereka keluarkan. Saya pun berharap banyak dari mereka untuk tahun 2014, mudah-mudahan makin ada gebrakan-gebrakan yang muncul dari pihak SWA seperti misalnya menumbuhkan minat umum terhadap essay photo dengan pendekatan street photography atau pameran kolektif. Tak lupa pula menjamurnya grup-grup street photography yang menggunakan kamera ponsel dan menghasilkan foto-foto yang bisa dianggap sangat baik, diharapkan kedepannya pencapaian visual mereka tak lagi hanya berdasarkan dari fotografer-fotografer luar negeri tetapi juga berani mengeskplorasi kekaayaan visual yang muncul dari diri sendiri.

Anugrah Fotografi Indonesia dan Vision International Image Festival, menjadi catatat tersendiri untuk saya karena saya menyayangkan kurangnya publisitas untuk event yang sangat penting seperti ini. Saya merasa para khalayak umum sepatutnya diberi tahu dan diberi keterangan yang seluas-luasnya agar dapat menggalang dukungan untuk acara ini kedepannya, dan saya berharap pun setelah kita berganti rezim tahun depan masih ada dorongan dari pemerintah untuk membantu mengembangkan dunia fotografi kita. Sangat disayangkan apabila AFI hanya muncul sebagai sebuah acara beberapa jam, memberikan hadiah kepada beberapa nama besar dan tidak ada tindak lanjut dan partisipasi masyarakat, hal yang sama pun dirasakan pada VIIF, baik dari jadwal pameran yang tidak tersedia, waktu yang pendek untuk dapat memasukkan portofolio untuk workshop bersama Francesco Zizola (!) dan pergi ke Bali untuk workshopnya dan hal-hal lain yang seolah-olah membuat kedua event ini adalah event yang sangat ekslusif dan tidak terjangkau oleh khalayak ramai.

Terakhir dari segi pameran, saya sangat bersyukur atas adanya mas Yudhi Soerjoatmodjo yang berhasil merangkumkan arsip-arsip dari Indonesian Press Photo Service dan membuatnya dalam sebuah format pameran dan buku yang sangat bagus sekali. Walaupun buku-buku tentang IPPHOS sudah pernah diterbitkan sebelumnya namun saya merasa ini cukup penting untuk generasi yang lebih muda, karena foto-foto yang ditampilkan dapat menyatu dengan foto-foto sejarah yang selama ini sudah pernah kita lihat sebelumnya. Selanjutnya adalah pameran Dinda Jou Ismail di Galeri Antara, yang berhasil menaikkan derajat fotografi ponsel agar menjadi setara dengan karya-karya yang pernah dipamerkan di Antara sebelumnya. Tak lupa pula dari rekan di Yogyakarta, yang berhasil mengajarkan kepada masyarakat Jakarta bahwa sebuah pameran foto tak perlu lagi mengambil sebuah tema-tema besar, fotografi vernakular masih sebuah hal yang bisa dikemas secara menarik apabila bisa dikerjakan dengan sungguh-sungguh, hal ini dibuktikan pula dengan pameran Dwi Putra yang berjudul Familiar Faces.

Saya kira ini saja yang dapat saya ingat selama tahun 2013 yang bisa menjadi catatan, berdasarkan bincang-bincang dengan beberapa rekan saya merasa tahun 2014 makin banyak lagi hal-hal yang mengasyikkan yang akan terjadi, saya cuma berharap di 2014 makin banyak orang yang mampu memiliki hubungan yang cerdas dengan karya-karyanya, karena hubungan yang cerdas tadi adalah fondasi utama untuk mengevaluasi kelemahan dan kekuatan kita. Saya juga berharap saya dapat melihat lebih banyak karya-karya lain yang muncul di luar kota-kota besar karena itu sistem support yang baik akan menjadi pekerjaan rumah bagi kita semua, dan seperti yang sudah saya utarakan di awal; kekuatan sosial media akan menjadi kunci untuk pencapaian itu.

Pernyataan

Added on by Ridzki.

Saya rasa ada yang terlewat di fotografi Indonesia baru-baru ini, bukan saya bukan bicara tentang AFI dan para pemenangnya. Walaupun saya harus berkata selamat atas terjadinya AFI dan para pemenangnya, mudah-mudahan di tahun depan kita bisa melihat pemenang-pemenang lain dari luar Jakarta dan bukan nama-nama yang sama lagi yang menjadi nominasi. Saya bicara tentang pameran Dinda Jou Ismail yang berjudul mail-a love letter di Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, pameran dan buku yang seluruh fotonya diambil dari hasil jepretan Instagram si fotografer. Ketika Aik Beng Chia mobile photographer dari Singapura mengeluarkan bukunya Tonight The Streets Are Ours yang diterbitkan oleh Invisible Ph t grapher Asia, saya berkata bahwa ini adalah sebuah statement penting yang dikeluarkan oleh IPA, seolah-olah mereka berkata bahwa kamera itu tidak penting yang penting adalah konten dan isi dari sebuah buku tersebut.

Dalam essay saya yang dimuat di Whiteboard Journal saya menyatakan bahwa kamera tak lagi berbentuk seperti halnya kamera klasik, sebuah ponsel adalah kamera bahkan kacamata pun adalah sebuah kamera pada jaman sekarang. Namun dalam forum yang membahas project seorang kawan yang menggunakan kamera ponsel juga, ada pertanyaan yang muncul dari para fotografer senior "jika kamu punya kamera yang bagus kenapa kamu motret menggunakan ponsel? apa alasannya?" Tentu jika kita menjawab hal ini adalah tantangan buat saya atau bagi saya ini juga kamera, itu kurang dapat memuaskan level intelektualitas dan terkesan kita tidak mengetahui secara dalam tentang diri kita sendiri, namun kita tidak sedang membahas itu sekarang. Yang saya garis bawahi adalah bagaimana para fotografer senior ini menyikapi penggunaan kamera ponsel.

Saya yakin Dinda memiliki kamera yang disebut bagus itu dan saya yakin dia juga mampu mengambil gambar-gambar yang sama dengan yang dia ambil dengan kamera ponselnya. Maka dari itu saya merasakan apa yang dilakukan Galeri Antara jauh melampaui apa yang dilakukan IPA, karena adanya sejarah institusi yang lebih panjang dan orang-orang yang terlibat di dalamnya seperti Oscar Motuloh (yang kebetulan menjadi editor buku tersebut) adalah orang-orang yang satu generasi dengan para fotografer senior tersebut. Terlepas dari fakta bahwa dulu instalasi pameran Yudhi Soerjoatmodjo jauh lebih kontemporer, namun itu tetaplah karya fotografi yang tidak diperdebatkan lagi, kali ini Antara telah melampaui itu dan membuat statement yang sangat keras, bahwa karya fotografi dengan ponsel adalah karya fotografi yang mampu bersanding dengan karya yang pernah ditaruh di dinding-dinding Galeri Antara.

Maka dengan itu perdebatan telah selesai dan mari kita melangkah kembali.

Es Krim dan Rasa Nyaman di Rumah

Added on by Ridzki.

Marilah kita bicara sebentar tentang fotografi yang dilakukan dengan porsi intuisi lebih banyak daripada konsep. Walaupun sebaiknya itu dibagi menjadi 2 sama besar (berdasarkan paparan Wid tadi malam dari hasil workshop photography booknya) tapi ada baiknya kita menelaah dari porsi intuisi untuk saat ini. Porsi intuisi ini mudah, kamu lihat apa yang kamu suka maka abadikan saja, kalau meminjam istilah lomografi "Don't Think Just Shoot". Kita sedikit banyak menyimpan foto-foto seperti ini, foto yang diibaratkan sebagai sampah, tah itu tampang teman yang terlihat bodoh, makanan enak yang sebentar lagi akan disantap atau pemandangan ketika liburan. Dari hasil fotografi yang tercerai-berai dan nampak tidak ada hubungan ini cepat atau lambat akan muncul pertanyaan, mau dibawa kemana sampah-sampah ini? berpindah-pindah dari 1 hard-drive ke hard-drive lain sajakah?

Akan tetapi sampah bagi satu bukanlah sampah bagi yang lain, Minggu lepas saya berkesempatan datang ke ENCOUNTERS, pameran oleh Rony Zakaria dan Feels Like Home pameran kolektif dimana Wid juga berperan. Di pameran saya belajar arti foto-foto yang selama ini mungkin kita lupakan, foto-foto intuitif kita, foto dimana Rony merasa seperti memakan es krim yang berbeda rasa setiap harinya dan dimana Wid bisa merasa nyaman seperti di rumahnya.

Bagi yang kurang mendapat background, ENCOUNTERS adalah hasil perjalanan Rony selama 6 tahun menjadi fotografer, perjalanan dia merasakan tinggal di kota, bersama dengan manusia atau makhluk yang ditemuinya dan foto-foto yang diambil tanpa rencana. Perjalanan yang juga ditempa dengan tema dari film favoritnya "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" dan bagaimana kita, seperti kata Oscar Motuloh, melihat benda-benda asing di sekitar kita, bagaikan menjadi alien yang tiba di bumi itu sendiri. Emosi yang terasa dari pameran ini selain keasingan adalah limpahan emosi dari Rony dan, meminjam kata kata dari Oscar Motuloh kembali,  dari orang setenang Rony, ENCOUNTERS adalah sebuah teriakan, mungkin itu juga kenapa mereka berdua memilih sang kera menjadi cover depan buku ENCOUNTERS.

Terbang ke Jogjakarta, saya menjumpai pameran Wid, yang bertema Feels Like Home, dimana Wid menginterpretasikan temanya dengan memamerkan arsip-arsip fotonya yang berjumlah 200 buah di salah satu ruangan kecil di KPY. Wid merasa rumah dalam artian fotografi adalah perasaan nyaman dalam fotografi yang tidak dipenuhi dengan elitisme, kolektif, paham bahwa saya lebih benar daripada anda dan pencapaian-pencapaian dalam bentuk award dan workshop. Saya lalu mengerti betul kerinduan Wid akan fotografi karena fotografi itu sendiri dan bagaimana pusingnya berada di sebuah pusaran yang merumitkan segala sesuatu yang harusnya mudah. Yang harusnya intuitif.

Dapat kita lihat disini, es krim-es krim Rony dan kenyamanan rumah Wid adalah sama! Mereka berakar dari fotografi tanpa konsep, fotografi yang dimulai karena fotografi itu sendiri. Mereka menggambarkan perjalanan atau titik awal sang empunya foto, menggambarkan emosi dan perasaan mereka. Adalah hal ini sama juga dengan bertemu dengan teman yang sudah lama tak berjumpa, kita melihat hal-hal baru tentang mereka dan mereka menjadi pengingat tentang apa yang sudah pernah kita lalui.

Dan itulah fotografi dan hidup, kita terkadang terlalu terfokus pada konsep dan tujuan lalu melupakan sebuah proses atau alasan kenapa kita memulainya. Kita terkadang mempersulit apa yang kita sudah miliki dan menghilangkan kesenangan kita akan es krim dan rasa nyaman di rumah.

 

Salam

 

Ridzki, Jogjakarta 18 Maret 2013.

Di awal penulis menyebutkan fotografi sebagai sampah, tanpa mengurangi segala hormat penulis tidak bermaksud membandingkan karya keduanya sebagai sampah. Hal itu hanyalah ilustrasi belaka.

Yang Banal Yang Berwarna

Added on by Ridzki.

Yang Banal Yang Berwarna atau YBYB adalah sebuah usaha untuk mendokumentasikan benda-benda atau pemandangan banal di sekitar yang memiliki warna yang ajaib. [portfolio_slideshow]

Kenapa?

Karena yang banal ini biasanya terlewatkan, kita terlalu sibuk dan terkadang memiliki terlalu sedikit waktu untuk stop dan melihat ke sekeliling. Yang banal yang berwarna adalah usaha untuk mengingatkan agar orang mau berhenti sejenak dan mau melihat ke sekelilingnya.

Apakah ini bisa menjadi project foto lanjutan, tampaknya iya dan menjawab pertanyaan saya yang tempo hari itu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visions Reloaded: Jogjakarta

Added on by Ridzki.

On the beginning it was an idea, born from reading several articles, watching a few clips and enjoying a lot of photographs. The idea is to ditch zoom lenses in favor for a prime or in my case a manual focus prime.

Then it come to fruition when Vesak Day (Birth of The Buddha) comes closer, so on the 13th to 18 May 2011 I decided to roam the Jogjakarta again, carrying two primes (Soligor 28mm f2.5 and EF 50 mm f1.8) along with my trusty zoom (my girlfriend advice me to carry that as well). Turns out I can't quite ditch the zoom altogether but it does give me a fresh perspective on documenting travel pictures.

So here's what I found out;

  • I love my manual lenses because of its simplicity and tones created. I did not need to over thinking things and all the image produced it is as if I'm right standing in front of it. On the other hand I hate it because I can't focus properly in dim light or when I am using small apertures.
  • I can't ditch my zoom, while advocates of the wide/normal prime says that prime allow you to move and be "creative" and zooms are necessarily evil, etc. I just can quit it yet. This is because zoom allow me to be more creative in its own way; I can use the telephoto end in my landscape, I can capture details which often I can't when I am using prime and I can use technique not available for me when I am using the prime.
  • While traveling I don't need so many lenses in my arsenal, I just need my trusty zoom and one prime which often can be the 28 or 35 mm. While doing several assignment on the other hand I will probably need another lenses.
  • I tried movie making  and I found out that it is hard and good software comes with a price, but I'll be trying to create a multimedia album for my travel in the future.
  • I need to learn to ride a motorbike to simplify movement.

So here is the images from the trip:

 

I actually go to Jogjakarta again last weekend, happily using only my prime and here's the results:

 

 

It really worked out, I suppose but will I ditch the zooms altogether? we'll see about that.

Morality: Between Pancasila, Religious Doctrines and Other Values

Added on by Ridzki.
It all began here and then I posted that article on my twitter and my editor began to ask me:

@trugiaz so what's your perspective on the matter? re: moral article.

And I said I couldn't write it in 140 words, nor do I wanted to make a series of lectures, so I suppose Notion is the place to go.

To start, I have no exact idea where the Indonesian's obsession of morality come from; it could come from the last 32 years during the Soeharto era, it could come from the East tradition (respect your elders, your country etc), it could come from religions or it could be learn from the society or cultures. Anyway, as the article mentioned there are increasing number of obsession on morality and unfortunately this uphold of the morality is still pretty much a double standard issue.

Why double standard? because the people who impose such laws, governance or rules are immune of this moral code they passed. They expect people to follow them but they didn't want to follow it by themselves. Take a look at the porn loving legislature, Arifinto. He keep porn in his tablet (that's right sir, I don't buy your so-called email link excuses), get caught watching it in a plenary session, forced to step down from his position and till this date he's still in the parliament (waiting for recess period he said) and no police officer to take him to jail, but a man who make porn for himself (not distributing it) is caught and get 3.5 years in jail time. For more information this Arifinto is a member of the PKS (Justice and Prosperous Party) which pushed the Pornographic Bill (and according to this it's illegal to posses, download and distribute pornographic material but not) to be legalized, then when this kind of incident happen they said that the action that he did (stepping down) is already more than enough.

and let's leave that double standard issue with the infamous saying:

What. The. F**k?

Let's head back and see the questions that my editor is asking:

Is there a standard for morality?

In my opinion yes, there's a standard. I believe that there are raw, unrefined values of morality that all the people in the world could agree regardless of their views or beliefs. As I understand it nowadays we have so many  moral values surrounding us, these come in the form of religious dogma or  logical consequences of our action however the principles behind it are the same. In Indonesia, this standards of morality or the raw, unrefined values of morality came in the form of Pancasila (the five principles) or to be precise it's the 5 principles and its 45 points and I'd say that the best ever values known to mankind. Why? because since its birth it balances between the liberal view and the socialism, it also acknowledged religious values yet at the same time not taking side of one religious dogma.

Can moral virtues be taught in classes?

Again I would say yes, moral virtues can be taught in classes, however it would need more than just classroom to taught about morals. The homes, the parents are the first and foremost place and people responsible for teaching this moral virtues. A classroom, would act as a place for the children to practice their moral understanding by interacting with society (IMHO classroom/school is just a smaller model of society) and at the same time teaching them about the more complex understanding of morality. Returning from my point above I believe the values of Pancasila need to be taken in seriousness by the ministry of education, not only as a main subject to be taught but also a guideline on how to shape the future Indonesians.

In my final words, I would say that we now live in a strange time and age, where Pancasila has been degraded and understood only as a statue of Garuda with a shield on its chest and its values are no longer considered as part of our identity but at the same time there's an increase of nationalism. I believe simply because that Pancasila as a moral guidelines doesn't offer anything like any religious doctrines, it doesn't offer 72 virgins like when you defend your religion nor it would punish you into the depths of hell if you don't follow it. Nationalism on the other hand although it is also a part of one's identity would not have anything to do with moral values.

It must be understood by anyone, not just the government that if we want to live in a country like Indonesia, we can't depend on morality which is based on one religious doctrines or even only the view of the majority. If we want to live in  Indonesia we need to follow that value of morality which respect and acknowledge the differences. Therefore my suggestions regarding this moral issues are simple; reinstate our belief in Pancasila, our standards of morality and apply its values in our everyday life.

Our Drug Culture: The Love of Antibiotics

Added on by Ridzki.

Writer’s notes: When I write “our” on the title I am referring to people in South East Asia or Asia Pacific and most particularly in Indonesia. Last time I fall sick, I was doing an experiment on myself. Not that I fall sick due to the experiment, I was experimenting on how long I could recover fully from the sickness by not coming to the doctor and moreover to not consume any antibiotic to recover myself.

It took me a month.

The people here loves their antibiotic and especially the doctor that prescribe them with the antibiotic. A doctor which could cure their patients in a single visit, is a good doctor and very kind as well, because not only the patients get cured easily they also kind of doctor who won’t take any advantage of the patients. But how will it affect the general populations in the future? while science and medical students are very aware of the term ”super-bugs”, the general population do not. The continuos bombardment of antibiotic, and the low understanding regarding the use is giving way to these “super-bugs” to increase in the terms of numbers and kinds.

What are the “super-bugs?”

They could be present as the insects which capable to resist the strongest insecticide, or as the infamous Methicillin Resistant Streptococcus Aureus (MRSA), regardless of the name they could only mean one thing. Trouble.

Like every species, this super-bugs have come a long way, they evolve from the most primitive form to the ones which contain all the necessity to survive. Humans evolve from apes (creationists please do not argue on this), as a species we learn to use tools and to exploit the nature in order to gain the favour, whether to hunt or gather, in a simpler word, we learn how to survive. These super-bugs are also the same, although they don’t use tools they survive because of the difference in their genetic material.

Consider the case of the white butterfly on the height of Industrial revolution in England. They originally were white in colour, because living in a temperate climate they need the colour tone in order to survive from their hunter. however some of them born in a unusual circumstances, with black instead of white as their wings. Easier to be recognised, easier to be hunted is the fate of these black butterfly, however the Industrial Revolution came, and the usual white snow was polluted to become black, and the condition was altered. For the benefit of the story let’s just say, nowadays there are more black butterfly than the white one in England.

The story above is the similar picture in the context of the super-bugs, where they actually also the product natural selections, however the one who acts as the “natural selections” are none other than mankind with their love of antibiotics.

"So it's just a little bugger which is difficult to be eliminated?" not exactly. This little bugger causes many hospital acquired infection on patients which are recovering from their diseases and finally could cause complications or even death. The fact that they are more antibiotics resistant, would make them very difficult to eliminate with the present level of antibiotics and if they could be eliminated there is still chances for them to evolved to be resistant to that particular antibiotic.

What can we do?

Consider MRSA as a very expensive experience, we can actually slow down the transformation of other bacteria or viruses to become the next "super-bugs", avoiding arms race between species. How to slow down the transformation is easy that is by do not using antibiotic in order to cure non-significant diseases (common cold, sore throat, fever etc.). The problems (sigh) lies on whether people could understand that they are not supposed to take antibiotic as simple as taking candy.

To raise awareness about this antibiotic issue is the solution, however is not the same as raising awareness about issues like the global warming. It is more like putting a warning on cigarettes' pack  to tell people the hazard to your health, however it seldom kept them away from smoking. Furthermore, by telling this, people must accept that evolution is real and we are part of it, while in this region people still believe that evolution is a concept where man comes from primate.

It would be long and lengthy process to educate the people, perhaps as long as the development of the new super-bugs, however as it is necessary to be done, none is too late after all.

The movement could began in hospitals or clinics by doctors, in which if there are any patients coming with the symptoms of cold or fever try to explain to them that the disesase did not require the administration of antibiotics, just plenty of rest and liquids and paracetamols is enough. Of course doctor, have to be more than able to explain the matter to the patients and that requires a great communication skills.

What can a patient do then? other than educating themselves, patients are also having the rights to have the proper explanations from the doctor and finally do not judge the doctor based on what medication that they give you or how long does it takes to recover.

As a final notes, I will say that prevention is better than care thus live your life healthily and love your vessels, you can't actually change them anytime if you have trouble.

Cheers

Indonesians & Their Internet Culture (part 1)

Added on by Ridzki.

Internet in Indonesia have been existed for quite a very long time, most early adopters would still remember the ugly days of using dial-up connections, visiting plasa.com and trying to log on to gain pornographic material. Today Indonesians fondness of internet and its content (which include pornographic material, celebrity gossip, information of stock exchange, social sites, online gaming, etc.) is climbing towards the peak. This could be seen not only by the increasing number of the cyber cafes but with the increase of people filling the normal cafe with their laptops or other 802.11 gadget, and increasing number of ISP. There are however several issue that did not resolve along with the increase the internet usage in Indonesia, first is the utilisation of the internet to increase productivity, second is cost of the internet service. The two issues will affect one another, awareness of the importance of internet as a mean of effective communication will increase the number of ISP thus increased market competition therefore reduced cost of the internet could be achieved. This will bring us to the topic of the writing, first how to use internet as a mean for effective communication for professionals and casuals alike and second what can be done to reduce the cost of the internet.

The forgotten one: e-mail To kick-start the utilisation of internet as a productivity machine I believe we need not to look forward, the technology that allow us to be productive is already present ever since the birth of the internet itself, which is the e-mail.

Along with the now popular blogs and forum, e-mail has been the starting line in internet interaction, before you can join forum, make blog, playing online game, chat, buying stuff over the net you got to have an e-mail address. An e-mail address will show who you are; for instance kids and adolescent e-mail address will differ with those professionals or grand parents. E-mail address also is an important part of the public address of company to NGOs, government departments to The Ministry, both public and private school as well. Unfortunately despite the increasing number of internet user and thus e-mail user, the usage of e-mail in Indonesia (as a mean of communication) could be called tragic.

Why tragic? to make a clear picture regarding this tragedy, let me tell you my story on job and information hunting;

After graduation I have been trying to convince my parents that the good thing to do is to continue my studies, get my postgraduate degree and look for work overseas, unfortunately they are not very keen of the idea, stating reasons that I need to experience in the working environment and taking postgraduate degree could be done later on in life. I swallow the bitter pill and began looking for work and information, I look for jobs over the internet and newspaper over the time. So far there is nothing different than the average Joe right? however, being a firm environmentalist I always try to sent my application through e-mail to various companies, in order not to waste paper. Over the time, none of the local company reply regarding the availability, even though their advertisement still present on the job seeking site.

So I kept wondering what went wrong with my application that is being sent through e-mail? A few possibilities remain; first, my resume is not good enough for their criteria, second, there are already a person filling for the position and lastly they just does not open their e-mail account periodically. Giving the fact that Indonesian, are not very fond of their e-mail based communication, I began to suspect that the reason they did not inform me back regarding my application is because I contacted them through e-mail not by actual or physical mail. Thus I began to look over the company websites, and unfortunately as well, some of them are very difficult to navigate, others are still on construction and some even have been expired. Therefore there are no other form of two way communication other than phone call.

The stories above are one of the example of how Indonesians still do not consider email as a mean of effective communication. a second example might be a simpler, try picturing a craftsman who would like to expand his market. He could promote his crafts by two means; produce an advertisement or waiting for buyers to come, we will not elaborate more on how the way he sit, instead we looked up how he could market his crafts. First, he could produce few brochures regarding his product and will try to market it nationally or even internationally via email or other internet interaction or he can come to the advertising agency, pay some amount of money and let them create a giant billboard and put it on the side of the main road. No need for a calculator for this one, the cost of producing email and sending it are cheaper than producing a giant billboard. This second example would only work in several condition, however, To target a national buyer, the buyer should also have internet connection and second, e-mail might easily reach people around the world, however it is also easily ignored, therefore there is a need to set up an internet marketplace; a blog, or social website account might just do it.

Therefore, given the increase of interaction between people in the world and the ever growing conscience on our impact to the environment, I believe e-mail could be an important substitution if not a complement of how we should interact with one another, both professionally and casually. People and the government of Indonesia thus, should care more regarding the use of e-mail, and by doing so hopefully, the internet is no longer a place to download any pirated intellectual property and porn but as a place to learn and growing.