Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Rekoning

I don’t know why I don’t feel the urge to post here as often as I did. Certainly my mind is in a more languid state since I moved up to Indonesia…actually, on reflection, languid is the completely wrong word to use. Languid implies listlessness and I’m thinking more than I’ve thought for years, but the thought process here in the tropics, here in this wonderful crazy ordered but irrational archipelago, is more relaxed and less battered by the endless unnecessary imputation of stressful moments. Here, a day is not measured by how many small fires you manage to put out or minor victories but rather a sense of satisfaction that each day you can, all things willing, achieve one more substantial thing and the pleasure you get from that victory. Around that little victory you can happily surround yourself with things that give you even more joy…creating things, thinking, reading, listening, and watching, without the pressures and aggression that Auckland forces on you. Fucking hell, just driving the length of Queen Street is more stressful than a week here. In one day my CD-Rom in the laptop died (courtesy of the firmware update that HP suggested and then don’t support despite the countless posts on the net suggesting I’m not alone in having my Toshiba SD-R6252 drive killed by the update) then I lost internet connectivity because Telkom here had lost all record of my payment a week back - although dealing with Telkom here is a happy breath of fresh air after Telecom NZ’s luddite ways…perhaps TNZ could spent a little of its vast profits bringing it’s technology into the latter part of the last century, then its only a short jump into the 21st …I’ve just been battling my way through their online billing services for small businesses…unbelievably unlike their peers in virtually every other nation on the planet they have none. So, where exactly does the annual $200 per head profit for every man woman and child in New Zealand go to? If you ask Telecom, it’s into new technology. Beep..wrong answer..Telecom simply adapts technology developed offshore by other companies and it certainly doesn’t go into things like online billing which is at best, in 2005, rudimentary by international standards. I have no problem with a return to shareholders…but since Telecom has a state maintained monopoly charging some of the highest rates for phone and internet use on planet earth a little re-investment is not an unreasonable ask….and in my own fiscally na├»ve way I would assume that New Zealand’s economy would benefit somewhat if all those hundreds of millions of dollars were not being funnelled offshore each year.

So, anyway, my cd / dvd player got fucked up (it still is…thanks HP) and my net connection got nixed (and fixed in 15 minutes…thanks Telkom) but what would’ve resulted in a minor blowout for me in enzed was a non event here. A little bit of perspective. These things don’t matter at all.

What I do find scary is the number of people warned me about Indonesia back in New Zealand…”Are you sure it’s a wise thing to do?”; “Aren’t you worried?” and other such garbage..

Shut up for gods sake.

None of the warning voices of course have ever been here and I have to admit bemusement as to why there are government travel advisories to Bali but none to London, New York or, the obvious next target, Sydney (lets face it John Howard would unquestioningly have troops on the high seas to Santiago before Condi finished the sentence requesting it, if Bush wanted him to invade Chile...what a thing it must be to have a completely subservient foreign policy...then again I guess NZ will find out if National gets in).

The Fox /CNN-isation of the media doesn’t help…jingoistic narrowly focused stories presented in the most simplistic and superficial way and repeated over and over again with the overriding assumption being that you, the viewer, is a moron. And so the world must have its ogres and I guess 200 million Muslims presents a large and easy target and helps keep the required Bush fear factor in good health….

Tracey Dahlby’s engrossing Allah’s Torch is a worthy reflection on this, a journey through Indonesia looking for the real and not so real ogres herein, and offers reasoned thoughts as to the root misunderstandings and misreadings that have given us both. I read the chapter on the targeting of the Hyatt in Yogjakarta the day after I’d checked out……….

Walking past a TV shop in Denpasar today and saw the video of 3 The Hard Way’s “Nothing’s Changed” on the big screen in the window today...MTV or Channel V I guess. The only other NZ act I’ve encountered in Indonesia is Bic Runga…”Sway” seems to get a bit of video and radio play