My first piece (and headline) for Jakarta Globe, was co-written with our health reporter Dessy Sagita:
Indonesian Government to Cut State Health Insurance
It was my first day and our desk editor put me in tandem with Gita and it was Abu Rizal Bakrie’s last day as the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare. I remembered waiting for Mr. chin-man to make his farewell speech at this small park inside the Ministry’s office with other journos and was taught my first lesson on being a journo: patience.
I was a bit fazed on what Bakrie actually said during the press conference, I only remembered back at the office I was asked to call mbak Ratna from Indonesia Corruption Watch to hear what she has to say about it.
I remembered waiting on Lin until he finished editing the story before going home, which I still do for weeks and months to come. Always having trouble going to bed before I know that all my stories passed the last copy editor.
First story to pass 10,000 views
Porn Star Miyabi's Movie Premieres In Jakarta
I forgot who gave me the honor of going to the screening of this ..this .. thing. I don’t even remember writing about it. But lo! my name was on the byline.. so.. hmm..
Last para: “A Jakarta Globe journalist who viewed the film said it appeared to be aimed at teenagers and had little positive to say about the movie.”
Me vs FPI
Nowadays a mention of FPI in a news story is a warrant for high web hits. But two years ago almost everyone forgot what this organization was capable of. For me this story started it all:
Muslims Protest in Bekasi Over Statue Of Women and Desecration of Koran
Since then I’ve been paying a watchful eye on Bekasi, FPI, hardline groups, landed stories after stories on these so-called vigilantes and defenders of Islam, the growing religious tension/anxiety in the country and of course: terrorism.
I also remembered interviewing ‘ulamas’ and ‘kyais’, people who are supposed to be the beacon of morality, but shocked on how close-minded most of them are while I was still fresh from my return from Holland, which fares better in terms of respecting minority (and Islam was a minority there).
At that time not so many media are willing to report on the tension, or openly stated that there was a growing tension, except perhaps the Jakarta Post. I also noticed journos on field tend to take in what the ulamas/government officials words ‘as is’, very little dared to question their rhetorics of ‘religious tolerance’ and ‘human rights’.
There aren’t many reporters who are interested to see for themselves what was the condition like in the neighborhoods of the houses of worship that are in dispute. News reports were more likely a ‘hearsay’ piece giving more than necessary attention to those who were immediately accessible (spokesman of such and such religious group) rather than relevant (local residents, neighbors).
Sadly, nothing much has changed these past three years, if not, nothing has changed at all.
Iko asked me once which of my writings that I felt most proud/satisfied of. I told him that I get satisfaction from writing stories that made me spill blood, sweat and tears just to get them, and stories that are overlooked.
This particular one was special --> How Corrupt Is Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Because I did everything on my own, the interviews, the research, going back and forth to the Supreme Audit Agency for the Ministry’s financial reports, poring over them, I almost felt like those investigative reporters. Almost.
It was quite rewarding as it garnered quite a lot of reads (15,086 views as of tonight). But the most-read cookies went to these two:
Indonesia's New Immigration Law Confuses One and All (25,645)
Muslim Groups Talk War Over ‘Christianization’ (15,698)
(All images courtesy of Google! Image :p #toolazytocreditonebyone)