Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gov't on the Tree Man Case:

Protect: OK; Solution: Null

Last week a friend forwarded an e-mail to me. In it was attached a picture of a man in his late thirties in one of the sorriest state I had ever seen in my life. His hands and feet seem to have grown into something like tree roots. No fingers were seen from those pairs of hands and feet. There were just "roots" as his hands and feet.

Really, it was a most terrible sight. But little did I know that the guy in that picture was actually an Indonesian. I thought the case happened in a neighboring country. Thailand, perhaps, since lately many weird things were heard from the country, such as the existence of a cow with a human-like face. So it came as quite a shock when I learned from the newspaper on Sunday that the poor man in fact lived in Jawa Barat.

It was started with a few warts on his hands and feet. They were so itchy that he decided to poke them so they would burst and self-heal. But instead of dying down, the warts spread even wider and worse. Soon his hands and feet lose their humanly form. Today those warts have even started showing up on his body and face.

If Dede, the Tree Man, lived a century ago, he might have been cast away by his neighbors AND family. Today, Dede may be rejected by his community but he has a supporting extended family behind him. That his wife left him because she could not stand living with such a weird person is something we all could well expect to hear about. What’s amazing is the fact that his closest relative - his father - has stayed beside his ailing son and taken care of him since the beginning, despite his (the father's) poor legs.

Another amazing thing is that despite the existence of people who mock him, there’s also another group of society who sees him not less than someone in real need of medical help. This, in my opinion, is something which we should be overjoyed with because it shows humanity of many has advanced. Indeed it is a major relief to find out that a big part of the society has grown more mature and less judgmental in seeing things unfamiliar to them.

Unfortunately, the Indonesian government doesn’t follow the good lead. Instead of figuring out the best treatment for Dede, the minister of health chose to fuss over violation of right by the US doctor who first investigated the disease, for not reporting to the Indonesian government of his activities of taking a sample of Dede’s skin and bringing that sample back to his homeland. She also accused the international media which had made a world-wide program out of the case (that is the Discovery Channel, for your information) for commercializing the case and not paying an appropriate amount to the ailing guy.

I don’t understand what good we can expect from such actions. Shouldn’t we thank the US doctor and the media for without them, Dede would not know up to this day that the strange thing happening to his body is a curable disease after all (which is caused by a virus called human papilloma virus) and not some wrath from God or jinx? And I think that the media has helped in the sense of making a publicity of the case to the world, and in the end “provoking” the world to help Dede. That alone is worth a lot more than money, as now all eyes all over the world have really turned to him. If no money or medical help is sent to him, at least he gets more prayer and I say it is as worthy as money and medical help. And she said she was acting for the best interest of the patient. Really.

Well, let’s just see whether the government will eventually offer help to Dede for curing his illness. For now, why don’t we extend our prayer for the health recovery of Dede.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Another Weekend Full of Extravaganzas

Last weekend it turned out I couldn't make it to Butet's monologue performance, but I still made it to make a visit to Indocomtech and Indonesia Book Fair on Sunday. I did not make any purchase at all at the two exhibitions, yet the visit was a satisfying one in terms of the fact that I managed to attend to several agendas that day.

In a couple of days, another weekend will arrive and many exciting events already line up in the list of choices of activities to do in order to spend weekend in a different way. "Different" by my definition is doing something other than slugging into a chair and watching TV all day (and all night). Anyway, the events I'm talking about here is certainly limited to those living in the Great Jakarta area. So those of you who come from area outside Jakarta and happen to visit Jakarta this weekend, this information serves as a guide for you so that you won't have to regret wasting your weekend for "ordinary" activities.

Firstly, I must mention the JakJazz Festival, because the promotion has been under way since even before the month of Ramadan kicked in. The annual jazz music festival will start tomorrow (November 23) and end on Sunday, November 25. Jazz enthusiasts should come to this 9th festival which will be held in Istora Senayan, or regret for not watching the performance of great local and international jazz musicians. Of course you should be ready to pay for the ticket. It's only Rp300,000 for daily performance, but if you want to watch the special performance, prepare to dig
into your pocket for another Rp250,000 (for more complete information, please visit the JakJazz website). Jazz aficionados will say the price is reasonable, as to me I find it is disturbingly pricey. *sigh

Next on the list is Adira Kenduri Kuliner Nusantara. The event will be held on Saturday (November 24) and the following day in Gedung Arsip Nasional in Jalan Gajah Mada, Jakarta Barat. If you want to have a taste of almost all Indonesian delicacies there exist, this is the right event that you shouldn't miss. Not only will you see a tremendous variety of Indonesian culinary being presented there, but also you will get to see an exhibition of tea and coffee from all over Nusantara (another name for Indonesia) and traditional toys of Indonesia. A music band playing kitchen utensils as the music instruments will also perform to entertain the visitors. With an entrance ticket of ONLY Rp20,000, this event does suit me perfectly (and my budget, particularly). *grin

There will also be another wedding exhibition, after the Ragam Pernikahan Nusantara I mentioned to you last week. This coming exhibition will be held in Senayan on November 22-25, if I'm correct, so put it down on your agenda if you find this event worthwhile to go for.

Last but not least, I received an e-mail this evening which informed me of an event called "Free Market". It is held to celebrate the No Shopping Day on November 25 (hm, this is new to me). Come to Taman Sambas on Jalan Panglima Polim Raya at 10 AM if you feel like getting (and giving away) second-hand goods for free. Yup, you read my words right: for free.

Oh, one more thing. If you like Andrea Hirata, you should come to Gramedia Matraman this coming Sunday at 12 noon because he'll be there to meet and greet his fans. If you don't know Andrea Hirata, he's an Indonesian book writer who earns his popularity from his Laskar Pelangi tetralogy.

There, you have it. So where are you going to this weekend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This weekend's choices of fun

This weekend the people of Jakarta will have more varieties of fun to pick as many interesting events are held and they are ranging from art to books and computer.

If you're a music lover, jazz especially, you would probably like to spend your Sunday watching several top notch jazz bands or singers performing at the annual Jazz Goes to Campus. The 30th event will be held in UI's Depok campus. That's Universitas Indonesia if you don't know what UI stands for.

If you fancy another form of art, dance and theatrical specifically, the Art Summit Indonesia V will most likely suit your taste. I myself have eyed on Butet's monologue bearing the title "Sarimin - Maunya Jujur Malah Ajur".

Meanwhile at the Jakarta Convention Center, two exhibitions are ongoing until Sunday, November 18. The exhibitions are Indocomtech (exhibition of computer and other IT gadgets) and Indonesia Book Fair 2007. I bet these two will be the center of attraction for the middle class of Jakarta, so if you plan to go there, make sure you're ready with the traffic jam going in and out of the exhibition area.

One agenda which shouldn't be missed out by those planning to get married soon (or much later, it won't make the difference, anyway) is the Ragam Pernikahan Nusantara exhibition at Balai Kartini. Drop in there and you'll find the extravagant of ethnic marriages in Indonesia.

I want to write more on this topic but I got to go now. Must get ready for tomorrow's actions of fun. Hope you have fun too!

Welcome ... (hell) traffic jams?!@#?

My, my. How time flies. It was in August the last time I posted something on this blog, and now it's November already! Surely many things happened during the interval. In September, came Ramadan, and in October, we said good bye to the month of fasting and welcomed the new lunar month with the grandeur of Eid Mubarak (or Eid-el Fitr) festival day.

And now we're already coming half way of the month of November. The rainy season has kicked in, along with flood in some areas in Jakarta. Today the storm made its way to the city, and gosh, you should look at the effect it made: TRAFFIC JAMS EVERYWHERE! Apparently trees AND billboards in different parts of Jakarta were unable to stand straight and surrender to the law of gravity thanks to the stormy wind. It's a memorable day indeed, because I had to travel from the Landmark building to my office in Sudirman Park (it's just behind the Shangri-La Hotel) in almost 45 minutes! On a normal day, it takes me as much time to travel from my home in Pejaten to my office.

What a crazy day, indeed!