Monday, December 21, 2009

Minister extends olive branch

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 12/21/2009 9:07 AM | Sports

State Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Andi Alfian Mallarangeng says the “unnecessary problems” plaguing the country’s sports institutions will only make things worse in the 2011 South East Asian (SEA) Games that Indonesia will host.

“We need to overcome these unnecessary problems if we want to be the overall champions in 2011,” Mallarangeng said Sunday at an event to hand over cash bonus to winning athletes from the Laos SEA Games.

“Looking at the Laos Games, there were some unnecessary problems, such as lack of recognition of athletes by sports organizations, and some conflicts within these organizations,” he told The Jakarta Post.

“Only if we overcome these problems can we focus on athletes’ development.”

Two training camps operated in the run-up to the Laos Games: the National Training Camp, run by the National Sports Council (KONI), and the Top-Tier Athlete Program (PAL) run by the sports ministry.

KONI struggled to fund its camp, while the PAL received the full backing of the government.

Mallarangeng said bureaucratic overlaps had contributed little to athletes’ development, and would be scrapped.

“KONI will lead the charge, while the ministry will lead from behind,” he said.

National Olympics Council (KOI) chairwoman Rita Subowo, also the KONI chairwoman, said the ministry had promised to close the divide.

“It’s impossible to improve our development of athletes if we’re still divided,” she said.

“It’s our athletes who will bear the consequences. Let’s protect them by leaving all interests behind and giving them our utmost attention. The minister has promised that in future all athletes will be treated the same.”

It was impossible, she went on, to rely on ad hoc training programs.

“That’s why KONI and all sports organizations sought funding to send our athletes to Laos,” Rita said.

“It was the lack of strategy. Thank you to the sports minister, though, for promising to pay for all the tickets just a day before departure.”

Mallarangeng said Indonesia needed to bag more than 100 gold medals if it wanted to emerge the overall champion at the 2011 Games.

“Two years is a short time and good athletes are not sent from above,” he said.

“Good athletes are the result of long and good training.”

Although Indonesia achieved its target of a third-place finish, Mallarangeng stressed the importance of a thorough evaluation.

“We need to learn and prepare accordingly to get the best performance at the 2010 Asian Games and the 2011 SEA Games,” he said.

At the Laos Games, he added, some sports exceeded their medal targets, while some fell short.

Before the Games, sports associations predicted the contingent would bring home 62 gold medals, while KONI and the KOI were touting 40 to 58 gold medals.

“KONI and the KOI were right, but it was at the lower end of the range,” Mallarangeng said.

“All sports stakeholders need to sit together for an evaluation.”

Indonesia, which dominated the SEA Games from 1977 to 1997, sent 341 athletes to compete in 22 sports.

The event, with 11 Southeast Asian countries taking part, featured 25 sports offering 370 gold medals.

Indonesia finished behind overall champion Thailand and Vietnam, notching up 43 gold, 53 silver and 74 bronze medals.

At the 2007 SEA Games, Indonesia finished fourth with 56 gold medals.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Record-breaking Kibet, Ivanova triumph



Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Singapore | Mon, 12/07/2009 12:35 PM

Luke Kibet of Kenya made good on his pre-race prediction Sunday by shattering his own course record to win the men's title at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

In the women's category, Albina Mayarova Ivanova of Russia edged out fellow Russian and race favorite Lyubov Morgunova to win the US$35,000 prize in a time of two hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds.

There were no surprises in the men's field as Kibet managed to shrug off challenges from fellow Kenyans to clock in at 2:11:25, smashing last year's mark of 2:13:01.

Kibet, whose personal best is 2:08:52 he achieved in 2005, took charge from the start at Esplanade Bridge in Raffles Quay.

He kept pace with the leading group, with countryman Vincent Krop following closely.

Krop dropped off the pace before the final 3 kilometers, leaving Kibet and compatriot Johnstone Chepkwony to slog it out to the finish.

After pulling away form Krop, Chepkwony, who finished only two minutes behind Kibet in last year's race, gave the defending champion a run for his money by overtaking him several times during the last few minuets, before Kibet pulled a last and deciding dash toward the finish line.


Chepkwony finished eight seconds behind, while Krop finished third with a time of 2:11:51.

"I came here from Kenya to see if I can break my own record and I did it," Kibet said after the medal ceremony, dedicating the win to his children. "I know that we are all strong men in the race and I must fight for the finish.

"To win a race is not a joke, and the race is getting more and more competitive," he went on.

"Last year I was running alone in the front, but this year we ran together in the group."

Over in the women's field, Ivanova made her attack at the 12-kilometer point, to pull ahead of Morgunova and win the race.

Morgunova had to be content with a time of 2:34:49, with Mary Akor Beasley from the United States coming in third at 2:36:44.

"This is one of the most successful day in my life," Ivanova, mother of 2-year-old and three-month-old girls, said afterward.

"During the run I controlled my pace and I controlled the distance with the runners in front of me so I didn't have any doubt that I would catch them later," she said, adding she had not been at 100 percent fitness for the run, after delivering her baby.

Her time was five minutes off her personal best of 2:27:00, clocked up in the Chicago Marathon in 2003.

Race day also featured the half marathon, won by Kenya's Richard Mutua Mutisya in the men's category and Australia's Anna Thompson in the women's.

Record-breaking Kibet, Ivanova triumph

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Singapore | Mon, 12/07/2009 12:35 PM

Luke Kibet of Kenya made good on his pre-race prediction Sunday by shattering his own course record to win the men's title at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

In the women's category, Albina Mayarova Ivanova of Russia edged out fellow Russian and race favorite Lyubov Morgunova to win the US$35,000 prize in a time of two hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds.

There were no surprises in the men's field as Kibet managed to shrug off challenges from fellow Kenyans to clock in at 2:11:25, smashing last year's mark of 2:13:01.

Kibet, whose personal best is 2:08:52 he achieved in 2005, took charge from the start at Esplanade Bridge in Raffles Quay.

He kept pace with the leading group, with countryman Vincent Krop following closely.

Krop dropped off the pace before the final 3 kilometers, leaving Kibet and compatriot Johnstone Chepkwony to slog it out to the finish.

After pulling away form Krop, Chepkwony, who finished only two minutes behind Kibet in last year's race, gave the defending champion a run for his money by overtaking him several times during the last few minuets, before Kibet pulled a last and deciding dash toward the finish line.

Chepkwony finished eight seconds behind, while Krop finished third with a time of 2:11:51.

"I came here from Kenya to see if I can break my own record and I did it," Kibet said after the medal ceremony, dedicating the win to his children. "I know that we are all strong men in the race and I must fight for the finish.

"To win a race is not a joke, and the race is getting more and more competitive," he went on.

"Last year I was running alone in the front, but this year we ran together in the group."

Over in the women's field, Ivanova made her attack at the 12-kilometer point, to pull ahead of Morgunova and win the race.

Morgunova had to be content with a time of 2:34:49, with Mary Akor Beasley from the United States coming in third at 2:36:44.

"This is one of the most successful day in my life," Ivanova, mother of 2-year-old and three-month-old girls, said afterward.

"During the run I controlled my pace and I controlled the distance with the runners in front of me so I didn't have any doubt that I would catch them later," she said, adding she had not been at 100 percent fitness for the run, after delivering her baby.

Her time was five minutes off her personal best of 2:27:00, clocked up in the Chicago Marathon in 2003.

Race day also featured the half marathon, won by Kenya's Richard Mutua Mutisya in the men's category and Australia's Anna Thompson in the women's.

Singapore marathon record looks to be broken


Matheos Viktor Messakh , THE JAKARTA POST , SINGAPORE | Sun, 12/06/2009 2:46 PM


Defending champion, Kenyan Luke Kibet, hopes tougher challenge from the field this year will push him to break the record in Sunday's Standard Chartered Singaporean Marathon.

He set a course record of 2 hours 13 minutes and 1 second to win last year's run and is back to defend his title despite being troubled by an Achilles tendon injury suffered in March.

"I'm here to defend my title. I'm well prepared for the race tomorrow," the 27-year-old runner told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

The injury prompted him to take part in only two races since, the London Marathon in April and a 10-mile run in Portsmouth.

"I want to break the course record. Last year I was running alone. Hopefully with a stronger field this year to push me, I can go for 2:13 to 2:12."

Kibet's personal best time is 2:08:52, which he achieved in October 2005 in Eindhoven where he finished third.

The humidity will pose a problem, Kenyan veteran David Kiprono Langat believes.

"Your sweat doesn't evaporate fast enough and your body will not cool down so quickly," he told reporters.

However, Kibet said he had prepared for the adversity.

"I have run several races in Asia with similar humidity. I know everybody's looking for the *prize* money, but I'm here for the run. I'm looking to break my record tomorrow," said the prison guard who won the 2005 and 2006 Taipei Marathon.

The National Environment Agency has forecast showers with thunder Sunday morning. The city was hit by a downpour Saturday evening.

As many as 56 top runners, almost 30 of whom come from marathon powerhouse Kenya, will be at the starting line at the famous Esplanade Bridge, Raffles Quay, at 5.30 a.m.

The elites will be joined by 50,000 running enthusiasts for the day race which is split into a 42,2-kilometer marathon, a half-marathon, a 10-kilometer wheelchair race and the 750-meter run for children.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TV exposure may make toddlers aggressive-study


Reuters
NEW YORK
Nov 2

The more television that a three-year-old watches, the more likely he or she is to behave aggressively, according to a U.S. study.
Just having the TV on in the background, even if the child wasn't watching it, was also linked to aggressive behavior although the relationship wasn't as strong, said the researchers.
"Parents should be smart about TV use," reseacher Jennifer Manganello from the University at Albany, State University of New York, told Reuters Health.
"They should limit the time that children use TV, pay attention to the content of TV programs, and consider how TV is used throughout the home."
The study looked at 3,128 women from 20 U.S. cities who had a child between 1998 and 2000. While there was some diversity of education among the study participants, one-third hadn't graduated from high school.
Two-thirds of the mothers said their three-year-old watched more than two hours of TV a day, and the average viewing time for children was around three hours.
On average, the TV was on for about five additional hours on a typical day.
After accounting for factors known to be associated with aggressive behavior, such as living in a violent neighborhood or having a mother who suffers from depression, TV watching and household TV time were both still significantly associated with aggressive behavior, such as hitting others, having angry moods, being disobedient, and screaming a lot.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV at all for children two and younger, and two hours a day or less for older kids, lead researcher Jennifer Manganello and her team from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine noted in their report.
There are a number of ways that excessive TV viewing could contribute to a child's degree of aggressive behavior, the researchers add in their study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Children may see violence on TV, and time spent watching TV may mean less time for behaviors that help kids develop positively, such as reading or playing. "We really don't know what's going on for certain," Manganello said, adding that future research was needed to look both at TV content and at what's going on in a child's home when the TV is on.
But Manganello said the findings show that parents have to consider the "overall TV environment" of the home, as well as how much TV their child is watching.

Former religion reporter now preaches from pulpit

--> -->
PATRICK CONDON
AP/FALL CREEK, Wisconsin

On the first Sunday morning of October, pastor Steve Scott looked far beyond the surroundings of his western Wisconsin congregation to find worthy subjects for their prayers: recent natural disaster victims in Indonesia and the Philippines.
There's nothing unusual about clergy taking inspiration from headlines, but for Scott it's instinctive. He spent 23 years as a journalist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, most of the last five as religion reporter for Minnesota's second-biggest newspaper.
"What you get with Steve is someone who is able to take current events and use them as a launching pad for sermons and biblical study," said Glen Mabie, a parishioner and a former TV newsman in the nearby city of Eau Claire.
Scott's previous job seemed tailored to his lifelong interest in faith and spirituality and he figured it would be his for decades. But in 2005 his newspaper eliminated the beat, a step many other newspapers are making in lean times. At least seven other metro dailies also cut religion beats, and many others ended or trimmed weekly religion sections, according to the Religion Newswriters Association.
Scott, now 49, was reassigned to cover several St. Paul suburbs. He was "petulant ... pouting ... not very professional," he recalled. When the paper offered buyouts at the end of 2006, he took the opportunity without knowing what he wanted to do next.
He was interested in religion even before he covered it as a reporter. His father, who died when Scott was 6, was a Methodist pastor; after his death, Scott's mother for many years was organist at a Methodist church in Eau Claire, where Scott sang in the choir and was active in the teen youth group.
Once at college Scott stopped worshipping regularly, but he said he never stopped believing in God, and he minored in religious studies.
Even as a sports journalist, Scott kept that interest alive. In 1999, a year before he got the religion beat, he took a seminary class at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He did so because it "sounded fun."
Scott likes to talk about the notion of a calling. Though the term is most often applied to clergy, he believes it's pertinent to anyone trying to figure out how they can best use their abilities to make the world a better place.
"I absolutely believe, as corny as it might sound, that I was called to be a journalist when I was 14," he said.
But one's calling can change, he said.
The buyout money gave him a few months to think about what to do with his life, and soon he returned to the seminary. He planned to earn a master's degree and approach religion as an academic. He got work as a consultant for North Presbyterian Church in Eau Claire, but when the pastor there died unexpectedly, the congregation asked Scott to take over.
"We can see the signs when we look back that there was something more coming for him," said the Rev. Ann Scott, Scott's wife since 2007 and a Methodist pastor in nearby Chippewa Falls. "We weren't exactly sure what that was. But we believe now that God was at work."
Scott serves every Sunday at the churches in Fall Creek (9 a.m.) and Eau Claire (10:30 a.m.), tackling the challenges of two tiny, graying congregations. Next summer he'll become a full-fledged Methodist minister and get his own congregation somewhere in Wisconsin.
At the Oct. 3 service, he apologized to his parishioners for the chill in the sanctuary.
"You'll be happy to know if you weren't at the church council meeting - we discussed the furnace," Scott told the 15 people scattered through the pews. He vowed it would be fixed soon.
These days, Scott earns about a third of his Pioneer Press salary. It could approach half once he's a commissioned minister; he won't be ordained until the end of a three-year probationary period.
Would he still be at the newspaper if he'd never lost his religion beat? "That's a lot of ifs," he said.
Twice called to professions that are suffering declines, Scott ponders another "if" question about journalism and religion.
"Cynically, some of my friends have asked me: 'What are you thinking? You left the newspaper business, and you're going into the church business?' They sort of share a demographic of a certain age, and they're both wondering why young people don't seem that interested.
"Perhaps there's a point. But I believe in newspapers, and I believe in the church, and despite their flaws, if we didn't have either one ..."
Scott trailed off, not completing the thought.
OCT 18, 2009



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gone to the dogs: Church starts pet service

GILLIAN FLACCUS
AP/LOS ANGELES

When the Rev. Tom Eggebeen took over as interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church three years ago, he looked around and knew it needed a jump start.

Most of his worshippers, though devoted, were in their 60s, attendance had bottomed out and the once-vibrant church was fading as a community touchstone in its bustling neighborhood.
Dog service: Bob Hedges, right, sits with his dog Chester, during Sunday services at at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles Nov. 1, 2009. The 30-minute worship, complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and a tray of dog treats for the offering, is intended to reinvigorate the church's community outreach while attracting new members who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

So Eggebeen came up with a hair-raising idea: He would turn God's house into a doghouse by offering a 30-minute service complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and an offering of dog treats. He hopes it will reinvigorate the church's connection with the community, provide solace to elderly members and, possibly, attract new worshippers who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends.

Before the first Canines at Covenant service last Sunday, Eggebeen said many Christians love their pets as much as human family members and grieve just as deeply when they suffer - but churches have been slow to recognize that love as the work of God.

"The Bible says of God only two things in terms of an 'is': That God is light and God is love. And wherever there's love, there's God in some fashion," said Eggebeen, himself a dog lover. "And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that's a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that."

The weekly dog service at Covenant Presbyterian is part of a growing trend among churches nationwide to address the spirituality of pets and the deeply felt bonds that owners form with their animals.

Traditionally, conventional Christians believe that only humans have redeemable souls, said Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
But a growing number of congregations from Massachusetts to Texas to California are challenging that assertion with regular pet blessings and, increasingly, pet-centric services, said Hobgood-Oster, who studies the role of animals in Christian tradition.

She recently did a survey that found more than 500 blessings for animals at churches nationwide and has heard of a half-dozen congregations holding worship services like Eggebeen's, including one in a Boston suburb called Woof 'n Worship.

"It's the changing family structure, where pets are really central and religious communities are starting to recognize that people need various kinds of rituals that include their pets," she said. "More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them to have some kind of soul."
The pooches who showed up at Covenant Presbyterian on Sunday didn't seem very interested in dogma.

Animals big and small, from pit bulls to miniature Dachshunds to bichon frises, piled into the church's chapel to worship in an area specially outfitted for canine comfort with doggie beds, water bowls and a pile of irresistible biscuits in an offering bowl. There were a lot of humans too - about 30 - and three-quarters of them were new faces.

The service started amid a riot of tail-sniffing, barking, whining and playful roughhousing.
But as Eggebeen stepped to the front and the piano struck up the hymn "GoD and DoG," one by one the pooches lay down, chins on paws, and listened. Eggebeen took prayer requests for Mr. Boobie (healing of the knees) and Hunter (had a stroke) and then called out the names of beloved pets past and present (Quiche, Tiger, Timmy, Baby Angel and Spunky) before launching into the Lord's Prayer.

At the offering, ushers stepped over tangled leashes and yawning canines to collect donations and hand out doggie treats shaped like miniature bones in a rainbow of colors.

Donna Lee Merz, a Presbyterian pastor at another Southern California church, stopped in with Gracie, her 14-month-old long-haired miniature Dachshund. The puppywith ears soft as silk was overcome by the other dogs and wriggled across the floor on her belly, quivering with excitement. She finally calmed down when Merz held her in her lap.

"She knew it was a safe place and a good place to be, a place to be loved," Merz said, gently petting Gracie after the service. "I'll be back."

Emma Sczesniak came to Covenant for the first time, lured by the promise that she could worship with her black Lab, Midnight, and her wire-haired Dachshund-terrier mix, Marley.
Marley sat on her lap during the service, while Midnight checked out the other big dogs and sat patiently waiting for his biscuit. Sczesniak said the dog-friendly service came at the perfect time for her: she's been thinking about getting back to church, but wasn't sure how or where to go.
"I don't have any kids, so my pets have always been my children, so it does mean a lot," she said of the dog-inclusive revise. "I haven't been to church in a long time and this may push me into it. I'm getting older and I've been thinking about those things again."

But Midnight, Marley, Gracie and the other pups probably had something more important on their minds as Eggebeen intoned his benediction and the service drew o a close: Just where could they find more of those delicious treats?

For Eggebeen, the night was a spiritual success - and the rest is out of his hands.
"It's important for a church like us just to do good things. The results, we'll just have to see," he said. "Ultimately, that belongs to God."
-----
On the Net:
Covenant Presbyterian Church: http://www.covla.org

Dad to baby: Happy 1st birthday, world traveler

This photo taken Sept. 21, 2009 shows Alex Faerber eating a snack with the pyramid Chichen Itza in Mexico is in the background. (AP Photo/Fritz Faerber)
Fritz Faerber
AP/Washington

Happy first birthday, world traveler.
Alexander's six teeth only number one more than the total of countries he's rolled, crawled or walked in (including the US).


He's logged nearly enough air miles to circle the globe. He's been to mountains and the beach and sailed in the Caribbean. The little guy's wanderlust kicked into high gear with a trip overseas last January. Friends, family and even my editor said we were insane to take the then 3-month-old to Ireland.

But my wife and I are pretty adventurous travelers. We've hiked through jungles in Mexico to scale ancient ruins, climbed glaciers to ski in British Columbia and rode the rails through Europe as vagabonds. We hoped Alex would follow in our footsteps, even before he really knew what his feet were for.

It didn't take long to discover traveling with a 3-month-old requires major adjustments. We were taxiing down the runway in Washington before takeoff to Ireland, when Alex forcefully ejected his pacifier, which sailed in an arc to the grubby floor of the plane. Then his little brow furrowed and his face started shifting to that curious burgundy color that signals a tempest.

That's when we decided the "five-second rule" doesn't just apply to pizza that hits the dorm-room floor, it also applies to the pacifier. After brushing off the business end of the baby tranquilizer as best I could, I popped it in his mouth and averted the storm. So began a two-week trip to Ireland, which brought more exploration of the nuclear family than of the emerald isle.

While he's unlikely to have absorbed much of his domestic and international travel so far, he's taught my wife, Myra, and me lifelong lessons and created wonderful memories. Traveling with an infant is a bit like a troop movement. Detailed strategy, support crew, heavy machinery and contingency planning is vital. But even more than that, we had to readjust goals. Rather than a mad dash to see and do it all, we have lived at a baby's pace. Taking time for a nap, or a bite to eat whenever it seemed right.

Now that doesn't mean we didn't have adventure. Alex rode through the streets of Belfast with a former IRA Volunteer, was ejected from a Victorian pub and went to jail in Dublin. (To be honest and wreck Alex's street cried, I must admit the IRA guy was just leading us on a tour; baby was barred from the pub because of an age limit, and the jail was the historic Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.) But he did spend his last day in Ireland hanging with the Guinness Brewmaster as Dad reported a story.

Each adventure unfolds on its own schedule when you're traveling with a baby. It can't be rushed or forced. It took a few mistakes for the parents to learn that. Dad's zeal for rugby led to an especially disastrous outing in Belfast. The bleak, overcast weather and forecast for rain seemed manageable; after all, we had covered seats and load of Gore-Tex.

But by the time we reached the match, the rain was blowing sideways and the temperature was diving. Poor Alex was burrowed into the baby carrier on my chest under my ski jacket, but still howled every time a gust chilled him. The crowd cheered us when we left before halftime. Even the natives wouldn't expose such a wee thing to the elements.

The next day, the local papers quoted Ulster's coach describing the conditions as the "worst" he'd ever seen. In fact, the stands we'd been sitting in were shut down because the high winds threatened to knock the roof down.

The wintry trip to Ireland was definitely a challenge, but Alex certainly warmed the atmosphere at pubs and B&Bs, where his easy smile won instant friends. Two weeks driving around the country taught us not to drive too far or too fast. Savor the down time and focus on one day at a time.

His next big trip, Aruba, was certainly more baby-friendly. Warm water, a caressing sea breeze and attention from a large group of family and friends kept the smile vs. howl ratio far in the positive. We napped when he napped. Nibbled when he had a bottle. And, we came to appreciate the win-win nature of a big family vacation. Grandparents get q.t. wit the cutie and Mom and Dad get a bit of a break.

So, for summer vacation, we built on that success and rented a house in the Outer Banks. The week at the beach bonded three generations of Faerbers (my Dad, me and Alex) with a lateral expansion of the Lopez clan (my brother-in-law, his wife and their 6-yea-old). The dog and cat even joined us. The whole family got to see Alex move from crawling to walking behind his little walker toy in the sprawling rental house. It's been decades since I went crabbing, but sharing the thrill of hauling the angry critters out of the water with my nephew gave a little preview of our future with Alex.

Myra, Alex and I just returned from our latest trip, to Mexico. The newly walking 11-month-old wobbled amongst the columns of a millennium-old ruin at Chichen Itza. His sticky, juice-covered face led us to try some of the wonderful fruit available everywhere in Mexico. And, the brief crisis of an ear infection forced this Dad to shake some rust off the neurons to use Spanish I thought was forgotten sometime in the 1980s.

Everyone is always shocked that we've taken the little guy so many places. And many people ask if we're worried that the trips are wasted on him. We like to think that by exposing him early to travel, he'll be a stalwart companion on any trip throughout his life. And, if some day he gripes that he can't remember Ireland or Aruba, that'll be a great excuse to return.

So, looking forward to year two in Alex's itinerary, we're hoping to ski and see some of the Olympics in Canada, sail in Lake Michigan and visit other points unknown. But most of all, we want to explore the joy of growing as a family together, wherever we may be.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Malaysia rejects call to release 10,000 Bibles

JULIA ZAPPEI
Associated Press/KUALA LUMPUR

The Malaysian government has refused to release 10,000 Bibles confiscated for using the word "Allah" to refer to God, a banned translation in Christian texts in this Muslim-majority country, an official said Wednesday.
An official from the Home Ministry's publications unit said the government rejected pleas by church officials to allow the Bibles, imported from Indonesia, into the country. Christians say the Muslim Malay-dominated government is violating their right to practice their religion freely.
Such religious disputes are undermining Malaysia's reputation as a harmonious multiethnic, moderate Muslim nation. About 30 percent of the country's 28 million people practice Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or other faiths.
A Home Ministry official said the government told the importer last month to return the Indonesian-language Bibles, which are still with customs.
"Actually the publications, the Bibles are already banned," said the official, refusing to elaborate. He declined to be named because he is not authorized to make public statements.
The Bibles contain the word "Allah," which is banned by the government for use by non-Muslims in an apparent bid to appease Muslims.
Church officials say the word "Allah" has been used for centuries to refer generally to God in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages, which are similar. The Roman Catholic Church is challenging the ban in court.
The government maintains that the Arabic-origin word "Allah" is an Islamic word and its use by Christians and others will upset Muslims.
Another 5,100 Bibles, also imported from Indonesia, were confiscated in March and have not been released. But the ministry official did not immediately have any information on those.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia, which had called for the release of all Bibles, described the seizure as "ridiculous and offensive."
"This constitutional right (to practice freely) is rendered illusory if Christians in Malaysia are denied access to Bibles in a language with which they are familiar," the federation's chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said in a statement.
He also rejected concerns that Bibles in the Malaysian language, or Bahasa Malaysia, containing "Allah," will upset Muslims.
"Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia have been used since before the independence of our country and have never been the cause of any public disorder," he said. Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

AP 1.00 -- NOV 4, 2009 13:12:43

Monday, November 02, 2009

British band's singer thanks wrong country in Peru

AP/LIMA, Peru

Pity the Peruvian rocker.
For the third time in recent years a visiting foreign pop star has belted out thanks to the wrong country.
In a concert in Peru's capital Tuesday, the lead singer of British band Depeche Mode shouted "Thank you very much, Chile!" to 30,000 screaming fans. Most didn't notice Dave Gahan's slip but a video of the concert was posted on Youtube.
The country choice was particularly rankling since Peru and Chile are historically enemies with a dispute dating to a 1879-84 war between the South American neighbors.
In 2004, Mayte of the Mexican pop band RBD yelled out "Long live Chile!" in a Lima concert. She immediately apologized.
In 2003, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette yelled out "Thank you, Brazil."

OCT 15, 2009

Cheeky Vettel pops the question as Button squirms


Alan Baldwin
Reuters/ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel played cheeky schoolboy to a grown-up Jenson Button on Sunday as an end-of-term atmosphere swept the Formula One paddock.
"I hear you are getting married," the 22-year-old Red Bull driver, with a prankster's grin on his face, said to the world champion as they sat together in a news conference after the first day-to-night race.
"Are you proposing?" replied Button, who finished third for champions Brawn in the season-ending race under floodlights at Yas Marina.
"I heard you will get married," clarified the German, who has already built up a reputation as a lover of English humour and practical jokes.
"You know, they write great things in the press. Thank you for that one Seb," said the 29-year-old Button, who wrapped up the title in Brazil last month, with a pained look.
"But I am going to enjoy this, as we often look too far into the future and I want to just enjoy this moment and then I will look to the future after that."
Button has been accompanied to most races this season by his Japanese-Argentine lingerie model girlfriend Jessica Michibata, with some British tabloids already wondering when he will pop the question.
Vettel refused to let the subject drop when asked later what he would be doing over the long break before testing starts up again in February. "Jenson's getting married. So he's busy," he shot back.
Australian Mark Webber, second in a Red Bull one-two finish, interjected: "And we're all invited as well, everyone. But Japan's a long way, isn't it?"
Button, whose immediate task is to fly to Beijing for the Race of Champions at the Bird's Nest Stadium in midweek before heading on to Japan for a vacation, refused to be drawn further on his love life despite continued probing.
"What's the date of the wedding, Jenson?" asked a newspaper reporter.
"I'm not getting married this year," said Button.
"You don't love her?" inquired Vettel in a voice full of mock concern.
"I think some things need to be kept private in life, and that's one of them," replied the Briton.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Samoans prepare to bury tsunami victims

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AUDREY McAVOY and ROD McGUIRK
AP/LEONE, American Samoa

Taitasi Suapaia Fitiao is preparing for every parent's nightmare - burying her young child.
Her 6-year-old daughter, Vaijoresa, was ripped from her arms as an enormous wave from Tuesday's tsunami swept them up. As she floated away, out of reach, Vaijoresa pleaded, "Mom, please."
"I just can't believe that she's gone. At such a young age, you know? No parent should have to bury their child. It's supposed to be the other way around," Taitasi Fitiao said Saturday while sitting on her front porch next to a shrine to her daughter.
She said she just hopes her daughter didn't suffer too much pain.
It's difficult talking about it too, but Taitasi said she wants the world to know how beautiful Vaijoresa was.
Painful stories are heard with heart-rending frequency these days in American Samoa and neighboring Samoa, where tsunami waves roared ashore after an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.3 in the Pacific Ocean, killing at least 176 people.
The figure could rise with at least eight people on Samoa still missing. Also, an AP photographer on Saturday saw a body pulled from rubble at the devastated Samoan village of Lalomanu that apparently wasn't listed in the official death toll. Officials could not immediately be contacted.
A national prayer service for victims and survivors is scheduled for Sunday at the headquarters of the Congregational Christian Church of America Samoa, the largest religious denomination in the U.S. territory.
Territorial Gov. Togiola Tulafono said Saturday the service will bring the community together in the aftermath of the disaster.

In Samoa, scores of grieving people made a heartbreaking decision Saturday to sign over victims of the tsunami to the state for burial rather than take them back to ravaged villages for traditional funerals.
Government ministers told a congregation of 100 village and family leaders in a traditional wallless Samoan meeting house that the state would carry the costs of mass graves of up to 20 in a new cemetery in the capital Apia on Thursday following a memorial service in a nearby sports stadium.
The proposition was voluntary and the government will consider financial assistance to grieving relatives who elect to take their loved ones home.
Government minister Fiana Naomi said she expected about half of Samoa's 135 victims would be buried there.
Tears welled in her eyes as she told The Associated Press that the mass funeral was a radical departure from Samoan tradition.
But she said many of the village homes near where the relatives would traditionally be buried were gone and might not be replaced.
"It's very different, but it's very unusual circumstances," she said.
"The government sees the devastated areas, there are no buildings there, some villages might be relocated, people have lost everything and they can't hold ceremonies in the usual ways, she said.
"Usually they're very large communal ceremonies, but this is memorializing this event to serve as a constant reminder to us that we need to be prepared for natural disasters," she added.
Some leaders were concerned about the bodies remaining for so long in the city's overcrowded morgue.
Ben Taufua, who buried nine members of his family in the hills above Lalomanu on Wednesday and Thursday, said he was unhappy that some of them were inadequately chilled in a commercial cooler.
"Eight members of my family were found on the first day. When we went to pick up the bodies, they were worse than the bodies that were just found 48 hours later," he told AP with tears in his eyes. "It was very, very sad."
Faisimalo John Muaitau, a resident of Apia, said his family had agreed to bury their three victims in the new cemetery.
"It was't an easy decision," Muaitau said. "But we feel that what the government is doing is making a memorial for them and that is a good thing."
The village of Leone, the center of Christianity on American Samoa, was a bleak landscape of rubble. The beach meeting houses that had been the center of cultural rtuals and family meetings were destroyed. An overturned van was jammed into the roof of one beach house.
Leone residents estimate the tsunami destroyed about one-third of the village, which has a population of 3,000. The victims were mostly elderly or toddlers. Four villagers were killed while making crafs on the shore.
Friday will be the day that Taitai buries the youngest of her seven children, the active, playful first-grader who was rushing home from school with two cousins after the earthquake hit. Taitasi saw them on the way and grabbed Vaijoresa just as the wave hit.
The enormous wave, as high a 10 feet and moving some 30 mph according to witnesses, lifted them and carried them inland. Two large trucks sandwiched them, scraping the skin off her right hand and forcing her to lose her grip on her daughter.
Vaijoresa wasn't found until the next morning, even though dozens of villagers helped look.
"I went to search for her, I couldn't find her. Everybody in the village couldn't find her. I didn't know what to do. I just stand there, crying," said her father, Faataui Fitiao.
Taitasi said she's thankful they found her daughter so they can giver her a decent burial.
Vaijoresa's cousin, a girl, was also found dead. A boy cousin, also 6, is still missing.
The family will hold a joint service for the girls on Friday. Another memorial for the boy will be held at the bridge near where he was swept away.
"I'm hanging in there. I have to be strong for my other children and I believe she's in good hands with God," Taitasi said.
The burials come as officials shift their focus from rescuing lives to providing survivors with food, water and power, but they stressed it didn't mean they were giving up on the missing.
Electricity and water services were restored in about half of the affected villages in Samoa and American Samoa, and almost all of the territory was expected to have power from generators within three to five days, said Ken Tingman, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's federal coordinating officer.
But many survivors refused to return to their villages.
"They're scared; a lot of them have been psychologically affected by seeing their relations die in huge numbers," said Taule'alea Laavasa, chairman of the Samoan government's National Disaster Advisory Committee.
The death toll also includes 32 people in American Samoa and nine in Tonga.
Samoa's tourism industry, meanwhile, said it feared a "second tsunami" of vacation cancellations after the deadly waves wiped out some of the South Pacific country's most idyllic white-sand beaches and resorts.
Tourism is Samoa's largest industry, and travel industry representatives visiting the main island's wrecked southeast coast said Friday about one-quarter of the tourist accommodations had been destroyed.
Samoan tourist industry representatives said the damage on the southeast coastline of the main island of Upolu included four resorts and more than 20 family operations that rented simple traditional huts, known as fale.
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Picture caption:
A: Faataui Fitiao, left and his wife Taitasi Su'apaia Fitiao of Leone, American Samoa embrace a picture of their daughter Vaijoresa Uputaua Niuaveve Fitiao, 6, Saturday Oct. 3, 2009. Taitasi Su'apaia Fitiao was walking to her daughter's school to get her after the earthquake. She just managed to grab her daughter when they were swept away by the tsunami. Taitasi Su'apaia Fitiao survived but her daughter was killed. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
B: A man walks through a camp housing survivors at Vailoa village along Samoa's south east coast Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, after a deadly tsunami rolled through several South Pacific island nations on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
C: A woman prays during church service at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the village of Leone in American Samoa, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. Ten people, including three children, were killed in the village when they were swept out to sea by a tsunami. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
D: Debris is scattered in front of Holy Cross Catholic Church in the village of Leone in American Samoa, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. Ten people, including three children, were killed in the village when they swept out to sea. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
E: People gather for church service at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the village of Leone in American Samoa, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. Ten people, including three children, were killed in the village when they were swept out to sea by a tsunami. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
F: Young girls play inside a tent at a camp housing survivors at Vailoa village along Samoa's south east coast Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, after a deadly tsunami rolled through several South Pacific island nations on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)


McGuirk reported from Apia, Samoa. Also contributing were Associated Press writers Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, Tanalee Smith in Adelaide, Australia, and Jaymes Song and Greg Small in Honolulu and AP video journalist Haven Daley in Leone.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Perfect weekend for Haryanto in Sentul

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 08/18/2009 1:08 PM | Sports

Rio Haryanto of Questnet Team Qi-Meritus delighted home supporters to claim his fourth win of the weekend and lead the overall Formula BMW Pacific Drivers Classification at the Sentul International Circuit.

It was the perfect weekend for Rio, who took pole position and then all four Formula BMW Pacific races.

"There's nothing better than the feeling I have right now," Rio said after the final race on Sunday.

"I hope I can perform just as well in Singapore. I'm quite confident for the Singapore races, seeing that my car was fantastic here.

"I'm happy about the championship lead, but there's still a long way to go and I'm not thinking about taking the title yet because anything can happen."

Finishing second in Round 10 was Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies of Zimbabwe, who fought all race to finish one place better, while Rookie Cup leader and Rain Racing driver Gary Thompson of Ireland rounded out the podium.

"I had a great start for the race and I managed to put the pressure on Rio," Jefferies said.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get past him, but I am getting closer and closer to him with every race."

Formula BMW Pacific is part of the Asian Festival Of Speed (AFOS), held at the Sentul International Circuit from Friday to Sunday.

AFOS is an FIA-sanctioned race series comprising the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, GT3 Asia, Asian Touring Car Series, the Asian Touring Car-Max and Formula BMW Pacific.

Haryanto, who took over the Drivers Classification lead in Round 9, now leads Thompson by 12 points, while Jefferies is 22 points behind the leader.

Having started from pole in each of the weekend's three previous races, Haryanto did the same in Round 10 and led from pole to checkered flag.

Jefferies was determined to finish better than his starting position and while the young Zimbabwean came within three-tenths of a second, he could not overtake and finished 1.7 seconds off first place.

With five races left in 2009, including two in support of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September, the competition for the championship is tight.

In the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel scored his third victory of the season during Round 8 on Saturday, while Rodolfo Avila of Asia Racing Team, who won Round 7, was second, with GruppeM Racing driver Tim Sugden third for the second time in the weekend.

Menzel's victory means the German is now six points off Sugden's championship lead. While Menzel is aiming for his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, Sugden is hoping for a second title to accompany the one he won in 2007.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia began in 2003 and has become the premier sports car series in the region. The field is further strengthened by the participation of Indonesian driver Ananda Mikola.

Mikola has a long racing career, starting out in Formula Asia in 1994 and progressing all the way up to Formula 3000, A1GP and more recently the Speedcar Series.

(pictures: www.afos.com)

EPL set to hit free-to-air TV in Indonesia

Matheos Viktor Messakh and Agnes Winarti , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 08/15/2009 1:25 PM | Headlines

Indonesian soccer fans can now get their fix of English Premier League soccer matches that kick off Saturday, with a local free-to-air TV station securing broadcast rights.

This season marks major progress from last year, when the broadcast rights were held exclusively by a pay-TV company.

The holder of the right to broadcast the EPL in Asia and the Pacific, ESPN Star Sports (ESS), recently confirmed it had sold the package of English Premier League/Barclays Premier League matches to tvOne, while other packages were still being negotiated with a pay-TV firm.

"ESS is pleased to announce that tvOne will again be featuring a package of Barclays Premier League matches on free-to-air television for the BPL 2009/2010 season," ESS senior VP Andrew Marshall told The Jakarta Post by email.

"ESS is still working on arrangements for the pay-TV rights. Our primary concern has always been to ensure that fans' enjoyment of the Barclays Premier League remains uninterrupted and we will continue to focus our efforts in ensuring that."

Pay-TV firm PT Indonusa Telemedia said last week it was in the process of acquiring non-exclusive rights to air EPL matches from ESS.

"This is not a bidding was like last year, when the ESS offered the rights exclusively to a single broadcaster," said PT Indonusa Telemedia chief director Rahadi Arsyad.

"We're not negotiating the price or the exclusiveness of the rights, so much as the payment mechanism, because we have several broadcast platforms, such as cable, satellite and Internet protocol TV. We can't say much about the negotiations, but we'll most likely acquire the rights."

TV7 (now Trans7) first secured EPL broadcast rights in 2002 in a one-season package worth Rp 12 billion (US$1,200,000).

"The contract value has increased 20 percent every year," said soccer observer Anton Sanjoyo. "Two years ago, pay-TV operator Astro reportedly signed a $50 million contract for one season."

Of this season's contract, tvOne's Antariksawan Yusuf said, "Obviously the contract value is higher than last year's, but it's worth it because we get two live matches a week."

F1 Rocks to lure spectators to night race

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 08/14/2009 12:06 PM | Sports

Night race: Singapore SingTel Grid Girls are introduced to the media in Singapore on Thursday. Singapore will host its second Formula One night race on Sept. 27. AP/Wong Maye-ENight race: Singapore SingTel Grid Girls are introduced to the media in Singapore on Thursday. Singapore will host its second Formula One night race on Sept. 27. AP/Wong Maye-E

After a successful maiden Formula One night race, the organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are looking to draw more visitors by arranging more lively supporting events.

World-class celebrities will be invited to a concert at a three-day entertaining F1 Rocks before the Sept. 27 race at Marina Bay.

“We continue to bring in new development with more creative events to make the Singapore Grand Prix a unique F1 destination in Asia,” Chooi Yee Choong, regional director of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said Thursday in Jakarta.

The STB is working with All The Worlds (ATW), a joint-venture company of Universal Music Group International, for the event.

The concert will feature headliners Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, ZZ Top, Simple Minds, N*E*R*D and Chinese pop legend Jacky Cheung.

“This year, for this one and only night race in Asia, visitors sizzle with much more exciting events,” Choong said.

“The timing could not be even more perfect, as it will coincide with the upcoming Lebaran holiday.”
He added the organizers would be expecting more Indonesians to watch the race live, after more than 5,000 Indonesians came to last year’s race.

“This year’s event is more interesting with the presence of the world-class celebrities, so of course we will do better than last year, and the number of spectators will surpass last year’s,” he said.

To lure spectators to Marina Bay, STB Indonesia is working with Baker Furniture, a renowned international maker of interior furnishings, to offer Indonesian spectators various tour packages, including a S$17,000 package that includes VIP seats, hotel, access to the drivers’ party and limited shopping arrangements.

ATW executive producer John Simidian said that after signing a deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in March, ATW would also hold an F1 Rocks in Melbourne in 2010.

“It’s the coming together of the world’s most exciting sport and the world’s biggest music stars,” Simidian said.

“What better place to host this launch than Singapore, a city we see as a true entertainment hub.”

ATW will hold the F1 Rocks all around the world for the next five years, starting with Singapore. Last year’s race was broadcast live to 110 million viewers.

The show is also expected to feature guest appearances from top F1 drivers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nancy Margried: Batik + Math = Innovation

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 07/27/2009 1:20 PM | People

A woman's advice is no great thing, according to an old proverb, but he who won't take it is a fool.

Perhaps architect Muhammad Lukman and mathematician Yun Hariyadi were aware of this when their friend Nancy Margried criticized their poor self-presentation.

Nancy met Lukman after he held an exhibition of his mathematics-based architectural works at a caf* in Bandung.

"I believe he has a brilliant mind but he presented it in such a bad way that nobody would even look at *his works*," Nancy said.

She and Lukman became friends, with Lukman later introducing her to Yun Hariyadi.

"He also has a brilliant mind but I didn't really understand what he said," Nancy said laughing.

"For me, something has to be able to be understood if we want to make it useful for people," added the public relations expert from Medan in North Sumatra. "When it comes to design, never make it too weird or people won't look at it."

Nancy became fast friends with the two men despite their different professional backgrounds, with the trio finding a common interest in visual art and hanging out in cafes.

And that was how it came about that Lukman, then doing his doctoral dissertation on architectural designs generated from fractal formulae, showed his friends pictures generated by mathematical formulae.

"The pictures looked like flowers and plants and to me they looked like batik," said Nancy, now 30. "We wondered if batik could be made from a mathematical formula."

Her idea set off a series of experiments and consultations with batik experts, with their research proving that batik does indeed have a mathematical pattern.

So excited were they by where their discovery might lead that Nancy resigned from her position as marketing communications director at a property agent in Bandung to concentrate on the project.

Then in early 2007, the research well under way, the trio submitted a proposal to show their work at the 10th Generative Art International Conference in Milan, Italy, in December 2007. To their surprise, they were invited to the conference.

Panicking at what they had got themselves into, they worked harder on their research tasks, including preparing a research abstract, developing new software to make their thesis applicable and generating batik samples using the software.

"We had to create our own software because no *existing* software in the world could do what we wanted," Nancy said, adding the team also consulted batik experts at university to help them with the philosophical, historical and artistic aspects of batik.

They also needed a banner, and came up with the name "Pixel People Project Research & Design".

Less easy to get was the money they need to attend the conference.

"I knocked on the door of every government department, educational institution and private company," said Nancy. "Some didn't even understand what we doing with math and batik. Others said it was a good effort but didn't give us a penny."

The West Java provincial government finally gave Rp 60 million, but it was enough to send only Lukman and came so late he arrived when the conference had finished. Instead, he presented their findings to the board of committee.

"We received a very good response . because we were the only group to combine something as traditional as batik and something as modern as mathematics and computer technology. Other groups relied only on their advance in computers," said Lukman.

"We also came with a research paper while other participants only talked about possibilities based on trial and error. We proved that batik is mathematical; we have the software and brought the product."

The conference boosted the trio's confidence that their project had a future and would be useful for many people and many disciplines.

The State Ministry for Research and Technology gave them a Rp 75 million grant early in 2008 for software development and to arrange a solo exhibition in Bandung and participate in international and national exhibitions.

Their software, jBatik, processes traditional batik design patterns into millions of new motifs using a fractal mathematics formula.

However, the business side of the project was still flimsy. Perhaps, Nancy said, "because we hadn't received much publicity and our batik stock was limited."

Nevertheless, they won the 2008 Indonesian ICT Award and Unesco's Award of Excellence at the 2008 Asia Pacific ICT Awards, out of a field of 70 entrants from 10 Asia-Pacific countries.

One of their products is now on permanent display at the Unesco Gallery in Bangkok.

They were again hampered by financial problems, and were helped by a US$25,000 grant from Senada-USAID. After four months of development, the advanced software was launched in Bandung in May, attended by the State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman.

"I am impressed because the innovation could expand batik sales extensively," Kusmayanto said at the launch. "Batik, which was regarded as traditional and old-fashioned, can now become a trend among young people with its new and up-to-date designs."

Today, the software is sought after by consumers in Australia, the United States and Singapore. The batik designs generated have been applied not only to garments but also to shoes and furniture.

The Pixel People Project provides companies with software, training and design and also provides individual customers with fractal batik products through a partnership with two companies in Bandung - Rumah Batik Komar and Studio Batik Hassan.

From a friendship to a project, the Pixel People Project has ended up with something sophisticated in structure and design and applicable to many.

"Not many people will have the advantage of mathematical formulae if they are only applicable for architecture," Nancy said. "Batik is something very common in our society."


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"ke mana-mana deket"

Judul posting di atas mungkin cuma kalimat biasa yang digunakan orang di mana saja. Namun rasanya kata ini telah menjadi milik orang kota di Indonesia terutama Jakarta. Coba saja ngobrol sama pembantu rumah tangga, ibu-ibu rumah tangga, pekerja mall, anak sekolah, karyawan perusahaan multi nasional atau direktur perusahaan soal tempat tinggal. Belum sampai lima menit, kalimat itu pasti keluar dari mulut mereka.

Mengapa? Asumsi saya ini ada hubungannya dengan buruknya manajemen transportasi publik di Indonesia. Kalimat itu muncul dari alam bawah sadar banyak orang karena akses terhadap fasilitas publik menjadi sangat sulit karena rumitnya manajemen transportasi yang menyebabkan jarak selalu menjadi persoalan. Seandainya orang nyaman menggunakan transportasi publik, jarang terjadi kemacetan, jauh dekat bukan persoalan besar.
Persoalan jarak ke fasilitas publik kemudian menjadi jualan bisnis properti. Lalu orang bergerombol tinggal di tempat tertentu karena kekuatiran akan jarak.

salam

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Para teroris mempraktekkan apa yang kita ajarkan

Setiap kali ada ledakan bom, para pemuka agama menjadi sangat sibuk. Mulai dari menjadi narasumber di televisi sampai seminar-seminar. Mulai dari himbauan di mesjid, gereja dan vihara sampai bikin buku. Mulai dari mengutuk serangan bom sampai membela diri bahwa agama tidak mengajarkan kekerasan dalam bentuk apapun.

Apa benar agama tidak punya kontribusi terhadap segala bentuk kekerasan termasuk terorisme? mengapa para pemuka agama selalu merasa membela agama mereka walaupun tidak ada orang yang secara implisit mengatakan bahwa agama mendukung kekerasan?
Saya kira umat beragama harus berani jujur mengatakan bahwa agama memang menyumbangkan bahan bakar yang cukup besar untuk kekerasan.

Agama-agama Semit seperti Kristen, Yahudi, Islam yang punya klaim ketuhanan yang kuat punya unsur kekerasan yang kuat bahkan dalam kitab-kitab suci mereka. Dalam Perjanjian Lama agama Kristen dan Katholik misalnya bisa kita temukan unsur-unsur kekerasan yang kuat. Dan karena itu ritual korban menjadi central untuk mencegah timbulnya korban sosial yang lebih besar. Walaupun dalam Perjanjian Baru, paradigma korban ini diaminkan dalam pengorbanan Yesus Kristus (sehingga tidak perlu ada korban-korban lain lagi) semangat korban dan kekerasan ini kadang masih kental.

Dalam praktek bergama sehari-hari, banyak penganut agama sebenarnya munafik: kekerasan selalu diajarkan dari mimbar-mimbar gereja dan masjid kita secara terang-terangan. jangan heran terorisme selalu menemukan lahan subur untuk bertumbuh. Agama yang eksklusif adalah lahan yang sangat subur untuk terorisme.

Jadi tak usah munafiklah tiap kali mencounter dan membela agama (praktek agama) sebagai yang tak bersalah, karena para teroris sebenarnya telah dididik secara benar oleh kita.

salam

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jackson Browne wins Republican apology over song

Senator John McCain and his Republican Party publicly apologized to singer Jackson Browne on Tuesday for using his song "Running on Empty" without permission in a campaign advertisement last year.

The apology came as Browne and McCain's Republican camp agreed on a settlement to the lawsuit that the singer filed in August, soon after the advertisement aired.
Browne's 1977 song was used by the Ohio Republican Party in an attack on Barack Obama that was critical of the Democrat's stance on gas conservation. Obama defeated McCain in last November's presidential election.
"We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running on Empty' was used without permission," McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party said in a statement.
The Republican camp also pledged in future elections to obtain permissions and licenses from artists "where appropriate" when using their copyrighted works.
Browne, a liberal activist, told Billboard he would "absolutely" sue political candidates and groups he supports if they used his music without authorization.
"I really hope that people begin to understand what goes into making music," Browne told the music publication's website. "It's not just that one gets paid; it's that one's entire enterprise is fed, whether it's recording studios or the amount of money you can pay our band. ... It is a huge industry."
Browne had sued McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party, accusing them of copyright infringement.
It is not the first time a popular singer has gone after the Republicans for use of a song. In the mid-1980s, Bruce Springsteen complained about then-President Ronald Reagan's
contextually inaccurate use of his song "Born In the U.S.A." during his re-election campaign. (Reuters/LOS ANGELES,July 21)

Watchdog condemns saucy sausage ads

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A saucy radio advert for sausages which encouraged listeners to reveal "where you like to stick yours" was criticized by Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday.
The ads for Mattesons smoked sausages elicited 21 complaints from listeners who said they were offensive because of the sexual innuendo and should not have been aired when children were likely to be listening.
"Think about all the things you can stick this tasty, extraordinarily large sausage in," one advert said.
"Mmm... Pizza, pasta, stir fry. You have any ideas? Give me a call and tell me where you like to stick it."
Kerry Foods, which makes the sausages, said its adverts were intended to be tongue-in-cheek and were not designed to be offensive.
The Advertising Standards Authority did not uphold the complaints about the innuendo because it was not sexually explicit, but said the ads could "cause harm to children".
It ruled the ads should not be aired at times when they were likely to be heard by children. (Reuters/LONDON, July 22)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sweet chiming of local sounds

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 07/13/2009 11:28 AM | Features

The tricky part about making a set of wind chimes is deciding what to leave out. Choosing which tones to include can be even trickier if the chimes are made from bamboo, glass, shell, stone, porcelain or wood.
 
Tired with the routine of servicing his customers' pianos, Abdul Madjid Gangga decided to create a musical instrument that did not require regular fine tuning. He found his answer in wind chimes.
"When I was servicing pianos, I was thinking about a musical instrument that needed tuning only once ever," Abdul Madjid told The Jakarta Post during the creative industries exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center last week.
"Although I made a living servicing pianos, the routine of it bored me."
As the material used to create wind chimes can have a large impact on the sound it produces, Abdul Madjid spent four years from 2000 working with all sorts of metals, including bronze, aluminum, copper, brass and steel, to get the best tones from the pipes. He finally settled on aluminum.
At first, Abdul, who graduated in music from Jakarta's Yayasan Musik Indonesia (Yasmi) in 1980, only created wind chimes with heptatonic chords (as used in Western music), but later he turned to making only chimes using ethnic tones, which he said were better understood by Indonesians.
In 2004, he created the first wind chime with tones similar to those of the traditional Javanese gamelan.
Today, he offers nine variations of wind chimes imitating the tones of the traditional musical instruments of Sunda, Bali, Manado, Melayu Deli, Madura, Papua, Betawi and Java. He also creates Arabian, Japanese and Chinese chimes.
Thanks to his skill with pianos, which he had worked with since the 1970s, Abdul was able to find his own formula to determine the tone according to the length, width and the thickness of the aluminum pipes. He also uses his fine-tuning skills to make his pieces pitch perfect.
Madjid uses the basic tone A with pitch 0.0 and frequency 440 hertz. "This tone is similar to piano tones and will never change," he said.
"Nowhere else in the world do people make chimes with tones similar to certain ethnic musical instruments that are set to 440 hertz. These tones will never change."
Abdul Madjid said a friend of his in Virginia in the United States had been conducting research to find out other wind chimes that use specific tone from ethnic music, but had turned up nothing so far.
"Mostly they only cut the pipes without (doing) the fine tuning," he explained.
Abdul Madjid's first customers were those he knew from servicing pianos, but now his wind chimes are finding homes with many people from East Java, Central Java, West Java as well as employees of foreign embassies, churches, Pondok Pesantren and Vihara.
Abdul, who employs eight workers and has patented his instrument, typically receives 25 to 40 orders a month in his workshop in Depok in West Java. His chimes are priced from Rp 350,000 to Rp 5 million per set.
"The most popular chimes are the biggest ones because they have a more complete melody and bass," he said. "Also because the bigger the pipes the more their reverberation is sustained."

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