I recently mentioned that Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono had started his own blog. The Jakarta Post tells us that observers are saying that "by engaging his detractors on the Internet, the Indonesian minister is presenting himself as an open person, willing to discuss issues he cares about."
Someone then pointed that at least one PAP MP (Teo Ho Pin) has a blog too. So I decided to visit both Juwono's and Ho Ping's blog, take a look and do a compare-&-contrast.
Here's a sample from Juwono's blog - part of his response to human rights groups' criticisms of the Indonesian military:
From the outset the Indonesian Defense Force has never had a decent budget to provide a security and defence service as part of the provision of a public good to enable an environment wherein development, stability and civil liberties can flourish. Since the mid-1950s, no Indonesian government has been able to provide the police and the defence force with an adequate budget to provide that public service.Now, let's take a look at Ho Pin's blog. Three sample posts:
The HRW June 2006 report is understandably unsympathetic to such realities, given that its framework and paradigm rests on the assumption of standards of “professionalism and transparency” taken for granted in developed countries. HRW Asia was also mindful that in the wake of the TNI’s exemplary role in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the post Tsunami in Aceh in 2004-2005 and the recent earthquake in Central Java, the TNI’s image at home and abroad had soared. The lifting of the US restriction of spare parts to the TNI also took the wind of the anti-Indonesian lobby in the US and Western Europe.
All in all, the content and tenor of the HRW 2006 report is both predictable and disappointing. When I served in London as ambassador, I had many meetings with NGOs and human rights activists (including HRW Asia) about the TNI, its role in the reform of political life in Indonesia. Including the divestment of the TNI’s businesses. The language and lexicon of most of the groups I met came right through a time warp of 1990-1998. They simply could not and would not accept the notion that the TNI was the pioneer of political reform, and none more so when under Lieut.General S.B. Yudhoyono during his tenure as TNI chief of territorial affairs in 1997-1998. Human rights groups also would not acknowledge the UN Human Rights Summit formulation in June 1993 that human rights constituted “civil, political, economic, social cultural rights in an integrated, inseparable and balanced manner”.
But then HRW thrives on focusing civil and political rights infringements because their bread and butter heavily relies on emphasising those infringements that are much more appealing, dramatic and headline grabbing. Besides, who would want to read about the TNI’s successes in separating sectarian groups from killing one another in Sulawesi or Ambon. What Congressman in the US or parliamentarian in Europe would care about a TNI soldiers toils in helping villagers build irrigation, shelters and wooden bridges in the boondocks of Borneo. No editor in the newsrooms of satellite TV or print media in the liberal press would dream of providing a favourable paragraph or two about the TNI. The TNI will remain whipping boy for many NGOs and western media for a long time to come.
"Thank you. I am indeed very proud of the achievements of Zhenghua Primary School. The Principal, teachers, staff, and pupils have worked hard to provide a good learning environment for their students. The parents of their students have also played an active and important role in working closely with the school to help students achieve more in their learning. Zhenghua Primary is indeed a very good neighbourhood school. My best wishes to all!? Be the best, Beat the rest!"and:
-- Dr. Teo
The tender for Lift Upgrading Programme at your precinct has been closed and in the process of tender evaluation by HDB. The contract is expected to commence in the 3th quarter ( Jul-Sep) of this year and complete 24 months later.
Should you need any further clarifications please contact Lawrence Toh (Property Manager, Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council) at 64167953.
Thank you for your feedback on bus services 960,961 and 190. We would appreciate much if you could provide us with more details (during which hours of the day) so that we can further request TIBS to improve their services. Pls contact my Transport Committee Chairman, Mr Louis Tay at 96608266.
We will continue to improve the bus services in Bukit Panjang.
Dr Teo Ho Pin
To be fair to Ho Pin, he may have only been blogging with very municipal concerns in mind (and we DO need people to take care of our municipal concerns). But you can probably see why many thinking Singaporeans would be disappointed with the contents of Ho Pin's blog.
If you had hoped to read Ho Pin's views on the PAP's political vision for Singapore post-GE 2006 ... or to find out what policy issues Ho Pin intends to raise and debate in Parliament ... or read Ho Pin's analysis on the recently-released statistics about Singaporeans' household income ... or learn what he thinks are the key challenges for Singapore's fledging biomedical industry ... or get an inside look at how Parliament functions etc ....
well, you would be disappointed.
I'm kinda reminded of PAP MP Penny Low's blog (I think it has been deleted - I can't find it anymore - but there's a reference to it here). No insights into national matters, no discussion with the readers on the issues of the day, no analysis of any concerns of the Singaporean people.
I remember how Penny Low basically just blogged and blogged and blogged about her backpacking holidays in Europe about one decade ago. Might as well read Xiaxue - whose news about her own personal life is, at the very least, not coming one decade late.
Juwono's blog serves as a convenient contrast. Whatever your views may be about Indonesian and its military, Juwono is at least providing his personal insights and analysis on some important national (and international) issues - and the insights and analysis are based on his special position as Defence Minister and senior statesman. His blog indeed has a sense of engagement with its readers. No wonder Juwono gets accolades for his blog - and Ho Pin and Penny don't.
Technorati: Singapore; Singapore politics; Indonesia.