*After university I didn’t know what to do with myself.  So I wandered round SEAsia for a few years.  You know: one way ticket, wander till I ‘find myself,’ blah, blah, blah… 

Sometimes I get sentimental about those days, in hindsight it all seemed so effortless.  But I kept journals.  And I wrote (and kept) emails.  So despite what my stupid mind today might think, my stupid mind from yesterday is there to remind me.  It’s interesting to look back though, so though I have already posted some old writings (like here and here), in the next little while I think I will post a few more. 

So if you’d care to join me, here are some words from young me, just as stupid as current me, just in a slightly different way…

Image

This photo was taken as we pushed off, still at a very calm and peaceful part of the river. After it started to get a little choppy (not yet white water), the guy in front asked to switch places with me. I agreed.  And then this happened…

– Java, Indonesia. 2002 –

<”LEGS FORWARD!!! LEGS FORWARD!!!”> roared the rafting guides in Indonesian.

Despite the raging torrents of water rushing around me I could hear the panic in their voices.  In the fleeting moments of visibility granted by the rushing river I had fallen into I could see the yellow raft and the desperate gaze of my fellow white-water rafters.

It dawned on me as I was uncontrollably dragged down river, or perhaps it was when I struck a boulder violently with my right shoulder, that perhaps falling into rapids at the top of rocky, fast moving, white water might not be in the best interest of my health. (more…)

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*** This is another old piece of writing from my big Asia wander way back in 2001-2003.  I was working as an ESL school in Yogya, Indonesiaat the time I wrote this.  I was a kid just out of school looking for something that I couldn’t properly articulate, and thus couldn’t grasp.  It was on this 2.5 year wander that I eventually picked up a camera for the first time.***

Monday 17 December, 2002

The girl who sat next to me on the bus to Semarang had the aura of one that worked in the fields of Java. It was not the way she dressed, nor anything else she carried that gave me that impression. It was her smell. (more…)

1) a physical war of man against man, religion vs religion. This battle of arms was meant as a final resort, only to be undertaken in self-defence. (The West and the Extremists dwell on this. Moreover they pervert it by dropping the reference to self-defence). 2) an internal spiritual struggle. A battle against hate, and towards God (towards love). A fight to submit life to Allah, and not to human whims and desires (esp against the desire to dominate over man).

The term "jihad"; often poorly translated as "Holy War" can mean: 1) a physical war of man against man, religion vs religion. This battle of arms was meant as a final resort, only to be undertaken in self-defence. (The West and extremists dwell on this. Moreover they pervert it by dropping the reference to "self-defence"). 2) an internal spiritual struggle. A battle against hate, and towards God (towards love). A fight to submit life to Allah, and not to human whims and desires (esp against the desire to dominate over man).

So Suharto is dead.

For this I will take a break from Philippine issues and wade into those of a sister nation to which I have some affinity and attachment (I lived there for over a year in 2001).

Here’s some quotes from some papers in Canada:

“World leaders on Sunday praised the late Indonesian president Suharto for the stability and growth he brought to the region…” – The National Post

“…Suharto is credited with stimulating economic growth…” – The Toronto Star

”Suharto is credited with developing the economy…” – 24 Hours

Then, almost in the same breath they write:

“The former general, 86 when he died on Sunday, ruled with an iron fist for 32 years… his time in power, which ended in 1998 after mass protests, also witnessed corruption, massacres and human rights abuses, particularly in separatist hot spots such as Papua and East Timor.” – The National Post

“The estimates of the number of people killed by Suharto’s regime “vary from 300,000 to 2 million, but the exact number nobody knows,” said Asmara Nababan, former secretary general of Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission.”

(more…)