Anousheh Ansari the First Space Blogger

Anousheh Ansari the First Space Blogger
Anousheh Ansari the First Space BloggerAfter the successful space traveling, Anousheh Ansari is associated with more than one attribute: the first woman space traveler; the first Muslim; the first Iranian origin and the first space blogger. She’s been actively updating her blog from space during her one and half week stay at the unique trip and thousands of readers were waiting for it everyday, nay every hour.

For you who have yet to be familiar with her name, here’s an intro from Wikipedia:

Anousheh Ansari (Persian: ????? ??????) is the Iranian-American co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, Inc. Her previous business accomplishments include serving as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc. (TTI). The Ansari family is also the title sponsor of the Ansari X PRIZE. On 18 September 2006, she became the world’s first female space tourist[1], and the first female Muslim[2] and first Iranian in space […]

She’s certainly become the inspiration of all women around the world. But more than that, as an American citizen of Iranian origin, she’s also a symbol of people unity. Political interests of both nation might tear them apart, but who can divide the shared values, dreams and inspiration of humanity?

For the successful touch down today, I wish her a good luck. May she could come back to the space, as she so wishes, along with other women of all races and nationality, to show the politicians that from the space earth looks so beautiful and peaceful and more importantly undivided. I believe someday that scenery is not only a mirrage.

Muhammad Yunus and Nobel Peace Prize

Muhammad Yunus and Nobel Peace PrizeI am not an economist, nor am I a South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) analyst. I hardly write on India-Pakistan-Bangladesh political events unless there’s an Indonesian newspaper requests me to do so.

That’s why when CNN reported last night that Nobel peace prize winner for this year is a person named Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi, the inventor of microcredit loan and founder of Brameen Bank which jointly announced as a co-winner, I am so amazed, surprised and happy for various reasons.First, as far as I can tell, it’s for the first time that Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to a non-political personality. Nobel Peace usually has more political connotation with, well, a bit American flavour. So, to see an economist as the winner is in itself surprising and an encouraging sign.

Second, Muhammad Yunus is a banker, a very rich man, who thinks a lot about the poor and try hard to find a way to eradicate poverty. He thinks, he gets a brilliant idea to solve poverty and implement it. For example, the microcredit system will allow a poor person to take a loan as small as USD 25 to build a (very) small business. It’s a huge success for both the creditor and the debtors. In another word, it successfully has created many jobs among the poors in Bangladesh and now being implemented around the world.

Third, what poverty eradication to do with peace? The Nobel Peace committee rightly said that when poverty doesn’t exist, peace will prevail. I couldn’t agree more with that.

Fourth, Muhammad Yunus is not only thinking about the poor and find the big way to help them without distracting their dignity, but also BEHAVING like ones: wearing a simple clothes the poors used to wear; assembling with them with ease without any attitude that might offend them; and talking to them without any sign of uncomfortability. I saw him in CNN how he’s enjoying making jokes and having fun with the downtrodden villagers in a Bangladesh remote area, the less fortunate people who he holds very dear. Something that our middle class society, who often behaves like Hollywood celebrities should be ashamed of.

I wrote somewhere that when we live in a country like Indonesia, where corruption is prevalent and poverty becomes a natural consequence of a country mismanagement, someone, or group of individuals with more skill and qualification should stand up with all his capability and skill to contribute, because in this situation the government is certainly not the one we can hope to make amend. Muhammad Yunus is certainly up to the task.

What contribution we can make? Live simple and humble, I think, is the first step in the right direction. If we earn U$D 1000/month, for example, spend less than that. If we can save USD 50/month for educating one poor kid, that would be great. On top of it all, even if you dont contribute financially to the poor, living humble and simple and avoid showing off your wealth in front of them, I believe, is a sort of indirect contribution as far as social harmony is concerned.

Just a thought, though. Nevertheless, at least, I do what I’m saying.

For more details on his profiles see here.

Blogger Beta Hack

When Google introduced new version of Blogger software in Beta a few months ago, Blogger (blogspot) fans around the world were excited. Not only has this beta version got a category, called 'label', but it's also running fast and, well, furious.

Ong Hock Chuan once asked me whether I intended to migrate to which I said no. At least not this blog as I want this site lives as long as Blogger alive. On top of it all, Blogger is free and you're in full control of it. Two things that don't come together very often.

I use software for my top domain (commercial) blogs as it's has certain advantages from SEO perspective. For personal purposes like this one, however, I prefer to use free Blogger / Blogspot service for simple reasons: it makes you feel free to write as much as you want without feeling afraid of the expiration date, etc.

Speaking of Blogger BETA, since it uses quite different codes than the previous old one, many blogger hacks are not workable including post-summary/expandable post more known as "read more", recent comments on the sidebar, etc.

So, if you're using Blogger BETA and want to make a hack of it, the following blogs might be useful for starters:

1. Ramani at Hackosphere.

Learn from to make "read more" from this blog and a lot more interesting hacks such as Converting to 3-column template, Peekaboo posts with summary in main page, Peekaboo posts in label/archive pages, Multi-style Labels widget, Author comment highlighting and notification, Latest Posts display in sidebar, Random message widget.

2. What's else but to visit the "central command" of Blogger at Blogger Buzz to find more new features and more hacks from the blogosphere.

3. For Malay/Indonesian speaking bloggers who are more comfortable to read the tutorial on this matter in Bahasa Indonesia, you can visit here.

Hopefully, this will satisfy those who ask me on this matter.

Floods that Paralysed the Capital and its People

Indonesia again gets international media intention for yet another natural disaster. This time the capital Jakarta has gone through the worst floods in five years. The floods paralysed everything - the business activities, its people movement and day-to-day government activities.

Around 340,000 of Jakarta’s population were forced to flee, leaving almost everything but themselves.

Around 200,000 are homeless.

Ferry Rahman makes a daily report on the messy situation in the capital right from the first day of torrential rain that led to the flood which up till now has killed 20 people.

In today’s posting, he tells his activities in helping his aunt whose house is badly affected:

My mother was already there and the flood gone. Can’t believe that a few days ago water covered 1/4 of the house. I could just imagine the damage it had done to it.

It was pretty sunny, the sun was up was just another beautiful day. It rained only for a few minutes during the day, but it was a very sunny day!

I entered the house to check for any damages. Obviously lot’s of her clothes and bed sheets were soaked wet and smelly. Also lots of kitchen utensils were submerged in the flood, we had them cleaned but some of them were beyond repair (they were too old to be of any use anyway) so we had to throw them away.

Even two of her beds had to be thrown out. Yup, two spring beds!

But those can be replaced. What surprised me the most were my cousins official documents, including her high school diploma, birth certificates, etc. They were all just wet and damaged. Don’t know how those are gonna get replaced.

Guess in her panic she just…forgot about them and left the house.

So the four of us cleaned what ever could be cleaned until the afternoon. Knowing that we would have to come back and clean again if a flood would ever come again.

We went home shortly after that.

We turned on the TV to get some new info about the flood.Now even companies are sending messages to their employees not to come to work tomorrow.

How to Help

Peduli (means care) posted some very valuable links to aid organisation’s website and their accounts geared specifically to help the flood victims. The links and bank account are particularly beneficial for fellow Indonesians in other part of the city wanting to lend a helping hand.

Meanwhile, for those non-Indonesians or anyone who are staying outside Indonesia, I recommend to extend their help through international aid organisation who they know best. Unspun recommendation is a good one.

Other bloggers talking about the floods
Javajive: Floods in Jakarta
Jakartass: Jakarta floods leave the question: Who’s to blame?

Originally posted to Global Voices Online

Internet Outage and Flood in Aceh

Internet breakdownThere is nothing worse for Indonesian bloggers in particular around the new year eve but to see the sudden temporary “demise” of internet connection.

The cause as reported by Budi Putra, Sani Asy’ari and Enda Nasution is “the strong quake off Taiwan’s coast on December 26 damaged submarine cables and severely disrupted telecom links in the East, Southeast and South Asia.”

That makes almost 90 percent of Indonesia’s internet connection disfunctional or very slow. According to Yulian Firdaus, quoting from a portal media, the recovery could take “as long as as one month” during which Indonesian online activities will witness the lowest traffic ever. Certainly one month, if it’s true, a way too much for an internet addicts like Enda Nasution who wonders whether this is "what end of days feel like."

Some Indonesian bloggers who are fortunate enough to still have internet connection like Willy Sudiarto Raharjo, still complains over how slow the connection is. Not to say how low the traffic to his blog could be.

Flood in Aceh

Exactly two years after the Tsunami, one of the biggest natural disaster ever happened, Aceh again has to face another natural calamity. Although it’s not as big as Tsunami, the loss and severe it afflicts to the Acehnese is unbearable.

70,000 people has been evacuated or are fleeing home taking refuge in neighboring area. About 60 people dead.

So much to “celebrate” a New Year 2007 for Indonesian in general and Indonesian bloggers in particular.

Originally posted in Global Voices Online

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