Fri, 25 Apr 2003

A few words for 'The Jakarta Post'

Debra H. Yatim, Communications for the Arts (KOMSENI), Jakarta

Wow, 20 years, eh? I still remember the flurry we, the first batch of reporters, writers, and editors, had the evening before the big publication date.

All of us wanted at least one piece of our writing published in that very first issue. Whew, mine just made it, bumping out somebody else's, I believe. That edition must still be lying somewhere in a dusty file in the paper's archives: eight thin pages, making up in cockiness what it lacked in content. And - at least to our eyes -- the lay-out design was so clean, so cutting- edge modern.

There are the memories of running through the rain across the road to the lay-out room, carrying tomorrow's page under our arms to protect the copy, and then overseeing the physical chopping off of our precious typewritten words by the callous lay-out people. Digitalized editing just doesn't hold quite the same degree of romance, don't you think?

And when it was our turn to put the paper to bed, that was it. No rest for the wicked. I don't recall seeing the sun go down, ever, during my days at the Post. I don't recall celebrating Lebaran, Christmas, New Year's and Sundays either, for that matter.

Movies, shows, a night out on the town? Forget it. We didn't even remember what our mothers looked like.

Journalism. Why would anybody stay? Why would anybody leave?

Cheers to The Jakarta Post. Here's to the next 20 years. In commemoration of sometimes veering to the very edge under a previous, repressive era, I have written a small ditty in your honor:

Jakarta Post, Jakarta Post

You're the most, you're the most.

Sometimes in days of old you got away with certain elan

Because you wrote in a language that the powers didn't always understand