Sun, 05 Sep 1999

Do I deserve a medal?

Unfortunately for me, this is not an athletic tournament otherwise somebody would have nominated me a medal. From Aug. 21, 1998 until Aug. 21, 1999 which spans a period of one year, I have been inspired to write letters numbering 33 last year plus 35 in 1999, about 70 in total.

I would like to thank the editorial staff of The Jakarta Post for allowing me to get crazy at times to express my opinions on a variety of topics. I began writing in reaction to a report that one of the Post's journalists was charged with false reporting about an accident involving an aircraft produced by national aircraft industry IPTN. If the article was not retracted, the journalist who covered the accident would be tried and face a possible jail sentence. The IPTN insisted that the accident was not due to manufacturing error.

As I believed and will always do in press freedom, a rectification of the news should be adequate. In my first letter I offered myself to go to jail in place of the "irresponsible" newsman. The letter titled Press freedom appeared in the Post on Aug. 21, 1998. Since then I have been writing letters more or less weekly.

I did not limit my subject to the home front but included also former South African president Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Sonia Gandhi and princess Diana. I am glad that I could call the student reformists the "soldiers of conscience". Also I kept expressing disagreement that the Golkar's chairmanship should not be held by the state secretary. Now I like to thank those who cared to read my "scribbles" and waste time in reacting to them by agreeing or disagreeing or even correcting my inaccuracies.

The plight of the unfortunate (poor) deserve a place in the Post. My soul and pen revolt against injustice and oppression. After all, we live in one world and in one universe. If I do not deserve special mention for my stamina and kind of inquisitiveness, let alone a medal, I shall still be proud. I am proud with my "feat". After all, I am a journalist in vein and blood.

The letters section surely is not the most important part of a paper but it is an interesting section where you can learn and get a lot of information of all kinds from all sorts of people and social strata, and appreciate the freedom of expression.