Tag Archives: Jakarta

Using LinkedIn to Research Spies Like Us

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Several of the 11 alleged Russian spies leave interesting imprints on LinkedIn, suggesting rewarding pickings for journalists.

Donald Heathfield, for example, had 74 connections.

His specialities sound like they could equally applied to espionage:

Comprehensive management of Risks and Uncertainties, Anticipatory Leadership, Building of Future Scenarios, Development and Execution of Future Strategies, Capture of Strategic Opportunities, Global Account Management

Amusing to hear the recommendations:

“Refreshing to work with him as he puts complexe initiatives together that always fits with the end goal that was laid out as our objective.” November 3, 2008

Gerard Bridi, President, Accor Services WiredCommute
was with another company when working with Don at Future Map

“Working with Don is very enjoyable. He has a pleasant style, whilst always acting professionally. Very results and solutions focused. He does not get flustered when problems occur, patiently facilitating teams to craft a way through to their end goal.” November 2, 2008

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert

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Tracey Foley (Ann Foley), Heathfield’s wife, doesn’t have so many connections (20) but she’s a member of many groups—including four French related one and a Singapore group one. We know that Heathfield had connections in Singapore and Jakarta. Something to explore there?

Michael Zottoli appears to have a LinkedIn account, but only 10 connections and hasn’t updated it since his move from Seattle to Virginia. Patricia Mills, his wife, doesn’t seem to have a LinkedIn account.

Mikhail Semenko had 124 connections, a twitter account (10 followers, 3 tweets) and a blog about China (one post talks about the need for greater Russia China cooperation).

Richard/Cynthia Murphy NJ. Cynthia has 98 connections on LinkedIn and is a member of three groups. Christopher Metsos has no LinkedIn page that I could find.

Anna Chapman’s public profile seems to have been removed. But her main profile is still active, (you can also find it here.) and indeed, her company, PropertyFinder Ltd, has a similar name to Ann Foley’s public LinkedIn profile page: homefinder. A link there, maybe?

Her twitter feed stops abruptly on June 26 at 4.46 am (and yet wasn’t arrested until June 28. I guess she took the weekend off.) She was following a lot more people than were following her (687 vs 277, but she was really only just getting going: After tweeting first on March 13, she didn’t do much until June 16, after which she was tweeting every few hours. Could something have prompted her into more frequent updates?)

She also has a number of recommendations, from Said Abdullaev, a VP of Moscow-based Fortis Investments, who offered this:

“Anna’s entrepreneurial flair does not cease to amaze me, she sees opportunities in places were most would not think to look, and she makes them work.” November 24, 2009

Twitter in Indonesia

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Interesting to see how Twitter is catching up on the main news [Google Trends data] portal in Indonesia, detik.com. (Although actually detik.com has the largest number of followers in Jakarta, at least according to twitaholic. (With only 87,755, that doesn’t sound right somehow. Surely there are more popular Indonesian twitterers out there?)

Twitoaster, which collects data on where people are twittering from, suggests that Twitter is pretty active across most of the major cities. Back in January Sysomos listed Indonesia as 6th in terms of the number of twitter users, the biggest in Asia. Their previous report, in June 2009, didn’t feature Indonesia in the top 17. There are more twitterers in Jakarta than in Houston or Boston. Given the rise since, Indonesia must be higher still.

This piece by Hera Diani looks at the impact this is having on Islam.

http://www.loosewireblog.com/site/wp-admin/edit.php?s&post_status=all&post_type=post&action=-1&m=0&cat=0&paged=11&mode=list&action2=-1

Today’s twin bombings in Jakarta—their implications for Indonesia aside—should bring home to conventional media that social media is a multifaceted force, one that is evolving so quickly it’s fast becoming the primary channel that users tune in to for urgent news.

Some conclusions to draw from Jakarta (or are reinforced by the sad episode):

  • Social media is not just about issues that concern the kind of things that people think social media type people are going to be interested in. This was a bomb that went off in a hotel in the developing world, not a pop star who died in California. Admittedly at the heart of the wealthy quarter of the country, but still not LA.
  • The two tweets below could not really be faulted for their content. OK, the second one should perhaps be “explosion” until it’s confirmed that it’s a “bom”, but that’s a quibble. The 140 characters of twitter have already converted us—both user and consumer—into the headline/alert shorthand that was once the preserve of conventional media.
  • TV was reporting a third bomb—and casualties—in north Jakarta long after a twitterer and his photo had shown it was not so. (I don’t have a timeline for that. Contributions welcome).

Lastly, friends and colleagues have made the point I’m stressing the timeliness of all this too much. They say who reports something first doesn’t matter. Well, in some ways that’s true. But a lot of conventional media still believe it to be so, indeed make that a key part of their business model. I highlight speed here because of the still prevailing sense that twitter is full of noise. To still think that is to fail to see how quickly the medium is evolving. The rise of hashtags, retweets and tools like tweetdeck has made it easier for anyone interested to monitor and contribute twitter—so much so that for many it’s the best way to:

  • be alerted to the fact that something is going on/has happened
  • update oneself quickly
  • bypass news and newspaper sites that are often slowed down by traffic during a big event
  • share the information with friends and others
  • pursue and confirm/refute unconfirmed information
  • and, perhaps most interestingly, expand one’s network of ‘information sharers’ so that the experience of watching an event becomes a social one. (Not as in cocktail party social, but in terms of sharing shock, grief, outrage etc, as in the case of the Jakarta bombing. We journalists tend to hide our feelings a lot but that’s not the case on Twitter. It helps to remind one that the casualties are real people, and the suffering being felt is by people who may be on the same vast network as yourself and reading your tweets.)

Here’s an initial timeline of how the story broke, from what I can gather (all times Jakarta time, WIB). Claims that eyewitnesses beat traditional media by 20 minutes are a little exaggerated—it was probably closer to 10 or 12.

0751 WIB: @dregar (Andre Siregar) “Something going in Mega Kuningan. Explosion? In Ritz CArlton and felt building shaking. Marriott hotel has some broken glasses”

indonesia bomb first tweet 2

 0752 WIB:@danieltumiwa (Daniel Tumiwa) “Bom @ marriot and ritz Carlton kuningan jakarta”

indonesia bomb -first tweet 0852

These tweets were forwarded extensively.

The first conventional media coverage I can find is by Reuters, quoting local television, 15 minutes later (all timings are from Factiva. There may well be stories and updates missing):

0807 WIB: INDONESIA EXPLOSION HEARD, FELT AT RITZ-CARLTON KUNINGAN HOTEL IN JAKARTA -METRO TV

@BreakingNews put out their alert eight minutes after that:

0814 WIB: BULLETIN — EXPLOSIONS HITS NEAR JAKARTA’S MARRIOT HOTEL

Followed by two more, quoting the Associated Press.

AP itself put out a bulletin at 8.20 am (I couldn’t find the original despatch that BNO was quoting):

0820 WIB: Bombs explode at Ritz-Carlton, Marriott hotels in Indonesian capital; at least 3 injured

The Reuters fullout came out nine minutes after that:

0829: UPDATE 1-Explosions heard at two central Jakarta hotels –TV

Please correct any omissions. Just to stress, I’m not having a go at my colleagues in conventional media here. Just recording the sequence of events for future dissection.

HSBC “Rgerts to Onform”

I’m always amazed at how much money companies sink into sparkling advertising and PR, but so little into ensuring the emails their staff send and receive reflect the same sheen.

Especially when they call themselves the “world’s local bank”.

Take this recent email exchange with HSBC. I’m a customer, and sometimes use their Premier lounge at Jakarta airport. I’m one of those annoying people who make a point of submitting comments to companies about my experience, even if they’re not solicited.

A few months back I was impressed enough with the Jakarta lounge to send an email to a generic customer relations email address I found here on HSBC’s global site where the page says:  HSBC customers are invited to email customerrelations@hsbc.com.

I can’t remember now what I wrote, but it was complimentary about the initiative of one of the staff, a guy called Musli. I got this back a few days later:

Thank you for your recent e-message.
I have forwarded your email to Jakarta, Indonesia so that your positive comments can be feedback to Musli and their manager.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Great. Just what I wanted. A slap on the back for the little guy.

But a few months later—last week–I had a quite different experience, so I fired off another email to the same address:

Hi, I thought I’d follow up my earlier message about HSBC lounge in Jakarta. Since my last email I feel standards have slipped a bit and the place could do with some attention.

I then went on to detail the slippage: my Premier card, it turned out, wasn’t in itself good enough for Premier lounge, and the staff seemed keener on getting rid of me than seeing whether I carried the magic card. The lounge felt more like a lower tier massage parlor, with four females sitting around the front desk, chatting, giggling, singing karaoke and exchanging backchat with male staff. It got so raucous I and some other travelers went to another lounge to get a bit of peace and quiet.

Anyway, I fired off what I felt was a constructively critical message. I got this back today:

Thank you for your further e-message. I am sorry you have had to contact us under such circumstances.
I rgert to onform you that I am unable to assist you with your complaint.
As you have contacted HSBC UK, we are only able to access accounts held within the UK.
Therefore may I suggest that you contact HSBC Jakarta for them to investigate the issues you have and provide you with a full response.
I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

I wrote back:

Thanks for this, it cheered me up no end. The first time I send complimentary remarks to this email address, and they’re passed on right down to the staff, but when I send criticism you “rgert to onform” that you are unable to assist me.
Lovely stuff. Couldn’t make it up if I tried.

I’m a bit flabbergasted, actually, but I shouldn’t be. It’s pretty amazing that the global email address for customer relations for what is now one of the world’s biggest banks can spew out ungrammatical and misspelled dross like that, but more important, but that the staff member feels able to shunt responsibility back to the customer is shockingly shoddy.

Repeat after me: Every email sent and received by a member of your staff is an ambassador at large for the organization. Mess it up like this one and your whole brand suffers.

(Also being sent to HSBC PR for their comments.)

Are We Too Obsessed With Our Cars?

More stuff from the observant and thought-provoking Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase: drivers protecting their cars in Beijing from urinating canines: 

Beijing, 2008

As Jan points out, lots of issues arise with this: how confused must dogs get that their choice of territory markers move around? (Or maybe that’s exactly what they want—expanding territory without them having to do anything.) But I guess for me is the weird thing that people have over their cars these days. Cars seem to be much clearner than they used to be.

Even in dusty, messy places like Jakarta you knew you could always beat the other guy to a spare corner of road just because you cared less about your car’s bodywork than he did. Here in Singapore people’s cars are so shiny you could eat off them. Apartments may look a mess but the car—the most visible reflection of people’s affluence—is glittering.

Then there’s the thing about hotels, restaurants and clubs allowing the owners of fancy cars to park right outside the lobby. Never quite understood how that works in practice. How do you know whether your car is fancy enough to merit this treatment? Would my Kijang KF42 cut it? It had a chrome trim thing going on which I thought was quite fancy.

Jan Chipchase – Future Perfect: Ownership = Target

Beyond Information Delivery

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Newspaper delivery guy, Jakarta 2007

Over at Loose Wire sister site ten minutes I just wrote a review of ShifD, a new Web 2.0 clippings service that works, in theory, between desktop and mobile. More interesting, I reckoned (quoting myself; sorry), is that

it’s developed by two guys from within The New York Times’ R&D Lab, so you can’t help wondering where something like this might fit into the world of newspapers.

I’d love to see, for example, a five-digit code at the end of each news story in my newspaper/magazine that I could key into my phone and which would then store a copy of that story on my desktop. Would save me carrying a  magic marker around and then forgetting to clip it when I got home. Forget reading the NYT on my handheld: That ain’t going to happen to an old fogey like me; but I’d love a way to store what I liked somewhere useful so that I wouldn’t forget it.

Maybe this is how newspapers need to think of themselves. The medium is not really the problem: I want my newspaper in traditional form, because it’s tried and tested and works for me. But it doesn’t me I don’t want it in other forms too: For when I’m crushed on a subway, where flipping back the pages of the IHT might not be welcomed by my fellow sardines, or when I’m stuck without reading matter waiting for a friend (hi, Mark!)

And of course other people have their requirements too. The medium is going to always be different, depending on the individual. So it’s the content that is the constant, the one element you want to ensure your readers/users are able to access whenever and wherever they want.

And that doesn’t mean just reading it once. Nowadays, as information bombards us, we are more selective about what we read. Two points here: We get a lot of stuff thrown at us, so our ability to recall stuff is weaker. And, because our time is precious, when we do allocate it to something, we don’t want to feel that time is wasted or lost.

Ergo, the value comes in being able to help us users store information we’ve already decided to commit some of our scarce resources to so we can maximise our benefit from it. Whatever article or piece of information it is, chances are that if we bothered to read it, or read most of it, we’ll hope that we retain some of it for future usage.

That, I reckon is where something like ShifD comes into its own. But not if it’s a standalone service. Then it will merely fight with all other services out there that offer something similar. Its power will come if it can be harnessed with NYT so that however, whenever and wherever I dedicate some of my time to reading that august rag, I can be sure of a simple way, via my phone or desktop, of storing anything I read that I consider to be valuable and worth keeping.

In this sense, if you want to get all grand about it, the future of media lies not so much in the format and medium of delivery to the consumer but in the format and delivery of retention by the consumer. I as a consumer want the media provider to provide a way for me to maximise my utility from reading it, by recognising that reading something is not the end of the relationship with that article.

For me, the consumer, it’s the beginning: I’m hoping the piece will change my life sufficiently, from advice on buying new shoes to understanding the threat to my future from a Second Cold War. That, I suspect, is the challenge of today’s media.

Poffertjes and Power

Continuing my search for a place to plug in and work at airports, I was pleasantly surprised to find that HSBC has laid out the red carpet for its Premier account holders, at least at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. If you have one of their fancy accounts, anywhere in the world, you and your partner can partake of their lounge services.

It’s all a bit new, and, dare I say it, charmingly Indonesian: More people (three men watching one female doing the work) were involved in making my poffertjes (a Dutch batter treat popular in the former colony) than there were actual poffertjes:

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HSBC’s Poffertje-Making Team (4)

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HSBC Poffertjes (3)

But that’s not to say I wasn’t pathetically grateful. Food is never good at these kinds of places, so that the HSBC PMT (Poffertje-Making Team) took such care with my poffertjes was in itself a cause for celebration.

What impressed me, though, was that there was ample room there to work — several little cubicles, a couple of actual offices, and, blow me backwards, lots of power outlets — either in the walls, or in the floor. Like these, which pop up at the flick of a little switch. No Wi-Fi or anything, but you can’t have everything. Well done, HSBC.

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Broadband on a Moving Bus

I don’t know if it’s anything to do with my recent column  (probably not) about the need for flat data rates(“The Price is Wrong,” from Nov 2’s WSJ.com), but m1 of Singapore is now offering unlimited data for its mobile broadband plans. So now you can get 512 kbps for about $15 a month, 1.8 Mbps for about $25, and 3.6 Mbps for $45.

I use the 512 kbps service and frankly, it’s fast enough for me. Of course, with the island state embracing free WiFi this all becomes a bit academic at some point, but I still find it easier to crank up the Huawei modem than log in to the WiFi, and there’s something about surfing on a bus that is positively liberating. Not something I ever tried on the moving robbery carts that are buses in Jakarta, I must say.

M1 broadband

Sit Still, I’m Trying to Steal Your Hair

A Jakarta pickpocket tries to steal a woman’s hair to make keyrings:

Hair today, gone tomorrow for victim of mane mugger

The hazards of riding the city’s public buses are many — pickpockets, gropers, drivers who stop in the middle of the road, wandering musicians plunking away on ukuleles in the hopes of annoying a few rupiah out of passengers — but until Monday, commuters might have thought that at least their hair was safe.

Certainly Nuryamah, 35, did — until a thief cut 40 centimeters of her knee-length locks off while she sat aboard a bus going through Senayan.

“It took me six years to grow this,” she cried to police while filing a report.

She said she was on the Blok M-Bekasi bus at around 11 a.m. when she felt a tug on her scalp. She touched her hair and realized it had been cut to her waist.

Nuryamah said she saw a man attempting to leave the bus and called “thief”, attracting the attention of a nearby police officer, who arrested the man and took him to Jakarta Police headquarters.

The suspect, Agus Setiawan, 27, told the police he intended to make keychains from the hair and had done the same thing last year without being caught.

“I can sell hair keychains for Rp 10,000 (almost US$1) each,” he said.

The police detained Agus after questioning him for about three hours. They confiscated his backpack, in which they found the hair.

Agus works as a fried catfish seller at his mother’s stall in Warung Buncit, South Jakarta.

Nuryamah, who was born in Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java, said she was accompanied at the time by her mother, 52-year-old Enah, on her first visit to Jakarta.

“I started to grow my hair in 2001 when I was working as a migrant worker in Palestine,” she said. (JP/08)

What I like about this story are all the questions it raises:

  • What sparked Agus’ entrepreneurial spirit — diversifying from the helping mum sell fried catfish sector to the human hair keychain vending sector?
  • Where did he come up with the idea of a human hair keychain?
  • Who would knowingly buy a human hair keychain?
  • If they didn’t buy it knowingly, what did they think they were buying?
  • Where did he come up with the idea of covertly cutting people’s hair for his supplies?
  • How long was Agus looking for someone with such long hair?
  • And poor old Nuryamah. It’s not clear whether it was her first visit to Jakarta, or her mother’s, but you can’t help wondering what was going through their minds about city dwellers.
  • What did the arresting officer say when she told him her hair had been stolen? “Don’t worry, miss. I hear it grows back”?
  • What exactly did the police put in their report?
  • What did Nuryamah hope to achieve by filing the report? Was she hoping to get her hair back?
  • Is this part of a bigger hair racket? Should we all be on our guard for hair thieves?
  • If her locks really did go down to her knees, how exactly did Agus cut them off?
  • Shouldn’t Agus and Nurmiyah go into business?
  • Most important, where can I buy one of these rings?

The Jakarta Post – Hair today, gone tomorrow for victim of mane mugger

Angry Pondok Indah-ans


Angry Pondok Indah-ans
Originally uploaded by Jeremy Wagstaff.

If today’s Jakarta Post is anything to go by, the residents of swanky suburb Pondok Indah are taking their opposition to a plan to build a busway through their neighborhood to the streets. Actually, it looks more like the forests.