The Defense Minister’s Blog

By | July 4, 2006

I’m much amused that news that Juwono Sudarsono, a lovely man and Indonesia’s defense minister, has started blogging has hit the blogosphere. This from Shel Israel, co-author of naked conversations:

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about politician blogging. Today, I realized how very myopic that post was because I wrote only about American politicos and cited Independence Day. This came to my attention today through the Jakarta Post, where reporter Ong Hock Chuan mentions Naked Conversations in an article about Indonesia’s Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has started a blog.

Sudarsono’s most recent post deals with striking candor of the challenges of getting bureaucrats who clicked their heals in obedience under past government dictators to move with efficacy in the new democracy. His language remains a bit formal, but the content is pretty impressive stuff.

Blogging really is changing the world. I’m happy to be reminded of how much.

This even got picked up by a blogger at the World Bank (yes, I know! Whatever next?) who says it might be a hoax. It’s not; it’s legit. The site is held together by one of Juwono’s sons.

Actually, it is an important development, but with all due respect to Shel, Ong (who started all this discussion) and to the Bank, it’s probably a bit early to cite it as an example of blogging changing the world. Juwono is a very well respected figure in Indonesian politics, but he has always trod a lonely furrow. As far as I know he’s the first senior figure in either business or government in this country who has embarked on this initiative, and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. He is engaging a young Indonesian audience and a foreign readership who remain understandably skeptical of the country’s leadership and direction. What he is not able to do through a blog is to engage the 200 million odd Indonesians who don’t have access to a computer, an Internet connection or English lessons. What is impressive, however, is that Juwono has replied to those people commenting on his blog (twice, on this post) so this is a good start. Congratulations, Pak.

2 thoughts on “The Defense Minister’s Blog

  1. shel israel

    Nice to see you in cyberspace, although Camden is much more charming. Until two days ago, you were the only person I knew living in Indonesia. Through this conversation, my world has changed, just a little bit. Through Juwono’s blog, I now understand the state of Indonesian politics just a bit better. Through you, I now know even more about his role in the country and the problems of connection in the world’s third most populated country (a fact I did not know yesterday). Through me other people now know a bit more about Indonesia. So tell me, has the world not changed just a bit since this whole thing started? Hell, I was taking the day off and now I’m going to have to post on this subject again.

  2. Jeremy Wagstaff

    Shel, great to hear from you. You make a good point. The world can change in little bits. Why don’t you include us on your world tour and we’ll go see Juwono together. I’m sure he’d be as intrigued about you as you would be by him.


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