Open Thread

Feb 25th, 2011, in Asides, by

545 Comments on “Open Thread”

  1. avatar Arie Brand says:

    I don’t depend on quotes and links from other people to support my arguments in the way you do. I have the confidence to speak for myself.

    You are entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts.

    One simply shouldn’t waste time on people who are not aware of that. Life is too short.

  2. avatar berlian biru says:

    if I recall you were challenged on making simply attribbuting absurd inferences that things like late term abortions were some kind of key platform master plan of the left. Time and again this has been proven nonsense yet your so called proof of this was “ooh look it happens therefore it must be part of the master plan”.

    No Oigal, don’t tell porkies old son, you might like to pretend that is what you said but it is simply untrue.

    It’s only a few pages back if you want to check, go back and read what was written in plain simple English. You challenged me on FACTS twice, you did not believe that what I said was FACTUALLY correct, I proved to you on both occasions that what I said was entirely correct.

    Anyone who chooses to do so can go back and check what is written there in black and white.

    Blimey, between Arie, Oigal and timdog it’s like shooting fish in a barrel here today.

  3. avatar berlian biru says:

    One simply shouldn’t waste time on people who are not aware of that. Life is too short.

    And yet you come back for more, the masochistic streak runs deep.

    Facts are facts you clown, no one “owns” them.

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    hehe 🙂 If it relieves some of the bitterness BB…Kind of reminds me of my mates passing out parade and his mum “ohlook at my boy, he is the only one in step”.

  5. avatar stevo says:

    Arie, you are correct in saying that issues such as, gay rights, abortion & immigration do not form a central plank of the lefts electioneering. The left are well aware of what the “majority” of people feel about those things. Using their (the lefts) own language, these are “minority” issues, of little concern to the wider public. Minorities do not win elections and as much as democracy appals the left, they are stuck with it (for now) in many countries.

    They campaign on feel good platforms with vague references to a fairer more balanced society. A society that cares about all people equally (and please let us think of the children) It is is all very appealing rhetoric and an easy sell to the politically naive who are unaware of lefts true legacy.

    Once they gain political power all this changes. The left alienates the majority of people by spending too much time advancing the concerns of minority interests. It is once they are in control that issues such as gay rights & abortion are promoted. The days of the left representing the concerns of the down trodden masses are well behind us. (I question if any leftist regime has ever actually benefitted the masses.)

    The key difference you have overlooked/avoided is between the rhetoric and the reality of the left.

    I know you like facts, so here are some: USSR, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, The People’s Republic of China, Communist Romania ………. and so on. You may claim I am making extreme comparisons, but all these regimes came to power promising better outcomes and representation for the down trodden masses. This is the real legacy of the left. Brutal and oppressive regimes that treat its people like dirt.

  6. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Stevo, when I think of the left my associations are quite different. In the immediate post war years I grew up in Holland where the Dutch labor party was an important partner in a coalition government then and provided the Prime Minister, Willem Drees, for several cabinets. Drees was the man behind the establishment of a general old age pension. He also took care of more generous provisions for the unemployed. He is the only Dutch Prime Minister who has been called “Father”, Vader Drees (a name he honored by living to the ripe old age of 102).

    In England you had, at the same time, the Attlee Labor government, that took the initiative for the introduction of at least part of the Plan Beveridge with the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 and a wider system of social security benefits.

    I don’t have to consult books to know about the bitter poverty, especially among the aged, that many still had to endure before the war. I know this particularly from the stories of my mother (who was born in 1899).

    The regimes you mentioned I classify as totalitarian rather than of the left. Totalitarianism can come about under any ideological guise.

    The preoccupation of the modern left with fringe issues such as abortion and gay rights has been much exaggerated on this thread. I see very little of that, both here and in Holland.

    I haven’t got much more to say about this issue.

    A bit more about Willem Drees. The bane of his career was the conflict with Indonesia. If the labor party had been in power on its own (as it was in Britain) I dare say that the Accord of Linggajati would have been honored, there would have been no “police actions” and peace would have been brought about much earlier. Sukarno would, probably, have become less dominant and there would have been more space for politicians like Sjahrir and Sjarifuddin. But Drees had to operate in a coalition government, mainly with the then Catholic People’s Party, and couldn’t follow his own insights. Later, in the fifties, when Drees had to deal with Sukarno in the conflict about Papua the Dutch PM became far less inclined to make concessions. This was partly because Sukarno was to him a totally incomprehensible and impossible figure. And indeed these two people couldn’t have been more different. Drees was solid, careful with the finances, cautious, and conservative in his personal life. He wasn’t much given to rhetoric. I don’t have to sketch Sukarno.

    I posted a few weeks back a link to a documentary about a recent trip through Indonesia by the Dutch novelist Adriaan van Dis.

    Here is a link to the second installment:

    Van Dis visits here one of the six burial places for Dutch victims of the war with Japan, the ‘bersiap time’ and the struggle with an independent Indonesia. Altogether about 25,000 people are buried there. He had himself five generations of ancestors in Surabaya and his attempts to find some of their graves in an old neglected Dutch graveyard (not maintained by Holland as different from those war graves) came to nought. He visits a ‘hari pahlawan’ in Surabaya and talks there to some Indonesian war veterans. He also talks to an Indonesian historian who calls this “hari pahlawan” a bit of mythology and is so bold as to praise Van Heutsz for uniting the country.

    He also speaks with two alleged eye witnesses, one Indonesian and one Indo Belanda, about the flag incident of 14th Sept. 1945 in and near the former Oranje Hotel, then Hotel Yamato, now Mandarin Oriental Hotel Gajamada, in which a group of pemudas transformed a Dutch flag into an Indonesian one by tearing off the blue stripe. One Dutchman was knifed in the incident.

    The language is Dutch but there are substantial fragments in Indonesian.

  7. avatar stevo says:

    I fully acknowledge that the “left” has achieved many good things. I also believe that some places (like Indonesia) would benefit from a little more of the lefts social conscience. The situation varies around the world and my comments are very general.

    Referring to those regimes as totalitarian does not distract me from the fact that they are/were socialist regimes with the stated commitment of improving the lot of the common people. My point was not so much the results and methods used, but the difference between what was promised and what was delivered.

    In my heart I confess to being a bit of a lefty myself, but I am repulsed by people who have the real motive of controlling others.

  8. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Van Dis had never been in Indonesia before, though his Indo father was born there and married his mother there. He had to learn some Indonesian specifically for this trip.

    One scene is amusing. When Van Dis tries to get to know more about that flag incident by “supernatural means” and gets a medium to reveal who exactly knifed that Dutchman in the flag incident.,

  9. avatar David says:

    He had himself five generations of ancestors in Surabaya and his attempts to find some of their graves in an old neglected Dutch graveyard (not maintained by Holland as different from those war graves) came to nought.

    I’m guessing that’s Peneleh, I took some (not very good) photos of it a few years ago – My favourite stone there is this one – The place is of course a disaster zone and has been thoroughly looted.

  10. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Yes indeed David – it is Peneleh. You can see it on the video at 11.30. Van Dis’s ancestors were, among opther things, traders in marble and had, he knew, impressive marble tombstones. But at Peneleh there was not a bit of marble to be seen.

  11. avatar berlian biru says:

    Seems like my opinion of the sell-out of traditional socialist values by the mainstream western left is shared by the voters of Bradford.

    Labour drubbed in “safe seat”

    It’s noticeable how the damage limitation brigades are already dismissing this as a one-off. They’re saying Galloway appealed to the Muslim vote even though he took white working class areas too and it was actually Labour who put the Pakistani Muslim up as a candidate.

  12. avatar stevo says:

    Maybe Nigel Farage for Prime Minister next 🙂

  13. avatar berlian biru says:

    Maybe Nigel Farage for Prime Minister next

    From your lips to God’s ear.

  14. avatar stevo says:

    Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys in Britain, according to new data released by the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) — reflecting the growing influence there of Islam.

    The name Mohammed has overtaken Jack, which had topped the list for the past 14 years but has now been relegated to third spot.

    No wonder Galloway got in ! I am not sure it looks so good for Farage however.

  15. avatar berlian biru says:

    In Oigal’s Sumatra Death Railway thread you will encounter Oigal’s usual attacks on Indonesia. He attacks the education system in Indonesia and then sneers at the “myth” of Indonesian war of independence.

    These two attacks on Indonesia are in a thread which he claims are about POW’s in Indonesia. Why does he continually disparage Indonesia, why does he insult the country which shows him such hospitality?

    Well I challenged him on this, I raised the irritating tendency of him and so many expats to be know-alls about Indonesia and continually running the country down. The usual suspects came forward in Oigal’s defence, the heavenly chorus of timdog, Laredion and unusually Jakartass all to point out how bad the Indonesian education system is.

    I was accused of being drunk by two of them for having the audacity to challenge their smug western assumptions about Indonesia and its education system compared to western education systems.

    Timdog triumphantly and in his usual jingoistic way claimed that the British education system “pissed all over” the Indonesian system.

    I pointed out that in fact hundreds of thousands of British people leave school illiterate, he sneered in reply that I was drunk and got my information from the Daily Mail.

    I posted two links from the Guardian and the BBC, which confirmed that 20% of adults in the UK are functionally illiterate and cannot do basic arithmetic.

    Result? Simple, the much vaunted spud kicker censored the statistics I supplied while still maintaining his unjustified and discredited attack on the Indonesian education system in his main thread.

    Spud kickers don’t like criticism no matter how much they like to dole it out.

  16. avatar stevo says:

    People like Oigal represent the ugly side of Europeans living in Indonesia. He has forgotten his place and really does believe he is “worthy” of all the respect and consideration shown him by the Indonesians.

    He now expects his fellow bules to be subservient to him, in the same way he demands it from his Indonesian workers. Any challenge, or alternative view, brings on an abusive narcissistic rage. I can only imagine how he treats the Indonesians in his day-to-day life !

    He has repeatedly shown an inability to understand any view other than his own and is unable to engage in open debate (on the issues). To a narcissist your view can never be relevant (or even allowed) as BB had found out. Censoring posts, because they prove you wrong, is about the lowest thing I have seen on IM and an abuse of an otherwise open forum.

    The Indonesians should send him back to Aussie, so he can learn some humility.

  17. avatar Oigal says:

    Laugh, quite the quinella really.

  18. avatar Yaser Antone says:

    Spud kicker,

    Have you finished ironing my socks?

  19. avatar berlian biru says:

    The following is a post I made in reply to Jakartass’s belief that in some way I had “derailed” Oigal’s thread and to Jakartass’s belief that Oigal is entitled to censor opinions he disagree with. I posted it twice and both times it was taken down.

    Do bear in mind that the topic of Indonesia’s history curricuilum was originally introduced by Aaaditya who wrote about his experience in SMP. He is, presumably, an Indonesian.

    Jakartass, that is factually incorrect, the Indonesian education system and Oigal’s criticism of it was the centre part of his post, he barely skimmed over the railway so keen was he to get his digs in at Indonesia, as he usually does.

    You and other posters then took up the discussion of the Indonesian education system in your replies before Aaaditya did so. If the education system was irrelevant why did Oigal make such an issue of it in the original post? Why did you and others feel it worthy of comment?

    I agree that Oigal has the ability to censor posts which contradict him or his buddies but I assert that he has no moral right to do so. He is a blogger and expects the right to free speech, if he wishes to be taken seriously then he needs to accord the same rights to others, otherwise he should simply switch off the comments function.

    He’s a big boy, he’s not afraid to hand out the insults, witness his accusations of my drunkenness, his references to “wank” and “droppings” when talking about my posts.

    If he’s big enough to hand it out he needs to be big enough to take it on the chin in return and not run for the shelter of censorship. I am surprised that you as a blogger would support such cowardice.

    If as I suspect, Oigal chooses to censor this post too, I will simply put it up on the Open Thread as testimony to his moral cowardice.

    Oigal’s ludicrous bombast is on record in his self-description, his pomposity and self-righteousness have long been on display. He has now shown himself to be a moral coward, unable to face the sort of criticism he routinely hands out to others.

  20. avatar bonni says:


    For me it’s just some critics. As an Indonesian I’m not bothered so much if it’s true… I don’t mind some cynics either…

    I sincerely hope Arie keeps posting in this thread though…

  21. avatar Oigal says:

    Mmmm… My last post on this BB. Could it be that the actual power point presentation did not show up in your internet device as that is the only reason I could fathom your nonsensical claim that the post was all about rubbishing Indonesia in general. In fact most people would have and did skim the narrative as introductory filler. You would have to be look pretty hard to be offended.

    Let’s take a look at what has brought you to such hyper ventilating cyber walking rage. History teaching in Indonesian schools is abysmal, pretty much a given particularly during the times of the new order. The fact that so few Indonesians can tell you much about the death railway or the convoluted loyalties during the time of the occupation and later proves the point. Moving forward, does anyone believe the ‘official’ history what occured in 1965, let alone the nonsense history of the murdered generals.

    The phrase myth of the Indonesian Freedom Fighters, yea ok mildly provocative but as ‘L’ indicated, this was a period that tore families apart, period of complex and divided loyalties complete with betrayals and treachery. Even the Battle of Surabaya has its episodes Of darkess that don’t fit the Myth.

    However, essentially side issues to the PowerPoint presentation on the post. On the issue of censorship, nope not really just a little house keeping as I happen to believe that the presentation was more important in the post that endless comments from you on how much you dislike me and others. You were looking to outraged and seek so shall ye find. I shall be cleaning the rest up as the days go by.

    But in the interests of fairness I shall create post shortly called Kitty Litter and you and Stevo can rant about moral cowardice, gay marriage, the English education system, leftists, communists and all those other things that keep you awake at night. I am sure all of those interested in your musings would be happy to find them all in one spot.

    Thank you and goodnight

  22. avatar stevo says:

    I think Mr Snippy Snip-Snip (aka Oigal) would be more appropriately situated in his moral and philosophical homeland of Pyongyang.

    I bet he imagines being part of the ruling elite there too (& possibly worshipped as a deity by a few brainless sycophants)

  23. avatar agan says:


    When Spuds, Vegemites, Enchiladas and the whole shebang came to Indahnesia they said they liked it because ’twas different, challenging and interesting here.
    So why start frettin’ now about skool, edumakashun system, hittin’ the old books, macet and whatnot?

    I know many bule are, on a one-on one basis, some of the most kind, generous and patient people. But at times, the bets are off when shit hits the fan.

  24. avatar stevo says:

    some of the most kind, generous and patient people

    And some are just plain patronising agan.

  25. avatar berlian biru says:

    Oigal, you’re a blowhard and like most blowhards you are a coward, you can dish it out but you run crying when you get it handed back to you.

    Stick to your oafish Indonesia-bashing chum, we’ve heard it all before from every braying, red faced Aussie propping up the bars of Blok M, ranting on about how shit Indonesia is but seemingly not that keen to return to their loser life back in some crap Aussie suburb.

    This is a lovely country, it’s got a heck of a lot of problems but a lot of good people are trying hard to make it better, they can do without oafs like you sneering at them in their difficult work.

    I couldn’t give a shit about your opinions and you and timdog can stick together in your mutual masturbation society as far as I care. I’ve got a life to lead and I’m going to get on with it.

    (No doubt you’ll go snivelling off to the moderators to get this post deleted too)

  26. avatar Oigal says:

    Thanks for sharing BB

  27. avatar deta says:

    BB is not alone on this one. It reminds me that I once called Oigal “opportunistic expatriate who grazes on Indonesian soil”. I did apologize, though 🙂 (did I?)

    To be fair, however, I have to agree that Indonesian education system needs improvement. Although the literacy rate is fascinating, beyond the basic reading skill, the knowledge is pretty much given mostly in the form of dogmatic theories. Students have to answer based on what the teachers or the (appointed) books say, or they will not pass the exam. So much for critical thinking.

  28. avatar Oigal says:


    Interesting introduction but in the interests of perhaps steering the things back on track lets move on. I would like to point out that the introduction to the post was more specific about the teaching (or not) of history rather than a comment on the education system overall. The education system rightly may deserve comments on its own never the less in this case it was more about how something like the railway was largely unknown even by people in Sumatera.

    i still confess a certain bemusement (and dare I say amusement at some of the comments) that the actual presentation has been over shadowed or simply ignored in some cases.

  29. avatar bonni says:

    And that was my comment… I think I started it…

    Thanks for sharing, oigal.

    Indonesians pretty much ignore a critical time in their collective history.

    I hate to admit it, but yes it’s true.

    Because I thought it was true… If you don’t think so then just put some arguments there… Oh cmon guys stop the drama… Kasihan oigal… 😛

  30. avatar berlian biru says:

    Deta, I see no reason why you feel the need to apologise for what was an extremely accurate summary of the obnoxious, sneering attitude to Indonesia by so many expats. You hit it on the head precisely.

    In the thread in question it was made very clear to me by one particular knobhead that I should somehow feel ashamed for sticking up for Indonesia, that somehow I must be a closet PKS supporter (no, me neither).

    Well I’m not ashamed, I really love this place, and the longer I live here the more I get to like it even for all its many faults (not the least of which is Indonesians’ inferiority complex when it comes to some tedious western bore droning on for the five hundredth time about the problems here as if Indonesians themselves are too stupid to know for themselves what’s wrong).

    Indonesia’s an amazing country, and the best decision I ever made was to come here. I will be eternally grateful for all the fantastic experiences and opportunities that I have enjoyed as a long term guest of this nation. I hope that the investments I have made here and the work I have done is some recompense for all this country has given me, not least a couple of newly minted young Indonesians along the way.

    Never be ashamed of this country, don’t sit passively as another bule whinges on insulting Indonesia. Adopt the attitude of my missus one evening when we were having dinner in a family restaurant in town, a meal somewhat overshadowed by the drunken Aussie oafs at a nearby table. Two young Indonesian ladies entered the restaurant to be greeted by a yell of “come over here ya little brown c*nts!”.

    I wish I had had a camera to take a picture of the look on the clown’s face after my good lady tipped his glass of beer over his head.

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