Anti-Pornography on the Prowl


posted by Fairy email me (11 November 2008) | Readers' Comments

I felt like Obi-wan Kenobi that late September. I was their only hope.

While many people were up to their noses with Hari Raya preparation, I chanced upon a unique and memorable side job. I had received a call from the international news channel Al-Jazeera (AJE) office located in KLCC and they asked if I would come down and do some Bahasa Indonesia to English translation work for them.

Now you know I'm never one to turn down translation work. It is so up my alley! Plus I was already on Raya leave so my day job would not get in the way. Double whammy!

As I happily said 'yes' to my contacts in AJE, I could feel the wind of relieved sighs rushing from the other end of the phone line and into my ear canal. The timing to source for Bahasa Indonesia translators during that sacred season was indeed terrible as these valuable resources had already skipped town and flocked back to their kampung and hometowns.

It was time for me to save some hardworking journalists from missing a deadline or two!

I had never been up an office in KLCC so this was a good time as any to experience what so many have regarded as a maddeningly mundane routine. My host TC Chan, a sporty and pleasant chap from Singapore, greeted me at the lobby as he took me up the powerful lifts and to the entrance of his working world and beyond. I was so pleased to be there I could almost smell the electricity pumping through the broadcasting equipment.

The material I was to translate consisted of interviews with 3 people and their views on the then proposed anti-pornography legislation: a Balinese painter (Polenk Rediasa), a member of the Prosperous Justice Party (Mustafa Kamal), and a member of the Bali People's Component (Ngurah Harta). We had about 4 tapes to go through, and marvellously enough, we managed to finish them all under 5 hours.

Out of all the hours that I helped translate, less than 3 minutes were actually used (alas, the inevitable executions of media editing). The rest of the translated material gets archived.

The two-part coverage was finally aired on Al-Jazeera on 29th October, just one day before the bill was to be passed in Indonesia. Reruns ran for another week to cover all primetimes in other countries.

Check out this awesome piece of this controversial Indonesian law passing. I am happy to have played a humble yet essential role in the creation of this production. Thank you TC and Jules!

Part 1 of 101 East: Indonesian morality debate


Part 2 of 101 East: Indonesian morality debate

What's my take on the passing of this new law? Well, it's more than just stopping the distribution of pornographic material, the new legislation is actually made up of 44 sections. It'd be nice to see the other parts be given more emphasis in the media.

Do you have any strong (or weak?) feelings about what you have just seen? I am curious to know what you feel or think about the new anti-pornography law in Indonesia.

Related stories:

Production pictures of the crew shooting in Bali (external link)

The Wonderful World of Subtitling

Is it all madness?

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