Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My home!

After staying at hotel(s) for 33 days, I finally moved in to an apartment. This is my first 'home' in my life where I am really in charge of everything. All apartment by my own! This is great. In the last 4 years, I never stayed in one room/apartment for more than 5 months. Kept moving, changing places. This apartment is gonna be my home for at least 11 months. I feel excited about it. I love this apartment.

This is not really a big luxurious apartment. But for me, this is the best place of stay in my life where I don't have to share anything with anybody else. In my parents' house, I never had any bedroom bigger than 6 sqm. When I started to be out of my parents' home, I mostly stayed in cramped small room(s) with shared facilities. The worst was a 3.6 sqm room in Jakarta. The best place I got in Holland was an 18 sqm studio apartment with shared shower/toilet/storage.

This is a 2 floors loft apartment. Downstairs, there are (all small) living room, dining room and kitchen. Upstairs are bedroom, bathroom, and dressing room. That's all. The apartment came unfurnished, but a previous tenant was very nice to me. Previously he offered me his couch and his desk. Later on, he also gave me his microwave, blender, toaster, dressing table, drawer, bookshelve, dining table + chairs, lamps, and a great leather desk chair as well as kitchenware. I don't have to spend hundred bucks to buy furniture.

I still work so hard in cleaning my apartment. Soon, I'll also decorate it. Oooh, I am still so excited! Great feeling.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Invloed van internet op Indonesische politiek

Just found out today that I was in the UT-Nieuws.

donderdag 8 september 2005, jaargang 40, nr. 25
rubriek: Onderwijs en Onderzoek

merlyna lim promoveert bij groep van nico schulte nordholt

Invloed van internet op Indonesische politiek

Hoe beïnvloedt internet politiek activisme? De Indonesische onderzoekster Merlyna Lim onderzocht onder andere welke rol internet speelde in de Indonesische `reformasi' in 1998. Lim promoveerde op 1 september aan de faculteit BBT, binnen de technology and sustainable development group van professor Nico Schulte Nordholt.

De promovenda onderzocht de relatie tussen internet en politieke actievoering aan de hand van twee voorbeeldsituaties uit Indonesië. `Ik was erg geïntrigeerd door het onderwerp omdat ik zelf ervaren heb hoe de betrokkenheid van burgers bij de politiek veranderde door de opkomst van internet in Indonesië', aldus Lim.

Haar eerste praktijkvoorbeeld was het gebruik van internet tijdens de `reformasi' van mei 1998: de politieke vernieuwingsbeweging die oud-president Soeharto dwong de macht uit handen te geven. De onderzoekster ontdekte dat internet in deze periode op unieke wijze bijdroeg aan het politiek activisme dat uiteindelijk leidde tot zijn val. `Ik was in 1998 getuige van de revolutionaire studentenbewegingen die het internet gebruikten om politieke informatie te verspreiden.' Vervolgens ontstond er een intensieve uitwisseling van berichtgeving tussen het internet en de conventionele media en, omdat Indonesiërs vooral in cybercafés internetten, met studentenactivisten, taxichauffeurs en gewone burgers. Op die manier werd de kritiek op het bewind van Soeharto gemeengoed onder de massa.

Werkte internet in het geval van Soeharto als een bevrijdend medium, in het tweede voorbeeld dat Lim onderzocht werkte internet precies tegenovergesteld. Zij richt zich daarin op het gebruik van internet door de Jihad Troopers, een radicale militiegroep, betrokken bij het Molukse conflict tussen moslims en christenen.

In dit voorbeeld laat Lim zien hoe internet als mobilisatiestrategie werd ingezet. Door directe informatie over gewelddadige gebeurtenissen elders in de moslimwereld kon deze lokale identiteit worden uitvergroot en agressiever worden. Hierdoor nam het conflict in omvang toe en duurde het langer. Lim: `De informatie die de Jihad Troopers verspreidden lokte andere partijen uit. Bovendien waren hun boodschappen provocerend, simplistisch en radicaal. Zo bleven ze lang hangen bij de mensen.'

Lim concludeert dat internet creatieve interactie tussen mensen onderling en tussen mensen en hun omgeving mogelijk maakt. Door die openheid is de technologie minder gevoelig voor dominantie door een klein aantal elites. Terwijl internet de potentie heeft om collectieve actie te generen en te ondersteunen, zal het wereldwijde netwerk volgens Lim nooit het belang van culturele en interpersonele contacten vervangen in collectieve acties.

Alhoewel de relatie tussen internet en democratisering ambigue is, kunnen haar onderzoeksresultaten gebruikt worden om maatschappelijke organisaties in ontwikkelingslanden te informeren over het relatieve belang van internet voor het proces van democratisering.

De Indonesische ambassadeur in Nederland M. Jusuf woonde de promotie van Merlyn Lim bij. Lim: `Ik voelde me bijzonder vereerd en ook erkend.' Ze verrichtte haar onderzoek met steun van de NWO- stichting WOTRO, wetenschappelijk onderzoek van de tropen en ontwikkelingslanden. Lim promoveerde cum laude. Vanaf 11 september werkt ze als research fellow bij het Annenberg Center for Communication aan de University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Jannie Benedictus

Merlyna Lim promoveerde cum laude bij professor Nico Schulte Nordholt (rechts).

Copyright redactie UT-Nieuws. Page generated on woensdag 07 september 2005, 18:14 by UT-Nieuws

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My first day at work

It's exciting to finally start my work after kept delaying it. I was asked to start my job on 15th of August, but I couldn't so then I postponed it to the 1st of September. Yet, since I had to go to Bahrain, I only started it today, the 12th of September.

After 27++ hours trip and a few hours sleep, I turned my brain to be ready for work this morning. I walked to my office with a mixed feeling. Excited about the job, curious about my office, scared a bit about everything.

When I found the building where my office is located, I couldn't believe my eyes. The Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California is sitting in a very beautiful Kerckhoff Building. Really great! As an (ex) architect, the 'where' is always important for me.

Kerckhoff Building

I haven't really started my job. I only came to check my office, talked with some people in the Center, and had my orientation with the International Office. I am glad to get some paperwork done and so happy to get my USC ID card! Great!

Now, I will go home. It's already 5:30 pm. I am tired, sleepy and hungry. Luckily it's easy to get some great food... restaurants are all over the neighborhood.

Hmm.... I am curious, what kind of adventure I'll have in this city....?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Online from Cincinnati, OH

This is me again, connected to the Internet from the Delta Crown Lounge at the Cincinnati (Ohio) airport. After flying for about 6.5 hours from Bahrain to Amsterdam, I got a 5 hours layover, then had to spend 9 hours to get to Cincinnati. And it's not yet over, ugh. I still need to be on the airplane for about 4.5 hours to get to L.A. I think I'm circling over more than half of the globe! Yikes. I'm glad that everything will soon be over....

A conversation at the immigration desk

When you enter one country, whom do you speak for the first time? In most cases, it is the immigration officer, right? Sometimes I get some real conversations with these officers, sometimes not. Some immigration officers can have a really good sense of humor. Guess that makes them survived.

The 8th time entering United States, I passed through Cincinnati, Ohio. The airport wasn't as busy as DC, New York or LA. The queueing line wasn't not bad at all. One security guard, who stood in front of the immigration desks, shouted that we had to run as soon as there was an empty desk. He counted, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, you failed!" or "1, 2, 3, 4, 5... yeah, touch down!... you got it!". It was fun, people laughed.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, it was my turn. Desk 3, it was a lady officer. She asked, "What visa? Oh J-1! Show me your documents." Then she asked some questions: "What are you doing in US? What kind of research?". Things went ok. She treated me nicely. I got my index fingers and eyes scanned. Then she looked again carefully at my DS-2019 form, her expression was changed and suddenly I had this conversation....

The Officer (TO): USC?!?!? (nasty face)
Me: Yes.
TO: Don't you know it's a really bad university?
Me (shocked, 5 seconds of silenzio)
Me (quickly answered): Oh really? Too late, I should have known it earlier!
TO (looked at me with a cold face for 4-5 seconds)
TO (changed her expression, she laughed)
TO: Haha.. I'm from UCLA. You know we hate each other!
Me: Hehehe.
TO: Ugh.... USC.... downtown...
Me: Yeah, I'll be trapped there...
TO: USC, University of Sport Center! (laughed again)
Me: hehehe...
TO: Well, OK, good luck with USC and everything! (smiled)
Me: Thanks a lot!

Wheeeeeew.... what a conversation to have at the immigration desk!
Of course we all know that for Americans (mostly), cross-town universities usually treat each other as a real rival. Big competition! I know USC and UCLA are in real rivalry, but didn't expect to have such conversation at the airport! Funny... hehe.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Online again from Bahrain

It's my sixth day in Bahrain where most of time has been spent in this room, the plenary room of the Bahrain Exhibition Center. Like almost everybody who attend the plenary meeting of the World Summit Award grand jury, I put the jacket/suit on. Funny, in hot places like Bahrain, we all are freezing!

This is the last plenary meeting we, the jurors, have. Despite some disagreements and perhaps some disappointment, we are all glad that we can finish our job in selecting 40 world best products in e-content applications which is really not an easy job. It's really a great experience to be able to see hundreds of e-content products from all over the world. In addition, it's a very valuable experience to be able to know other jurors who came from different parts of the world.

Now I am witnessing the closure of this event. It feels relieved to finally have everything over.

The WSA grand jury with ICNM staffs

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rambling about Bahrain

It's my third day in Bahrain and yet I have only seen a very little part of this city. This morning I and some other jurors went to the museums, the Bahrain National Museum and the House of Quran (Bait Al Quran). Both were interesting, especially the Quran one. Bait Al Quran displays a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Holy Quran and manuscripts. It has the oldest, the biggest, the smallest, and all kind of Holy Quran. Really fascinating. The Bahrain National Museum was OK. It basically tells the story of civilization of Bahrain. One artifact that impressed me most is the ancient Dilmun (Bahrain) grave from 3000-2000 BC.

It felt so nice to finally see something else than the hotel and the workplace, even though the hotel is a nice one. Here I stay in the 4 stars hotel, Mercure Grand Hotel Seef, which is a luxurious hotel. The room is sooooo huge. It is approximately 80 m2 consists of 50 m2 kitchen/dining/living room, 20 m2 bedroom and 10m2 bathroom. It is the biggest hotel room ever for me.

Being a grand juror of the World Summit Award is always fun and interesting. This is my second time participating in this event (two years ago it was held in Dubai). While it's still as exciting as the first time, this time I didn't get interesting categories to judge. Last time it was e-Culture and e-Inclusion. Both were so interesting, especially e-Culture. This time, I got e-Science for the first round and e-Business for the second round. e-Science was much more interesting than e-Business. e-Business is kinda boring for me. That's why I am feeling so sleepy and thus try to refresh myself by blogging rather than continue working on it! (Well, I actually am finished with my work, now just pretending to work, oops...).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Flying high

KLM flight, on the way to Bahrain

Two days after my public defense, I am flying high (emotionally and in a literal way as well), still in the seventh heaven, not yet quite hitting the ground :D. I am still filled with excitement, my adrenalin level is still so high. I also am still lacking of sleep, lightheaded, and still like being in the different reality. Guess I should try to hit the ground!

The next two weeks, I think, will be still like a dream. Not quite real since I will be in super hectic mode with my Bahrain and LA trips and my involvement in the World Summit Award. After Bahrain, I'll be busy trying to settle in LA. Perhaps once I get an apartment in LA, then I'll be earthed.

For now, I'll just enjoy my Bahrain time. It will be exciting. Cannot wait to land there.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I just closed the final curtain

Yes, I just closed the final curtain of my formal education, my latest stage of higher education, Ph.D. I am relieved, I am happy, I am full of joy, I am excited. Therefore I cannot sleep just like yesterday when I was so nervous preparing myself for the defense :).

My public oral defense, how was it? Here is the story.

Early morning Sept 1st, 2005
I wrote: It's already that day, the 1st of September. In less than half day I'll have my public oral defense. I tried to sleep but I couldn't. My mind cannot stop thinking. Ah, I really need some sleep so I'll try again to get some sleep, perhaps an iPod will help. I know I shouldn't be nervous, but I am.

Morning to noon of Sept 1st, 2005
After having such a little sleep, I started my day with a visit to downtown Enschede. I bought some frames for some drawing I made for my committee members, then I took a bus to the building where I would have my defense, De Spiegel, to do a try-out of my powerpoint. Alas, at first my file couldn't be opened. Luckily, after re-copied the file, it worked well. I did a try-out to make sure that my presentation wouldn't be longer than 12 minutes. It was difficult to make such a short effective presentation, but with the 'strict control' of Joe (my 2nd paranymph) I managed to do so. After that, I went to the office and did some printing stuff. I printed some defense tips I made for myself [tips such as "speak slowly", "stay cool", "don't panic", "give emphasis on key words"]. Finished everything, after missing the bus, I finaly went home, but for only 45 minutes, then headed back to De Spiegel building. It was 2:00 pm. My presentation had to start at 2:45 pm. I quickly changed my clothes. Put a bit of make up. Made my hair. It took me only 20 minutes to finish all and everything was set. Yes, I wore kebaya Sunda and batik tulis halus.

[paranymph is the term used for an assistant or a best man/woman of a phd candidate in his/her promotie/public defense]

2.45 pm
Usually the defense is never late. This time, though, it started late because, surprisingly nice, the Indonesian Ambassador came to attend my defense and his atache who accompanied him came a bit late. Because of the Ambassador presence, the president of university came to the defense room to welcome him, thus he also came to me and wish me luck. It was such a priviledge.

2.53 pm
The beaddle/pedel entered the room, followed by me and the two paranymphs. I then started my presentation by introducing my two paranymphs, Sarah and Joe. They were chosen by me because they were living witnesses of my erratic behavior and they were suffered most by sharing their rooms with me during my writing dissertation process :P The presentation went well. I had my audience (approx 60-70 people) laughed at my jokes (I started everything with INdomie TEloR korNET stuff) and gave me a big applause at the end.

3.05 pm
The beaddle came with his stick, marking the beginning of a real event. Within 45 minutes, I got 6 questions from 6 examiners. It was full of tension. All questions were much more difficult than what I could guess. Amazingly, I had answers for each question. I didn't know how it happened. I just heard the answers in my head. I guess answers just came from the inside of me. It went better than what I expected.

3:50 pm
The beaddle came again. The defense was over. Wuuuih, a big relief. The next 15 minutes was awaiting moment. The committee went to the secret room to discuss their decision.

4:05 pm
The beaddle and the committee came back to the room. The chairman (Dean) invited me to come to hear the decision. Well, at first it was exciting but it was predictable. At that moment, I thought, of course, just like anybody else who had their PhD defense in Holland, I would pass and I would get the degree. That's all. So, I was cool when my promotor read and explain the decision. Then there was a small pause.

The Dean announced that I was awarded a Doctoral degree with Cum Laude. Wow! I stuned. The audience cheered. That was really something. Unexpected. Unpredictable. I didn't think about it at all. Indeed it was a very very nice big surprise. Wow!

The rest of the day then became extraordinary. My promotor's speech was great. The reception was enjoyable. The dinner party was superb.

I feel blessed to be surrounded by great professors, excellent committee, helpful colleagues and loving friends as well as superb family (great parents, of course).

I also want to thank you all of my friends in cyberspace who have been supportive. Thank you, really.