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Vanhelsing

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Girl Gone Wild – My Life in the Sumatran Jungle, Indonesia

Ellie McManus
24th January 2020


...after just two days of clearing, replacing the grass roof slats and making good the rotting bamboo walls, our house appeared ready to move into. Were we mad?

I love adventure but even my wildest dreams could never ever match the amazing experiences that lay ahead of me. I have a Sumatran partner, Teson. He and I decided to purchase a rante of Sumatran land; a rante measures 20 x 20 metres. We chose a patch of earth located approximately 3 kilometres away from the bustling tourist village of Bukit Lawang, nestled between a cocoa and a rubber tree plantation, next to the Bohorok River.

Our first project was to create a “garden toilet”. We dug a hole 2 metres deep and placed wooden slats to cover the hole, leaving just a small opening. Since squat toilets are common across Asia, using the garden toilet didn’t take much adjustment. With four bamboo walls but no roof, you have to time your toilet visits to avoid the rain!

After the third or fourth ghost story and wanting to be careful of the spirits, I decided to purchase an energy-saving bulb as apparently spirits won’t come close to your house if you have a light on. In the daytime, I could charge it at the cafe or local guesthouse.

From my wooden hut experience, I gained a deeper insight into not only Sumatran culture but also in the hardship many people in this part of the world experience. Life can be tough when you live without luxuries and Sumatran’s have large families to support as there are no provision systems or pension schemes.

full https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/living-wild-sumatra/
 

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The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our Worldby Vincent Bevins

The Jakarta Method

Andre Pagliarini
June 5, 2020

"There is no such thing as being half free, as there is no such thing as being half alive,” proclaimed Sukarno, Indonesia’s charismatic first president...

In The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World, journalist Vincent Bevins, who has covered Latin America and Southeast Asia extensively, argues that Cold War battles in Brazil and Indonesia, big influential countries in the global south, produced devastating and enduring effects not only for those countries but for the world.

By rooting the pursuit of social justice within a broad anti-colonial struggle rather than anti-imperialism per se, Sukarno sought to rally nonaligned nations while not antagonizing the U.S., which had recently engineered coups in Guatemala and Iran.

The following year, 11,000 miles away, the Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI, the largest in the world outside of China and the Soviet Union, was targeted in an exhaustive and extremely brutal crackdown. The PKI had played an influential, if not leading, role in national politics since its creation in 1914 and had been, Bevins explains, “part of Sukarno’s new Indonesia.” The 1965–66 massacre decimated the party faithful but did not stop there. Members of the PKI and countless others were swept up in a murderous dragnet that forever reshaped Indonesian society.

As Washington saw it, military interventions in the Third World were a blessing to forestall a curse. But Communist parties in places like Brazil and Indonesia for the most part opposed armed insurrection in the early 1960s. Even the Cuban Communist Party had disavowed Fidel’s early attempts to seize power through force.

Indeed, as Greg Grandin has written, “secular ideologies of nationalism, socialism, Marxism, and communism—those dangerous scions of liberalism—did motivate and give solace to people’s lives … by providing the fuel and steel needed to contest the terms of nearly intolerable conditions.”

full https://newrepublic.com/article/158...te-violence-jakarta-method-bevins-book-review
 

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‘It’s bullshit’: Inside the weird, get-rich-quick world of dropshipping

By Sirin Kale
May 2020

Inside the city’s co-working spaces (Dojo is the oldest in Canggu, Outpost the new challenger), people are building business empires selling products they’ve never handled, from countries they’ve never visited, to consumers they’ve never met. Welcome to the world of dropshipping.

Canggu is a place where people go to feel rich. The clicking of keyboards in the Balinese town’s co-working spaces is drowned out only by the roar of mopeds. Over smoothie bowls and lattes, western immigrants – expats, as they prefer to be known – talk about themselves, loudly.

Louden talks me through their strategy in a nearby coffee shop. The best dropshippers will run “funnels”: repeatedly targeting the same consumers over a period of time in order to coax them through the various stages of purchase – add to cart, enter card details, check out. “We run funnels to let the Facebook algorithm figure everything out,” he says. “We may burn through a few thousand dollars before we start doing consistent sales.”

I am bone-tired when I arrive at Bukabuka island, in Central Sulawesi. The journey was long: three flights, over the course of one night, through airports that grow progressively smaller. At Palu airport, where I am the only bule, smiling immigration officers question me more out of curiosity than suspicion. I then board the prop plane to the administrative centre of Ampana, before embarking on the final bit of the journey: a white motorboat that skims across water that is clear, turquoise and warm. Thirty minutes later, we’re pulling up at Bukabuka. On a wooden pier that juts out from a white sand beach, a white hammock swings in the breeze.

The 28-year-old Frenchman lives alone in a hut that serves as the island’s official base. On the porch are jerry cans full of water, a gas hob, cooking equipment, and sacks of rice. Inside, a bed, a fridge, a plastic table and chairs, and an electrical converter. Outside his hut is the island’s only bathroom: a cold-water bucket shower and toilet you manually flush with sea water.

Despin shuttered his dropshipping store while it was still profitable – effectively reaching into the belly of an ATM that was belching notes, and switching it off. Why? Firstly, he hated his clients. “French people like to complain a lot,” he says. “Fuck! So we were basically targeting older, fat Frenchwomen – you’re talking to people who complain the most, ever.”

Full https://www.wired.co.uk/article/dropshipping-instagram-ads
 

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