With the click of button we can now fight poverty, condemn dictators, and occupy... (insert your home town here). Online activist organisation Getup! offers us the chance to support gay marriage and refugees and asylum seekers. CommunityRun even lets us devise our own campaigns. YouTube offers the perfect place for ideas to begin their viral journey. While Facebook provides a community of millions to reach out to.
From a sleepy backwater, the South Pacific has been catapulted into the diplomatic limelight, with the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in the Cook Islands playing host not just to Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, but to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and a large delegation from China. All of a sudden, the Pacific island states – a mere scattering of specks in a vast blue ocean – are at centre stage.
'The most fertile ground for experimentation is where the real and the virtual blend together... Artists tend to push on the questions that we’ll all be asking years later. And in the process, they often grapple with emerging technologies in unpredicted ways’ (Cacophony).
It seems that no matter how cordial Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is or how much it is desired to be so, perennial issues continue that call aspects of that relationship into question. Critically, the gap between how Australia official engages with Indonesia and how that engagement is more widely viewed within Australia continues to test the relationship.
As Australians, our home is known as the 'lucky country'. We learnt recently that five of
But not everyone in the world is so lucky.
'We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible...We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society' ('Facebook Is Making Us Lonely' by Stephen Marche).
In an age when everyone is looking at the screen in their hand, how can we find time to look up and notice those around us? To connect with other people, form friendships or even... fall in love? For many people online dating and social media sites provide opportunities to bump into the right (or wrong) kind of person.
Author of 'WTF Is Up With My Love Life?!' Jessica Massa says that people are increasingly engaging in techno-romance: 'the rampant use of technologies to cultivate and explore romantic, sexual and flirtatious interactions, and even relationships'.
'The digital and physical are increasingly meshed [they] dialectically co-construct each other...This is opposed to the notion that the Internet is like the Matrix, where there is a “real” (Zion) that you leave when you enter the virtual space (the Matrix) - an outdated perspective as Facebook is increasingly real and our physical world increasingly digital' (Social Media commentator Nathan Jurgenson).
When Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, part of its justification was that the then ruling Fretilin intended to allow the country to become a regional base for China. Fretilin had recently assumed power, having defeated the conservative UDT’s attempted coup in August of that year. But Fretilin’s victory was viewed in Indonesia as establishing a communist base in the middle of its archipelago at a time when the Cold War was running hot and communism in the region seemed in the ascendency. At that time, Indonesia was vehemently anti-communist, having destroyed its own communist party less than a decade before and broken off diplomatic relations with China as part of the purge. The idea of China having a base, or at least a friendly country, in its midst was intolerable to Indonesia’s generals. Whether or not Fretilin intended to establish close relations with China is a moot point.