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Thursday, June 14, 2007

No Free Beer or Wine but ...

Last night I found myself sitting in the nice garden cafe inside Goethe Institute Jakarta. In front of me sat couples of young guys and girls that looked ordinary at a glance. I heard them talking about the movie they just saw in Goethe. They commented about the movie in a very intellectual way, just like the conversation you will hear amongst college students or white collars workers.

One of them seemed to be writer, he talked about his blog and his works at one of Indonesia's largest news portal. They also talked about several websites, and books that they read recently. They commented also about Harry Potter 5. They are quite up to date.

You would assume that nothing is special about it. But wait until you see who they are. They are in Bahasa Indonesia we call tuna netra (suffer total blindness or poor eye sight). I am amazed in front of them, but of course they can not see the expression in my face. If only they know how proud I am about them.

Can you imagine in their world of blackness, they tried to empowered themselves and keep up to date with all measures. Later I found out that they were part of Yayasan Mitra Netra (YMN). I remember when I was a journalist at Warta Kota, I interviewed YMN before, and it was one of the feature report that I still keep, because it has left deep impression to me.

Rama was one of them. He is the one who has a blog (ramaditya.com) and he is one of Detikcom contributor/reporter for Detik i-net. He told us a lot of things that we didn't know.

It never occured to us that our tuna netra friends is so well-updated. They are also the audience and user of internet. We should take them into consideration also in building a website. We just found out that www.mitranetra.or.id is the first website in Indonesia that is accessible to tuna netra.

What that means? It means our tuna netra friends can read and can enjoy the feature and content in website. How it works, with touches and sounds. With touches and sounds he can enjoy text and image in the website. Rama even owned a brand new Nokia cellphone that can accomodate his need. With touches and sounds, the phone will serve to Rama just as to us. He can even read SMS.

Rama also introduced us to www.kartunet.com. Here you can see the works of our tuna netra friends, such as short stories and poetries. Interesting.

And the biggest surprise, Rama is also a programmer. He writes program in PHP and mySQL. (Wonder how he does it....)
It just leave me speechless in awe.

Right now our friend is preparing his autobiography. He said, "Kalau Hellen Keller biografinya ditulis orang lain, ini tulisan dari sang tuna netra sendiri." Well, he indeed should share his experience to all the world.

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