I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Monday. I have lived in Bali for four years and I want to renovate what is essentially a ghost forest:
a beautiful deep forest outside of Bali’s old capital of Seminyak that ended up being bulldozed to make way for motorways and mega-golf courses.
A vast and beautiful forest that also contributed to Bali’s landscape and its allure as a tourist paradise.
Before you ask, “So, where does this green landscape come from?”
My entire family are Indonesian. My parents also owned a landmark house in Bali called Nusa Bali Hai that is preserved, well-managed and run as a local museum. My grandparents also lived in Bali and decided to leave in an architectural giant carpet that reminded me of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
It did, but it also bequeathed the public a place of national importance, a site of much political history, many historical documents and also a place of culture that had wide diversifying uses. And it has disappeared.
Now, my idea is to build a place for the public where they can connect the dots between the colonialists, the colonial era, the students of the Indonesian university, the current government and local industrialists, to really understand our past and where we’re at today.
After I launched the campaign, Facebook wasn’t allowing me to use my real name. I’m not a well-known writer, a celebrity or a member of any organization. This was because my plan was to create a truly unique community for social, political and arts reasons. The goal was to create a place to develop the ideas that we share in the comments section of this article.
But when I received a letter from Facebook stating that I could only use my last name, I had a hard time believing that they were banning me. Because I am personally behind it, because I worked on it, because I have written about it, I didn’t know whether they were trying to squash the idea.
After seeing how disappointed my fans were that Facebook told me I could no longer use my real name, I decided to use their own terms to create my own community, creating an un-intimidating place for anyone to contribute.
When I finally posted the message announcing that I would be going public with the community (whether I liked it or not) my friend and editor, Alex Joseph, posted a cover letter explaining my objective.
The bottom line is this: Facebook is not usually a bad place. It is completely transparent. It has the most important thing: privacy. And it has this incredible community of users. But as a human being who likes this place, I have a lot of questions that need to be answered. When I asked about the rules and found out that this community is completely non-policing, I did not know whether to like it or not.
People are asked to sign up with their real names, even if they disagree. But people can join this non-policing site.
After this setback, I got an email from Facebook. They were apologetic and said that they were working on a new update. In the meantime, they would kindly allow me to hide the terms that I posted – maybe even have the copyright added – so that my community can use the community structure without getting annoyed by the content.
I am very happy with that. And I am also working on the idea of adding a title page to my page, so that I can include all the things that I will be talking about, without having to explain.
I have not created an app. I have not been following Kickstarter rules. I know the rules of Kickstarter, but I also know that this type of product is not for traditional social media companies.
This is something that has been with me all my life. My grandfather did not give me enough allowance to buy an iPad, but he did give me the opportunity to follow up on ideas that had always fascinated me. In the middle of my childhood, I would run outside to jump on my trampoline and jump into my mother’s arms. I thought it was free, so I would jump every time she reached over and tell me that it wasn’t free. And every time that my mother told me that it wasn’t free, I wondered how I would pay her.
If I had to work for free, how many ideas would I have? Wouldn’t that end my creativity?