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READER FEEDBACK…more response than in the previous 10 years put together

In the October issue I asked for reader feedback and I got it. In abundance.

Thank you to the many people who have already sent us feedback about October Subud Voice with your appreciation, criticisms, suggestions and reports of technical issues. Thank you especially to those who wrote to say you don't want your subscription back.

This feedback exceeds by far any previous response to an issue of Subud Voice. In fact we got more letters this time, many more, than we have received in the whole of the last ten years.

I have written individually to each of you I hope, but am also writing this collective response.

Many people wrote to complain of various things. Mostly gentle complaints, intended to be helpful, pointing out where we had fallen down.

According to Murphy’s law, things must go wrong when you least want them to. And so our web site, usually so well behaved, went mad, just when we were going into our completely new way of presenting Subud Voice.

Just as the previous month, when we had launched our new “subscriber initiative” Paypal decided to shut us down. Not only were we not allowed to transfer any money out of our account WE WERE NOT ABLE TO RECEIVE ANY!!!!!!!!!! Just at the very moment we were hoping to get all your lovely subscriptions.

Is the Hand of God at work in all this? Are we supposed to have no choice but to go out free to the world?

Anyway, here is a selection of some of the feedback we got...

Of the many responses, one which interested me particularly came from Haryanti Stuart. Her email touched on economic problems in Europe. Here is what she wrote to me.

 

From Haryanti Stuart 

Hi Harris, As always, I love reading SV. As a subscriber since its inception, except for the last request to renew, I just thought you might like my input. I thought long and hard about renewing, knowing I would miss SV enormously.  But Australia has been largely insulated from the worst of the world recession - it is hard to imagine how hard it has hit over here. I have retired friends whose income has been cut by 60% as the value of shares plummeted and bank interest on savings is currently 0.05%. One couple I know have cancelled their life-long subscription to the Guardian, others are cancelling magazine subs – anything to claw back money... I’m trying to save everything I can to get back, but will have lost at least $150000 when I sell, due to the currency exchange. Europeans too are having a pretty rough time. I also know that some have teamed together, say two or three and shared the cost of a subscription to SV that way, which wasn’t much help to you.  I wonder if asking for a subsidy of $10 a year, even $20 per person would help to get back more money from some of those 10,000 who read SV in the short time it was free? $35 was too much for many. The Guerrand Hermes Foundation would then be able to lessen its incredibly generous subsidy.

My very best wishes to you personally, and everyone else involved. Haryanti

Dearest Haryanti, thank you for your most interesting feedback. First, the good news! Now Subud Voice is free to everyone.

But your email with its comments on desperate economic times in Europe raises for me much more profound questions. It is true that in Australia we are still, it appears, the “lucky country”, compared to almost anywhere else in the world. Yesterday I spoke to two Subud members recently arrived in Australia from Spain, refugees from the desperate economic climate there.

I often attend Subud Congress and meetings of WSC etc. See the reports of the one held in Rungan Sari in June, reported in August Subud Voice. And it always strikes me how our gaze is still turned inward trying to sort out our own issues, rather than addressing the problems of the world. In saying this, I attach no blame to all the wonderful, dedicated, hard-working people in the Subud organization. No, it is a collective issue of all of us.

Subud has come into the world to make it a better place. First, to make all of us better and then to use this inestimable gift to make the world better. We should be turning our attention to helping solve the problems of the world. This is not a wild dream. We can start now. It is our responsibility.

We have enormous capacity and unique understanding. How do we solve the economic problems of Spain, Europe et al? Let’s think about it. Of course we are not going to solve them overnight, but at least we could start turning our attention outwards rather than inwards.

You know that Bapak received a book that was blank because on its pages were to be written the answers to whatever questions he asked. Lately, I have begun to receive this. I do not mean I receive at Bapak’s level or anything like that. But I do have a book in which is written the answers to my questions. Maybe now, they are mostly just questions and answers relating to my immediate situations, but they really work! I am sure other Subud members must be having the same experience.

So why don’t we now begin to ask BIG questions? What is the solution to the world’s economic and political problems? Europe, the Middle East?

Let us begin to ask. Love, Harris

PS:  On mortality. I awoke today at 5 am. I did latihan and went to a nearby MacDonald’s for breakfast. They have WI-fi there and I started work on responding to all your e-mails. On the way home I saw an accident. A woman in a car had struck a man on a bike. Each day we set out with our hopes and dreams and plans assuming we are going to make it to the end of the day. Sometimes, some of us don't. Life always hangs by a thread.

 

From Ian Bourne and Rohana Bourne

Dear Harris… You are doing such a great job with Subud Voice, just wanted to say a big "Thank you!"  I especially enjoyed Sharifin's poem and photograph. Would be interested in more news of Bardolf Paul and his work. We certainly don't want our sub. back - and will send a donation by cheque and post…

Loving regards from us both, Ian and Rohana

Dear Ian and Rohana, thank you for your appreciative response. Most appreciated. We have a big article about Bardolf and YTS in the pipeline. Love, Harris

 

From Rohana Darlington

Hi Harris

Just to let you know I found the October issue really interesting as usual, particularly the latest instalment of the amazing Mansur Geiger’s adventures. I think it will be better now SV is free online again, as I had difficulty in getting our members at Manchester to subscribe. I was shocked that only 100 people agreed to subscribe, yet 10,000 apparently accessed it free. How do these people think SV can survive if nobody pays? Anyway, I had a meeting with our committee and they have agreed to pay for an annual group sub for the same price it was before (from group funds), and I’ll organise this shortly as well as continue to pay for my own subscription when it needs renewing. Then you’ll have 2 subs from us in Manchester, and I’ll print out the group copy myself and they can  borrow it from our library. I’ll have another go at getting PayPal up and running.

I think the rock’n’roll articles will interest many members especially the young ones, and they contrasted well with Leonard Van Hien’s comments about the management of various enterprises. As an investor in all the former major Subud enterprises most of which are now defunct I’ve learnt a lot about how projects should have been run! Oh, the wisdom of hindsight! I agree with his comments that the shareholders were not sufficiently kept informed or their smaller investments sufficiently respected in comparison with those of the fewer major investors.

Yet at Anugraha for example there were 5000 smaller investors from all over the world and their needs should have been held in more respect as jointly they added up to a lot of money. I also always thought that it would have been more in keeping of the community spirit of Subud to have structured them as Co-operatives but this idea was never seriously considered at  the time. The trouble was we did not have sufficient sensible personnel to manage so many international projects effectively simultaneously.

Well, you asked for comments, Harris!

Dearest Rohana

My cup runneth over. You are the perfect reader, the reader an editor dreams of. Thank you for your appreciative comments. Love, Harris

 

From Edward Mackenzie  (to Leonard van Hien)

Many thanks for your article in the recent Subud Voice. It is a timely cautionary reminder to most Subud members, myself included, who are not investment literate to take care of where and how they put their money in Subud endeavours. I particularly appreciated your comments on good governance which as you point out is not always evident. For me if good governance is not at the heart of the endeavour it is best not attempted at all.

 

From Leonard van Hien (responding to Edward MacKenzie)

Dear Edward…Many thanks for taking the trouble to write.

I had that "here we go again" feeling when at its last meeting the WSC approved that the WSA Executive / SESI could explore launching another widely held Subud enterprise - this time a business for financing Subud enterprises in Kalimantan.

I am all for people "having a go". Without that there would be no progress. Without pressure there is no development. At the same time we should try to avoid the disappointments and sorrows of the past. One could write chapters on governance failures within our worldwide association.

The WSA itself should, at this early stage of Subud's development, be lean, effective and relevant. If members perceive it as expensive and ineffective, WSA will be considered irrelevant. That would be a shame. The international component is essential to our organisation.

The present WSA Executive - and the Council itself - risk finding themselves sitting on the cusp. Since last world congress the Executive has run up chronic deficits. It has never presented its audited financials on time. This renders ineffective one of the essential checks and balances provided in its constitution. There are too many excuses.

If it continues at the present rate of burn WSA will have eroded all of its reserves by the time of the next World Congress. Someone needs to sound the alarm…Cheers, Leonard.

Thank you Leonard and Edward for continuing a most interesting and important dialogue. Cheers, Harris

 

From Hanafi Fraval

Hi … How do I download SV? I don’t want to sit in front of a computer and read it. I want to have a pdf to print or more likely transfer to my iPad!

By the way, do you want to read about the new Bright Futures program I got started? If so please read the attachments to get the idea, and if you think it's newsworthy, please feel free to do an article on it…Best, Hanafi

Hi Hanafi, I am not sure who Peter is. Peter Jenkins perhaps? But anyway he is not the editor whoever he is. Subud Voice is now accessible from the home page. At the top of the home page is a photo of Peter Jenkins and the Rolling Stones and a blurb about the issue. Underneath in blue is a list of the content. Click on any title top get the article. There may be some glitches as with any new internet endeavour. We will fix.

I look forward to reading the material about Bright Futures you have sent. Cheers, Harris

Later…you can print it all out or just particular articles that interest you.

 

From Hanafi again

Sorry – glitch of the keyboard. I should have addressed it to you. I don’t like the option of selecting articles. What if I want to read it ALL, as Levana and I usually do, and more recently on the iPad? Can I download the whole thing? Or do I have to laboriously download each one, save it as a pdf, and then stitch the pdf's together? I don’t think so…

What do you suggest?

 

Hi Hanafi, this is the way the world is now...this is the best way to publish an online magazine...you are such a modern chap always up with the latest technology I am sure you will get used to it and realise its many advantages as an online publication...

You can still read it ALL... you can still PRINT IT ALL... it is just a much better format for online... and now you can select and print what you want rather than have to print the WHOLE THING... as was the case with the .pdf... it is now much easier to read both online and in print... thanks for your feedback... love to be in contact with you. And always interested to know what you are up to...

And longing for the day I will get your article about your Anugraha experience... do you know I pursued Richendra Pope for 25 years to get her reincarnation story.... and Mansur for 20 years to get his Kalimantan story... I am merciless and relentless once I get my teeth into something... but you must get me your article before I turn 90 or 95...

Cheers, Harris

 

From Ilaina Lennard

Harris there is something very strange happening to SV October on line. I have only read a couple of pages, but it is already repeating photos and large chunks of text. And there are also other corrections that should be made to the text. I don't think this is working. Have a look, it is chaotic. You will be shocked. You need to go back to the old format and I hereby offer to do the proofing again. ! – Ilaina

Hi Ilaina... Shocked! Appalled would be a better word! It was all lovely when we first put it up. There will always be some glitches as with any new Internet endeavour. Just to mention one recent example… Recently SESI announced its new web site, to be quickly followed by the announcement it was down, followed by the announcement it was OK again. We will fix our problems.

Later… I cannot understand what you are talking about. I just went to Subud Voice and it is all OK, just the way we put it up. Perhaps some problem in your browser settings or something needs attention. Some things are in our control, some aren’t. But by all means let me know of proofing corrections. With our new system we can continue to correct after publication.

 

From Emmanuel Elliott

Thanks for another great issue, Harris. I notice that a lot of older people email each other in a rather larger point size than the rest of humanity. Would it be possible for the text of SV to be slightly larger?

Hi Emmanuel, I will look into this. Cheers, Harris

 

From Raphaëlle, French SICA coordinator.

Dear Harris…Could you give all the SICA websites address in the next issue? And speak about them? If someone do not understand the language, it is possible to ask automatic translation to help.

I know four: www.subud-sica.org , www.subud-sica.fr , www.sicabritain.co.uk, www.sica-deutshland.de , there are certainly others…Love. Raphaëlle, French SICA coordinator.

Hi Raphaelle, thank you for this suggestion. Please send all sites you think you should be included. Love, Harris

 

From Peter Jenkins

Hi Harris, You probably know by now that the first page of SV on line is repeated. I guess if this is your last issue as Editor, you've gone out with a wham bam!... Peter

Hi Peter, Yes, yes, glitches, glitches! See responses to Ilaina, Hanafi above. What did you think of the pic of you with the Stones? And as for this being my last issue... do you know something I don't? Anyway thanks for the bam! I like bam! Cheers, Harris

 

From Julia Hurd

It’s good news that SV is free again, but what happened??  And so WSA does not need to look for additional gift subscriptions... Best, Julia

Hi Julia, what happened is explained in the editorial. We no longer have to worry about gift subscriptions since now anyone anywhere in the world can download it for free. Cheers, Harris

 

From Harfiyah

Great News! Peter Jenkins must be getting on a bit by now! You forgot to put a link in your email but never fear, I haven't forgotten it. Harfiyah

Hi Harfiyah, I am not sure which link you mean in which email. Please let me know.

PS No you didn't - it just lost its colour in this version!

Oh, good!

PS - great to have the links to the sounds!  I first met Top Topham in 1970 and had never heard him play until now!  Great music! Not to mention the Stones! Keep up the good work! Harfiyah

Thank you for this encouragement which is very very much appreciated. Glad you like the sounds links. Love, Harris

 

From Benita in Paraguay

Dear Harris, This is really a great relief for me, to be able to read SV online for free, even without a password! Thank you so much everybody who has made this possible! Now I am going to read the OCTOBER issue (not September, right?) and promise a feedback. Benita, Paraguay

Dear Benita, Lovely to hear from Latin America! Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, a few glitches here and there. October/September etc. We will fix! Cheers, Harris

Later…I am not sure what you mean about October/September. It all looks Ok to me. The next Spanish edition to be published will be September. It is always at least a month behind because of the need for translation by our hard-working Cuban team. September Spanish will be there (I hope) on October 3

 

From Ilaina Lennard

Harris, I think you meant Subud Voice Online October 1st ! Don't worry the world will not end and I am sure we will all realise what you meant to put!! – Ilaina

Hi Ilaina, yes, glitches, glitches! Will fix! Cheers, Harris

 

From Robert Raymond

Hi Harris...Your editorial is New York New York and 1st October has become 1st September. But you had the courage to take SV on.  I don't want my subscription back. Best wishes for SV and God bless.

Dear Robert, Yes, glitches, glitches. Thank you very much for keeping your sub in. Cheers, Harris

 

From Hardwin Blanchard

I love Subud Voice, and I am delighted not to have to get my money back!  (And God bless Simon Guerrand!) Aloha, Hardwin

Hi Hardwin, thank you! This is what we like to hear. The perfect subscriber. Cheers, Harris

 

From Max Potter

Dear Harris..Sorry to have to say this but it is a real mess. Bits repeated all over the place and there does not seem to be any way to get a printable version, apart from cutting and pasting chunks into a Word document, which I do not have time to do.

I have two subscribers in Oxford who do not even have computers and rely on my producing printed copies which I am happy to do for them. I also like a printed copy myself. PDF files are just handy as far as I am concerned.

I am pretty sure that all three of us would be happy for you to keep the subscriptions if we could get copies which I could print out. There must be other subscribers in a similar situation Please let me know what you suggest.  Kind regards... Max

Dear Max, I am particularly upset about the glitches which have accompanied our new way of publishing in your case because you have been such a wonderful supporter. It was all lovely when we first put it up. I guess there will always be some glitches as with any new internet endeavour. Just to mention one recent example…Recently SESI announced its new web site, to be quickly followed by the announcement it was down, followed by the announcement it was OK again. We will fix our problems today I hope. Cheers, Harris.

Later…As I have said in my replies above to Ilaina Lennard, I have just tested Subud Voice and it works fine for me. I will discuss with web mistress to see if we can identify your problems.

 

From Floriane Syfrig

Hello Harris, Thanks for the new version of Subud Voice and the good news... for many members... to get it free. As far as I am concerned I am quite happy with your decision, thanks to the Guerrand Hermès Foundation, and I certainly do not want my subscription fee back. So good luck for the future !! Love to you all

Dear Floriane, thank you for your encouragement and for keeping your sub in. Amen, to what you say about GHFP. Hearing from you brings to mind so many lovely memories of contact in the past. Love, Harris

 

From Haryanti again...

Thank you for your very thoughtful response Harris. I couldn’t agree more.  Even the earth seems to be crying out. I was present once when Bapak said that when the level of anger in the world is high, earthquakes and other disasters are the outcome. It’s a sobering thought. And many times Subud has seemed to me to be so inward-looking – not the wide, all encompassing, compassionate body it could be - there are still members who look slightly askance at non members. It’s crazy. Although I do think that aspect is changing, thank heaven.

Bapak also said that if just 2/3rds of the world’s population were practicing the latihan, there would be peace in the world.

As a unique collective of people that contains those with insight, imagination and intelligence, and  religious and cultural experiences from all over the world, let’s hope we can together find a way forward.

Take care, with love, Haryanti

 

Dear Harianti... Thank you for this, most interesting... I guess all we can do is soldier on, soldier on... love, Harris

 

From Dawn Ives at Wisma Mulia

I usually print 2 copies of Subud Voice for our residents to read here at Wisma Mulia Residential Home, but I cannot find a printable version. Will I now have to go into each article individually and print from there?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Dear Dawn,

Yes, that's right, you print the individual articles.

We will keep on improving and responding to reader feedback. For instance, some people have companied that the size of the print is too small both online and when printed out. We are looking into this for example.

I can imagine the small font especially when printed is a problem for the folks at Wisma. Trouble is if we increase the font size, then it is bigger to print out, then I will get lots of complaints about that. People seem to think I am the New York Times with vast resources and a vast staff instead of one little guy in Dingley Village, Melbourne, subsisting on the old age pension. Perhaps you better issue them all with magnifying glasses until we sort out this conundrum.

 Some of the advantages of the present method are...

You no longer  have to download a .pdf which some people always had trouble with. It’s now immediately available and accessible to you on the home page.

You do not have to print out the whole thing. You can if you want to, but you can also just print out the articles of particular interest to you.

You will of course end up with a sheaf of papers rather than a "magazine". But you see this is the best way to produce it online. You have to get out of the mindset of how things were in the days when magazines were just a printed thing. This is a magazine designed for the Internet, which you can also print out.

This method enables us to print much longer and more substantial articles than ever before as we were always limited by the size of the .pdf. In the olden days we were limited by the size of the magazine we could print. The .pdf enabled us to include more and now this method of presentation enables us to produce much more in much more depth.

Furthermore,  it has many additional features. It opens up the whole vast world of interconnectivity with the vast resource of the Internet. It enables us to include photographs in colour in a much better way than we were able to before. It also enables us to include sound and video right there embedded in the articles, a greatly enriching experience.

I hope this explanation is of some use and reassurance to you. Love to all at wonderful, wonderful Wisma. How I love and admire that place. Especially give my special love to special Patricia my special friend! Did you all see recent articles and marvellous pics in the Voice about wonderful Paulette and her wonderful lions? Did the residents love that? I would love to know.

Dearest Love to you and all at Wisma and David Barker, who made it all possible, and all of you who carry the torch. We need 100 Wismas! Love, Harris

 

From Hanafi Fraval again

Yeah, but it seems I'm still too far ahead. I wanna use an iPad! And it's a piece of cake to load the whole pdf of each month's SV at once. I spend the whole day on the darn computer. I read stuff on the computer with my head. I read magazines, books, and my iPad from somewhere else. I have a suggestion:

Why not include an option for those who would like it to download the whole SV edition?

And by the way, what happened to Ilaine's section – the best part of SV and the main reason to get it in the first place? Although I do like the other stuff too, Ilaine's section is special.  :))

Why can't you call up the web site on your Ipad? No different form when it was a pdf except it is now more immediately accessible.

It is not possible to put it all in one down loadable file.

It's true we don’t have Inner Voice as we used to. I mean the concept of Inner Voice really only made sense when it was print or .pdf and Ilaine was actually in the "inner" of the magazine. We still carry the same material not just labelled as Inner Voice. I often used to supply it anyway. See Rachman Mitchell's piece as an example of "inner voice" material, that is spiritual experiences... or going back a bit to Rashida (Richendra's) pieces etc etc.

 

From Rohana Darlington again

I think you’re really good trying to help the disaffected youth you mention below. I could never do that kind of work myself, but have worked as an art therapist with psychiatric in-patients for many years so I guess we all have different talents. My son-in-law Gary is an eminent academic in London who is advising the police on how to plan security for the Olympic games next year, worked with the Met Police advising on strategy during the London riots a couple of months ago and also flies to countries round the world setting up sports projects for young boys. Despite all this high powered stuff he still finds time every Monday to run a youth club in inner city London and has set up two football teams for youth in inner city London which he attends every Saturday with my young grandson. I do admire people like him and yourself for engaging in this work. Gary says football is the ideal way to get the boys involved in teams and it is an alternative from gangs.

We’d love to see a Ron Crumb cartoon if you can dig any out.

Yesterday I put up a poster at Subud telling people SV is now free online again and will keep trying to promote it and will send our group sub as soon as I can master it!

Dear Rohana

How dramatic and even frightening. The chaos in our world. Especially economic, which has so many roll-on effects particularly in the growth of a disaffected youth, which seems to be such a problem in the UK.

I am about to start working with disaffected Polynesian youth in my area. They come from the pacific islands usually via New Zealand.

Recent immigrant groups to our multicultural society are having problems settling in. There is crime, violence, amongst them and towards the society in general. Much needs to be done. Especially amongst the Polynesian and the recently arrived Africans from such places as war-torn Sudan.

Yes, Ron Crumb! I might try to find the cartoon and send you. Warning, in case you search him out on the Internet or in bookstores: many of his cartoons are "adults only"! (But fortunately not "keep on trucking".)

 

From Rohana Darlington again

I’m flattered! I know how hard it can be to keep a Subud project going, so keep on trucking...

I love keep on trucking...do you know the cartoons of Rom Crumb who invented this

concept and made beautiful cartoons of it:?

No, I haven’t seen his cartoons; I’ll have to investigate them! I never knew the phrase came from Rom Crumb. We used this phrase a lot in Manchester when vandals were trying to burn down our Subud Centre, as we needed to encourage ourselves while hunting for the pleasant Subud House we have now. A couple of months ago we had riots in Manchester and were really glad we did move out in time as the area the Subud House used to be in had the nickname  Gunchester because there was so many shootings in the area!

I hope all is peaceful again.