Beyond Copy, Paste, and Delete

Niken Lestari
Posted July 8, 2014 from Indonesia
FAMM facilitators workshop
FAMM facilitators workshop
FAMM facilitators workshop (1/1)

My first encounter with computer unimpressive. It was a compulsory subject. The ivory colored boxes were very precious that the computer lab heavily locked. They were very expensive. So I keep my safe distance from it. They looked tough but fragile. Pretty much like myself.

I was 16-year-old and anxious to try something new. No one told me, directly or indirectly, that women can't do techie things. You basically need to master two things, logical math and English language skill. So I was ready to go.

The first thing I like from computer was the keyboard. It still the number one thing I am looking for from a laptop. I like writing and I used to write with pens or typewriter. The command I used often with the old computer was copy, paste and delete. In the advance writing processor, I am still rely on those magic three pillars. They are everything I could ever imagine. They are the essence of any kind of software today.

Copy. I have spent my life copying behaviour, languages, ideas so it's no wonder that I love Ctrl+C shortcut very much. It makes my day since the day I knew it. Alas! The ivory colored boxes become an ivory tower and act as “big machines” as the IT industry gain more power over them. Somehow the natural instict to copy becoming a crime. Where do we go from here?

Paste. Everyone knows, or I assume everyone knows, that the IT revolution has created the magic duo of copy and paste or copas in short. People who spend a lot of time pasting know that you can't randomly paste something. It should be contextual so that the result will have different meaning from the previous one. One can't copy paste something without reading the source.

I feel bothered to hear some people said that copy paste have made young people to be less creative, tendency for instant result and encourage them into plagiarism. That is not how I see and experience it. The resources are abundant. If a person priority is good passing grade than the intellectual challenge and reinterpretation, then he or she will explore many ways to do just that. With or without copy paste command.

Delete. There are some points in my lives that I want to delete. I create stories and mistakes. Somehow both are hand in hand. So I can't delete my mistakes without also delete my stories. It's a small command that many people take for granted. But since I experienced the typewriter era, I see it as an important tool that shape the communication technology and the way I see the IT industry. However, as ICT getting “mature”, I am faced with situation where I can't erase (delete) my data in virtual world. I can't fathom the idea that my data will lived forever out of my will and the delete button has lost its magic power.

I never thought that those simple commands become threathening for some industries that they went very far in creating barriers that also threaten my rights. In this era, I learn more about my activism related to information technology. I am struggling to embrace back those three commands that has shaped my activism.

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Comments 6

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  • Donna Bride
    Jul 09, 2014
    Jul 09, 2014

    New information, friends, goals develop the more one connects with bigger ideas and options. Isolation helps few and doesn't foster true growth and options. I know you can gain more.

  • Ridingthecamel
    Jul 16, 2014
    Jul 16, 2014

    Selamat malam, sister!

    Thank you for your post. I really like your writing-style. It is refreshingly creative and I think your underlying ideas about the freedom to "copy, paste and delete"... without being criticised or even threatened resonates with many women in the world (and here on World Pulse). I read your journal entries on how you are an entrepreneur and how you also express yourself on the radio. It sounds like you are leading a very inspiring life and I am looking forward to read more about it. Would you perhaps be willing (if you are able) to also write about some of the challenges you face when it comes to invoking your rights as an activist?

    Terima kasih!

  • Bheki
    Jul 19, 2014
    Jul 19, 2014

    Thank you for your refreshing article on the meanings of the three basic word processing commands. They are something that most of us take for granted and I for one, do not think of the deeper meanings they have for women who are just learning about technology. I particularly like your line, "I can't delete my mistakes without also delete my stories."

    I also like the line about not pasting randomly, but contextually so that the result will have different meaning from the previous one. ( I cut and pasted your lines into both of these paragraphs). Very creative and thought provoking way to look at something that has become rather mundane in most of our tech saturated worlds.

    Thank you for giving us all a fresh approach to consider!


  • Niken Lestari
    Jul 20, 2014
    Jul 20, 2014

    Thank you all. I really like reading all comments, it's a new way for me to learn from others's point of view. It's an insight for me as well. @CamelRider Thanks for your suggestion. I will write about it. Meanwhile, please pray together for the peaceful result of Indonesia presidential election tomorrow, July 22nd. In the middle of Middle East chaos, political mess in Thailand and other countries, I hope Indonesia can set the sample of being Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.


  • Mauwa Brigitte
    Jul 22, 2014
    Jul 22, 2014

    You said for computer tool that is computer that helped you out manipulated three commands copy, paste and delete that shaped your activism. You are really brave. God's grace be with you.

  • Fiona McKenzie
    Jul 30, 2014
    Jul 30, 2014

    Hi Niken,

    What a brilliant piece. I like the way you write and I love the way you took those basic functions of a keyboard and gave them relevance in terms of how they can be used 'contextually'. Your ideas are really interesting and this piece deserves a wider circulation.

    You have an interesting profile and are clearly committed to bringing change through your work. I wish you all the best.


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