Monday, October 20, 2014

Indonesians Take to Social Media to Celebrate Jokowi’s Inauguration

Jakarta Globe, Oct 20, 2014

Indonesian President Joko Widowo, center, and first lady Ariana, and Vice President
Jusuf Kalla, fourth right, and his spouse Mufidah Kalla, third right, and former President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, second left, former first lady Ani Yudhoyono, left, former
 Vice President Boediono, second right, and his spouse Herawati, right, People's
 Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Zulkifli Hasan, fourth left, and his spouse Futri
Zulya Safitry, third left, pose for photographers after the inauguration ceremony at the
House of Representative in Jakarta on Oct. 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/ Bay Ismoyo)

Jakarta. Indonesians took on their social media accounts to welcome the country’s seventh president, Joko Widodo, who was inaugurated on Monday.

The hashtag #PresidenJokowi has been the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide since Monday morning.

Social media users in Jakarta took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Path to post pictures of the street celebrations taking place at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.

For a while “Jalesveva Jayamahe”, the motto of the Indonesian Navy, also made it onto the worldwide trending topic list, after Joko cited the expression, which is Sanskrit for “In the sea we will triumph,” during his inauguration address to emphasize the importance of Indonesia becoming a global maritime axis.

Various versions of posters depicting Joko moments before his inauguration with quotations have been circulated all over the Internet as well.

Ade Mardiyanti, an Indonesian living in Sydney, posted a picture of her standing next to a television showing footage of Joko’s inauguration ceremony on her Facebook account.

“Chose to stay at home after I finished work only to witness the inauguration of Indonesia’s new president. Rocky road ahead for him. Good luck, Mr. President!” Ade wrote.

Renowned film director Joko Anwar also tweeted several pictures of the celebration.

“Rock n’Roll, Mr. President,” Joko said.

A music concert is scheduled to start at 4 p.m to celebrate the inauguration with a number of musicians including Indonesian rock band Slank and British band Arkarna scheduled to perform. Joko is famous for being a huge fan of heavy metal.

Tens of thousands are expected to attend a concert held to honor President 
Joko Widodo at the National Monument on Monday. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

From left to right: Kahiyang Ayu, Kaesang Pangarep, President Joko Widodo, First
 Lady Iriana Widodo and Gibran Rakabuming Raka appear at the Jakarta's governor
house on Oct. 20, 2014 before the presidential inauguration. (ID Photo/Emeral)

From the Social President, a Tweet for Forgiveness

Jakarta Globe, Oct 19, 2014

Photos posted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Sunday showed him
 and his wife at the start of his term in 2004, left, and heading away after 10 years in
office. (Photos courtesy of @SBYudhoyono)

Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono marked his last day in office with a message to his more than five million followers on Twitter, apologizing for any offense he may have caused in his decade as head of state.

“Please forgive me if in the 10 years of my leading this beloved country, I have said/done anything that hasn’t pleased you, the people of Indonesia,” he wrote on his account, @SBYudhoyono. The message was signed *SBY*, indicating it came from the president himself and not his social media team.

“In truth, with all our flaws, we wanted to do the best for the people and the country,” he added, signing off “with love.”

The tweets were preceded by a picture of Yudhoyono and his wife, Kristiani, arriving at the State Palace exactly 10 years ago tomorrow, and followed by another picture, undated, of the first couple walking hand in hand away from the camera.

The hashtag #MakasihSBY (ThanksSBY) was the third-highest trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia, with more than 30,000 tweets using the hashtag.

Also on Sunday, thousands of members and supporters of Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party marched from the National Monument (Monas) to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta in a show of appreciation for the outgoing president.

Yudhoyono, the first directly elected president in Indonesia’s history, will be replaced tomorrow by Joko Widodo, the winner of the July 9 election.

Related Article:

President Joko Widodo, left, waves with former President Susilo Bambang
 Yudhoyono at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Oct. 20, 2014. (Reuters
Photo/Mast Irham/Pool)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jokowi and Prabowo Meet, Pledge to Maintain Stability in Govt

Jakarta Globe, Adelia Anjani Putri & Basten Gokkon, Oct 17, 2014

This file picture taken in Jakarta on July 20, 2014 shows Prabowo Subianto, left,
gesturing next to President-elect Joko Widodo, right, at the presidential palace in
Jakarta. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Jakarta. President-elect Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, meeting for the first time in about three months, said that they would work together to maintain stability in government.

“[Prabowo] said to me that, in the future, should there be anything to be criticized in our administration, I’m ready because stability in state management is very important,” said Joko, who went to Prabowo’s house in South Jakarta on Friday morning.

“There’s the doer, the controller, and then there’s the criticizer. I think that’s a good thing, and I’d like to thank Prabowo for that,” Joko said.

Prabowo said that he will ask his supporters to support Joko’s presidency. Prabowo’s Red-White coalition has the majority of the seats in legislature.

“I ask my party and supporters to support Joko and the government. We will criticize him should there be policies harming the people’s interest.”

He also asked his supporters to reconcile, despite political differences between his supporters and those of Joko’s.

“I will tell my supporters that political competition is a normal thing but in the end, all that we do is to achieve the nation’s prosperity and progress,” Prabowo said. “I hope the supporters don’t see the differences and competition between us as a reason to divide the people. We must stay united as one Indonesia at all times.”

“In this friendly meeting, I congratulate Joko who will be sworn in and inaugurated as the president on Oct. 20,” Prabowo said. “I believe that he is a patriot and deep down we have the same intention to guard Indonesia’s unity and its constitution.”

Regarding Joko’s inauguration on Monday, Prabowo said he would to try his best to attend the ceremony.

“I heard the invitation will come at 3 p.m. today. It’s the norm that if one is invited, he should fulfill it. I have to go abroad tonight or tomorrow morning, but if I’m done by Sunday night, I promise to do my best to attend the ceremony,” he said. “If I can’t make it, Pak Joko already knows the reason.”

Indonesia's losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, left, gestures as he
 stands beside Indonesia's President-elect Joko Widodo after a meeting in Jakarta on
Oct. 17, 2014. Prabowo said on Friday his party would support Widodo, but would not
hesitate to criticize any of his policies that they opposed. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

SBY’s Decade in Power

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, center, gestures to presidential
 candidates Joko Widodo, left, and Prabowo Subianto, right, prior to a prayer at the
 presidential palace in Jakarta on July 20, 2014. Jakarta governor Joko Widodo is
expected to be declared the winner of Indonesia's disputed presidential election this
 week but his rival, ex-general Prabowo Subianto, is likely to mount a legal challenge
that will prolong the political deadlock. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jokowi Makes Time’s Front Cover in ‘A New Hope’

Jakarta Globe, Oct 16, 2014

 (Photo courtesy of Time)

Jakarta. Man of the Year?

Not exactly. But President-elect Joko Widodo made Time’s cover in the Oct. 27 issue, which was posted on the magazine’s website on Thursday.

Titled “A New Hope” by journalist Hannah Beech, Time’s coverage highlights the importance of progress in Indonesia’s democratic movement in the world’s fourth most populous nation.

Joko’s inauguration as the nation’s seventh president takes place on Monday, and he succeeds President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose second five-year term will end.

All presidents of Indonesia have made the cover of Time.

Related Article:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jokowi Meets with Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Jakarta Globe, Deti Mega Purnamasari, Oct 13, 2014

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, right, accompanied by President-Elect
Joko Widodo talks to journalists after their meeting in Jakarta, on Monday. (EPA
Photo/Adi Weda)

Jakarta. President-Elect Joko Widodo on Monday received Facbeook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the Jakarta City Hall, where he is currently serving his final days as governor of the capital.

“We talked about how we can utilize Facebook for the benefit of the people and how it can be useful in supporting micro businesses,” Joko said during a press conference. “He [Zuckerberg] will be working with us in addressing the two issues.”

Joko added that he also discussed issues related to internet taxes and access, and talked about the utilization of the social network in the recent general elections.

“We also talked a lot about the use of Facebook during the [presidential election] campaign. Indonesia has a population of 240 million, while Facebook has approximately 70 million users. This is a potential market for him,” Joko said.

Zuckerberg, traveling to Indonesia for an Internet.org meeting, said he was glad to have had the opportunity to visit the country and meet with Joko.

“I’m glad I am able to talk to Joko. I’m also glad to see growing internet access among millions of Indonesians, as well as the growth of businesses,” he said, speaking in the same press conference.

Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook and five other technology companies aimed to improve internet access in parts of the world that remain largely unconnected.

“The program is aimed at eliminating barriers that hamper internet access, so that more Indonesians can be connected to the internet,” said Maria Tiurma, a commissioner of Owen Strategik Media, which organized Zuckerberg’s visit.

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, right, and Indonesian President-elect
Joko Widodo, left, visiting Tanah Abang market after their meeting in Jakarta,
Indonesia, Oct. 13, 2014. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Related Articles:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunrise at Borobudur for Facebook CEO Zuckerberg

Jakarta Globe, Oct 12, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg at the Borobudur 
temple in Magelang, Central Java, on
 Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
Jakarta. In Indonesia for an Internet.org meeting on Monday, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday first took some time off to visit the Borobudur temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Magelang, Central Java.

The chief executive officer of the Internet giant posted a picture on Facebook of himself sitting at the famous Buddhist shrine, explaining: “I just arrived in Indonesia and hiked up Borobudur to watch the sunrise. Tomorrow for Internet.org I’m looking forward to meeting with developers, operator partners and government leaders in Jakarta.”

Internet.org is a partnership of Facebook and five technology companies that aims to increase Internet access in parts of the world that have remained largely unconnected. One of the challenges in countries like Indonesia is how to use data and networks more efficiently, which is one of the issues that will be discussed at the meeting Zuckerberg attends on Monday.

President-Elect Joko Widodo on Sunday also said he may be meeting with Zuckerberg on Monday.

“Tomorrow [I will meet Zuckerberg],” Joko was quoted as saying by news portal Kompas.com, disclosing no further details.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Slumber in Colonial Opulence at Surabaya’s Hotel Majapahit

Jakarta Globe, Basten Gokkon, Oct 11, 2014

The lush gardens, plush decor and heavy ambiance of colonial luxury at Surabaya’s
 Hotel Majapahit offer visitors a rare glimpse into the world of wealth and royalty of
the early 20th century. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Majapahit)

Named after the single most enduring kingdom in ancient Indonesia, the Kingdom of Majapahit, the five-star hotel stands proudly — with its facade reflecting the typical European extravagance of white-colored pilasters and giant pillars — on Jalan Tunjungan, a Surabaya business district.

Hotel Majapahit may be Indonesia’s most historically relevant, having witnessed the country’s independence from both Dutch colonialism and Japanese occupation.

Through the course of more than a century, Hotel Majapahit’s history traced back to when Lucas Martin Sarkies, a high-profile hospitality businessman, purchased a 1,000 square meter block of land in 1900 on the aforementioned street to follow his father’s legacy in developing a luxury hotel.

He then commissioned Regent Alfred John Bidwell, a renowned designer at the time, to develop a Dutch colonial art nouveau hotel named Oranje Hotel, after the Dutch royal family. The luxury accommodation started catering to its top-class clientele in 1911.

In 1936, the management expanded on the structure to include an Art Deco style lobby extension. The inauguration was made by a royal party of Crown Prince Leopold III and Princess Astrid of Belgium and the famous silent movie star Charlie Chaplin, accompanied by American actress Paulette Goddard and writer Joseph Conrad.

Apart from hosting famous global personas, the hotel also served as a historical venue for a five-year armed struggle against the colonial powers. In 1942, the Imperial Japanese Forces took over the Oranje Hotel and renamed it Hotel Yamato, turning the building into their headquarters in East Java and also as a camp for Dutch prisoners of war.

At the end of World War II, English and Dutch country section officers returned to Surabaya and stormed room 33, where the Dutch occupation had set its temporary headquarters and demanded an explanation about the raising of the Dutch flag on the hotel roof’s mast.

As Indonesia declared independence on Aug. 17, 1945, the anticolonial group “Arek-Arek Suroboyo” refused to see their newly independent country return to colonialism. They rushed to the hotel roof and tore off the bottom blue strip of the Dutch flag to retain the red and white parts, identifying the merah-putih (red-white) colors of the current Indonesian flag.

The hotel was renamed to Hotel Merdeka (Independence Hotel).

However, the building received yet another moniker one year later, when famed Armenian hoteliers, the Sarkies Brothers, returned to manage the hotel and changed the name L.M.S. Hotel as a tribute to its founding father Lucas Martin Sarkies.

However, more rebranding efforts followed from 1969 to 2003 as the hotel changed hands from one owner to another. With the each new proprietor also came renovations, which eventually turned the old Dutch structure into a five-star, deluxe hotel.

In 2006, it was finally dubbed with its current name of Hotel Majapahit under CCM Group, one of Indonesia’s leading conglomerate companies.

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Majapahit)
Allowing visitors to stay overnight

Now 104 years old, the hotel’s management has worked to preserve its heritage and the historical remnants housed within its walls, all of which have ostensibly become a distinctive attraction to travelers who wish to experience the majestic atmosphere of the hotel.

“We think [the hotel] can [continue to] survive, because we have some features that others don’t. Our North Garden, for example, has become our mascot of sorts,” Emiliana Ayundra, marketing communications supervisor of the hotel, said.

Hotel Majapahit aims to serve travelers as one of Surabaya’s must-see destinations with entire rooms that provide a glimpse of colonial elegance and extravagance; rooms that house huge, layered chandeliers hung from high ceiling; grand wooden doors carved with European flowers; and plush Arabian carpets.

With 143 rooms — each decorated to match the hotel’s historical angle — to choose from, including executive suites, garden terrace rooms and Majapahit suites, Hotel Majapahit promises an oasis of personalized calm, classic colonial elegance and chic simplicity.

To indulge its clientele’s appetite, the Sarkies Restaurant — certainly named after the hotel’s founding father as an honor — offers discerning travelers a wide selection of Asian and Western dishes in colonial surroundings.

Meanwhile, the hotel also pampers visitors with spa facilities that offer luxurious traditional treatments using local beauty products sponsored by internationally acclaimed Indonesian brand Martha Tilaar.

Hotel Majapahit is also fully equipped with a gymnasium, tennis court, Jacuzzi, sauna, a 25-meter swimming pool as well as a children’s pool, all completing the accommodation’s luxurious antiquated-meets-modern ambiance.

“We can say that most of our clientele come from high-class communities, such as diplomats, businessmen and celebrities,” Emiliana said.

“We attract these kinds of clients with the interesting history behind the hotel, the authentic structure — which is very different from other hotels in Surabaya — and our wonderful gardens.”

Hotel Majapahit, a landmark colonial hotel exuding heritage and class, has received several awards, including the National Geographic Traveler award in architecture and design in 2009, the 2012 Favorite Hotel in Indonesia award by the Tourism Awards of Indonesia, and the Certificate of Excellence by travel website TripAdvisor from 2012 to 2014.

“It’s all very tasteful indeed, with colonnaded courtyards, fountains, verdant greenery and a gorgeous pool area,” popular travel guide Lonely Planet writes in its review of the hotel.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Asian cave paintings challenge Europe as cradle of art

Yahoo – AFP, Mariette Le Roux, 8 Oct 2014

This handout picture released by the journal Nature, on October 8, 2014, shows a 
hand stencil found on a cave wall in Maros karsts on the Indonesian island of 
Sulawesi (AFP Photo/Kinez Riza)

The silhouette of a hand on a cave wall in Indonesia is 40,000 years old, showing that Europe was not the birthplace of art as long believed, researchers said on Wednesday.

Created by spraying reddish paint around an open hand pressed against rock, the stencil was made about the same time -- and possibly before -- early humans were leaving artwork on cave walls around Europe that was long thought to be the first in the world.

In the same cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a painting of a pig was dated to about 35,000 years ago, the Indonesian and Australian team reported in the journal Nature.

The discovery, they said, throws up two theories, both of which challenge the conventional wisdom around the history of human artistic expression.

Art either arose independently but simultaneously in different parts of the world -- or was brought by Homo sapiens when he left Africa for a worldwide odyssey.

"Europeans can't exclusively claim to be the first to develop an abstract mind anymore," Anthony Dosseto of Australia's University of Wollongong said in a statement.

"They need to share this, at least, with the early inhabitants of Indonesia."

Anthropologists consider rock art to be an indicator of the onset of abstract thinking -- the ability to reflect on ideas and events.

Recasting human evolution

Dosseto and a team dated 12 hand stencils and two animal likenesses found at seven cave sites on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The ancient images were discovered more than 50 years ago, but had never been accurately dated.

This handout picture released by the journal Nature, on October 8, 2014, shows
 hand stencils marking a cave wall in Maros karsts on the Indonesian island of
 Sulawesi (AFP Photo/Kinez Riza)

It had been widely assumed that anything older than 10,000 years would have eroded away in the tropical climate.

The team measured the radioactive decay of trace amounts of uranium found in small stalactite-like calcite growths called "cave popcorn" that had formed a layer less than 10 millimetres (0.38 inches) thick over the art.

The method produced minimum estimates for the works' ages, and the pieces could in fact be much older, said the team.

The stencil is now officially the oldest known specimen of the hand silhouette art form, they reported.

And the depiction of a fat-bellied babirusa "pig deer", its four legs, head, tail and lines of hair still clearly visible, is one of the earliest known depictions of an animal, "if not the earliest".

"It can now be demonstrated that humans were producing rock art about 40,000 years ago at opposite ends of the Pleistocene Eurasian world," the team wrote.

The previous oldest cave art was from El Castillo cave in northern Spain, including a hand stencil dated 37,300 years ago, according to Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University, who wrote a comment on the study.

The oldest known animal painting was of a charcoal rhino in the Chauvet Cave in France, dated to 35,300-38,827 years ago. Traces of red paint about 36,000-41,000 years old were found in Fumane, Italy.

Chris Stringer, a palaeontologist at Britain's Natural History Museum, said the new data suggested that early humans were already artists when they spread out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago.

"I think some of the art in Australia will also eventually be dated to this very early time," he said in a video distributed by Nature.

The findings "stress the great relevance of Asia, and especially southeast Asia, for the study of human evolution," added Roebroeks.

"Compared with Europe, Asia has seen little fieldwork, and new finds will keep on challenging what we think we know about human evolution."

Related Article:

Several hundred thousand years ago, Humans began to form into the Human that you recognize today. That's just yesterday. Don't confuse this with Human development. You have had that going on for a very long time. But the DNA that is within your body is not the DNA that developed naturally on the planet. Yours is outside of the system of Earth-based evolutionary processes, and the scientists are starting to see this. The "missing link" that they speak of is not Human.

So again, we tell you that the ones who came to help seed you approximately 100,000 to 200,000 Earth years ago were the Pleiadians who had gone into graduate status and who had changed consciousness. They had become quantum with free choice, and you have parts of their DNA within you.

New information for you: The seeding process was not a one-time event. This is why we give you these large sections of time where the Pleiadians worked with you. It was done over time and in many places. It was not all simultaneous, and this was for reasons that will remain unknown to you for now, but will later explain why you will find other Human types that now are extinct. Now you only have one Human type, and that is counterintuitive to all mammal development on the planet. This was a design, and it took more than 100,000 years to create this for humanity as you know it.

It's your Human bias that has the creation story of the knowledge of light and dark being given to Humans in one day in a garden involving a talking snake and other mythology. Spiritual logic should tell you that these stories are simply metaphors of a real truth, that indeed there was a major shift of consciousness, but over a longer period of time and not instantly. The same mythology has the earth created in seven days. However, this only represents a numerological truth [7 is the number of divinity], meaning that there was a divine design in the creation of the planet. It's time to start using spiritual logic within the teachings you have about spiritual history, for the revelations will be wonderful and lead to fuller understanding.

Now, what really is in your DNA? It's the Pleiadians' code, and it's the ones before them, and even the ones before them. You can't remember it, for that is not the set-up. The system is that your Akashic record is only from Earth, but your "divine remembrance" will take you back to the beginning, where system after system after system created that which you see as the divinity within the galaxy and the Universe.

Who are they? They're your "divine" parents. They're the seed divinity in you and they visit here. They're not all Pleiadians, did you know that? Instead, they're from all over the galaxy. You see, they also represent the seeds of the Pleiadians, and they keep you safe. You wouldn't have it any other way, would you? "Safe from what?" you might ask. ….”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jakarta to Speed Up Kota Tua Revitalization for 2018 Asian Games

Jakarta Globe, Lenny Tristia Tambun, Oct 08, 2014

Visitors at Fatahillah square, the heart of the old town known locally known
as Kota Tua. (AFP photo/ Romeo Gacad)

Jakarta.  Revitalization of Jakarta’s historic town center Kota Tua will be fast tracked in order to be ready for the 2018 Asian Games, the company charged with organizing the renovation said on Wednesday.

Lin Che Wei, the CEO of Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation, a consortium handling the revitalization, said the company had obtained consent from some building owners and had already started working on the project.

“The revitalization of Kota Tua has started. We are optimistic it will be completed within a relatively short time so that when we host the 2018 Asian Games, Kota Tua is a selling point for the tourism sector,” Lin said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Indonesia was approved to host the Asian Games (Asiad) last month after Vietnam said in April that it could no longer afford to stage them.

Already Lin said he had requested that the Jakarta City Council (DPRD) help regulate street vendors in the area.

“Hawkers will still be allowed, but only those who are registered,” Lin said, “this needs to be done so they won’t get bigger in numbers and are still orderly.”

Kota Tua, once revered as the “Queen of the East”, is now a crumbling relic and many of its heritage buildings are in a critical state of disrepair.

The DPRD has pushed for revitalization of the area in the hope it will become a tourist attraction, and this year it gave property owners a two-year deadline to restore buildings or face severe sanctions.

Of the 134 colonial-era buildings in Kota Tua, only five of them — including the Jakarta History Museum — are owned by the Jakarta Government.

Sarwo Handayani, Jakarta’s deputy for spatial planning and environmental protection, said acting governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama had contacted owners, including a number of state-owned enterprises.

Head of Jakarta Tourism Agency Arief Budhiman said the revitalization would not change the authentic design of the buildings. Restoration would adjust the function of the buildings by adding more facilities, such as parking lots and parks, he said.

“The design will stay the same because those buildings are the city’s heritage,” Arief said.

Other prominent buildings such as Gedung Cipta and Kerta Niaga would be renovated in 2015.

“These historical buildings will be returned to their original facade, however, there will many new activities inside. One of them is aimed to facilitate the hawkers,” Arie said.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SBY Signs Presidential Decree to Replace Regional Elections Law

Jakarta Globe, SP/Novianti Setuningsih, Oct 03, 2014

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,left, is accompanied by Vice President Boediono
as he signs a special presidential order late on Thursday in an attempt to cancel out the
much-criticized regional elections law, which was passed last week by the House
 of Representatives. (Rumgapres Photo/Abror Rizki)

Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a special presidential order late on Thursday in an attempt to cancel out the much-criticized regional elections law, which was passed last week by the House of Representatives.

Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana said the president signed the regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on Thursday.

“President Yudhoyono wants the regional elections to be better than the previous one and therefore the substance of this Perppu is the answer to all the criticism … that has been voiced by many people,” Denny said on Friday.

Denny said the Perppu canceled out the regional elections law, which removed direct elections for mayors, district heads and governors and placed their appointment in the hands of regional legislative councils.

The law was criticized as a major step back for Indonesian democracy, but it was unclear on Friday whether the Perppu would stand because the House could still veto the president’s last-minute intervention.

Related Articles:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A 19-Year Journey Into Javanese Folklore

Jakarta Globe, Ari Susanto, Sep 28, 2014

German archeologist and art historian
Lydia Kieven. (JG Photos/Ari Susanto)
Nothing exerts a pull on Lydia Kieven, 58, in life more than temple reliefs. For more than 19 years, she has searched for stone artifacts to reveal the mysterious story of the Javanese prince, Panji, and was astonished to discover a journey of spirituality rather than love.

Through her personal journey of learning ancient Javanese language, art and culture, the German archeologist became transfixed by the chronicles of Panji, which originated from the 14th-century Majapahit era. Kieven stumbled across the stories of Panji during a hike of East Java’s Mount Penanggungan sanctuary in 1996 to seek out reliefs depicting the epic Mahabharata poem’s Arjuna and Bima at Kendalisodo temple.

Unfortunately, her trip had been in vain as the panels were nowhere to be found. Instead, Kieven discovered four reliefs portraying a couple’s journey with the romantic backdrops of mountains, forests and the ocean. The woman had long, flowing hair, while her male companion seemed to be wearing a cap.

“[The reliefs] were beautiful; they caught my attention and reminded me of a photograph I had once seen of Panji,” Kieven says.

The archeologist returned to Germany and immersed herself in old literature about the prince written by Dutch authors, but none satisfied her curiosity, so she decided to return to Java, where she reconstructed the relief carvings that had captured her attention, instead of focusing solely on text.

The story of Panji can be traced as far back as the 1300s, appearing in various cultures and parts of Southeast Asia, including Kalimantan, Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia. The tale was adapted in each tradition and given various titles but bore the same storyline. Throughout the centuries, the Panji epic has been developed into various artistic performance, including the shadow puppet show of Wayang Beber and the mask dance Topeng Dalang.

The series of stories followed the journey of Prince Panji (or Inu Kertapat) from the kingdom of Kahuripan and Princess Galuh Candrakirana (or Dewi Sekartaji) from Kediri. The two monarchies ruled in East Java prior to the Majapahit period. The narrative begins when the two engaged lovers are torn apart and must each embark on a journey — in disguise — to be reunited.

“The couple’s journey to find each other is not a love story, but rather a spiritual journey to seek sanctity, purity, and peace. In the reliefs, we could find Panji’s finger pointing at objects as if he is asking us to follow the path of spirituality, such as dipping in water — for purifying — and meeting the spiritual guru,” she says.

Lydia Kieven has dedicated nearly
two decades of her life to the ancient
Javanese folklore of Prince Panji and
his love, Princess Galuh. (JG Photo/
Ari Susanto)
What mesmerizes Kieven is not the story itself, but rather the symbolism found in ancient Javanese agrarian culture. Panji is a masterpiece that is completely different from both the Mahabharata and Ramayana, which feature gods and goddesses manifested in human forms.

“Panji represents a human, like us, who searches for [spirituality] through stages depicted in the reliefs. Both Panji and Galuh are presented as being modest and humble, leaving their royal lives for adventure,” she says.

Kieven’s mission to capture the lingering traces of Panji throughout Java, Kalimantan and Bali has not been without its challenges, but the archeologist says she gained inspiration from the ancient tale she has dedicated her life to.

“Panji and Galuh were very steadfast in their efforts to find on another. No obstacles could stop them,” Kieven says.

Two months after her first encounter with the reliefs depicting Panji and Galuh, doctors diagnosed Kieven with a malignant form of cancer that required surgery and chemotherapy. Despite her weakened condition, the German continued with her research paper on narrative sculptures and literary traditions of Southeast Asia, presenting a complete draft in September 1996, to the Netherlands’ Leiden University.

Then, while still reeling from the devitalizing effects of radiation, Kieven once again traveled to Java to complete her research. Back in the archipelago, however, she was faced with another obstacle: lack of funds. The resilient art historian didn’t let a debilitating illness stop her expedition, nor would she allow something as trivial as money to keep her away from Panji and Galuh’s adventures, so Kieven took up work as a travel guide, leading German tourists.

She continued her work, scrutinizing reliefs from temple to temple, including the Penataran, the largest Hindu temple complex of East Java and home to multiple intricately-carved reliefs and two statues of Panji and Galuh. In 2000 alone, she visited 20 sites for her research.

The two statues have since been moved and are now conserved separately: Panji is kept in the art library of the Bandung Institute of Technology in West Java, while Galuh is housed in Jakarta’s National Museum. Kieven hopes the two will once again be united, as described in the epic tale of their spiritual journey

Friday, September 26, 2014

Indonesia’s scrapping of direct elections raises fears for democracy

Controversial legislation criticised as attempt by old political elites to consolidate their loosening grip on power

The Guardian, Kate Lamb in Jakarta, Friday 26 September 2014

President-elect Widodo. Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, was held up
as an example in the region after the July poll. Photograph: Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Fears have been raised for Indonesia’s democracy after its parliament voted to abolish the direct election of local leaders, a key post-dicatatorship reform credited with assisting president-elect Joko Widodo’s rise to popularity as a mayor and governor before he won July’s national election.

The legislation – passed in the early hours of Friday after intensive lobbying – will mean provincial governors, district chiefs and mayors will now be elected by legislative bodies rather than directly by the people.

It could also lead to Widodo’s opponents in the incoming parliament – in which his coalition will hold just over a third of the seats – using its appointees to block his reforms at the local level.

Direct elections, part of the decentralisation measures implemented after the fall of dictator Suharto in 1998, have been credited with producing a handful of promising new leaders unconnected to the old elite, including Widodo, who beat a former general in the election in July.

After the tightest elections in the nation’s history ran peacefully, the world’s third-largest democracy was lauded for it political maturity and held up as an example in the region.

Raised in a riverside slum in Central Java, Widodo, known in Indonesia as Jokowi, is the first elected president with no direct ties to the old political and military establishment.

“The bill is a setback. A step back to a process of electing political leaders that is now in the hands of political parties,” said Djayadi Hanan, a political analyst from Paramadina University in Jakarta. “It is like a comeback for the political oligarchy.”

Doing away with direct elections, say analysts, will stymie the emergence of a new breed of accountable, responsible leaders and entrench the old elite.

Citing a recent poll by the Indonesian Survey Circle that showed more than 80% of Indonesians opposed the bill, Hanan argued that Indonesia’s political elites were trying to tighten their loosening grip on power and in doing so acted “against the will of the people”.

The bill has also been seen as attempt to even political scores, rushed through by an outgoing parliament and passed by a coalition of parties led by Prabowo Subianto, the former general who lost the July election to Jokowi.

“[The Prabowo coalition] want to humiliate Jokowi in the parliament, and this is the first battle,” said Eva K Sundari, a legislator from Jokowi’s Democratic party of Struggle

The ruling coalition in the incoming parliament will account for just over 36% of the seats and unless Jokowi manages to secure the support of another political party, he looks set to face a belligerent parliament after his inauguration on 20 October.

Analysts say that while he might hold power at the top, the opposition could further derail his programmes at a local level following the elimination of direct elections. More than 200 new local leaders, including 11 new provincial governors, are scheduled to be appointed next year and the new bill could help consolidate power in the hands of Jokowi’s opponents.

Aleksius Jemadu, the dean of political sciences at Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta, said the bill reflected an unsavoury new development in Indonesian democracy, one where the parliament “can do anything they want now because they control the majority and no one can stop them”.

In the lead-up to the boisterous 12 hours of debate and lobbying that preceded the vote, it appeared the bill was likely to be quashed. But the party that held the crucial swing vote, outgoing president Yudhoyono’s Democratic party, reversed its position at the 11th hour, walking out of the plenary session and abstaining from the subsequent vote.

That decision cost Jokowi’s coalition more than 100 votes and sealed an easy victory for the Prabowo-led coalition by 226 votes to 135.

Civil society groups and NGOs have vowed to challenge the new law at the constitutional court, but it is unclear whether they could win. Depending on the interpretation of the law, both direct and indirect elections are arguably constitutional.

As Prabowo’s Gerindra party hailed victory, critics on social networks described the bill as the death of democracy and directed their anger towards Yudhoyono under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnYouSBY.

At a press conference on Thursday evening in Washington, where he was on an official visit, Yudhoyono expressed his regret at the vote. He said his party was preparing a lawsuit to challenge the bill and would seek recourse at the constitutional or supreme court.

Not all political observers are convinced he is sincere, given Yudhoyono could have thrown out the draft law to begin with.

“This reflects the real face of President Yudhoyono’s commitment to develop a genuine democracy,” argued political observer Aleksius Jemadu, “The president was in a position to stop all this in the first place, but he didn’t.”

Widodo has vowed to fight against the law and on Friday said the Indonesian public should remember which “political parties have robbed them of their political rights”.

The Democrats may file for review at the Constitutional Court, but experts
say others have better standing. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)