Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, March 29, 2008

President praises Indonesian Islamic film "Ayat-ayat Cinta"

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the Indonesian film "Ayat-ayat Cinta" (Verses of Love) can be a medium to promote a better understanding of Islam.

The president made the statement after watching the film directed by Hanung Bramantyo at Studio XXI at EX Plaza here on Friday night.

"The film can be a good medium for getting the right message of Islam across," said Yudhoyono, who was accompanied by his family, including his sons Agus Harimurti and Edi baskoro as well as his daughter-in-law Annisa Pohan.

The Indonesian head of state who claimed he wiped tears from his eyes several times when watching the film, said Islam was frequently misunderstood by the public.

Yudhoyono added that all Indonesian Muslims who had watched the film should be able to explain to the rest of the world that Islam is a peace-loving religion full of tolerance and harmony.

According to the president, the film directed by Hanung Bramantyo was a reflection of Islam, its ability to rise above mere symbols enabling the world community to coexist despite its diversity.

Among the ministers who accompanied President Yudhoyono in watching the film were Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Women`s Empowerment Minister Mutia Hatta, People`s Welfare Coordinating Minister Aburizal Bakrie, Minister/State Secretary Hatta Rajasa and Presidential Spokesman Dino Pattidjalal.

Besides the ministers, artists who played in the film also took part, namely Fedi Nuril, Melani Putria, Rianti Cartwright, Carissa Putri, and Zaskia Addya Mecca.

Senior artist Chritine Hakim, Director Hanung Bramantyo, producer of the film Manoj Punjabi and author of Ayat-ayat Cinta novel Habibiurrahman El Shirazy also attended the event.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Visitors to Singapore set new Feb record, Indonesians leading the way

Singapore (ANTARA News) - Singapore welcomed 811,000 visitors in February, setting a new record for the month with arrivals from Indonesia and China leading the way, the tourism board said on Tuesday. 

The total represented growth of 7 per cent compared to the same month a year ago. 

A breakdown of the top five visitor-generating markets showed 125,000 from Indonesia, 121,000 from China, 52,000 from Australia, 51,000 from the UK and 50,000 from Malaysia. 

"These markets accounted for 49 per cent of total visitor arrivals for the month," the board was quoted by DPA as saying. China's 120,000 set an all-time record achieved in a single month. 

The board attributed strong travel promotions, increased flights and the Chinese New Year holiday period for the growth. 

Among the top 15 markets, Vietnam, Australia and South Korea registered the highest growth. Vietnam's was up 43 per cent, Australia's 30 per cent and South Korea's 30 per cent. 

More than 10 million visitors arrived in 2007, a record high.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Japan-Indonesia relations: A 50 years journey

Jusuf Wanandi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta   |  Mon, 03/24/2008 1:09 AM 

Historically, Japan-Indonesia relations were never as dramatic as Japan's relations with China or Korea. Of course, we also went through a difficult period in World War II when the then Dutch East Indies was occupied by the Japanese Army for three-and-a-half years.

We were in a war, and war is always miserable. We experienced atrocities in some parts of Indonesia, such as in West Kalimantan, but that happened only at the end of the war and with limited victims. Most of the hardships and excesses happened because of the war situation. It should be noted that the Japanese occupation took place when a military dictatorship had ruled Japan since the early 1930s. And a dictatorship, especially a military one, can be really harsh and full of excesses.

On the other hand, the Japanese occupation also taught and did Indonesia some good, such as building a national administration, training a local army and at the end providing encouragement to become independent.

After Indonesia's independence was recognized at the end of 1949, talks began on war reparations in the mid-1950s after the San Francisco Agreement was signed and finalized with the Agreement on Compensation and the opening of diplomatic relations in 1958 between Japan and Indonesia. It was aid in human resources training and infrastructure building, besides trade, that came at the beginning of the formal relationship.

Under Sukarno's presidency the relationship was complicated because Japan was an ally of the United States while Sukarno was becoming more leftist in his foreign policy. But when Soeharto came to power, relations with Japan improved because Indonesia became closer to the United States. Japan took the lead to reschedule Indonesia's debts at the Tokyo Conference and became a big donor in the context of the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI).

Japanese investment in Indonesia also increased and this happened at the same time Japan reached maturity in its industrialization, and therefore was looking for markets to export to and raw materials to import.

The first challenge arose when, mainly due to domestic political divisions within Indonesia, protests and mass actions against Japanese economic interests broke out in January 1974.

That incident provided a lesson to the Japanese on how to behave in order not to be seen as an "economic animal" and how to adjust to Indonesia's traditions and the psychology of the people. The so-called Tanaka riots taught the Japanese how to prepare their businessmen well.

Since then, relations have greatly improved, including in the area of labor relations. Japanese companies in Indonesia also began to send middle-level workers to Japan to learn about the industries they were in. This is a very good way to create a transfer of technology to Indonesians, the lack of which was a key issue in the criticism launched at the Japanese.

The Japanese had shown a commitment to assisting Indonesia consistently until the financial crisis in Indonesia in 1997, a time when Japan itself had already been facing a weak economy for eight years.

The crisis disheartened Japanese business to increase investment in Indonesia because Indonesia has never really recovered in business terms: Labor relations are not improving and the unions are too militant for them, infrastructure has not improved, the rule of law and its implementation have been very weak and corruption has not been adequately overcome.

Therefore, Indonesia has to do its part, before Japan, who has been well-disposed to Indonesia, could and would do more for us.

In strategic terms Japan is important to Indonesia. It is the second-largest economy and is very advanced in technology. It is also one of the two potential leaders of East Asia, with China. Unfortunately, Japan does not seem to have the strategy necessary to improve its presence in East Asia, because its political development is getting stuck.

The ruling LDP has lost its ability to run Japan effectively due to its weak leadership, while the opposition DJP has become stronger, but not strong enough to run Japan now.

In its foreign policy, Japan also has not been able to debate among its leaders what it is going to do in relation to the United States based on the alliance, on the one hand, and in relation to East Asia, where Japan has its greatest stake, on the other. This should not be a contradiction, but Japan needs to strike the right balance, and this is not happening.

There is also the question of ASEAN. There is a feeling of drift in ASEAN-Japan relations because despite some important initiatives on the Japan side, such as the establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), there is not enough drive and push for the cooperation. This is also felt by Indonesia in bilateral relations with Japan.

Of course, Indonesia has to make improvements on many fronts, but it can only do this if Japan is more involved and more committed to Indonesia's economic development, and if it really considers Indonesia an important strategic partner. The pressure for changes should happen from within rather than from the outside. Japanese business will have more leverage in affecting Indonesia's policies if they remain involved in Indonesia.

In addition, Japan should be more forthcoming in assisting and supporting Indonesia's capabilities for leadership in ASEAN. Indonesia is expected to lead ASEAN and in partnership with Japan also play a greater role in the context of development in East Asia and globally.

For that purpose strategic dialogues are needed between Indonesia and Japan to be able to come up with more ideas and proposals than at present. This should not be confined to the governments, but should also involve different groups that can contribute to these efforts.

The bilateral Indonesia-Japan Colloquiums in the 1970s and 80s provide a useful model for this and can be reinstated with some adjustments to a new strategic environment and challenges.

The writer is the vice chair of the board of trustees of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.


The Jakarta Post   |  Mon, 03/24/2008 2:51 PM 

 ENDLESS LOVE: Singer Diana Ross entertains Indonesian fans during her concert at the Ritz-Charlton’s Pacific Place Ballroom in Jakarta on Sunday evening. The show, part of Ross’ “Endless Love Tour 2008”, was organized by Buena Production. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bulgaria and Indonesia to Promote Each Other's Tourism, 22 March 2008, Saturday

The visit of Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wachik in Bulgaria continued Saturday with discussions about how the two countries can promote the tourism contacts between one another.

Minister Wachik said he was going to do everything possible to develop the relations between Bulgaria and Indonesia in the fields of culture and tourism. He stated that the 220 million Indonesian traveled a lot, and that it would a huge success for Bulgaria if it managed to attract at least a part of them.

The Head of Bulgaria's State Agency for Tourism Aneliya Krushkova said in turn she was surprised by that fact that 2 800 Indonesian citizens visited Bulgaria in 2007, the press service of the Agency reported.

Indonesia is visited by 5 million tourists each year, which is just as many as Bulgaria, but Indonesia receives about USD 5 B from tourism, or 9% of its GDP, whereas Bulgaria gets only USD 2,3 B.

Saturday evening Minister Wachik is going to present the "Visit Indonesia 2008" program in the National Archaeological Museum attempting to attract as many Bulgarian tour operators and tourist agents as possible. Aneliya Krushkova said this would be an act of promoting the Indonesian tourism in Bulgaria.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

IHG to open two new resorts in Bali under InterContinental and Holiday Inn Brands

08/03/2008 10:39

The FINANCIAL -- IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced the expansion of its resort portfolio in Bali, Indonesia's top leisure destination, with the signing of the InterContinental Bali Sanur Beach Resort and a Holiday Inn Resort on Tuban.

InterContinental Bali Sanur Beach Resort, managed on behalf of PT Restu Maharani, is scheduled to open in late 2009. The new-build resort designed by award-winning architectural firm eco-id with interiors by Hadiprana will occupy seven hectares of beachfront property on the tranquil coastal village of Sanur. The luxury resort's 104 rooms and suites will be located in low-rise cluster pavilions and will be complemented by 54 private villas, all featuring private pools with underwater seating, outdoor showers and private landscaped courtyards. The resort will also offer a wide selection of premium facilities, including a luxurious Spa InterContinental with spacious indoor and outdoor treatment areas, an all-day beachfront restaurant and specialty dining. InterContinental Bali Sanur Beach Resort will be the second InterContinental hotel on the island and sister property to the award-winning 418-room InterContinental Bali Resort on Jimbaran Bay.

The Holiday Inn Resort on Tuban is a 200-room property set on three hectares of Balinese gardens with direct beach access. Managed by IHG on behalf of PT Menara Perdana, the resort's opening later this year will mark the Holiday Inn brand's entry to the island. Extensive refurbishments are underway to bring the property to Holiday Inn Resort brand standards. Facilities will include a Tea Tree Spa and a kids' club with extensive outdoor play area.

"Bali is one of Asia's most popular destinations, attracting high-spending leisure travellers, corporate meeting attendees as well as families. IHG already manages a successful InterContinental resort on Jimbaran Bay and with these two new hotels, our guests can look forward to more choice of accommodations across two brands in three unique locations," said Jan Smits, chief operating officer, Southern Asia and Korea, IHG Asia Pacific.

Tourism offers unmissable business opportunities for Indonesia

Debnath Guharoy , Consultant , | Tue, 03/11/2008 1:38 AM

As with people of all nationalities, many Indonesians spend their whole lives in their provinces, never traveling far from home.

About 13 percent of the population travel beyond what is required by their daily routines. That figure typically drops by 2 or 3 percent when you eliminate those who travel unexpectantly owing to unforeseen business or family matters.

In a year, only 3 percent of Indonesians travel by plane, the same 3 percent who live the so-called "good life" -- that of plastic cards, new cars and luxury holidays -- while just over 1 percent of all Indonesians have traveled overseas in the last 12 months, either for business or pleasure.

The Javanese, residents of the world's most densely populated island, stay within the confines of Indonesia more than any other islander across the archipelago.

That's understandable, considering distances, availability and cost of convenient transportation and the reality that most people do not have friends or relatives outside of their immediate area.

Sixty-five percent of travelers use buses, making it the most popular form of transportation, even during holdidays. A further 20 percent hop on their family motorbike for vacation.

Another 7 percent travel during holidays by cars owned within the family or by friends, while a mere 2 percent take the boat or ferry.

These statistics are compiled by the country's largest syndicated survey operator, Roy Morgan Single Source, which surveys more than 27,000 Indonesian respondents annually.

The numbers, updated every 90 days, are estimated to reflect almost 90 percent of the population over the age of 14, representing a total of 140 million people.

All holiday-makers, regardless of the distances they travel, make a contribution to the local economy. Not many industries can claim to receive contributions from such a diverse range of customers.

Even before a traveler steps onto a bus or plane, a ticket has already been sold, a room has been booked. Taxi drivers, porters, doormen, chefs, waitresses and housekeeping staff all have jobs to do to support this one traveler.

As does the craftsman, the shopkeeper, the boatman, the barmaid -- the list goes on. If you trace the number of employees called into action by a single tourist couple, the number could well run into the hundreds.

Tourism is good for employment, but it is also good in so many other incalculable ways. The exchange of views, the mingling, the sharing of culture, the goodness that natural beauty can bring, the development of communal pride and purpose. No industry promotes human values, the philosophy to live and let live and the celebration of life more than tourism.

With tourism growing rapidly in Asia, Indonesia is lagging way behind its neighbors. While Vietnam receives more and more tourists every year, Indonesia, hampered by its Bali-centric philosophy, languishes.

The world knows little about Indonesia beyond Bali, and those visiting Bali fail to make a connection to the rest of Indonesia.

It could be argued that the number of underachieving locales in Indonesia rivals the combined total of all other ASEAN countries.

By their own initiative, regional and local budget airlines appear to be doing more to develop travel and tourism than any other business or organization, including the cash-strapped ministry of tourism.

However, airline passengers who aren't visiting friends and relatives need hotels, food, attractions, activities, shopping and night-life. The infrastructure is lacking.

Equally important is the need for a tourist-friendly local government that has its citizens' welfare at the top of its agenda.

Here is an open invitation to form a coalition of the willing and to do some good and make some money: would an official from the ministry, a provincial government, a bank or the Investment Coordinating Board please stand up?

An e-mail to this writer from any of the above would result in an enthusiastic response by a group of capable, experienced investors who wish to execute a textbook construction of a new resort that would make proud all concerned.

If challenged to put my energy where my mouth is by readers of this column, I would join this coalition and dedicate as much time as I could to bring an eco-friendly, socially responsible resort to fruition in Indonesia.

It can be done, and with a greater dividend than any new city shopping mall could ever offer.

The writer can be contacted at

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kampoeng China in Cibubur

The Jakarta Post | Mon, 03/10/2008 1:24 PM

Kampoeng China (Chinese Village), located at Kota Wisata housing complex in Cibubur, East Jakarta, is full of miniatures resembling famous places in China -- Beijing's Forbidden City or the Great Wall, for example.

Everything is painted red, the most important color in Chinese culture. There are also plenty of dragons and other traditional Chinese beasts.

The site is free to the public, including the lion dance. Chinese dishes familiar in Indonesia -- such as siomay (fish cake) and noodles -- are for sale in the pavilions.

At the village you'll also find hundreds of small shops selling souvenirs, Chinese-style clothing, sandals, bags and lanterns, mostly imported from China.

The village is affordable and popular with children who have their pictures taken in front of the miniatures of China's tourism objects.

Shuttle provided for Monas park tours

Mon, 03/10/2008 1:25 PM (Jakarta Post /J. Adiguna)(JP/J. Adiguna)

A number of kids smiled happily inside a new shuttle bus making rounds at Monas Park on Sunday morning, the day the shuttle was launched.

The shuttle was launched by the city administration for visitors to the Central Jakarta park which is the location of Monas national monument.

The launching of the minibuses -- at the park's southwest gate -- was attended by Governor Fauzi Bowo .

Head of the Culture and Museum Agency Aurora Tambunan said there were two shuttles, each three-cars-long and able to carry 36 passengers.

Topped with decorative Betawi-style roofs, the shuttle is four meters long, 1.7 wide and 2 high. The shuttle takes 10 minutes to reach the base of the monument from the southwest gate, some 800 meters away.

"We decided to offer a shuttle because visitors were complaining about the distance from the parking area to the monument," Aurora said Sunday as quoted by

She added that it was a sunny, hot walk.

Aurora said the minibuses would run free of charge from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

At a ceremony Governor Fauzi Bowo said he hoped people would look after the new vehicles.

"The shuttles represent Rp 800 million (around US$88,000) in public funds. So I ask visitors to take care of them," Fauzi said.

Monas is the largest public park in the city and measures 80 hectares.

Poor hygiene weakens RI's tourism: Study

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta , | Mon, 03/10/2008 1:21 AM

The government will need to work extra hard to lure foreign visitors with this year's ambitious Visit Indonesia Year campaign, in the light of health and hygiene issues mentioned in a recent report.

The report, issued March 4 by Switzerland-based World Economic Forum (WEF), cited Indonesia's poor health and hygiene conditions and inadequate infrastructure as key disadvantages in attracting foreign visitors.

WEF ranked Indonesia 80th among 130 countries in its Travel and Competitiveness Index 2008, lower than neighbors Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Last year, Indonesia ranked 60th among 124 countries studied.

Indonesia's health facilities and hygiene received poor scores because of the country's low number of physicians (per capita), inadequate hospital beds, and poor access to improved sanitation and drinking water.

As Southeast Asia's largest economy, Indonesia also received low scores for quality of tourism infrastructure, comprising hotel rooms, presence of major car rental firms and automatic teller machines accepting Visa cards.

These problems were the main reasons for Indonesia's fall in ranking, WEF says.

Indonesia's edge in the competitiveness index related to competitive prices for goods and services, prioritization of travel and tourism spots, and the availability of qualified labor, the report said.

The index was arranged based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the WEF's own survey on qualitative institutional and business environment issues.

The index ranked Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Australia and Spain as the top five countries in the study (respectively).

As organizers of the high profile annual international business forum in Davos, Switzerland, the WEF is an independent international non-profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The forum was first established in January 1971, when a group of European business leaders met under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations.

State Ministry of Culture and Tourism marketing director general Sapta Nirwandar told The Jakarta Post recently the government was in the process of improving tourism infrastructure, and making easier entry procedures for tourists.

"We are still in the process of fixing everything. We are now increasing promotions and cultural events overseas, simplifying visa procedures and improving the quality of service and human resource professionalism," he said.

Last year, some 5.51 million foreign tourists visited the world's largest archipelago, up from 4.87 million in 2006, according to data from to the Central Statistics Agency.

Singapore accounted for the largest number of visitors, with 1.46 million, followed by Malaysia (941,202), Japan (593,784), Australia (313,881), South Korea (423,098), China (335,172), Europe (528,171), and the United States (154,846), the agency reported.

"We have many interesting places and cultures, but many of them don't have good infrastructure or facilities to accommodate visitors' needs," said Thamrin Bhiwana Bachri, an executive at the State Ministry for Culture and Tourism.

"The facilities will include convenient hotels, clean public toilets, well-managed airports, and easy access to tourist attractions," he said.

For 2008, Indonesia has targeted to net seven million foreign visitors under the Visit Indonesia Year campaign funded by the State Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Sapta said, however, the figure was still far less than Singapore or Malaysia, which were targeting to this year lure some 10.2 million and 20.7 million foreign visitors respectively. (rff)

The 2008 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index

Rank Country Score (1-7 scale) 1 Switzerland 5.63 2 Austria 5.43 3 Germany 5.41 4 Australia 5.34 5 Spain 5.30 6 United Kingdom 5.28 7 United States 5.28 8 Sweden 5.27 9 Canada 5.26 10 France 5.23 16 Singapore 5.06 32 Malaysia 4.63 42 Thailand 4.37 80 Indonesia 3.70 81 Philippines 3.70 96 Vietnam 3.57 112 Cambodia 3.32

Indonesia's travel & tourism indicators (2007)

GDP (US$ millions) 10,167 Employment (1,000 jobs) 1,981

(Source: The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008; World Economic Forum)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Java Jazz kicks off in holiday mood

Ary Hermawan and Aditya Suharmoko , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 03/08/2008 1:27 AM

The Java Jazz Festival kicked off Friday to a full house of music fans pleased that the first day of the annual event coincided with a public holiday.

The party started nearly on time as fans crowded into the venue early, causing a traffic jam on the roads surrounding the Jakarta Convention Center, where the three-day festival is taking place.

Because Friday was a public holiday, concertgoers were able to get to the event early, instead of having to wait for the close of office hours.

"This is beyond our expectations. Fans came early and the shows started early, too, so this is perfect," the festival's program director, Eki Puradireja, The Jakarta Post.

As in past years, a contingent of ticket scalpers was spotted around the venue from the afternoon, making a tidy profit from fans unable to secure tickets through legal channels.

Scalpers were selling tickets at twice the official price.

The Gita Teladan Marching Band, with their raucous trumpets and drums, was present to welcome concertgoers as they entered the venue. On stage, the Kirana Big Band drew a crowd with its distinctive American jazz music.

On another stage, Syaharani and the Queen Fireworks and Parkdrive amused the audience some of their hit numbers.

It was a distinctly younger audience on Friday, with a lot of couples holding hands and dancing to the groove.

Andhini Putri said she could not wait to see Lee Ritenour and Renee Olstead.

"I like Renee Olstead and I have her album," said Andhini, who was at the show with her boyfriend.

"But the festival has a lot of similar artists as previous years, which makes it a bit boring," she said.

That did not stop people from lining up to see Incognito perform, although the band has performed several times in the country before.

Sindy Sutoro, also there with her boyfriend, said the Incognito show wasn't great, but it was good.

"The reason I'm here is because I want to see Bobby Caldwell," she said.

Besides music, the audience can explore the convention center, where numerous booths have been set up offering food, drinks and Java Jazz merchandise, such as T-shirts and caps.

Organizers have said the festival is not meant for jazz fans only, as it features other musical genres such as R&B, pop, electronic, soul, funk and more.

Malaysian singer Atilia, for example, adds jazz elements to her pop music. Some of Atilia's tunes are reminiscent of Sheila Madjid, another Malaysian singer who is popular here.

Manhattan Transfer will perform on Saturday along with George Clinton "Funkadelic", Joe Sample & the Crusaders and the Ron King Big Band. For local performers, the young jazz trio RAN is worth a listen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


HONOR TITLE: Poet W.S. Rendra delivers a speech after receiving an honorary doctorate at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta on Tuesday. Rendra spoke of the era of kalabendu (disaster), which he believes is sweeping Indonesia.

He was presented the honorary title for his contributions to the country's national culture. kalabendu (Jakarta Post/Slamet Susanto)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More tourism promotion urged

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 03/04/2008 11:11 AM | City

JAKARTA: The city administration must run more promotions to attract foreign tourists to the capital, an official says.

The number of foreign tourists coming to the capital has fallen. In January 2008, there were 106,470 foreign tourist arrivals in the city, down from 110,799 the previous month.

"We expect the number will continue to fall in the upcoming months," head of the city's bureau of statistics, Djamal, said Monday, as quoted by

To attract more foreign tourists to Jakarta, the city needs to promote and disseminate information on the city's safety.

"The safety of Jakarta is under control. There are a lot of factors that will attract tourists to the city," he said.

In past years, the capital has been rocked by a number of deadly bombings. However, there have been no recent incidents reported.

Jakarta is also home to a number of international festivals, including the upcoming Java Jazz, the Jakarta International Film Festival (Jiffest), the Q! Film Festival, the Arts Summit, Literary Biennale and the International Photo Festival.

However, promotion of these festivals is largely left to organizers themselves, with the city administration at most providing some funding.

The city also offers a number of museums and attractions like Ancol Dream Park, the Thousand Islands and Old Town in West Jakarta, which is currently being revitalized.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Foreign journalists to cover Nyepi

Irawaty Wardany, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

Television stations in the United States, Korea and Taiwan have expressed interest in covering Nyepi (the Day of Silence) in Bali, which falls on March 7 this year, an official said Thursday.

"I received proposals from three foreign TV stations -- CNN from the United States, one from Taiwan and the other one from South Korea, to cover the ritual of Nyepi next week," head of the Bali Tourism Agency, I Gede Nurjaya, told The Jakarta Post here.

He said he had sent official replies to the requests two days ago, saying the agency did not mind if they covered Nyepi, but under certain conditions.

"They are allowed to cover a series of rituals for Nyepi, starting from the melasti (self-purification) ceremony to the ogoh-ogoh (effigy) parade, but on Nyepi Day they will be allowed to cover it only from their hotels. We don't want them to disturb the devotion of the people during Nyepi Day," he said.

He said that even though they were journalists covering Nyepi, they would not be allowed onto the streets or to travel around the island on Nyepi Day, when activities are severely curtailed.

Hindu Balinese will mark Nyepi on March 7 to commemorate Hindu's Saka New Year.

Nurjaya said he also suggested they get recommendations from Indonesian embassies stating they are members of the media in their respective countries.

"I also asked them to present a list of their equipment so that we can expedite the process at the airport," he said.

However, he said it was not certain the TV stations would end up sending reporters to Bali.

"They sent me the letters at the last minute. I just received them five days ago, while Nyepi is only seven days away," he said.

During Nyepi, 90 percent of the island's 3.5 million inhabitants will practice catur berata penyepian, or the four abstinences: refraining from lighting fires and using lights, refraining from working, refraining from traveling outside the house and refraining from indulging in leisure activities for 24 hours, starting at 6 a.m. on March 7 to 6 a.m. the next day.

This ritual has inspired some non-governmental organizations that focus on environmental issues to promote the moment of Nyepi throughout the world as a campaign to reduce carbon emissions.

Ni Nyoman Sri Widhiyanti of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said she had not heard about the journalists that would go to Bali to cover Nyepi.

However, she urged the regional administration to help facilitate any journalists in carrying out their jobs.

"As long as they do not disturb the ritual it is all right for them to cover the situation of Nyepi in Bali," she said

Besides, she added, it would be a good promotion for Bali in general and for the world silence day campaign in particular.