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. …

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dutch rider wins sixth stage of Tour d'Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 11/30/2008 10:31 AM  

Hosts have yet to show their cycling grit in the Speedy Tour d'Indonesia as Wim Spijkerboer became the sixth rider -- all foreign participants -- to win a stage on Saturday. 

Dutch national Spijkerboer with the Kuala Lumpur Cycling Association team clocked the best time of three hours and 50 minutes and seven seconds to win the 170.9-kilometer sixth stage from Yogyakarta to Madiun, Antara reported. 

Cyclists race through Surakarta during the sixth stage from Yogyakarta to Madiun in the 2008 Speedy Tour d’Indonesia on Saturday. The next stage will be from Madiun to Surabaya. (JP/Blontank Poer)

He was five seconds ahead of Indonesian riders Nunung Burhanudin of the West Java team and Robin Manulang of Kutai Kartanegara. 

Despite failing to win the stage, race leader Ghader Mizbani Iranagh managed to keep his position at the top of the provisional standings and will keep the yellow jersey when the tour enters the seventh stage from Madiun to Surabaya on Sunday. 

Fellow Iranians Amir Zargari and Hossain Jahanbanian remained in second and third place, respectively. 

Nunung emerged the fastest among local riders on Saturday. Bayu Satrio of the Bintang Kranggan Cycling Club finished in third behind Robin. 

However, Endra Wijaya of the Customs Cycling Club (CCC), despite finishing 20th, remained the red-and-white jersey holder as the overall leader among local competitors. 

The sixth stage featured two intermediate sprints, both of which were won by Malaysian riders -- Anuar Manan and Mohd Zamri Saleh. 

Anuar has collected the most points in sprints at 20 and still holds the green jersey. 

Ten Indonesian and seven foreign teams are taking part in the tour.

President meets with traditional kings and sultans

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here Saturday met with traditional kings and sultans grouped in the Nusantara Forum of Palaces and called on them to help safeguard the country`s national heritages. 

"Indonesia has a variety of cultures, arts and civilizations which show the greatness of the country. As the head of state, I expect all kings and sultans to play a role in preserving and developing the national heritages ," he said. 

He said the development of national heritages included development of cultures, traditions and wisdoms. "You all can also play a role in national development in all fields," he said. 

He said the traditional rulers` participation in national development would contribute much to the nation. 

On the occasion the President also called on all royal entities in the country to develop tourism- and arts-based economies. 

"Indonesia has the capital to do it. Develop all the existing economic potentials and thus make contributions to the nation," he said. 

He said the results of economic development could be used to pay the cost of maintaining the cultural centers existing in the regions. 

The Nusantara Palace forum was established in 2006 with 57 member palaces. Now the number of its members has risen to 118 palaces. 

King Ida Tjokorda Ngurah Jambe Pamecutan IX from the Denpasar Grand Temple who is the forum`s chairman said on the occasion that the traditional palaces were one of the means to develop national culture. 

This was why the forum`s members believed they needed to maintain their community in a spirit of fraternity, he said. 

King Ida also said the forum would stage a palace expo from December 25 through December 30 to be participated in by its 118 members. 

Attending the meeting with the president were traditional kings from Riau, Riau Islands, South Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung, Madura, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Maluku and West Papua.

Bali to host Indonesia Golf Open, Nov 29th, 2008  

The Indonesia Open, the annual co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour event held since 2005, moves to the tropical island of Bali with new dates of February 26-March 1, 2009.      

The exciting new venue is the New Kuta Golf Resort, situated on the south western rim of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula which overlooks the stunning Balangan Beach and the Indian Ocean. 

Located near what is renowned as one of the top surfing destinations in the region, the par 72 golf course measures over 7,500 yards and is designed by Golf Plan USA, consisting of Ronald Fream, David Dale and Kevin Ramsey.  New Kuta Golf is also the first ‘links style’ golf course in the country. 

Boasting Indonesia’s richest prize purse for a sporting event, the Indonesia Open immediately follows the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia, held in the preceding week, and a week before the Thailand Open, thus ensuring the participation of some of Europe’s and Asia’s best players.  The total prize money on offer is US$1.25 million, increased from US$ 1.2 million of last year. 

“Bali has always been a favorite destination for European golfers when they come through the region,” said Vicky Jones, The European Tour’s Client Services Director, Asia.  “It will be exciting to play in a tropical paradise that is surrounded with such rich culture and traditions.” 

“Our players are looking forward to the trip to Bali for the Indonesia Open in 2009,” said Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman, Asian Tour.  “New Kuta Golf has received widespread praise as a championship venue and I believe the players will enjoy their first experience in Bali.” 

“We are pleased that this world class event will once again be held in Indonesia,” said Jero Wacik, Head of the Indonesian Golf Association (PGI), himself a native Balinese. 

“As Bali is home to a number of international class golf courses, we hope this event will help increase people’s awareness of golf as a sport and that this tournament will aid in finding the next generation of golfers in Indonesia.  We will also help prepare our players for some of the most intense competition they will be facing.” 

Mr Wacik, who is also the Indonesian Minister of Culture and Tourism, hopes the tournament will help raise Indonesia’s profile on the world stage. 

He said: “We are beginning to see many international sporting events and tournaments being hosted in Indonesia.  The Balinese people are known to be gracious hosts and I am sure they look forward to welcoming visitors to the Indonesia Open.  The tournament will help showcase to tourists of the many promising leisurely activities they can enjoy while visiting our beautiful country.” 

“We are excited to host this event in Bali, as many people in the world already know its legendary hospitality,” said John Eu, CEO of GlobalOne, the promoter of the Indonesia Open. 

“We hope this new venue will continue to see Indonesia’s amazing performance in the sport as this year an unprecedented four national players made the cut.  I am sure 2009 will see more Indonesian players working hard to compete against some of the very best in the sport, especially coming at the heels of the Johnnie Walker Classic. 

“GlobalOne is very grateful for the commitment of our partners, from the Indonesian Golf Association, the European and Asian Tours, as well as our sponsors, to ensure this tournament continues its tradition. 

“Although it is at a new venue, the Indonesia Open continues to be a benchmark for golf tournaments within the country.  We hope to see many of you there in Bali to catch some exciting golf on the isle of the Gods.” 

Since its inaugural event in 2005, the Indonesia Open has become a world class tournament thanks to the participation of international players such as Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (2008 Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open champion), Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (2007 champion), England’s Simon Dyson (2006 champion) and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant (2005 champion). 

Some of the world’s top players have participated in previous Indonesia Opens, including former Ryder Cup players Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley of Ireland, last year’s runner up Jeev Milka Singh of India, and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

'High time to come together': India's Patil

Andra Wisnu, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Sun, 11/30/2008 10:32 AM 

India's President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (center) talks to media during her visit to Taman Ayung temple in Mengwi, on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, on Saturday. (AP/Firdia Lisnawati)


Indian President Pratibha Patil urged the international community to work together to end terrorism after praying for peace for her terrorist-attacked home country at the Hindu Temple of Taman Ayun in Mengwi district of Badung, Bali, on Saturday. 

Patil, during her stop in Bali on a six-day trip to Indonesia, went to the temple to pray for her country which, as of Saturday, had just regained control of the city. 

"I have prayed that good sense will prevail on all people so that such acts of terrorism do not occur again. 

"It is high time for people to come together -- people of all regions, all communities and castes -- and decide that the world should come together for the peace and happiness of mankind," she said. 

Reports have said that at least 195 were killed in coordinated attacks at 10 well-known sites in India's financial center, including the luxury Taj Mahal Hotel, a Jewish center and the city's main train station. 

Patil was on a Southeast Asian trip during the attacks. She was on her way to Indonesia for bilateral discussions following an earlier visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to India in 2005. 

President Patil said that during her stopover in Vietnam, she had met with Vietnamese leaders who had condemned the attacks. 

She said Bali's leaders, who had faced deadly terrorist attacks in 2002 and 2005, also condemned the attacks on Mumbai. 

"It has been unanimously decided that terrorism is high on the agenda of the international community, and we must jointly and relentlessly fight it. 

"This is what is needed and I think good sense will prevail on all people," she said. 

Patil is scheduled to leave for Jakarta on Sunday, where she will meet Yudhoyono on Monday to sign a number of agreements, including sports, oil and gas, agriculture and an education exchange program. 

Meanwhile, Indonesia's ambassador to India, Andi Ghalib, said five Indonesian employees at Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel who had been reportedly trapped in the area during the attacks were safe and secure at the Indonesian consulate general. 

"All the Indonesian employees, all of whom happened to be Balinese, were rescued Friday. I've talked to them and they are all perfectly fine," Andi told reporters. 

The employees had traveled to Mumbai earlier this year to work as spa therapists in Oberoi Hotel. 

Wayan Sandat, father of Damayanti, one of the Indonesians, said he was relieved to hear that his daughter was safe. 

"We'll keep on praying that she'll come back safely soon and that the government will help us bring her home," he said.

Related Article:

Pratibha curtails Indonesia tour, to visit Mumbai

Terrorists are on the move: RI Military Chief

'High time to come together': India's Patil

Taj Mahal hotel owner: We had warning

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Visit Indian President

Antara, 28 November 2008

Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (middle) arrives in the Ngurah Rai airport of Denpasar, Bali, on Friday (Nov. 28). Pratibha visited Indonesia for three days to enhance cooperation among two countries in tourism, economy, investment, trade, and politics. (ANTARA Photo/Nyoman Budhiana)

2009 also to be Visit Indonesia Year

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 11/28/2008 10:49 AM  

If you didn't travel in Indonesia this year, don't worry -- 2009 will also be the year to visit, with the government planning to extend the "successful" Visit Indonesia program. 

"At first many doubted the program's success, yet we have set a new record in our tourism history," Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said Wednesday. 

That record is to have received 6.4 million foreign tourist arrivals, which is the country is on track to meet. 

According to an official report from the Central Statistics Agency, there were 4.3 million foreign tourist arrivals in the first nine months of the year. 

Although this number is more than 2 million short of the program's target, Jero said he was convinced the full-year target would be met, as the tourist arrivals usually increase in the last quarter of the year, to generate around US$6 billion in foreign exchange income. 

Both the number of tourists and the amount of income generated would be record highs, leading the government to anoint the program an "unprecedented success". 

It's worth noting, however, that these figures are based on revised targets set by the ministry less than a month ago. 

The original target for the number of foreign tourists this year was 7 million and the targeted revenue $6.7 billion. 

The ministry's general secretary Sapta Nurwanda said Friday that next year's target for arrivals would be increased to 7 million, although he said the office acknowledged the great challenge posed by the global financial turmoil. 

"Next year there will be greater challenges in tourism stemming from the global economic downturn and the upcoming election," he said, 

Indonesia will hold legislative elections in April and the presidential election in July. 

He said the global crisis had already taken its toll on the tourism sector in the form of canceled trips, although he said the number had not reached a level that could jeopardize this year's revised target. 

According to the World Tourism Organization, the growth in the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia may decline next year to 6 percent, from an estimated 12 percent this year. 

The Visit Indonesia Year concept was first introduced during the former president Soeharto era, and the first year was 1991. (dis)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yudhoyono Invites Obama to Indonesia

Wednesday, 26 November, 2008 | 19:36 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, NAGOYA:President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono invited president-elect Barack Obama to visit Indonesia next year, when Singapore will hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. 

“When I invited him, he said it was very important to stop by in Indonesia, not just to increase cooperation but also to enjoy bakso (meatballs), rambutan fruit and fried rice,” Yudhoyono said at Nagoya Airport, Japan, yesterday, transiting on his way back from the Americas. 

SBY’s talks with Obama lasted around six minutes when the presidential refuelled at Seattle, Washington state on Monday local time. The president had just visited Peru and was flying to Jakarta through Nagoya. 

“He said, 'Apa kabar, Bapak Presiden' (How are you, Mister President) in fluent Indonesian,” Yudhoyono said. 

In turn, the president congratulated Obama for winning the presidency. He and Obama agreed that the two countries needed to improve their relations. “The talks were warm and friendly,” Yudhoyono said. 

In an interview with the US press during his campaign, before the fuss about the ‘Besuki Islamic School’, Obama had wanted to visit Indonesia during the first 100 days of his presidency. Obama lived in Jakarta when he was six until he was ten years old, where his mother settled when she married Lolo Sutoro, an Indonesian. 

He attended the Menteng 01 Elementary Public School, also known as the Besuki Elementary School. The US media press thought it was an Islamic school, and sent their reporters to Jakarta. 

Presidential spokesman, Dino Patti Djalal said the telephone conversation was scheduled before Yudhoyono left the country on November 13 to attend the G-20 group meeting in Washington, DC, before heading for Mexico, Brazil and Peru, venue of the 16th APEC meeting.  


Indonesian pianists attract large audience in Hungary

London (ANTARA News) - The performance of Indonesian duo-pianists Iravati Sudiarso and daugter Aisha Sudiarso has attracted west classic and Indonesian music lovers in Queen Erszebet`s Palace, Godollo city, Hungary, an official said. 

First secretary of socio-cultural affairs at Indonesia`s Embassy in Hungary, Arena Sri Victoria, said here Tuesday that the duo-pianists did not only play art works composed by Indonesian composers but also international ones. 

Among the art works performed on the show were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart`s "Sonata in C Major no. 16" and Anton Arensky`s "Waltz from Suite for two pianos no.1 Opus 15". 

Moreover, Arena explained that the concert was jointly held by the Indonesian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary`s capital city, and the mayor of Godollo city, Dr Gemesi Gyorgy who had recently signed an agreement on sister city cooperation with Bogor city, Indonesia. 

Also attending the show were Indonesia`s ambassador to Hungary, Mangasi Sihombing. In his opening remark, the ambasador marked the rise of Indonesia and Hungary`s relations especially in the cultural sector. 

He considered the activity constituted an effort made by the two countries to maintain good bilateral relations in all sectors. 

The two pianists opened their performance with Mozart`s work, and continued it with the very dynamic music from Camille Saint-Saens` work entitled "Rondo Capricciosso Opus 28". 

Furthermore, the mother and daughter artists were also playing Indonesian composers` works such as Amir Pasaribu`s "Gending-Gending Sriwijaya" and "Sriwijaya variations". 

Arena said that the show managed to draw attention from the audience that consisted of diplomats, music lovers, community leaders in Hungary and the press. 

She said Indonesia`s ambassador praised the performance and said that Indonesian music had its own characteristic though played in such west instruments as piano.


The Jakarta Post, Wed, 11/26/2008 7:23 AM  


Lapang islanders in East Nusa Tenggara on Tuesday prepare to board traditional sail boats still widely used in the archipelagic province due to the lack of modern ferries. High waves and strong currents have made the area notorious for fatal boat accidents. (JP/Yemris Fointuna)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lawang Gintung, Batu Tulis boast historical sites

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor | Tue, 11/25/2008 11:24 AM  

HIDE OUT: Lawang Gintung resident points to a bunker on land belonging to Exim Bank. The bunker, which is believed to be a remnant of the Dutch colonial era, is now almost buried under sweet potato plants. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

After a number of cultural heritage findings in Lawang Gintung and Batu Tulis subdistricts, cultural experts and locals say the areas need to be added to the government's conservation list. 

Jajang Suherman, a Lawang Gintung resident, told The Jakarta Post that there were three historical bunkers in the subdistrict. 

The people of Lawang Gintung have long known about these bunkers, which are located at the top of a hill, facing the Batu Tulis railway station and the Cisadane River. The distance between each bunker is 300 to 500 meters. 

"The bunkers are located on residential properties. Two bunkers are on H. Mulyatna's property. He is now building a restaurant on the land. The other one is on a sweet potato field owned by Exim Bank," Jajang said.


THE TEST OF TIME: A historical bunker is threatened by demolition as a land owner develops a restaurant nearby. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

Aside from the bunkers, a rock shaped like an axe was found at the restaurant construction site in August this year. 

In 2005, local residents found antique plates underneath bamboo and frangipani trees after a landslide hit the area. The plates are believed to date back to the colonial era. 

"When the landslide hit, the plates were actually still intact," said Sunarto, who discovered the plates. "But when we built the foundations to hold back the landslide, the rocks and mattocks we used collided with the plates, breaking them." 

The plate segments are now being stored at a house in the area. 

Another suspected cultural heritage site is a well located on a senior official's property in Lawang Gintung subdistrict. 

"We reported these findings to the Bogor administration a long time ago, but we have not received a response," Jajang said. 

"We are also waiting for the tourism department to make an effort to conserve the historical findings and make the Lawang Gintung and Batu Tulis subdistricts cultural heritage sites." 

Sundanese cultural observer Eman Sulaeman said the findings could be related to the nearby Batu Tulis Palace. 

He said the bunkers and plates were likely to be remnants of the Dutch colonial era, not the Padjajaran Kingdom of the 15th and 16th century. 

Sunarto said some of the plates had the inscription "P. Regeout, A.2. 1836" and some had ancient Javanese text engraved on them. 

The fact that the three bunkers are facing Batu Tulis railway station and the Cisadane River indicates the importance of the sites, Eman said. 

Besides the railway station, the wide Cisadane River used to be a very important water transportation lane and, therefore, needed to be preserved, Eman said.

Sanur to host creative event

The Jakarta Post, Tue, 11/25/2008 11:41 AM  |  Bali 

DENPASAR: The recently established Bali Creative Community will hold its first "Bali Creative Power" event this Saturday to promote the island's creative industry. 

Themed "Celebrating the Enlightening Bali Creativity", the gathering will feature several experts, including creative industry evangelist Andi S. Budiman and urban designer Ridwan Kamil, during seminars, discussions, workshops and an expo. 

The Bali Creative Community aims to build greater awareness of the creative economy that benefits local communities and the whole nation and that will become the medium of sharing, discussion and supporting people in creative fields.

The event will held at Sanur Paradise Plaza, will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Nov. 29. Students get special prices.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No ban on yoga for RI Muslims yet: Ulema body

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 11/24/2008 9:05 AM  

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said Sunday it would not follow its Malaysian counterpart in banning yoga, if only because it did not know how widely yoga was practiced here. 

MUI deputy chairman Umar Shihab said the board of clerics would have to conduct a study before issuing an edict to ban it. 

"It's OK if it's for sport. I guess we can allow it here. But I don't know if it is proved it can destroy our beliefs as Muslims or contains ideas of polytheism," he said. 

Umar said the MUI had never conducted a study on yoga because there had been no public complaints. 

Malaysia's National Fatwa Council, which has the authority to rule over how Muslims practice their faith, took the international community by surprise Saturday when it issued a fatwa or edict banning Muslims from practicing yoga, saying the Indian physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism and could corrupt Muslims. 

The council said yoga involved not just physical exercise but also Hindu spiritual elements, chanting and worship. 

A fatwa is not legally binding on Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 27 million people, unless it is enshrined in national or sharia laws. However, many Muslims abide by the edicts out of deference, and the council does have the authority to ostracize an offending Muslim from society. 

Many analysts have said the fatwa reflects the growing strain of conservatism in Malaysia, which has always taken pride in its multiethnicity. About 25 percent of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and 8 percent ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus. 

Creeping conservatism has also been observed in Indonesia, as evident in the recent passage of the controversial pornography bill and enforcement of sharia-based ordinances in regions. 

Deputy chairman of the MUI edict commission Ali Mustafa Yakub said Muslims here were allowed to practice yoga as it was not clear how popular it was. 

"I've rarely heard of Muslims here practicing yoga. We don't need to ban it because we haven't found Muslims practicing it here. If they do, they are not publicly visible, so there will be no problems," he said. 

Yakub said he was sure the Indian influence in Indonesia was not as strong as in Malaysia, arguing the influence was limited to dangdut music. 

Hundreds of yoga classes with thousands of participants throughout the country have emerged since the 1998 financial crisis, with many adherents regarding yoga as a way of relieving stress and frustration. 

"All of a sudden, the classes are full," Janet Wijaya, a senior yoga instructor, was quoted as saying by Tempo magazine recently. 

With a financial crisis looming over the country, more people -- regardless of their religion -- may take up yoga.

Global Crisis Starting To Affect Bali Tourism

Monday, 24 November, 2008 | 17:03 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Denpasar:The impact from the global financial crisis is starting to be felt by the tourism business in Bali. Hotel room cancellations for December have reached 20 percent, according to reports. 

Indonesian - Balinese Hotel and Restaurant Association secretary, Perry Markus, said the industry was worried about the situation which changes from day to day. 

According to Perry, hotel reservations in Bali at the end of the year were almost fully booked before the crisis. 

The cancellations mostly came from Europe, the US, and Australia. Meanwhile cancellations from Asia, like Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan, have not been as many, Perry said. 

Perry hopes that the global financial crisis can soon be dealt with or come to an end soon. "If people are optimistic, they will still go on vacation despite the crisis," he said. 

To anticipate the impact, Perry said, the hotel industry has adopted a clear procedure, among them not firing employees. If the situation worsens, they can reduce the work hours or use a shift system. 

Bali Tourism Service chief, Gde Nurjaya, confirmed Bali may be affected by the global crisis. "Tourists may have to re-schedule their holiday plans," he said. 

However, according to Nurjaya, the situation in December will be relatively secure. It is the first semester of 2009 that they must watch out for. His office will concentrate on doing promotions to loyal customer countries, like Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. 

Nurjaya is optimistic that the target of 1,9 million foreign tourists in Bali in 2008 will be achieved. The data until October showed 1,6 million foreign tourists visiting Bali, which means there has been a 23 percent increase compared to the same period last year. The biggest number of visitors still come from Japan and Australia.



The Jakarta Post     |  Mon, 11/24/2008 4:44 PM  


PRINCESS LOOK: Princess Mathilde of Belgium observes traditional handicrafts displayed by the Peramu Foundation in Kebon Pedes village, Bogor, on Monday. Mathilde visited a number of micro businesses in the area. JP/Theresia Sufa.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

By The Way: Batik, a symbol of Javanese domination?

The Jakarta Post, Sun, 11/23/2008 10:32 AM  

Sri Muljani Indrawati and Mari Elka Pangestu are the icons of Indonesian batik. The two women in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's cabinet can be seen sporting batik dresses perhaps more often than any other public figures. 

The two look elegant and comfortable as they go about the business of managing the country's economy. 

Batik is experiencing somewhat of a resurgent lately, with more and more people wearing the designs regularly, even to work. In the past, batik was generally reserved for special occasions, such as wedding ceremonies; most men for example would keep just two or three in their wardrobe. 

Today, government agencies, state enterprises and an increasing number of private companies, make Friday "batik day" or "casual wear" day. The batik industry has responded to this by introducing more creative designs and motifs. 

Short-sleeve batik shirts, long dismissed as too casual, are now in vogue even for office attire. 

Personally, this is important for me. I am one of the few Indonesians who have never felt comfortable wearing batik. And if you don't feel comfortable in something, you just don't look good in it. Thankfully, a short sleeve batik shirt is not as torturous as the long ones. 

I felt somewhat unpatriotic at times whenever the nation gets up in arms at Malaysia for promoting their own batik styles, and more recently at China, which has flooded malls in Jakarta with their batiks. 

The resurgence in batik in Indonesiais in part a response to this growing intrusion into what Indonesians feel is our heritage. If Japan in the 1970s and 1980s had a slogan "Buy Japanese First", then Indonesians are now being told wear batik if they love their country. 

I, for one, don't buy this at all. 

Batik is an ancient method of dyeing fabric that was developed in Java -- so it's more correct to say that its part of Javanese heritage. 

We Sumatrans have kain or songket and Baju Melayu or Teluk Belanga as traditional costumes for men. Admittedly, I'd never be seen dead in one of those. 

I don't think Indonesia has the right to accuse other countries of stealing our batik. Wax printing methods have been around for centuries, which I think makes it a sort of an "open source" style. What we, or rather what the Javanese have done, is to develop the designs into a higher form of artistic expression. 

The Javanese claim to batik is more a claim to specific motifs and designs. Indeed, no one can take this away from them, but if you think about it that way, there is no such thing as Indonesian batik in Indonesia, just as there is no such thing as Chinese restaurant in China or a Padang foodstall in Padang. 

In Indonesia, batik aficionados recognize Yogya batiks, Solo batiks, Pekalongan batiks or Cirebon batiks for their unique designs. But there is no such thing as Indonesian batik. 

The Malaysians, Indians, Chinese and Africans have every right to claim their own batiks, at least as far as motifs and designs are concerned. Incidentally, if Wikipedia is to be believed, Nelson Mandela is not wearing Indonesian batik. He may have worn a few from Iwan Tirta's collections, but apparently most of his Madiba shirts are supplied by a South African designer. 

My sorry excuse for not wearing batik is that to me it is just another form of Javanese cultural domination that we other ethnic groups in Indonesia have had to endure. 

They already dominate the nation through the sheer size of their numbers, especially among the ruling elite. Their culture permeates our lives, and batik is just another part of this. 

But you can't win them all. 

We Sumatrans won the language war back in 1928 when the Javanese, the largest cultural group in what is now Indonesia, agreed to use Malay as the root for Bahasa Indonesia, the national language. That's a huge concession on their part that no amount of "Javanization" of our local cultures can ever match. 

Perhaps, I'll start wearing that batik shirt after all, if only to preserve Malay's linguistic domination.

Related Articles:

Museum exhibits rare West Java batik

Indonesia`s batik in great demand at exhibition in Berlin

Indonesia's batik a winner for international diplomacy

Oct 27 Declared National Bloggers Day In Indonesia

By Mohd Nasir Yusoff 

JAKARTA, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- In line with its aim to bring its people up to speed in the digital age, Indonesia has declared Oct 27 as National Bloggers Day, the republic's Information and Communications Ministry announced in conjunction with the Bloggers Carnival 2008 here Saturday. 

The ministry's director-general for applications, Cahyana Ahmadijaya said blogs in Indonesia were mushrooming not only for fun (blogfun) but also for business (blogpreneurs) and that the trend would continue exponentially in future. 

Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Ministry also wanted bloggers help promote tourism to the country. 

"This carnival provides and excellent networking opportunity to promote tourism effectively," said its minister Jero Wacik. The text of his speech was read out by the ministry's director-general for tourism destinations development, Firmansyah Rahim. 

Meanwhile, Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman assured bloggers that government would not restrict their freedom but they must not flout the republic's laws. 

Some 1,000 bloggers turned up for the carnival including Jeff Ooi of Malaysia , who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelutong in Penang, and Singapore's Mr Brown. 


Related Article:

Govt asks bloggers to help promote tourism

Saturday, November 22, 2008

W. Jakarta to hold Old Town Festival

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 11/22/2008 12:50 PM  

JAKARTA: West Jakarta administration will hold the annual Old Town Festival on Saturday, giving Jakartans a chance to enjoy the capital's olden times. 

There will be a series of traditional performances portraying various cultures, from Betawi dance ondel-ondel, Chinese dragon dance barongsai and liong, marawis (percussion-based music), to Reog Ponorogo. 

The administration will also stage a parade around the Old Town, starting from Ceramics Museum to Wayang Museum, and along Jl. Bank, Jl. Kali Besar Timur, Jl. Kali Besar Barat and Jl. Kopi. The parade will finish at the Jakarta History Museum. 

Visitors can shop for traditional souvenirs in booths set up around the area, said West Jakarta Tourism Agency head AZ Harahap as reported by

The festival, which will take place in Fatahilah Park, will begin at 2 p.m. and will end at 10 p.m. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The Jakarta Post 

The Associated Press, Bogor | Thu, 11/20/2008 3:58 PM 



A women watches Humboldt penguins swim behind glass at Taman Safari in Bogor, West Java. (AP/Achmad Ibrahim)

RI, Netherlands enjoy a big boom in ties

Veeramalla Anjaiah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta  | Wed, 11/19/2008 11:16 AM  

The Netherlands and Indonesia have a more than 300-year-old love-hate relationship. But it took a new turn in 2005 when the Dutch government finally expressed regret over its "police actions" in the late 1940s and recognized Indonesia's independence day as Aug. 17, 1945. 

"Our decision to accept Aug. 17, 1945, as Indonesia's independence day in 2005 has changed the direction of our relationship with Indonesia," Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia Nikolaos van Dam told The Jakarta Post in an interview recently at his office in Jakarta. 

Since then, both countries have enjoyed a big boom in their relations. 

Before 2005, the Dutch government recognized Indonesia's independence date as Dec. 27, 1949 -- the day it formally transferred sovereignty to Indonesia. In 1947, the Netherlands deployed its military in Indonesia to suppress the young republic, an action that led to the deaths of thousands of people from both sides. 

Describing the growing ties between the two countries, Van Dam said the mutual trust, friendship and willingness to develop stronger relations had resulted in the unprecedented boom in bilateral relations. 

"More than half of our Cabinet members, including our Prime Minister in 2006, visited Indonesia during the last three years. This shows how important Indonesia is for us in this region," Van Dam, one of the busiest ambassadors in town, said. 

The latest visitor was Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Maria van der Hoeven, who came to Indonesia last week to inaugurate the Holland Weeks cultural festival. 

With more than 150 staff members, the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta is the biggest Dutch Embassy in the world. 

Van Dam said high-level visits were not a one-sided affair. 

"From the Indonesian side we also have numerous high-level visits to the Netherlands. Now we are waiting for the visit of the Indonesian President (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono)," he said. 

Trade between the two countries has grown at a tremendous pace over the last five years (see table). 

"Our bilateral trade last year surpassed the US$3 billion mark. Indonesia enjoys a significant and increasing trade surplus with the Netherlands," Van Dam, who speaks fluent Indonesian, said. 

In 2007, bilateral trade surged to $3.25 billion -- a huge jump from $1.77 billion in 2003. In the first seven months of 2008, bilateral trade was valued at $2.54 billion, 52.41 percent higher than the $1.66 billion recorded over the same period in 2007. 

But the growth in trade favors Indonesia, thanks to its strong exports to the Netherlands. For instance, Indonesia exported $2.75 billion worth of goods to the Netherlands and imports $503.99 million goods from there in 2007. 

There is another dimension to the trade between Indonesian and the Netherlands. 

"The Netherlands is a gateway to Europe for Indonesian products. Most of Indonesia's trade to Europe has been through the Dutch port of Rotterdam. Simultaneously, Indonesia is also a gateway to Southeast Asia for our products," Van Dam said. 

In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) planning approvals, the Netherlands ranked 8th in 2007 with a total investment of $645 million in 57 projects. 

Thanks to historical links and enormous economic potential, Dutch companies have always been attracted to Indonesia. 

"Shell, one of world's leading energy companies, actually originated in Sumatra in 1890. Companies like Unilever, which has huge plants in Indonesia, Philips and other Dutch companies are well-known here," Van Dam said. 

Besides trade and investment, Van Dam went on, Indonesia and the Netherlands enjoyed good cooperation in areas such as agriculture, energy, technology, defense, shipbuilding and tourism. 

Last year, the Netherlands provided $105 million in development assistance to Indonesia for programs covering good governance, education, water management, drinking water, sanitation, improving the investment climate, community development, and rehabilitation and reconstruction of tsunami-affected areas. 

"The majority of the Netherlands' funds are allocated to programs driven by the Indonesian government and channeled through multilateral agencies (the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the UN) that are responsible for the supervision, monitoring and coordination," Van Dam said. 

Of these areas, the tourism sector is very important in Dutch-Indonesian relations. 

"Almost a third of Dutch citizens have personal links with Indonesia, and many Indonesians also have close links with the Netherlands," Van Dam said. 

Commenting on the European Commission's ban on Indonesian airlines from EU airspace, Van Dam said the Netherlands was already helping Indonesia improve its air safety. 

"(The ban) was unfortunate. But air safety is everybody's concern. We are currently helping Indonesia improve the safety of air transportation," Van Dam said. 

Though no Indonesian airlines now fly to Europe, the ban does affect the work of many European diplomats. 

"The ban affects relations between the EU and Indonesia. But I use local airlines for my official duties, I don't have any problems with Indonesian airlines," Van Dam said.

Garuda to reopen Denpasar-Brisbane route next month

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 11/19/2008 10:27 PM  

State airline company Garuda Indonesia will reopen the Denpasar- Brisbane route next month, president director Emirsyah Satar said Wednesday. 

Emir said demand for direct flights between the two cities had recovered after plummeting following the 2005 second bombing in Bali, which led to the termination of the route. 

"The three weekly flights can potentially bring tourists to Indonesia, particularly to Bali," he said in Denpasar, as quoted by Antara news agency. 

Garuda currently flies to four cities in Australia with twice weekly flights to Perth, six per week to Sydney and five per week to Melbourne. 

"The total monthly seat capacity to and from Australia currently stands at 28,004 seats. With the Brisbane route, we will add another 3,516 seats," Emir said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tugu people learn about their roots through song

Mariani Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 11/16/2008 8:23 AM  

“We sang Portuguese songs so often, but I still did not understand them. But thanks to the Portuguese language class we are taking, we now understand,”said Tugu community resident Saartje Michiels. 

Saartje performed a Portuguese song “Rosa Branca”, (white rose), at a cultural show in Tugu village in Marunda, North Jakarta, on Saturday. 

Boys and girls perform a traditional Portuguese dance at the backyard of the Tugu Church in North Jakarta on Saturday. Portuguese descendants in Tugu area held an annual event called Kampoeng Toegoe Festival that day to keep their traditional heritage alive. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Childhood memory is the only way the Tugu people learn Tugu keroncong songs in Portuguese, and the songs are their only exposure to the language. 

“The elderly banned us from watching them practicing keroncong, so we learned the songs by heart and memory. But we did not understand what they were saying,” Saartje said. 

The Tugu people are descendants of Portuguese soldiers who married locals in Malacca. After a string of turbulent events, the community settled down in the then Batavia area Tugu, hence the name. They converted from Catholicism to Christianity and built the first church in the area in 1738. 

Since then, the community continued to marry people from other cultures and became part of Jakarta’s Betawi community. Now they consider themselves part of Betawi. But Portuguese songs in keroncong are still a part of their daily lives and are performed during celebrations. 

They still use some Portuguese words, but the community has lost most of the vocabulary. So the weekly lesson provided by the Portuguese Embassy, who answered their request for a language class, has helped. 

Saartje’s 7-year-old daughter, Angella, who is in the Junior Tugu Keroncong group, said she enjoyed the music very much and that understanding them made them even better. 

“I like Portuguese and I love keroncong. There is no other music I like,”she said after her performance. 

Maria Emilia Irmler, the language teacher at the Portuguese Embassy, teaches at the community on top of teaching Portuguese dance. 

She said she was pleased with the interest expressed by the community and she welcomed the community’s attitude. 

“They want to learn everything related to Portuguese culture.We have taught them some dances,”she said. 

Arthur James Michiels, the community’s spokesman, said they wanted to embrace all their roots. 

“The koko dress and sarong pants we are wearing show our Betawi side, while the shawl and the hat show our Western side.We want to embrace both,”Arthur said. 

Mulyawan Karim, the head of the Forum for Indonesian Anthropology Studies, which organized the event on behalf of the North Jakarta municipality cultural and museum office, said the aim of the event was to highlight the beauty of unity in diversity. 

“The more diversity we have the better because then we are richer socially and culturally,” he said. 

“The Tugu community is very different from the common community. But we should not forget them because they are part of our social and cultural wealth.We hope the event shows that kind of spirit.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Indonesia unveils Lippo Village track

By Pablo Elizalde Friday,, November 14th 2008, 10:37 GMT

The new Lippo Village street circuit will host this season's Indonesian round of the A1GP championship, it has been announced. 

A press conference was held on Thursday to unveil the new track, which will host the first ever street race in Indonesia on 6-8 February next year.  

The 3.2km circuit has been designed by Herman Tilke and will run clock-wise, incorporating 12 corners, with an estimated average speed of nearly 180km/h. 

Lippo Village street circuit

"This is an opportunity everyone to lend their support not only for the long-term benefit of the surrounding area, but Indonesia as a whole," said Gordon Benton, an urban planner involved in the project. 

"We have now joined an elite group of nations capable of hosting global motorsport series on street circuits. Such circuits include Surfers Paradise, Durban, Valencia, Monaco, Long Beach, Melbourne and Singapore." 

The track will have all the standard infrastructure of an international motorsport venue such as race control tower, public grandstands, exhibition malls, a pit complex, hospitality suites and media centre.

Related Article:

FIA refuses to certify track, A1 race delayed

Ayu Utami, Nirwan Dewanto win Khatulistiwa literary prize

Ary Hermawan and Matheos Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/15/2008  

Author Ayu Utami was announced the winner of the Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2008 late Thursday for her novel Bilangan Fu (Fu Number), a criticism of modernism, militarism and monotheism. 

Ayu, who has slammed the award as a "literary competition without literary criticism", was represented at the event at Plaza Senayan, Central Jakarta, by her publisher, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia. 

"I am happy to receive the award, but I will not retract my criticism of the competition," she told The Jakarta Post on Friday. 

Nirwan Dewanto was awarded the prize in the poetry category for his work titled Jantung Lebah Ratu (The Queen Bee's Heart). 

In the young talents category, Wa Ode Wulan Ratna was awarded for her work Cari Aku di Canti (Find Me in Canti). The 15 finalists in the three categories were also recognized for their achievements. 

The Khatulistiwa award was established by writer and bookstore owner Richard Oh in 2001. 

Ayu said her latest novel was "more solid and complex" than her previous ones, the critically acclaimed Saman and Larung, which was nominated for the award in 2002. 

Ayu, who turns 40 this Nov. 21, also received the 2000 Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands government. 

The award, which honors Indonesia's best fiction and poetry, selects original works published between July 2007 and June 2008 and distributed across Indonesia. 

The winners in the prose and poetry categories each received Rp 100 million (US$8,800) in cash, while the winner of the young talented writer category received Rp 25 million. 

The panel of judges in the final stages consisted of Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Budi Darma, Linda Christanty, Remy Sylado and Hamsad Rangkuti. 

Seno Gumira Ajidarma praised Ayu Utami's criticism of current popular beliefs. 

"She is brave enough to be unpopular in this way of writing. Many people think a novel should be a light read but Ayu dares to make people wrinkle their brows when they read Bilangan Fu," Seno said. 

He said Nirwan Dewanto had shown great achievements with the poetic form in Jantung Lebah Ratu

"The hardest thing in poetry is that you have to express some sophisticated ideas in a short and specific piece," Seno said. 

As for Ayu's claim that the award lacked serious literary criticism, Seno, who has won awards himself, said, "Don't take it too seriously ... It's not like defending a doctorate thesis." 

The other books that made it to the short list were Hubbu by Mashuri, Rahasia Meede (Meede's Secret) by ES Ito, Kacapiring by Danarto, and Glonggong by Junaedi Setiyono. 

Shortlisted in the poetry category were also Teman-Temanku dari Atap Bahasa (My Friends from the Roof of Language) by Afrizal Malna, Pandora by Oka Rusmini, Sajak-sajak Menjelang Tidur (Bedtime Poems) by Wendoko, and Orgasmaya by Hasan Aspahani.