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. …

Monday, November 30, 2009

President hopes more women included in future cabinets

Antara News, Monday, November 30, 2009 14:47 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed hope that more women would be included in the cabinets of future governments.

Speaking at a function to observe the 10th anniversary of National Commission of Women (Komnas Perempuan) at the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) auditorium here on Monday, the president said out of 34 cabinet ministers, ten should be women.

In the second phase of United Indonesia Cabinet there are five female ministers namely Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, State Minister for National Development Planning Board Armida Alisjahbana, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, and State Minister for Women Empowerment Linda Gumelar.

"There are actually five female ministers in the present United Indonesia Cabinet but the ratio is still insufficient. In the future there should be at least ten female ministers out of 34 in the cabinet," the president said.

He added that five female ministers in the present cabinet was at least a good beginning to empower the the Indonesian women in the cabinet.

The head of state also gave a high appreciation to more women in the parliament, diplomatic circle, and business circle.

President Yudhoyono said that to the Indonesian women empowerment was not merely the responsibility of the government, also of the people at large and the women themselves.

"Respect whatever role is expected by the women, and view the women as the human resources capital who should be given the same opportunity as male," the president said.

But the president added that although Indonesian had adopted the Human Rights universal values and women rights, the traditional values of Indonesian women should not be ignored.

The head of state the Human Rights universal values should be harmonized with traditional, cultural, and religious values.

"Our task is to harmonize the universal values with our traditional, cultural and religious values in order to avoid conflict and collision among them," the president said.

Related Article:

All woman power

The Jakarta Post, Tue, 11/10/2009 6:57 PM

All woman power - Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan (second right) talks with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (right),Trade Minister Marie Elka Pangestu (second left) and head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Armida Alisjahbana before a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday. (JP/R.Berto Wedhatama)

Indonesia: Muslim leaders welcome Vatican cardinal to grand mosque

ICN, Sunday, November 29, 2009 10:22 pm

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has paid a visit to the national Istiqlal mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, during his first official trip to the country.

Cardinal Tauran, walking barefoot, was accompanied by Jesuit Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Jakarta, Coadjutor Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta and Bandung Bishop Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta, a member of the

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Several officials of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference also took part in the 25 November visit.

The mosque's imam Kiai Hajj Syarifuddin Muhammad warmly welcomed the Catholics. "This mosque does not belong only to Muslims but all religious followers. They all are welcome here," he said.

The national mosque of Indonesia, which can hold more than 100,000 people, stands across the road from the Assumption Cathedral Church in Central Jakarta. The mosque's main rectangular prayer hall building is topped by a 45-meter-diametre spherical dome supported by 12 columns.

"This is the first time I feel a sincere atmosphere of neighborhood. It seems there is no gap between Muslims and Catholics," Cardinal Tauran said.

In an earlier visit to the cathedral, the cardinal said Muslims had lessons for Christians. "Muslims have a very strong spirituality. They wake up early in the morning to pray," he said. "Our young priests should follow this example ... waking up early in the morning to pray to start their daily activities."

He said it was vital for Catholics to take part in the lives of other communities.

"We, Catholics, must be witnesses to the surrounding communities. This is one of the meanings of interreligious dialogue. And to be witnesses, we need to have a deep spirituality," he said.

Nasaruddin Umar, director of the Religious Affairs Ministry's Directorate General for Muslim Community Guidance, told UCA News that he was impressed with Cardinal Tauran's visit to this mosque. "It means Christians can be at peace with Muslims," he said.

The mosque was designed by Protestant architect Frederich Silaban to celebrate independence. Istiqlal means "independence" in Arabic. The country's first president Soekarno broke ground on the site on 24 August 24, 1961. It took 17 years to build and was opened by the country's second president Soeharto on 22 February 1978.

Cardinal Tauran arrived in Indonesia on 24 Novemebr and is expected to depart on 1 December.

According to organizers, the trip aims to give the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue a better understanding of the religious situation in the country as well as help the Church forge better ties with other religious communities here.

On 26 November, the cardinal met with leaders of the Wahid Institute. The institute, founded by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, works to bring about a just and peaceful world by espousing a moderate and tolerant view of Islam.

On the same day, the cardinal met with leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, the two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia. He is also expected to meet with Hindu leaders in Bali and Muslim leaders in Makassar and Yogyakarta.

Source: UCAN

Related Articles:

UN slams 'discriminatory' Swiss minaret ban

Turkey chides Swiss over minaret ban

Swiss minaret ban reflects ‘ignorance’: Indonesia

Minaret ban marks start of tough Swiss debate on Islam

Strong reactions to Swiss minaret ban

Vatican and Muslims condemn Swiss minaret ban vote

Europe unites to deplore Swiss ban on minarets

Wilders calls for minaret referendum

France´s FM Bernard Kouchner condems Swiss minaret ban

Indonesian Muslim Leader Criticizes Swiss Vote for Ban on Minarets

Steeple and minaret in Wangen bei Olten. The minaret is installed on the roof of a Turkish cultural centre, one of four in Switserland. (7 August 2009/Michael Buholzer)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gamelan maker festival introduces Sukohardjo

Antara News, Sunday, November 29, 2009 22:29 WIB

Sukoharjo (ANTARA News) - The Sukoharjo regency administration, East Java province, held a "Gamelan Making City Festival" on November 29, 2009, to introduce the city as a Gamelan city.

Sukoharjo regency official Bambang Riyanto said that the event is held to introduce Sukoharjo as a Gamelan producing city, considering that other countries identified some cities in Indonesia like Solo and Jogjakarta having special characteristics.

The gamelan orchestra

He mentioned that most of gamelan makers came from Sukoharjo, which has 19 gamelan makers.

Therefore, the Gamelan Maker Festival is trying to make people understanding the importance of gamelan as a national heritage, Bambang said.

Many guests packed Kotakan Square, Polokarto sub-district, Sukoharjo, just to watch how a gamelan is being made. The event is led by five Empus (master craftsman) Empu Saroyo, Pardiyo, Suparno, Saleh Utomo, and Dasah Pujo Suwarno.

According to Empu Saroyo, the Gamelan Maker Festival 2009 not only introduce Sukoharjo as a gamelan city, it will also be followed by a promotion for making gamelans, which is still lacking.

Besides, Saroyo said that the introduction of gamelans during the early days of childhood can also serve as inputs of the empu to maintain gamelan making.

Oktobariantono, a Gamelan Maker Festival visitor said that the event is very interesting for people who did not know anything about gamelan making.

"People can be proud after watching how gamelans are made, although we hope the introduction is also done in the daily life of the people, not in certain events only, such in schools", he said.

Gamelan is a traditional Javanese ensemble musical instrument, usually made of brass of shapes and sounds.

Making a Date With an Indonesian Debate

The Jakarta Globe, Tasa Nugraza Barley

At the non-profit organization Anomali, high school and university students are trained in the English language first before they participate in the debates. (Photo courtesy of Anomali)

Not many people believe that debate can change the world. But that’s exactly what a group of young Indonesians are attempting to do.

Thirty-year-old Reggy Hasibuan founded Anomali, a nonprofit organization, with some friends in March 2003. They had been active debaters here and overseas for some years and felt like they should be sharing their skills with young Indonesians.

Reggy, who studied international relations at Bandung’s Parahyangan University, said debating had taught him to think critically.

“But it’s more than just that. Debating also taught me how to carry an argument, create a speech and put forward a case,” he said.

“Our goal is very simple, and that is to teach Indonesia’s high school and university students as much as possible about debating and encourage them to have their own English debating clubs,” Reggy added.

Riza Kuddah, 25, is an English teacher at a university in Surabaya, East Java, who also volunteers for the organization.

Riza outlined what he said were the five key reasons debating could benefit young people. He said that debating nurtured creative thinking, forced people to research topics, was an effective way to practice English, could be a good medium to make new friends and helped people learn how to deal with problems from a different perspective.

“Today’s young people are mostly passive. They just wait,” he said.

According to Riza, debating requires students to be proactive and reactive in addressing problems.

“A good debater has to be active once he or she is presented with a problem.”

Ruth Gracia Nainggolan, 16, a high school student from Jakarta, said that Anomali had motivated him to become a better debater.

“Being a debater is actually so much fun. You can express whatever you think about a problem that you have,” Ruth said.

“The best part is when you have to defend your opinion and always be able to build up good arguments,” she added.

Riza said, “It’s very important that a debater uses many angles in looking at a problem, that’s so essential.”

Not only is English the official language in debating, but according to Riza, only by using English can Indonesian students explore the world. “English has always been our main challenge, as there are still many young Indonesians who lack English proficiency,” he said.

For that reason, Anomali drills its students with lessons in the English language before they join the debates.

“But we don’t expect our students to speak perfect English. As long as they can say something pretty clearly in English, that’s fine,” Reggy said.

“We always tell our students not to worry about grammar, we want them to focus on conversational skills instead,” Riza added.

Anomali currently has two youth empowerment centers, located in Malang, East Java, and Bandung.

“But they’re not like meeting halls or anything, but at least we have a place for the volunteers and officers to brainstorm and discuss things,” Reggy said.

Anomali is run by 20 main members and five full-time officers. So far, Anomali has helped five schools in Malang, Surabaya, Bandung, Jakarta and Balikpapan in East Kalimantan establish their own English debating clubs.

In addition to the debating clubs, Anomali is trying to spread its wings by launching two other programs that focus on the urban environment and interfaith dialog at its center in Malang.

“I think the most interesting topic for everyone is politics. The debating can become quite heated when talking about politics,” Riza said.

On the flip side, students steer clear of the environment.

“That’s because the environment is a very complicated issue so most people try to avoid it,” he said.


Anomali West Java
Jl. Tugu Asri II C-39 Padasuka
Bandung 40192

Anomali East Java
Jl. Semarang 12
Malang 65145

Indonesia’s National Museum Stands Test of Time

The Jakarta Globe, Tasa Nugraza Barley

The National Museum in Central Jakarta has seen its visitor numbers swell in recent times. (JG Photo)

There’s an old saying in Indonesia that a big nation is one that appreciates its history.

Through history, people can learn about their cultural origins and their national identity. However, museums — the traditional storehouses of items from the past that help people understand the developments that shaped their society — are not very popular here. Most Indonesians seem to prefer to spend their weekends and other leisure time at the many shopping malls that are scattered across Jakarta.

But that may have started to change in the last few years, with the revitalization of Jakarta’s Kota Tua, or Old Town, triggering a new enthusiasm among the younger crowd for attending museums.

“Going to museums is actually a fun experience. More young people in this city should visit our museums instead of just going to the malls,” said Sandra Fetriana, a 21-year-old university student visiting the National Museum with some friends.

The museum, located in Central Jakarta, is trying to build exactly that kind of culture. In its favor, the museum has perhaps the most strategic location of any such institution in the city. It’s located in the heart of Jakarta’s business district, only a 10-minute drive from the city’s main train station, Gambir, and just across the street from National Monument (Monas) park.

National Museum, or Museum Nasional in Indonesian, is also the oldest such institution in Indonesia, and has the country’s largest historical and cultural collection, with more than 141,000 items. Most were collected from Indonesia’s own backyard, but there are also some items that were purchased from other countries.

John Guy, a curator of Southeast Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was at the National Museum recently taking pictures of Hindu-Buddhist sculptures.

“Museum Nasional is one of the best museums in Southeast Asia,” he said. “This museum has so many hundred-year-old collections.”

Guy visits Indonesia once a year to conduct research and always makes a point of going to the National Museum.

His favorite item is the largest statue in the collection, the more than 4-meter-tall statue of Bhairawa, a manifestation of Buddha, believed to be from the 13th or 14th century.

“Isn’t that beautiful?” he said.

The museum is also sometimes known as Museum Gajah, or the Elephant Museum, because of the bronze elephant statue in front of the building. This statue was a gift from King Chulalongkom from Thailand in 1871.

Oting Rudy Hidayat, the public relations manager for the museum, said the institution was established in 1868. At that time, the Dutch colonial government wanted a building that could serve as an office and also preserve its valuable collections.

In 1950, the newly sovereign Indonesian government made the museum a national cultural center, Oting said.

Mulya Sari, 20, a university student, said the museum offered unique items that she could not view elsewhere. “This is my third visit and I like it here very much. I don’t find this museum creepy at all,” she said.

Her favorite section is the collection of Papuan native art. Mulya is interested in accessories and makes her own jewelry as a hobby. She said she finds the collection interesting and inspiring.

The museum has two buildings — the original Gedung Gajah, or Elephant Building, and a new building that was opened to the public in 2007.

The new building’s arrangement of architecture, lighting and decoration, according to Oting, is designed to make every visit a memorable one. “We’re trying so hard to attract more people to come to this museum and learn the history and culture of Indonesia,” he said.

It can be difficult, however, to promote the museum on a limited budget, but Oting is pleased that enthusiasm for the museum continues to increase. He said that in 2008, the museum had more than 158,000 visitors, and that 2009 was expected to be even better in terms of visitor numbers.

Sandra, the university student, said it was important for Indonesians to know about their history.

“Young people in this country should start doing something before more of our cultural items are claimed by other countries,” she said.

Guy said in other countries museums were more revered by the younger generation. “In the United States, it’s something cool for the young ones to visit museums,” he said.

“History and culture are the identity of every country, they’re the things that made you who you are right now.”

Wending a Way Through the Museum’s Sections

The National Museum’s collections are divided into seven categories:

  • The “Prehistory” section displays ancient tools discovered in recent times. Highlights include a ceremonial ax from the Bronze-Iron period, tools made of chalcedony from the Neolithic period and a set of coarse-refined bracelets from the Neolithic period, also of chalcedony.

  • The “Archaeology” section covers findings from Indonesia’s kingdoms from the 1st to the 15th century, including an inscribed Gajah Mada stone from the 13th century, a Dwarapala Stone from the 9th century and a Ganesha Stone from the 8th century. Most of the items were found in Central and East Java, and show how heavily the developing Indonesian culture was influenced by Indian culture and Hinduism and Buddhism.

  • The “Numismatic and Heraldic” section includes coins and seals from the old kingdoms as well as from the colonial Dutch era.

  • “Historical Relics” is a collection of ceramics, lamps, pottery and other everyday items from the Dutch colonization period from the 16th to 19th centuries.

  • “Geography” is a collection of old maps depicting Indonesian islands from the 17th century.

  • “Ethnography” is a collection of cultural objects used by different ethnic groups in Indonesia. The collection includes household utensils, miniatures of traditional houses and traditional fabrics.

  • “Ceramics” is a collection of ancient ceramics coming from other regions, including China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, the Middle East and Europe.

The Ticket Master

Achmad Firdi started working at the National Museum in 1978 as a cleaning officer, earning Rp 9,700 a month.

Although he has now worked at the museum for more than 30 years, he says he has never considered a change of career. “I am very comfortable working here,” he said.

Since 2003 he’s been selling museum entrance tickets, priced at Rp 750 for adults and Rp 250 for children.

Despite the low prices, Rachmad said, “Sometimes, I’m still shocked to see how some people try to bargain over the ticket fee.”

In the past, Achmad said, people were reluctant to visit the museum. Now, more people are coming to the museum, especially children during school holidays.

“I think the museum is very important,” he said. “By visiting the museum you show respect to our culture.”

National Museum

Jl. Merdeka Barat No. 12
Tel. 021 381 1551, 021 386 8172

Opening Hours

Tuesday – Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Sunday : 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Free Tours

English: Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m.
Japanese: Tuesday 10:30 a.m.
French: Third Wednesday of each month
Korean: First Tuesday and third Saturday of each month

Related Articles:

Hungarian divers find 17th-century Dutch ship near Brazil

Indonesian Exhibition Reveals a German-Dutch Botanist on the Frontier

Indonesian Expatriate Returns to Help West Sumatra

The Jakarta Globe, Jonathan Walsh

Ismail Sustankayo, center, with the Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia MacKenzie Clugston, right, and Larry Bennett, the first secretary of development. (Photo courtesy of Klirkom)

If you know the West Sumatran culture,” Ismal Sustankayo said, “then you know that we want people to go out and be successful — and then come back and help the village.”

Remaining true to tradition, Ismal and hundreds of other Indonesians who live thousands of miles away are pitching in to help rebuild Padang after it was devastated by the recent earthquake.

Not many people know that Canada is home to a large population of transplanted Indonesian families, but even fewer are aware of how hard these families are working to help the victims of the earthquake.

Born and raised in Bukit Tinggi, Ismal left Sumatra 35 years ago, like many from his generation, to go abroad with nothing but the prayers of those he would leave behind. His journey took him to the Canadian province of Alberta — first to the town of Athabasca, and then the provincial capital Edmonton, where he has lived ever since, working as an accountant.

Although he is now retired, Ismal still works for Indonesia. As a senior member of the Edmonton Indonesian Community Association, he helps Indonesian immigrants adjust to their new home abroad. And of course, he stays in touch with his old friends in Sumatra.

So it was only natural that when a major earthquake struck West Sumatra on Sept. 30, he and the other members of Canada’s Indonesian communities took action. Within three days, his group raised $1,000, which was donated to the victims through a community member’s relative in the region.

To raise more money, the Indonesian communities in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver decided to host a series of charity dinners serving traditional Indonesian fare to raise funds for relief. The dinners drew hundreds of guests from all backgrounds, received rave reviews, and raised over $30,000.

Roger Bining of Edmonton enjoyed the dual satisfaction of a fine meal and the knowledge that he had helped a good cause. “There was real value for the donation,” he said.

“First there was value because you know that the community is going to use the money wisely, and … in addition to helping the earthquake victims, we as participants enjoyed a really delicious Indonesian meal, which is hard to get here in Edmonton. Second, the Indonesian music and entertainment was first rate.”

Ismal was very pleased with the results.

“It makes me proud as a Canadian with Indonesian roots to see Canadians from all walks of life supporting the people of West Sumatra,” he said. “Canadians were very receptive to the charity events.”

To some, $30,000 might seem like a relatively small sum of money. The Canadian government, for instance, donated approximately $2.35 million through organizations such as World Vision, Save the Children, Oxfam and the Red Cross. But Ismal and his community were determined to give whatever help they could. The only question: How could they make sure that the money would be well spent?

The answer was to send a someone to assess the situation and recommend a project to support. Ismal was a perfect choice. So he returned to Indonesia, first to Jakarta for a meeting at the Canadian Embassy, and from there to Padang, giving the members of the communities back in Canada the assurance that their money is being put to good use.

Aside from his knowledge of West Sumatran culture, there was another advantage in sending Ismal. From his days as an accountant, he had gained auditing skills that would serve well in making sure that all of the money would be used appropriately.

“We are currently looking at how we can use these funds to most effectively help rebuild lives and futures,” he said of his group’s goals.

Although Ismal has plenty of contacts in the region, he will not rely on them to choose a beneficiary.

“For example, I know the president of a university in Padang, and of course if I talk to him he will say ‘Oh, give me the money.’ But I need to be objective and impartial. We have to avoid preferential treatment,” he told the Jakarta Globe.

Ismal can’t say for certain where the money will go. But it’s not for lack of research or contacts with NGOs and other organizations. Ismal’s job is to ensure that the money collected is not spread thinly. The Indonesian communities want to spend their money on one project so they can get tangible results.

The communities have also decided that they will not start a new project from scratch. “We’re going to enhance what’s already there,” Ismal said.

Mackenzie Clugston, the Canadian ambassador to Indonesia, met with Ismal at the embassy, where he praised the expatriate’s community’s efforts.

“Times of crisis reveal friendships and in the case of the terrible earthquake in West Sumatra, it is not only the Canadian government that is lending support, but also ordinary Canadians,” he said.

Liza Lidya Erry, an Indonesian living in Vancouver, was delighted by the unity that her community showed in the relief efforts.

“The West Sumatra earthquake saw the Indonesian Canadian community in three different cities … come together to support the victims of a terrible disaster. I am so proud of the Indonesian Canadian community.”

Canada’s Indonesians, an ocean away from their homeland, live out the West Sumatran value of supporting their own from afar.

To Ismal, this duty is a central fact of life. “If you love your village, leave it.” Ismal says with a smile. And by leaving home and then coming back to help his neighbors in a time of need, he has brought his duty full circle.

When he left, his community supported him. Now when his community needs his help the most, he has come home to support them.

Related Artice:

Canada, Australia ranked best places for expats

Thousands of runners run the first Suramadu bridge 10k

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 11/29/2009 8:44 AM

Suramadu race: Around 7,500 runners take part in a 10-kilometer "Run For Unity" race along the country's longest Suramadu bridge linking Surabaya and Madura in East Java on Sunday. (Antara/Musa Tamil)

Around 7,500 runners from various parts of Indonesia as well as foreign countries took part at the first 10-kilometer running competition crossing the Suramadu bridge linking Surabaya and Madura in East Java on Sunday.

Youth and Sports State Minister Andi Malarangeng officially flagged "A Run For Unity" in Surabaya on Sunday morning.

Andi said the country's longest bridge does not only link Java and Madura island but also serves as a good venue for running competition to attract sporting enthusiasts and tourists.

Of the total 7,500 participants, 35 are foreign nationals.

Soon after the flagging, reported that many runners fell down as too many runners ran at the same time on a limited space.

But not many officials were seen on the location where some of the amateur contestants were laying on the ground.

Those reaching the finish line were also seen facing difficulty to get water to drink.

Unesco team meets Sultan in Yogyakarta

Antara News, Sunday, November 29, 2009 00:03 WIB

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - One of the Unesco team members who had fought for Indonesian batik`s world recognition, Gaura met the Yogyakarta governor, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X in the Yogyakarta Sultanate Palace, Saturday.

"The Unesco team member met with Sultan to get first hand information about this provincial effort in preserving Batik as the national cultural heritage," Gaura Mancacaritadipura said here Saturday.

High fashion: Annisa Pohan models designer batik at “The Allure of Modern Batik”. Since appearing on catwalks and in high fashion spreads, batik, once viewed by some as staid and stuffy, has enjoyed a popular revival. JP/Ricky Yudhistira

The international recognition through Unesco on the Indonesian batik as the country`s national heritage should not be the end of the fight but efforts must be continued for its preservation by the future generations, and continuous development, so that the recognition of batik as a national heritage would remain preserved, he said.

"After earthquake devastation in the province (some time ago) batik production in the region developed very well, (the government) has even built a batik museum, a batik school, and people began to return to produce batik," he said.

Gaura suggested that Batik modules be incorporated into the curriculum in all schools in Yogyakarta so that the students would have an understanding about batik as the nation`s cultural heritage and for fostering the spirit to preserve it.

Relating to the development of batik as a national heritage, the Sultan said he hoped people would not only think that batik is only for shirt and skirt. Batik cloth can be used for other purposes, such as wall hangings.

On the occasion, the Sultan gave souvenirs in the form of a crown in miniature which was designed by the Sultan himself.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The 'Grebeg Besar' Attracts Tourists

Kompas, SATURDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2009 | 4:18 PM

Grebeg Besar procession, parading the heaps of offerings (gunungan) - Kompas/Ferganata Indra Riatmoko

YOGYAKARTA, - The traditional ceremony bearing the full name 'Grebeg Besar Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat', which is held during the Moslem holiday of Idul Adha (1430 Hijriah this year), Saturday, attracted a number of foreign tourists in Yogyakarta.

They enthusiastically followed the whole traditional procession, and once in a while captured it in photos or videos. The procession was also spectated by the citizens of Yogyakarta and its surroundings despite the heat of the day.

The Grebeg Besar ceremony is a procession of four gunungans (heaps of offerings, 'gunungan' comes from the root meaning of mountain or heap), each called lanang (which represents the male), wadon (female), gepak, and pawuhan. All four are brought out from the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace then paraded through Siti Hinggil, Pagelaran, the North Town square (alun-alun) and finally to the Kauman Great Mosque, Yogyakarta.

A gunungan is made from food-stuffs, such as vegetables, nets, chilis, eggs, sweet potato, and other things made of sticky rice and made into the likeness of a mountain, to symbolize prosperity and fertility for the Mataram palace territories. The gunungan parade, led by a Manggoloyudho (war admiral) G.B.P.H. Yudhaningrat, was saluted with rifles shots by the palace guards when it exited the palace and proceeded through the North Alun-alun.

The gunungan procession was accompanied by nine royal guards, among which were Wirobrojo, Ketanggung, Bugis, Daeng, Patangpuluh, and Nyutro. They wore uniforms of various colors and wielded spears, keris (the Javanese curved dagger), and old-fashioned rifles.

Next the gunungans were brought to the Kauman Great Mosque, Yogyakarta, to be blessed by the palace clerics. Then the peak of the event was when the gunungans were given to the gathering people, who waited patiently since morning at the mosque's courtyard, so that they could rush to grab any piece of the gunungans.

The people who got pieces of the gunungans believe that every piece brings the blessing of the King of the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono, and that it would bless their lives.

The Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace throughout a year holds three kinds of traditional grebeg events, which are the Grebeg Syawal during Idul Fitri; Grebeg Besar during Idul Adha; and Grebeg Maulud during the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

The chairman of the Widya Budaya foundation of Yogyakarta, Widi Utamingsih, said that the Grebeg events by the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace are cultural heritages that attract locals and foreigners. The traditional event should be presented as an interesting tourism package that also preserves this culture as one of the lifestyle of the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace.

This cultural spectacle is a potential attraction for national and international tourists. Especially since the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat palace is part of the golden triangle ot tourism around West Java and Yogyakarta for foreign tourists. (acandra/C17-09)

Editor: ksp , Source : ANT

Manohara's Views on Indonesian Corruption: How Do We Change?

"We bribe as easily as we breathe; we are so used to paying our way out of any little inconvenience in life that we almost make it seem OK to be corrupt."

The Jakarta Globe, Manohara Odelia Pinot

Actress and model Manohara lifts a crocodile at an anti-corruption protest in Jakarta on Monday. (Photo: Jurnasyanto Sukarno, JG)

Corruption. I first became familiar with the concept when I was in the third grade at an international school in France. One of my classmates talked about his mom getting pulled over for speeding while driving him to school. He was worried because they took her license away because of previous traffic violations. Our teacher tried to comfort the poor kid, who looked like he thought his mom was going to be sentenced to life in prison.

As the teacher explained that his mother probably just had to fill out a few forms, I interrupted her and announced proudly to the class that in my beautiful homeland of Indonesia you can just give a policeman the equivalent of a euro or so and get away with speeding!

All the other kids thought this was cool and asked me what else people in Indonesia pay for that they couldn’t in France. I didn’t need much time to think and very casually said, “Well you can pay for your identity card, getting a drivers license, passing airport security, getting into the police force — almost everything really.” The teacher chuckled and then looked me in the eye and said, “That is called bribing, and that’s what makes your country a corrupt one.”

She explained to the class the horrible effect that corruption has on a country. One thing that was extremely close to my heart was poverty, another byproduct of corruption according to the teacher. At that moment my feelings changed. From being overly confident and bragging about my country, I developed an embarrassing, sick, disappointed feeling in my gut. I felt somewhat betrayed by my motherland.

By the time the lunch bell rang, all the kids had probably forgotten about the incident but I didn’t. It was all I could think about through my math, geography and science classes. Instead of rushing to the cafeteria, I rushed to the school’s deserted library and with the help of a computer I learned as much as I possibly could in 45 minutes about corruption. From that day forward my views on the “convenience” of corruption changed.

Is corruption convenient? Yes. Most people I ask say that corruption is a despicable act mostly performed by the government and the “elite.” I then ask them if they’ve ever bribed a cop when being stopped for a traffic violation. No one has said no.

I have come to realize that bribery has become such an ordinary part of our daily lives here that millions of people contribute to it on a daily basis without even realizing it. We bribe as easily as we breathe; we are so used to paying our way out of any little inconvenience in life that we almost make it seem OK to be corrupt.

Is this why corruption is such a big, seemingly unsolvable problem here in Indonesia? Is this why we can’t seem to find a solution to this matter? Is it because corruption is the one problem we can’t pay our way out of?

In my mind, the solution has to start with changing our mind-set toward the convenient aspects of being corrupt. We have to make changes in our mental attitudes toward corruption before just blaming the government. I see this as almost like going green; people can’t keep blaming the large polluting factories while driving a fuel-guzzling SUV.

Sadly, money is power. The one thing that disturbs me the most about corruption is the effect it has on the poor and powerless. The powerless are almost half of Indonesia’s population, and they live on less than Rp 20,000 ($2.10) a day.

So then let’s look at government officials in Indonesia. For example, ministers. Today they earn about Rp 19 million per month. When I see someone earning that amount spend far more than that in just one day, for example, without having another job on the side, I can’t help but be puzzled. I can’t help but ask whether the money they are spending on their fourth car (which most probably won’t even use) is money that is supposed be used to help the less fortunate, build new schools or help victims of natural disasters.

I was speaking with a very respectable man the other day. He works in a very high position in one of the biggest banks in Indonesia. I brought up the subject of the Padang earthquake and was telling him how I was happy that TV stations were raising a substantial amount of money for the victims. As I said that, he smiled at my naivete and he then told me that one local station raised Rp 17 billion. How much went to Padang? Rp 3 billion. What happened to the Rp 14 billion? Who knows.

The latest corruption case to blow up is, of course, the whole issue with Bank Century, top government officials, the police force and the KPK etc. etc. etc. Do you honestly think anyone involved in this mess is innocent of corruption? I don’t.

The more I dig into this issue, the more I realize that the whole system is corrupt. We can’t fix anything by just firing a bunch of people because, literally, everything is corrupt. Corruption is and will be a part of our culture unless we make real changes in ourselves.

In my opinion the only way to make any progress is by tackling the problem at the roots, starting from zero. How do we do that? We have to change our way of thinking. There should be serious lectures in schools, kids should be encouraged to have a real voice and an opinion about their nation’s future — make them develop their minds rather than just sticking to textbooks and assuming everything they read is the truth. In the public schools, we should educate children more about current affairs and corruption, make them debate the issue and broaden their minds. They basically need a view of their own rather than following the way things have always been done. Come on, right now the “grown-ups” aren’t setting what I would call a good example. They need to be challenged by young people.

I know this kind of change will take a long time and I’ll probably be an old granny before it’ll start to have any real effect but we just HAVE to change someday. I’m really tired of watching people complain but then do nothing about the problem of corruption; it makes everyone look like a hypocrite. If no one is willing to stop this culture of sleaze with genuinely good intentions and no dirty money involved, it can’t get better. I guess I would be a hypocrite too if I didn’t try to do something. It might sound a little too ambitious for a 17-year-old girl like me, but I am determined to do something about it. I am positive that we can change.

I’m going to end this with one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Manohara Odelia Pinot is a fashion model and television actress.

Related Article:

Manohara Requests Judicial Review Into Controversial Bank Century Bailout