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. …

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Main Suspect in Deadly 2002 Bali Bombings Arrested in Pakistan

Fox News, Associated Press, March 29, 2011

Undated sketch of Bali bombing suspect Umar Patek. (AP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Intelligence sources say top Indonesian terror suspect Umar Patek has been arrested in Pakistan.

Patek is one of the main suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead.

Two officials speaking on condition that they not be named said Patek was taken into custody in Pakistan on March 2. One of the sources is an Indonesian security official, and the other is a Philippine intelligence official who cited information from U.S. counterparts.

Related Articles:

Hundreds of artifacts unearthed in S. Sulawesi

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar | Wed, 03/30/2011

Researchers say they have discovered hundreds of artifacts spanning several eras from sites in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi.

“We can classify the archaeological findings in Bantaeng into the pre-historic, pre-Islamic, Islamic and [modern] Bantaeng periods, based on the artifacts' characteristics,” research team leader Naniek Harkantiningsih said.

Ten researchers from the National Archeology Research and Development Center, the Cultural and Tourism Resource Development Agency and the Culture and Tourism Ministry conducted research in eight Bantaeng sub-districts between March 14 and 28.

Naniek said the team found approximately 600 artifacts, including Chinese ceramics and pottery that dated to the Yuan, Ming and Sung dynasties, and artifacts from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and the Netherlands.

Researchers also found several coins and a burial complex that might date to the Islamic period in the 1between the 15th and 18th centuries, he said.
The burial site, discovered in Ulu Ere and Gantarang sub-district, was still intact and had been unknown to local residents, he added.

The artifacts, which would be conserved in cooperation with local groups, were evidence that Bantaeng was a center of the spice trade, shipping cacao and vanilla to European countries during the Gowa Tallo kingdom, Naniek said.

“The cultural remains must be preserved and be turned into a cultural heritage site as well as an object of tourism. This way the remains will bring benefits as an archaeological research center and as a source of economic development to the regency and people of Bantaeng” she said.

The researchers began work in January 2007 and were expected to investigate sites in nine regencies and one municipality in the province before the project ends in 2015.

Researchers will next move to Bulukumba, Sinjai, Bone and Maros regencies.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RI registers three cultural heritage sites at UNESCO

Antara News, Tue, March 29 2011

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - RI has registered three intangible cultural heritage sites, namely Balinese traditional dance, Noken handicraft and Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, an official said here Monday.

"The Minister of Culture and Tourism today registered the three sites to UNESCO to preserve Indonesian culture," Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, said here Monday.

Jero said by the addition of the three heritage sites, Indonesia had added a number of intangible cultural heritage sites, such as Indonesian puppets (2003), Indonesian ceremonial knives (2005), Indonesian Batiks (2009) and Indonesian angklung (2010).

He further said that the more cultural heritage sites are recognized by UNESCO created higher pride for the people in preserving the cultural sites in Indonesia.

On the occasion, he also expressed pessimism in registering all Indonesian cultural heritage sites to UNESCO due to the limited financial factor.

"Thousands of people have been involved in the registration of the three sites, so there must be more people and money to spend in registering all the sites of Indonesian cultural heritage since we have plenty of them ," he said.

Those three intangible cultural heritage sites are involved in the representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritages (Balinese traditional dances), Urgent Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Noken handicraft) and Best Practice of Intangible Cultural Heritages (TMII).

The registration documents were also signed by Coordinating Minster of People`s Welfare Agung Laksono after the Ministry of Culture and tourism.

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Related Article:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Origami cranes in Mexico to grant wish for Japanese quake victims 2011-03-27

A helper lays paper cranes on a table during a origami session called
Senbazuru (A thousand cranes) in favour of disaster victims in Japan in
the Ahondiga cultural centre in Bilbao, Mexico, March 26, 2011. An
ancient Japanese legend states that a crane will grant a wish to the maker
of a thousand origami cranes. The Japanese government on Wednesday
estimated the direct damage from a deadly earthquake and tsunami that
struck the country's northeast this month at as much as 310 billion U.S.
dollars, making it the world's

Related Articles:

An Indonesian Muslim woman puts her hand print inside a circle
to form a Japanese flag during a solidarity act for earthquake and
tsunami-affected people in Japan outside the Japanese Embassy in
Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, March 27, 2011.
(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Museum on Human Rights Offering Lessons From Aceh’s Painful Past

Jakarta Globe, Nurdin Hasan | March 26, 2011

Related articles

Banda Aceh. Decades of armed conflict in Aceh may be officially over, but scars remain from that tumultuous time that, as people like Reza Idri insist, should never be forgotten.

Reza, the director of the newly inaugurated Museum of Aceh Human Rights, believes the past holds valuable lessons no matter how painful they are.

“There is no intention at all for us to reopen old wounds here,” he said at the museum’s launch on Wednesday. “We only want the past to be remembered and serve as lessons for the future.”

He and a group of artists and activists formed the museum to record the many rights violations that took place during Aceh’s pro-independence movement from the 1970s to the late 1990s. More than 15,000 people were killed.

The Indonesian military launched a brutal crackdown on the separatists, until the state of emergency in the province was lifted briefly between early 2000 and 2003.

Though fighting flared up again after that, a devastating tsunami in 2004 refocused the country’s efforts toward rehabilitation and eventually led to a peace agreement.

The museum, temporarily lodged in a simple house in Ulee Kareng, Banda Aceh, has records of those grim events.

On its opening night on Wednesday, dozens of activists watched a documentary on school burnings that were rampant in 2000.

The burnings peaked in 2003 when the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) again declared Aceh a military emergency zone and moved to quash the pro-independence Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

The museum also displays photographs of victims who disappeared along with thousands of others during the almost 30-year conflict.

It also chronicles tragedies such as the massacre of Tengku Bantaqiah and 56 of his students on July 23, 1999, in West Aceh. He had been accused of hiding firearms for rebels.

The museum documents the military raid of a National Committee of Indonesian Youth (KNPI) building on Jan. 9 that same year in Lhokseumawe in northern Aceh, that left five dead and dozens injured.

Though its subject is bloody, the museum has refused to show graphic photos or videos of the violence, citing “ethical reasons.”

“We do have those photos. But if they are displayed, it might spark violent reactions and reopen old wounds,” Reza said.

While the new museum is billeted in temporary quarters, the director said he hoped the Aceh administration would realize the museum’s value and assign them a permanent building, such as the rarely used Tsunami Museum.

“This is actually the responsibility of the government, but we have taken the first initiative,” Reza said.

“Once there is state-built museum, we will grant every resource we have to it, which of course would be housed in a more appropriate setting,” the director said.

Reza said their museum not only documented abuses but could serve as a center for conflict studies.

Friday, March 25, 2011

UN welcomes RI`s wish to become hub of peacekeeping centers

Antara News, Thu, March 24 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) Alain Le Roy said Indonesia`s initiative as hub of peacekeeping training centers in the region was welcomed.

"This is an important initiative," he told ANTARA in an interview at the Jakarta-based UN Information Center on Thursday.

With Indonesia`s high credibility in various UN peacekeeping missions, the peacekeeping training center would be good for peacekeepers from Indonesia and other countries in the region, he said.

Le Roy was asked to comment on the Indonesian government`s effort to enable the country to become a hub of peacekeeping centers in the region this year as recently conveyed by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

In his annual press statement last January, Marty Natalegawa hinted the Indonesian government`s will to be the hub of peacekeeping centers in the region as part of its commitment to maintaining world`s peace.

"In the issue of peacekeeping operations, Indonesia actively contributes to the development of strategic concepts on the world`s peacekeeping mission deployment," he said.

In connection with this commitment, Indonesia would do its best to become the hub of the network of peacekeeping centers in the region, Marty Natalegawa said.

Alain Le Roy praised Indonesian peacekeepers` performance saying that the Indonesian Defense Force (TNI) and National Police (Polri) personnel involving in the UN-PKO were well trained and professional.

However, for the future missions, he also urged Indonesia to involve police women because there were always women among displaced people in the UN mission areas.

Le Roy said Indonesia could possibly involve its well-trained police women into the UN peacekeeping operations in the future due to the country`s excellent performance in various UN missions.

Indonesia was currently taking part in three UN peacekeeping missions, namely the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Congo, and Darfur in Sudan, he said.

The Indonesian battalion in UNIFIL consisted of around 1,400 personnel while, for the Darfur mission, it deployed a dozen of police officers to help protect displaced civilians there, he said.

"They are very professional policemen," Le Roy said.

Regarding the increasing demand of women peacekeepers in the UN missions, the UN highlighted such roles that they could play during the peacekeeping operations, such as "interviewing victims of sexual and gender-based violence, working in women prisons, assisting female ex-combatants during the process of mobilizing and reintegration into civilian life and mentoring female cadets at police academies".

By deploying 1,795 personnel, Indonesia is one of 20 top contributors of uninformed personnel to the UN-PKO.

Nineteen other contributing countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Egypt, Nepal, Jordan, Rwanda, Ghana, Uruguay, Senegal, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, China, Italy, Morocco, France, and Sri Lanka.

Alain Le Roy has been in Jakarta since Tuesday to participate in the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue (JIDD) and meet with a number of top government officials and chiefs of the Indonesian military and police.

The JIDD itself was officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday.

Le Roy said he would speak at the forum, attended by representatives from 34 countries involving defense ministers and military commanders, on Friday.

Editor: Ruslan Burhani

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The bomb is not because of my Jewish blood: Yapto

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 03/23/2011

Head of the Pancasila Youth Organization Yapto Soerjosumarno brushed off the notion that he was sent a bomb in a book because of his Jewish ancestry.

“So what if I have Jewish blood? I cannot refuse the fate that I am of Jewish blood, but it has nothing to do with heritage. I am also a Muslim. There are Arabians who embrace Christianity and Buddhism. It's not something wrong. Me getting this book has nothing to do with Judaism. In fact, it was Ahmad Dhani who received a book with a Jew-related title,” he said on Wednesday in Jakarta as quoted by

Yapto was referring to the musician who also received a bomb disguised as a book, titled “Yahudi Militan” or “Militant Jews”.

The book received by Yapto was titled Masih Adakah Keadilan dalam Pancasila (Is there Still Justice in Pancasila).

He said he was also wondering about the title of the book.

“I think my organization is in line with the nation's idea and aim against colonialists and as a citizen, I don't think it's wrong. Pemuda Pancasia [Pancasila Youth] does not stray from this country's ideology... I see a suspicious thing here. I am a nationalist, but why have I become a target for such matters?” Yapto said.

He added that he was also a Muslim who has “good ties with everyone.”

Related Article:

"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

‘Jogja Care for Japan’ this weekend

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/23/2011

Various arts and cultural communities in Yogyakarta will hold a series of programs on Saturday for the tsunami and earthquake victims in Japan.

The event will take place at the Yogyakarta Expo Center with the theme “Jogja Care for Japan - Let's Support and Learn from Japan”, organizing committee chair GKR Pembayun said Wednesday, reported.

During the day, visitors can learn about origami, ikebana and Japanese martial arts, as well as enjoy Japanese cuisine. In the evening, pop band Sheila on 7, dancer Didik Nini Towok and mime Jemek Supardi will entertain the public.

Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and the Japanese ambassador to Indonesia are scheduled to attend the event.

The Hoshizora and Atsuki communities, in cooperation with a cosplay community in Yogyakarta, collected money at schools and other places in the city on Wednesday.

Atsuki also organized the folding of 1,000 origami cranes and collected 1,000 signatures as a symbol of their solidarity with the Japanese.

RI short film 'Save Water' wins Grand Prize in ADB contest

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/23/2011

The short Indonesian film Save Water grabbed the Grand Prize at the Asia Development Bank (ADB)-sponsored "My View H2O" video competition recently.

“Save Water wins not only because of its good directing and shooting, but also because it contains a strong, packed message conveyed simply and humorously, resulting in a strong effect,” ADB external relations managing director Ann Quon said in a press statement sent to Antara on Wednesday.

Save Water, produced by Muhammad “Wawan” Zulqamar, runs for around one minute and contains no dialogue, but is able to convey how one can preserve water while bathing, the statement reads.

ADB organized the competition this year to campaign for water issues, including water crises, in Asia.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Justice league

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 03/22/2011

(From left to right) Leiden University’s Jakarta project coordinator
Ward Berenschot, National Planning and Development Agency director
for legal and human rights Diani Sadiawati, University of Indonesia’s
Women and Gender Studies Center chair Sulistyowati Irianto and
Judicial Mafia Taskforce member Mas Achmad Santosa pose for
photos after the launch of a book titled Akses Terhadap Keadilan
di Indonesia (Access to Justice in Indonesia) at Erasmus Huis in
Jakarta on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tourists could see SE Asia on single visa

Montreal Gazette, AFP, March 18, 2011

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is working on a plan
that would open the region to foreign tourists in the same way Europe’s
unified visa system has streamlined travel. (Photograph by: Damir Sagolj, Reuters)

JAKARTA - Travellers could soon be able surf in Bali, shop in Singapore and eat spicy street food in Thailand before crossing into Cambodia and cruising the Mekong in Vietnam - all on a single tourist visa.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is working on a plan that would open the region to foreign tourists in the same way Europe’s unified visa system has streamlined travel.

"You would just have to apply for one visa and you could then visit all the countries using that visa," said Eddy Krisneidi, an official at the Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretariat, which recently released its Tourism Strategic Plan for the next five years.

With attractions ranging from jungle-covered temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia to five-star beach resorts in Bali, Southeast Asia is a region that tempts travellers from all walks of life.

ASEAN countries recorded more than 65 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2009. Malaysia led the field, followed by Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei.

Analysts say visitor numbers could be boosted by slashing the time-consuming and confusing visa requirements for each of ASEAN’s 10 countries, which range from vibrant developing democracies to isolated, military-dominated Myanmar.

While some allow foreigners to simply purchase visas on arrival, others require wads of paperwork, photos and up to a week to issue the required stamp.

"One of the major concerns of the industry, as well as visitors, is the difficulty of obtaining visas, a series of widely differing regulations and information needs for visas," ASEAN’s strategic plan states.

It is a view shared by Stuart McDonald, who runs an online travel forum for Southeast Asia.

"One of the most common questions that we see on is people asking visa questions: What kind of visa can I get? How long is it valid for? What does it cost?," said the Australian who travels extensively in Asia.

"The rules change all the time and it introduces a level of uncertainty and confusion that the industry can do without."

The concept of a single visa has wide support among tourism bodies across Southeast Asia.

"It would definitely benefit all the countries in this region, especially Thailand," Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, noting that Thailand is a "good strategic location" for overland travelling as it acts as a bridge to other countries.

Svetasreni said it is only a matter of time until the region’s visa system is liberalised.

"ASEAN will be considered as a single destination, so it makes sense to apply for a single visa to travel to any country in ASEAN," he said.

Despite its appeal, others are less optimistic that a single visa will become a reality anytime soon.

"Travel procedures have to be simplified but it is not going to be easy because each country may have their own foreign policy," Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel inbound tourism vice president Arul Das said.

ASEAN is yet to outline the cost or length of stay for its planned single tourist visa. But it acknowledges it could take several years to introduce.

"The establishment of such a visa will not likely occur in the next five years due to barriers of technology, political issues, concerns of sovereignty and security and the different visa systems in the member states," its strategic plan states.

The single visa is one of several initiatives being worked on by ASEAN to boost tourism in the region.

The organisation is also overseeing the creation of regional tourism standards which would apply to things such as accommodation, food and public toilets.

"There are already clear indications that major tour operators are now very much concerned with a wide range of standards in a destination," the plan states.

"Those destinations that are able to satisfy those increasingly high standards will have a distinct position of advantage."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bali, the ‘Island of Love,’ Selected to Host Miss World 2014

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana | March 17, 2011

Denpasar. Some of the world’s most gorgeous women are set to grace Bali after the resort island was selected to host the Miss World beauty pageant in 2014.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, speaking in Denpasar on Thursday, said organizers had confirmed that Bali would host the event.

Pastika said Bali’s natural beauty and unique culture were major factors in the island being selected as the venue for the international occasion.

“This will ensure Bali is even better known around the world,” he said.

Pastika said that after the filming of “Eat Pray Love” starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in Bali, the island had a new nickname — “The Island of Love.”

He urged tourists seeking more intimacy in their lives to visit Bali.

“For those who have been married for a number of years and want to reinvigorate their love, or for who have not married and want to be intimate, Bali is the best place.”

The governor said new infrastructure was on the way, including an airport expansion and road upgrades.

Bali also plays host to an Asean summit later this year and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2013.

“We do not want to disappoint them all,” Pastika said.

Monday, March 14, 2011

RI to implement UN resolution on women

Antara News, Mon, March 14 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government through the ministry of women`s empowerment and child protection will soon implement UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security.

Speaking after opening a seminar themed "Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security" at Balai Kartini here on Monday, Women`s Empowerment Minister Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar said her office was drafting a national action plan on the implementation of the resolution.

The seminar was also attended by former Finnish Defense Minister Madame Elisabeth Rehn.

Linda said the national action plan was made up of integrating gender issues into policy, programs and activities, data collecting mechanism, and reporting system at each ministry and related institution.

"It will start from prevention to conflict termination phase, and recovery of social conflict both at central and regional levels," Linda said.

She added that the national action plan would be completed this year.

Linda also explained that the United Nations Security Council Resolution gave an important emphasis on four issues namely the increased representation of women at all levels of decision-making and participation in peace development and conflict prevention, integration of a gender perspective in post conflict process and gender perspective improvement training, main concern for the special protection of women including action against sexual violence, and the integration of gender perspective in the program activity and UN peace operations report.

Editor: Aditia Maruli

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wayang with a Touch of Dutch

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 03/13/2011

There was no Arjuna in sight. The puppet characters appeared in classic European clothing from the 16th century. And the shadow puppet story was not based on the classic epic Mahabharata or Ramayana — but rather the heroic epic of Prince William of Orange.

That particular evening, the audience was given a rare treat — a wayang shadow puppet show with a fresh, contemporary twist.

Painted in classic European clothing from the 16th century, the puppet characters became alive as young puppet master Ananto Wicaksono told the heroic epic story of Prince William of Orange to a packed hall at the Erasmus Huis in South Jakarta.

Closing scene showcases the puppet characters of Prince
 William van Orange (left), his wife Louise de Coligny (right)
 and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft. JP/ Wendra
The Nusantara Museum in Holland had ordered the puppet of William of Orange — or Willem Van Oranje in Dutch — from Javanese puppet maker Ledjar Subroto, Ananto’s grandfather.

The puppet show was performed in Jakarta and Yogyakarta before being launched in the Nusantara Museum over the weekend.

The story revolves around the battles of Prince William, the proponent of freedom of religion against the Spanish army. The Spanish King, Philip II, declared William an outlaw and promised a reward for his assassination.

The show’s last scene depicted the assassination of the Dutch hero. Balthasar Gerard, a supporter of Phillip II, shot William to death at the prince’s home in Delft.

The contemporary shadow puppet show did not only present a series of serious political banters and war scenes, but also entertained and humored with creative and amusing scenes.

The hundreds of audience members burst into laughter when an old puppet character Jan Klaasen appeared on stage as an intermezzo in the middle of a war.

Jan Klaasen’s funny voice, humorous chat and silly movements became an instant ice-breaker. A Spaniard soldier tried to attack his head to no avail because it was so flexible — it could rotate, turning forward and even backward.

Ledjar said Jan Klaasen was an additional character that was comparable to Punokawan — four royal jokers in the regular puppet shows.

“I inserted the Jan Klaasen character so the audience did not only have to stick to the story, but be entertained by the humor as well,” he said.

Known as the innovator of wayang kancil — leather puppets in animal forms, the 73-year-old Ledjar was internationally known for his novel pieces of the wayang art.

His creations include Wayang Sultan Agung in 1987, a puppet made to depict the struggle of Sultan Agung against the Dutch troops under Jan Pieter Zoon Coen. The puppet was collected by the Westfreis Museum.

Later, he made Wayang Revolusi for the Bronbeek Museum in Arnhem, representing the Indonesian revolutionary figures of 1945. He also created a wayang cartoon based on the Japanese Samurai X comic for the performance of Japanese puppeteer Ryoh Matsumoto in 2002.

Ananto, a student of the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, said the Nusantara Museum planned to introduce Dutch history to school children through Wayang William.

“The problem [faced by Indonesia and the Netherlands] is the same. Children are reluctant to study history,” he said, adding that wayang was chosen because both countries shared a strong cultural relationship.

The idea to wrap the Dutch history in a wayang story came after officials from the Nusantara Museum watched Ledjar’s Sultan Agung puppet show performance at the Pasar Tong Tong fair back in 2008.

The officials, who saw a Jan Pieter Zoon Coen puppet, were inspired to order the puppet character of William. They were happy to see Ledjar’s creation of the William puppet a year later, saying that the puppet’s image matched the prince’s portraits. Ananto said he researched on the Internet to study the history of William of Orange and watched an original classic movie about him.

“At first, I was thinking of full gamelan for the music, but then I changed my mind because this was a European puppet show. I don’t want to make it an ordinary wayang purwa [traditional puppetry],” he said.

His effort paid off. The Willem puppet show performed in the Erasmus Huis was far from boring.

The music was a collaboration between pop orchestra and traditional gamelan. Some of the conversations in the show, which included an English translation, were even set to opera-esque music, such as during a romantic chat between William and his fourth wife Louise de Coligny.

Ananto, who has been a wayang puppeter since he was four years old, said the Nusantara Museum’s visitors could also watch his 15-minute animated film of the William puppet show in addition to enjoying the real puppet performance.

The museum also plans to tour the puppet show around several cities. Ledjar said the marriage of modern and traditional genres could attract young people.

The most important thing, he added, was to preserve the traditional nuance.

However, nowadays the majority of appreciation for wayang comes from foreign countries like the Netherlands, and little attention is paid to the art form in Indonesia.

Ledjar said no order to make a wayang show about Indonesia’s modern history had come from his his own country.

“You know, there is no interest here in Indonesia. I am concerned about how to encourage our children and young generation to love wayang.”

Puppet master Ananto performs a battle scene during the shadow puppet show at Erasmus Huis in South Jakarta.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

20 Indonesian/Dutch players coming to RI for soccer event

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/09/2011

Twenty Indonesian soccer players of mixed descent from the Netherlands will arrive in Indonesia this Sunday for a special soccer-related event.

Former captain of the Netherlands
’ 2010 World Cup team Giovanni
van Bronckhorst
Among them is former captain of the Netherlands’ 2010 World Cup team Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the President’s special staffer for regional development and autonomy, Felix Wanggai, said Wednesday, as reported by

They will be in Indonesia for 12 days for a program termed “Indonesia is my country”, which is aimed at motivating Indonesian players, Felix said.

All of the players are of Indonesian and Dutch descent and have played in competitions in Europe.

They will arrive in Indonesia this coming Sunday and leave on March 24. They will first go to Ambon before heading to Jakarta and then to Denpasar. During their visit, they will train young players, conduct workshops for local coaches and play in friendly competitions.

“They are also scheduled to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono," Felix said.

S. Sulawesi gets new museum

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/09/2011

South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul YL is scheduled to inaugurate the Balla Lompa Museum in Gowa regency, South Suluwesi, on Wednesday.

Situated around 10 kilometers from Makassar, the museum contains a collection of hundreds of artifacts from the Gowa Kingdom, reported.

The museum is being inaugurated after it is lifted, about 3 meters off the ground. Thanks to this unique ceremony, it will also receive a certificate from the Indonesian Record Museum as the first museum to be lifted manually.

During its heyday, the Gowa Kingdom covered several other provinces in the Eastern part of Indonesia. One of the kings was I Mallombassi Daeng Matawang Karaeng Bontomangape Sultan Hasanuddin, who has been nominated by the government as a national hero.

Monday, March 7, 2011

USAID helping Borobudur`s rehabilitation with $100,000

Antara News, Mon, March 7 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - US international aid agency USAID is providing 100,000 US dollars to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to rehabilitate the Borobudur temple compound in the aftermath of the recent Mount Merapi eruptions.

According to a US embassy`s press release received here Monday, the aid was given under the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership.

USAID would provide support for the emergency cleanup, including retention of a large local workforce and purchase of equipment for the cleaning operation.

The Comprehensive Partnership is critical to the bilateral relationship and is founded on the shared values of freedom, pluralism, tolerance, democracy and respect for human rights.

Borobudur temple was temporarily closed to visitors late last year when concern about the longer-term effects of ash on the monument emerged.

Indonesia`s Ministry of Culture and Tourism along with the compound`s Site Authority had initiated emergency cleanup measures. Significant work needs to be done in order to reinvigorate tourism - a critical economic resource for the region.

"The support we are providing will help build the livelihoods of affected local communities through their involvement in the rehabilitation of the cultural tourism sector, which is critical to the area?s economy," said USAID Mission Director Walter North.

One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Merapi is located less than 35 kilometers from Borobudur. A series of eruptions in October and November 2010 resulted in the deaths of 322 people and the displacement of more than 135,000 people. The Mount Merapi eruptions covered the Borobudur compound in 4.5 centimeters of volcanic ash.

The Borobudur compound was built between the eighth and ninth centuries using 57,000 cubic meters of volcanic stone. The monument is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 statues. In 1991 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia and a critical economic resource for the local government.

Editor: Jafar M Sidik

@america: Cultural outreach to young foreigners

San Francisco Chronicle, Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, Sunday, March 6, 2011

Go US: A visitor registers at @america , a hi-tech cultural center|
intended to enable Indonesians to interact with that country on their
own terms.
JP/Ricky Yudhistira

PST Jakarta, Indonesia -- On the third floor of a shopping mall, around the corner from a Gap Kids and a Wedgwood china outlet, a new tenant is busily promoting what is perhaps the world's biggest brand: America.

The tenant, called @america, represents the U.S. government's first attempt at creating a full-fledged cultural center since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A high-tech, interactive operation heralded as the digital-age successor to the venerable American Cultural Center, it is also U.S. public diplomacy's latest effort to win over young foreigners, especially in Muslim countries.

Thousands of high school and college students have been bused in from schools in Jakarta, the capital, and its outskirts since @america's opening in December. The technology on display - a giant, supercharged version of Google Earth called Liquid Galaxy, scores of iPads that are available to test, interactive monitors explaining Black History Month - thrilled the teenagers.

It was unclear whether the center had changed their perceptions of the United States, though.

Tech savvy: Young visitors browse
through their e-guides at the @america
JP/Ricky Yudhistira
"It doesn't matter what they think of the United States - 'Do you hate us? Do you love us? Are you somewhere in between?' " said Matt McGowan, 36, an American whose company, PT Ganesha Aggies Jaya, has been contracted to run the center.

The State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy, Judith McHale, described @america as the "first of a new generation of American cultural centers."

Eva Zahrowati, 34, an English teacher at Islamic Senior High School No. 4, said her students had picked up bits of U.S. history during their visit.

She added, however, that the center's location - in one of Jakarta's most tightly guarded malls - created "obstacles" for Indonesians like her students. Visitors must undergo body scans and deposit their bags between two doors to enter @america, and the heavy security had left a bad taste.

"Is America afraid of us?" Zahrowati said.

The technology used by @america impressed Annisa Mutiara, 16, who said her dream was to go to a U.S. university. But Annisa was not swayed by what she assumed was the motivation behind the invitation to her school.

"I believe that America hates Muslims, and I'm a Muslim," she said. "I still believe that after coming here."

Pacific Place Mall 3rd floor #325
Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav.52-53
Kebayoran Baru, Central Jakarta, 12190

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