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, November 30, 2011

Strictly Javanese at language congress

The Jakarta Post, Indra Harsaputra and Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Surabaya, Wed, 11/30/2011

A four-day Javanese Language Congress being held in Surabaya, East Java, since last Sunday has turned into a formal Javanese forum as all of the participants, regardless of their places of origin, have been required to speak the high form of the language at the event.

Unlike in previous years, the five-yearly congress, which concludes Wednesday, has this year named Javanese as its official language. As such, everyone at the congress is required to speak formal Javanese, despite that some members of the younger Javanese generations find the dialect difficult to follow.

“As a host, East Java Governor Soekarwo wants the congress to be different from in previous years. That’s why he has requested that Javanese be used as the official language of the congress,” the committee’s secretary Hizbul Wathon said on Tuesday.

Some 600 participants have joined the congress, which is the fifth to be held so far. Among them are 11 foreigners: an Australian, seven Surinamese and three American students currently studying in Indonesian universities.

The Indonesian participants come from 12 provinces. Some were seen wearing Javanese attire while attending the congress. “This is the first time that I have entered a star-rated hotel in a Javanese costume and I am proud of doing so,” said elementary school teacher Jumiyo Siswapangarso, a participant from Yogyakarta.

Similar pride was also conveyed by Surinamese Social Affairs Minister Paul Sumoharjo, who is of Javanese descent.

“We are happy that [we] can speak Javanese. It’s because we are preserving [the culture] of the 100,000 Javanese people in Suriname,” Paul told the forum in plain Javanese during the opening ceremony on Sunday.

Also attending the opening ceremony were Education and Culture Deputy Minister Windu Nuryanti, East Java Governor Soekarwo and Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengku Buwono X.

Among the speakers were George Quinn, an adjunct professor and visiting fellow of the Australian National University’s School of Culture, History and Language, who wrote and presented his presentation in formal Javanese.

His paper was titled “Unggah-Ungguh Lan Bahasa Indonesia: Masalah Rong Werno Sing Ngruweti Pamulanging Basa Jawa Marang Siswa Manca” (Manners and Indonesian Language: Two problems that make it difficult to teach Javanese to foreign students).

“I am touched that I see a spirit to preserve Javanese here. I see this as a shared consciousness to block the impact of globalization that has caused many regional languages to become extinct,” said Quinn, commenting on the use of Javanese as the official language at the congress on Tuesday.

Quinn indeed was not a stranger among preservers of the Javanese language at the congress. He has never missed a single congress since it was first held in Semarang, Central Java, in 1991. He is also known for his perseverance in promoting Javanese in Australia.

“Australia’s younger generations prefer to learn English rather than any other foreign languages, including Javanese. At present only ANU offers a Javanese language program,” said Quinn, who insisted on using Javanese during the interview with The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He blamed the globalization of English for the situation in Australia, saying that Australian students felt that there was no use in learning Javanese because many Indonesians spoke English fluently.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All the Capital’s a Stage

Jakarta Globe, Tasa Nugraza Barley, November 29, 2011

For nearly four decades, the annual Festival Teater Jakarta has
had a critical influence on the capital’s performing arts. As it returns
for its 39th incarnation, the festival has prepared a variety of top-notch
performances and activities for theater fans.

Related articles

For nearly four decades, the annual Festival Teater Jakarta has had a critical influence on the capital’s performing arts. As it returns for its 39th incarnation, the festival has prepared a variety of top-notch performances and activities for theater fans. 

Festival Teater Jakarta was the first conceived in 1973 by movie director Wahyu Sihombing, well-known for his television series Losmen in the 1980s, after he won support for the festival from then-Governor Ali Sadikin and the Jakarta Arts Council.

With performances from 14 theater groups, this year’s festival promises to satisfy almost any theater fan’s tastes, according to Dewi Noviami, the chairman of the Council. The selected groups beat 42 others in the elimination stage, held during July and August.

To accommodate as big an audience as possible, the Council has decided to stage the performances at several venues.

“This year, the festival will not only be conducted at our headquarters at Taman Ismail Marzuki,” Dewi said of the event that runs until Dec 14. “We will also hold performances at venues in the five municipalities of Jakarta.” 

The other venues include Salihara, Gedung Kesenian Miss Tjitjih, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, South Jakarta Gelanggang Remaja and West Jakarta Gelanggang Jakarta.

This year, the council chose the theme “Membaca Aku, Membaca Laku” (“Reading Myself, Reading My Inner Self”) to highlight the process of self-realization and understanding one’s outlook in life.

“When you have a good attitude and understand yourself, you will ultimately perform better on stage,” event organizers said in a press release.

Both aku (I) and laku (one’s inner self) should be perceived from beyond a theatrical perspective, event organizers said. These elements are central to everyone’s daily lives, making the theme applicable to any person, not only performers. Theater will survive as a form of entertainment for all of society, they said.

Stage Corner Community, a Jakarta-based theater club established in 2006, will perform at the first major event tonight. This year Stage Corner won the an arts grant from Kelola, organization, which promotes arts and culture. In the festival, the group will perform their play “Techno Ken Dedes,” directed by Dadang Badoet.

Set in the era of traditional Javanese kingdoms, the play tells the story of a beautiful princess, Ken Dedes. The play, however, will also explore issues that more directly related to modern life. 

On Thursday, Teater Sketsa will perform “Malam Jahanam” (“The Evil Night”), written by Motinggo Boesje and Ujang G.B., at Gedung Kesenian Miss Tjitjih in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta.

Then on Saturday, Teater Anam will present a play, “Roman,” which was written and directed by Herman A. Rasyid, at Teater Luwes at the Jakarta Art Institute. 

Malhamang Zamzam, the festival chairman, said that this year’s festival would feature five original scripts, each written by a different theater community.

This, he hopes, will encourage more artists to try their hand at producing original scripts themselves.

In addition to stage performances, the festival will feature drama script seminars, movie documentary screenings and discussions on literature and other topics, making this year’s celebration more multifaceted than that of previous years.

Some well-known figures including movie director Riri Reza and writer and journalist Goenawan Mohammad will also take part in the festival, Malhamang said.

Two books will be launched at the event: Fandy Hutari’s “Hiburan Masa Lalu dan Tradisi Lokal” (“Entertainment of the Past and Local Traditions”) and Nano Riantiarno’s “Kita Teater” (“Theater Holy Book”).

“This year’s Festival Teater Jakarta is not only a competition, but also a real festival with a lot of unique programs,” Malhamang said. “These programs are not only targeted toward theater enthusiasts, but also toward people who want to know more about theater and Jakarta’s art venues.” 

For more information, visit or telephone 021 3193 7639

W. Java to open batik academy

The JakartaPost, Jakarta,Tue, 11/29/2011

The West Java Batik Foundation (YBJB) will establish a Batik Academy to develop and train young professional Batik makers.

“The West Java Batik Academy will train batik professionals to master batik skills and be ready to work in the batik industry,” the foundation’s executive director Komaruddin Hudiya said on Tuesday as quoted by Antara news agency.

The academy is scheduled to be established in 2012 with a capacity of more than 100 graduates per class. Every class will learn batik for three months and develop their own businesses.

“The batik market is still promising right now, even though the booming started in 2009. We are trying to maintain the market’s gusto for batik products by developing batik motifs from various regencies,” Komaruddin said.

He added that there had been 200 batik motifs in West Java that had been published in a batik motifs pocket book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bali gets tough on smokers in non-smoking areas

The Jakarta Post, Mon, 11/28/2011

The Bali Legislative Council has endorsed regulation on non-smoking areas that applies a six-month jail sentence or a Rp 50 million (US$5,500) fine for people caught smoking in such areas.

Implementation of the regulation is awaiting approval from the home minister.

The regulation defines non-smoking areas as hotels, restaurants, tourism areas, houses of worship, health centers, schools and other educational institutions, children’s playgrounds, public transportation, government buildings including military and police headquarters and offices, traditional markets, entertainment spots, ports and airports.

The areas are also to be free of cigarette sales and advertisements.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said the regulation was made as mandated by the 2009 Health Law.

“It will take time to enforce the new regulation,” Pastika said Monday as quoted by

He believed that foreign tourists would easily obey the regulation but that local people may resist it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

RI pledges US$10 mln to support UNESCO

Antara News, Thu, November 24 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh has announced that the Indonesian government will contribute $10 million to support the activities of UNESCO which is financially experiencing difficult times.

The announcement was made during the first official visit by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to Indonesia, the UNESCO Jakarta Office said on its official website, Thursday.

The UNESCO Director-General opened the 6th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which is being held in Bali from November 22 to 29, 2011.

The Director-General also met with the Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono and the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu.

The Director-General expressed her gratitude for this significant and timely contribution, affirming that it would support UNESCO`s core activities, including the preservation of heritage, capacity building and improving the quality of education.

A substantial part of the funding will be used for programs to support Indonesia and the ASEAN region.

During her stay in Bali, Irina Bokova visited the cultural landscape of Bali which has been proposed by the Indonesian Government for inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Director-General was accompanied by the acting Director General for History and Archaeology of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, I Gede Pitana and the Director of UNESCO Jakarta, Hubert Gijzen.

The visit covered some of the proposed sites, such as Batukaru Temple, a unique and sacred mountain sanctuary, and the royal temple of Tabanan dynasty, located in the middle of a rain forest and beneath Mount Batukaru. This temple is one of the biggest Hindu temples in Bali and was built to worship the deities of the surrounding mountains and lake.

The DG also visited the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, which are located in the Regency of Tabanan, about 700 meters above the sea level. The site is managed by an elaborate community-based traditional irrigation system, known as the `subak` system, which symbolizes the Balinese Tri Hita Karana concept that binds gods, human and nature together.

The visit was followed by a visit to Taman Ayun Temple which was built in the 18th Century. The temple is influenced by both Balinese-Majapahit and Chinese styles, which gives it its uniqueness.

At the temple, the Director General`s delegates received an on-site briefing and were welcomed by a Sekar Jepun traditional dance.

The Director-General commended the local community for its dedication.

"On behalf of UNESCO, I appreciate all you are doing to preserve your heritage for future generations. You are an excellent example of what Indonesia represents: a huge diversity, a dynamic country with long traditions; an impressive social and economic development that has reconciled heritage with modernity. I encourage you to protect and pass on this heritage to future generations," she said.

Shark fin goes off the menu at Peninsula hotels

The move will affect the group's nine hotels, including those in China and Hong Kong, the center of the global shark fin market, Justin McCurry in Osaka,  Thursday 24 November 2011

73 million sharks are killed yearly for shark fin soup.
Photograph: Paul Hilton/EPA

Environmental groups are claiming a significant victory in the campaign to save the global shark population, after the Peninsula hotel group said it would stop serving shark fin dishes from January.

Peninsula, one of Asia's most prestigious hotel chains, said on Monday it would no longer sell the dishes, considered a delicacy in Hong Kong and other parts of the region, "in recognition of the threat facing the global shark population and in line with the company's sustainability vision".

The move will affect the group's nine hotels, including those in China and Hong Kong, the center of the global shark fin market.

Hong Kong handles between 50% and 80% of the global trade in shark fins, bringing in catches from more than 100 countries, with Spain its biggest supplier. In 2006 it took delivery of more than 10,000 tonnes worth US$276m, according to the UN food and agricultural organisation.

Most is consumed in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also in mainland provinces such as Guangdong, where its consumption has become a status symbol among China's nouveau riche.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns the Peninsula group, said it would honour requests for shark fin soup made before 21 November, for consumption after 1 January.

The dish, which comprises pieces of rehydrated shark fin in a rich broth, is a popular staple at wedding parties and formal banquets, with a serving for 12 people costing around US$138.

In Hong Kong districts such as Sheung Wan, which specialises in dried seafood, premium shark fin can fetch up to US$1,280 per kilo. One Sheung Wan wholesaler recently told the Guardian, however, that the market price had dropped by about 20% in the past two months, partly as a result of the campaign.

About 73 million sharks are killed every year, and the appetite for their fins in places such as Hong Kong has taken one in three shark species to the brink of extinction.

"By removing shark fin from our menus, we hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world's future generations," the Peninsula group's chief executive, Clement Kwok, said in a statement.

"As Asia's oldest hotel company, we also hope that our decision will inspire other hospitality companies to do the same."

Other luxury hotel chains have attempted to reduce shark fin consumption by offering alternative menus for wedding banquets, sometimes with inducements such as a free night's accommodation for the newlyweds.

The push to remove the delicacy – prized more for its glutinous texture than for its taste – has gathered momentum after a slow start, according to World Wildlife Fund, which has seen 97 caterers and hotels sign up to its alternative shark-free menu in the past year.

A 2010 survey of eating habits by Bloom Association, a marine conservation group, found that despite the dish's central place in Cantonese cuisine, attitudes were shifting, particularly among younger people.

According to Bloom, 66% of Hong Kong diners said they were uncomfortable with the idea of eating an endangered species, and more than three-quarters said they would not mind if it was removed from banquet menus.

The Peninsula announcement came as the European commission called for a global ban on shark finning – the practice of cutting off a shark's fin and throwing its body back into the sea – by EU fishermen. EU countries are responsible for about 14% – the second-largest share – of the global shark catch.

Related Articles:

UNESCO Recognizes Saman Dance as Intangible World Heritage

Jakarta Globe, Antara, November 24, 2011

Saman dancers seen here practicing for the recent 19th Association
of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali. (EPA Photo)
Related articles

The Saman dance from Aceh has joined batik and wayang as Indonesian contributions to Unesco’s list of items of intangible world heritage, officials announced at a meeting in Bali on Thursday.

“The Saman dance from Gayo Lues and surrounding areas in Aceh has officially been included in the list of Intangible World Heritage that needs urgent protection from Unesco,” I Gusti Ngurah Putra, a spokesman for the Tourism Ministry, said following the decision by participants at the Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Agung Laksono, the coordinating minister for people’s welfare, said the effort to conserve the dance would not end with its inclusion in the list, stressing that this was just the first step toward nurturing and promoting the dance.

Earlier this week, the government pledged $10 million to promote the traditional dance should it be included on the list.

Mari Elka Pangestu, the tourism minister, said on Tuesday that world recognition of the dance would have far-reaching economic benefits for the country, mainly through increased tourism.

In addition to its value to the tourism industry, formal recognition of the dance could also foster a thriving traditional art industry in Indonesia, she said.

The Saman dance dates back to the 13th century, when it was conceived by Syeh Saman, a Gayo elder, to convey religious messages.

The dance features an odd number of performers, usually young men, sitting or kneeling in a row. They wear traditional costumes with Gayo embroidery depicting natural and moral symbols. A trainer stands in the middle singing songs with messages of development, religion, advice, culture, satire, humor and romance, while the dancers engage in a complex percussion rhythm by clapping various parts of their bodies.

The dance is usually performed to welcome a guest or as a celebration of national or religious holidays.

PSV Eindhoven set to visit Jakarta in January

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 11/24/2011

Dutch soccer club PSV Eindhoven plans to hold two friendly matches against the Indonesian national team and Jakarta Selection team on Jan. 9 and Jan. 12, 2012, at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Senayan, South Jakarta.

Indonesian senior national team coach Wim Rijsbergen is planning to form the national team squad at the end of this month, ahead of the match.

Meanwhile, senior national team captain Bambang Pamungkas will lead the Jakarta Selection team, which will feature Jakarta’s leading players and selected foreign and local players.

PSV Eindhoven has been the champion of the Dutch Eredivisie league 21 times.

Its upcoming visit to Jakarta is the first after 20 years, reported.

Related Article:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dutch Discuss Settlement in Rawagede Massacre

Jakarta Globe, November 23, 2011

Indonesian widow Anti Rukiyah, in her 90’s, visiting the tomb of her
 husband, Saleh Tanuwijaya, at the Rawagede monument of independence
 where victims of a 1947 massacre by Dutch military troops are buried in the
 town of Rawagede, West Java. (AFP Photo)
Related articles

The Hague. Dutch authorities are discussing a possible settlement with families of victims executed by Dutch colonial troops in an Indonesian village in 1947, a foreign affairs spokesman said on Wednesday. 

“The (Dutch) state opened discussions yesterday (Tuesday) with the lawyer representing the relatives to see if a settlement can be reached,” Job Frieszo told AFP. 

In September, a Hague-based court ruled in favour of seven widows and a survivor of the massacre at the village of Rawagedeh east of Jakarta, known today as Balongsari. An eighth widow in the case died earlier. 

The court said the Dutch state was liable for executions during an operation to root out a suspected independence fighter during Indonesia’s war of independence and ordered that the victims’ relatives be compensated, but it did not set down an amount. 

Asked about a possible amount Frieszo said: “No, no, the discussions are still in an early stage.” 

The talks was a result of the court’s decision, he added. 

Although the Dutch government in the past expressed “deep regret” over the conduct of some of its troops in pre-independence Indonesia, it has never formally apologized for any excesses including the massacre at Rawagedeh. 

Dutch authorities say 150 people died in the atrocity while a victims’ association claims 431 lost their lives. 

Indonesia’s former colonial masters, the Dutch colonized the Asian country from the early 17th century. Indonesia gained independence in 1949. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slowly but Surely, Dutch Are Coming to Terms With the Colonial Past

Jakarta Globe, Bastiaan Scherpen, November 21, 2011

The controversial panel on the late 19th-century royal vehicle shows
colonial subjects presenting gifts to their Dutch rulers. (AP Photo)

Related articles

After a brief controversy, a ruthless former governor-general of the Dutch East India Company is back on his pedestal in his Holland birthplace. Literally, that is.

The statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587-1629) in the city of Hoorn, North Holland province, was accidentally hit by a vehicle during construction works in August. Despite calls to use the opportunity to replace the effigy with one of a less controversial figure than the man nicknamed the Butcher of Banda, the Hoorn City Council in late September decided to restore the monument. It was placed back on Oct. 19.

But the dispute over the statue of Coen doesn’t stand alone.

Together with a similar debate about a royal vehicle and a recent lawsuit over a massacre by Dutch soldiers in a West Java village, it shows that 66 years after Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands, the former colonial power is finally, and slowly, coming to terms with the legacy of its often-brutal rule in the archipelago.

Controversial Carriage

Henk Schulte Nordholt, head of research at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), says the Dutch are gradually starting to realize that it cannot erase its colonial past.

“It will be with us in various postcolonial manifestations,” he told the Jakarta Globe in an e-mail exchange, citing migrants, food and memories as examples.

Yet this growing awareness also leads to criticism of long-accepted practices. Dutch lawmakers and rights activists recently called for a panel depicting a controversial scene to be removed from a ceremonial vehicle owned by the royal family.

The controversial panel on the late 19th-century royal
vehicle shows colonial subjects presenting gifts
to their Dutch rulers. (AP Photo)
On the horse-pulled Gouden Koets (Golden Carriage), colonial subjects — including Javanese people — are shown apparently presenting gifts to their Dutch rulers. The vehicle was a gift for then-Queen Wilhelmina by the citizens of Amsterdam in 1898. It is still used every year to transport the Dutch monarch ahead of a speech from the throne.

According to Harry van Bommel from the Socialist Party and Mariko Peters from the Green-Left party, the panel is reminiscent of a “gruesome period in Dutch history.” In September, they urged Queen Beatrix to remove the disputed panel, which is called Hulde der Kolonien ( Tribute of the Colonies).

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is accountable for the royal family’s actions, spoke of the request as “bizarre.”

“Rewriting history by destroying the Golden Carriage, that’s not something I would support,” Rutte, who holds a history degree, told a press conference.

Frans Grijzenhout, a professor of art history from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), said the carriage is a historical artifact that has full right to its integrity.

“It is no use to infringe on that and remove parts from it as a consequence of new insights into the position of the Dutch in the former colonies,” he said. “No matter how valuable these insights may be.”

Rewriting History

Both in Indonesia and in the Netherlands, there is a need for a holistic approach to the colonial past, said another expert, Bambang Purwanto.

“Like it or not, Indonesia and the Netherlands for a long time shared their history. To deny this is tantamount to fooling ourselves,” said Bambang, a history professor from Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University.

Grijzenhout believes it would be a good idea to reconsider the way the colonial past is represented in the Netherlands, citing the Monument Indie-Nederland (Indies-Netherlands Monument) in Amsterdam as a good example.

Unveiled in 1935, that monument was meant to honor Gen. J.B. van Heutsz (1851-1924), a commander of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) and governor-general.

In 2004, the local government decided to change the monument into a memorial for all aspects of Indonesia-Netherlands relations during the colonial period. All references to Van Heutsz, who had gained particular notoriety after brutally countering resistance in Aceh, were removed.

Rawagede Ruling

In another case that highlighted violent aspects of Dutch colonial rule, a court in The Hague in September ordered the Netherlands to pay damages to relatives of victims of the 1947 Rawagede massacre. The landmark ruling was hailed in Indonesia.

By some accounts, over 400 were killed in December 1947, when Dutch soldiers tried to force people in Rawagede to give up the location an Indonesian soldier.

Schulte Nordholt, who is also a professor at Amsterdam’s VU University, thinks it is strange that the Netherlands is still prosecuting former Dutch members of the German-led SS during the Second World War while at the same time trying to “cover up crimes committed in Indonesia.”

“Apart from Rawagede there are the killings by Raymond Westerling in South Sulawesi, with 3,000 victims,” Schulte Nordholt said. “The Dutch government was deeply involved in a cover-up of this case and protected Westerling,” a move described by the historian as “nothing less than a bloody shame.”

Westerling led a vicious counterinsurgency operation in Sulawesi in 1946-47. He was never prosecuted in the Netherlands, nor extradited to Indonesia.

But monetary compensation might not be a cure-all solution.

“What would our reaction be if the children and grandchildren of people murdered in the Bersiap period would take their case to court?” Bambang said, referring to the chaotic early days of the Indonesian Revolution, during which many people of Indo-European descent, and others, were killed. “The same applies to East Timor: don’t think that we are a nation without flaws and sins.”

Bambang said a statement of apology would be preferable to money. “The true lesson from history should be that such crimes against humanity should never happen again,” he added.

Back on a Pedestal

The Netherlands has never formally apologized for cases like Rawagede or other atrocities.

Under Coen’s command, in 1621, thousands of residents of the Banda Islands were massacred in an effort to monopolize the spice trade in the area.

The statue of the Hoorn native was made in 1887 to commemorate his 300th birthday. A month before it was damaged this year, the City Council of Hoorn, after being petitioned to do so by citizens, decided to alter the text accompanying the statue. The information should also reflect the violent side of Coen’s actions in Asia, officials said at the time.

Today, the statue is still accompanied by its old plaque, with a Dutch text providing basic information about the man who founded Batavia, present-day Jakarta.

But Hoorn is working on a more complete text, both in Dutch and in English. In a draft version released last week, Coen is described not only as a “visionary administrator,” but also as the architect of “aggressive policies.”

Bambang, who also holds the Leiden University chair in the history of Dutch-Indonesia relations, believes that replacing the controversial statue would have been a mistake.

“Taking away the statue of Coen would mean to deny the reality of the shared Dutch-Indonesian history,” he said. “History brings not only good things, but also misery, and all of that must be represented.”

The UvA’s Grijzenhout also said Hoorn had made the right call. “It is never a good idea to do away with the past, and much better to comment on it,” he said.

Coming to terms with colonial history clearly is a work in process on both sides of the old fence.

“We look at it from different perspectives,” Schulte Nordholt said. “But in my cooperation with Indonesian colleagues, as we try to define together new common research themes, we increasingly feel that the colonial past is our common history, which should not be marginalized or silenced.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tourism Islands To Get Rp 210t For Development

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana, November 21, 2011

This file photograph was taken on the Pink Beach of Komodo island, home
 of the Komodo dragon, surrounded by hills with green vegetation in the
 Komodo National Park. The government announced it would allocate
Rp 210 trillion ($23.3 billion) toward economic development in eastern Indonesia.
The tourism sector will help drive growth. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Related articles

Denpasar. The government announced it would allocate Rp 210 trillion ($23.3 billion) toward economic development in eastern Indonesia.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, who is also the coordinator of the master plan to accelerate development in the country’s Economic Corridor V (Bali and Nusa Tenggara), said on Sunday in Denpasar that the money would be spent on 136 projects in the area.

The tourism sector, which Mari singled out as a main driver for growth in eastern Indonesia, would receive 28 percent of the investment, she said, mainly through infrastructure projects.

“Investing heavily in infrastructure will allow us to rapidly develop tourism,” Mari said, adding that the government aimed to increase tourist arrivals to 8 million next year from 7.7 million this year.

To ensure it meets the target, the government is looking to attract visitors from countries that have emerged relatively unscathed from the credit crisis including China, India and Australia.

“Apart from Bali, another tourism magnet in the area is East Nusa Tenggara’s Komodo Island,” Mari said.

Komodo National Park’s win in the New7Wonders of Nature global poll could bring an end to widespread poverty in East Nusa Tenggara, said former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who campaigned for Komodo’s bid.

“Growth in tourism in East Nusa Tenggara will lead to increased economic opportunities,” Kalla said at a seminar at the Islamic University of Indonesia in Yogyakarta on Sunday. “Komodo is the key to improving the welfare of the people in the province.

“Uniting all Indonesians is easy as long as there is a clear cause, and what better cause than to create prosperity for an impoverished region.”

Abraham Paul Liyanto, the chairman of the East Nusa Tenggara branch of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), agreed that growth in the region’s tourism industry would expand on the back of infrastructure improvements there.

Abraham added that direct international flights to Labuan Bajo, the main city of Flores island and the closest town to Komodo, would mean tourists coming for a visit would not need to stop over in Jakarta, Bali or Surabaya.

Bicycles demonstrate Indonesia's new spending power

BBC News, By Karishma Vaswani,  Jakarta, 20 November 2011

Indonesians can now afford to spend more money on their expensive hobbies

It's just past dawn on a Monday morning and the streets of Jakarta are still and quiet.

It is a vast contrast to what this city of 12 million is like during the day, when the roads are packed with cars and motorcycles buzz around the streets.

Only the sounds of the call to prayer, wafting through the suburbs and slums of the capital of the world's most populous Muslim nation, breaks the silence.

In Jakarta, there's no time to breathe. The stresses of work and life are felt deeply by some in the country's middle classes.

But some have found novel ways to unwind.

Adrianka, a digital imaging artist who runs his own successful business in Jakarta, is one such person.

A couple of times a week, the 27-year-old and his friends hit the back streets of Jakarta to relax - by going mountain biking.

He works in the advertising industry and is always rushing to meet deadlines. It's an expensive sport - but he thinks its worth it.

"The first I was shopping for bicycles, I thought even spending $500 was too much," he says as he takes a break from the rigorous morning bike ride. "But then I tried my friends bicycles that cost more - and they felt very comfortable."

"So I kept buying more expensive bikes - because the more they cost, the better they are. When my parents heard how much my bicycles cost they said I was crazy. But my work is very demanding - so I need this hobby to let off some steam."

Posh bikes

Foreign bicycles were rarely seen in Jakarta's shops just over a decade ago.

But now the latest models from Europe and the US are becoming increasingly common.

Most of the bicycles on these roads are relatively inexpensive - but some Indonesians willingly pay up to $5,000 for one.

Jimmy Lie started a series of upmarket stores selling branded bicycles a few years ago, because he recognised a growing trend amongst affluent and aspirational Indonesians.

They were taking to the streets on Sundays, to find some way of working out the stresses of daily life and biking was becoming fashionable.

So Mr Lie capitalised on the new expensive tastes of his consumers and is now in the midst of opening another branch in the city.

Mr Lie says Indonesians these days are far more exposed to what's going in the rest of the world, and want to have access to the same standard of goods they see their counterparts enjoy overseas.

"People nowadays, they get a lot of their information from the internet, or from watching the Tour De France," he says in between serving customers in his busy store.

Growing middle class

Just over a decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for an average Indonesian to spend a few thousand dollars on a bike.

Today though Indonesia's middle classes are far more confident about the future.

Indonesia has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the region - up from 80 million five years ago to 130 million now.

That's more than half of this country's 240 million strong population. 

Not all parts of Jakarta are experiencing a boom
in living standards
And that number is expected to grow - by 2020, many think that Indonesia's middle class will be wealthier than many in Asia.

Indonesia's economy has been one that has managed to continue to grow, despite bumps in the global economic environment.

Largely insulated from the troubles overseas because of strong domestic demand, economists say Indonesia will see growth rates stay stable or possibly even rise next year, at a time when many in the region are cutting their growth forecasts.

All this has meant Indonesian consumers are feeling far more confident about their prospects than ever before.

They consistently rank as some of the most optimistic in Asia about their economic future.

And you can see signs of that all over the streets of Jakarta these days - but especially on Sundays.

The local government has made some Sundays in a month a car-free day - an opportunity for Indonesians to get some fresh air after a busy week at their desks.

Indonesia's next generation has the ability and the desire to spend money on what it wants and not necessarily what it needs.

Not so lucky

But while the future may look bright for some Indonesians, for others not much has changed at all.

In the district of Menteng Dalam, just outside one of the poshest areas in Jakarta, life still moves at a much slower pace.

Tiny shacks are packed densely against one another, and people living in them spill out on to the streets.

The strong economic growth that is so visible just a few kilometres away has yet to touch this part of Jakarta.

Sewi, 62, has lived here for the last two decades.

He has owned his tattered, worn out and old fashioned bicycle for just as long. 

Sewi says he prefers to look after things from the past
Even if he wanted to he wouldn't be able to buy a new one - he just doesn't have that kind of money.

"I've always liked old bicycles like this," he says as he tinkers with his rusty old machine.

"I'm not tempted by newer models. The young generation - they like to change their bicycles all the time and throw the old ones away. But I like to look after things from the past. "

Sewi doesn't understand how some young Indonesians are so eager to spend their hard earned cash.

He's from a generation that still remembers the hard times here. Millions like him have yet to taste the benefits of growth.

Indonesia's future generations need to ride the waves of prosperity for this country's economic rise to be considered a true success.