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. …

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Keeping Alive an Ancient Culture

Jakarta Globe, Grace Susetyo, February 28, 2013

Scenes from a Kamoro drum-making ceremony in Jakarta, using blood and
 limestone as an adhesive and a piece of lizard skin as a membrane.
(JG Photo/Grace Susetyo).
Related articles

It was a hot and sunny late morning when I stepped out of the car to hear a manly chorus calling to the vigorous rhythms of bloodied lizard-skin drums. The singing men were standing in rows inside dozens of afloat canoes, dressed in brown skirts made of sago fiber.

Meanwhile, on land, craftsmen put finishing touches to their artwork for auctioneers to fight over. The artwork included ewe (drums), mbitoro (spirit poles), mbikao (ghost suits), arrows and stylized animal figures that looked like they came out of a prehistoric fairy tale.

The roads leading there were rocky and dusty, but this festive atmosphere made the trip worthwhile.

I don’t remember the remote village’s name, nor have I been there recently. Actually these are rather faded childhood memories from the late 1990s when I lived in Mimika, the homeland of Papua’s Kamoro tribe.

“We haven’t had a big festival in the last couple of years,” said Kal Muller, an anthropologist who has been living among the Kamoro for nearly two decades. He explained funding and logistics have both been problems.

So when I had the recent opportunity to attend a Kamoro drum-making ceremony in Jakarta, I felt fortunate to witness this fading ritual. After performing a welcome dance lifting songs of praise to the ancestors, six men gathered to show the beautifully carved ironwood drum-shell and the piece of lizard-skin to be used as the membrane.

Herman Kiripi, aged 35, had his arm tied and finely cut with a new razor blade. Droplets of his blood were contained in a pair of seashells and mixed with crushed limestone to make an adhesive. Human blood is an important ingredient for the drum to the Kamoro as it serves as a device to communicate with their ancestors.

“The drum could only sound right with blood,” Herman said .

“I can’t tell the difference,” quipped Muller, a 74-year-old Hungarian-American who has given his own blood many times for drums like this.

After smearing the adhesive around the drum-shell’s rim, four men pulled the lizard-skin taut, securing it with string. Finally, the finished drum was beaten and the audience applauded enthusiastically.

In recent years, the Kamoro have gained increasing attention for their traditional carving and exotic cultural experiences to quench the adventure traveler’s curiosity. As the ancient culture struggles to survive against the pressures of globalization, well-meaning urbanites try to help by buying their artwork and applauding their shows, packaged in entertaining events and tourist itineraries.

But we sometimes forget that behind what we perceive as this gratifying parade of exoticism, lies the sacred collective memories of the Kamoro ancestors and motherland. Muller is one of few people in the world who has had the privilege and dedication to document this culture, using his books, photography and films. Nevertheless, much of the Kamoro’s stories remain unheard of in Indonesia, let alone abroad .

Ancestral worship is a strong foundation of Kamoro culture.

“We are Catholic Christians, so we attend church on Sunday and pray to Jesus Christ and Mother Mary. We venerate them the similar way that we venerate our ancestors,” said Silfinus Mametapo, a village elder from Hiripau. “But then we go back into the workshop, and we sing Kamoro language songs to praise our ancestors. We pray for wisdom and inspiration and our ancestors’ presence comes upon us as we carve.”

The Kamoro believe that they are descendants of Mapuru, a poor man from Pigapu village. Legend says that the patriarch was caught by a dragon-serpent while out hunting. After some bargaining, the serpent agreed to let Mapuru go on the condition that he refrain from eating a certain type of fish. However, out of poverty and desperation, Mapuru broke his promise and ate the forbidden fish. After that Mapuru disappeared without a trace.

Some Kamoro claim that three days later Mapuru miraculously found himself on top of the Maoke mountains. He spread crushed limestone as he walked around and turned the mountains into copper and gold. “The Kamoro recognized copper and gold ores from antiquity,” Mametapo said. “But before Freeport [mining company] came, we did not know how to process them or what their value was.”

Memories of Mapuru make a common theme in Kamoro carvings, music and rituals. The site where he is believed to have disappeared in East Mimika is now marked with a monument to Mapuru, depicting an old man and his two dogs.

Before Dutch and Moluccan missionaries came to evangelize, the Kamoro was a matrilineal society, with women playing an important role in its culture.

Two important Kamoro matriarchs are Aweya and Miminareya. Legend has it that the sisters and their husbands went for a long fishing trip in the mangroves. They did not have enough time to make it home because Miminareya was heavily pregnant and exhausted, so they anchored their boat midway for the night.

That night, Miminareya died during childbirth and gave her son Miminareyau to Aweya. Aweya then laid Miminareyau to sleep beside her own son Aweyau and overnight they grew into adult men. Aweyau and Miminareyau taught the Kamoro archery, weaponry, nose piercing rituals and other traditional knowledge.

But Aweyau and Miminareyau were not men of morals and often terrorized the villagers, who in revenge plotted to kill the cousins. In defense, Aweyau and Miminareyau weaved zombie suits from plant fibers to scare the villagers and rob them. They named the suits mbikao , literally meaning skin of deceased spirits. As the cousins shed their mbikaos the villagers caught up with them and killed them by the Tipuka River Today, the Kamoro still perform mbikao dances in honor of the patriarchs.

Ancestries determine whether a Kamoro man becomes a sculptor or a boatmaker. When a Kamoro sculptor boy reaches adolescence, he is initiated in a karapau ceremony. The karapau , a special house constructed for this purpose, is built away from the villages and boys undergo a secret initiation. In the karapau, boys are introduced to the sculptures and carve their first mbitoro pole for the spirits of the dead. At the end of the karapau, sago fiber skirts are draped on the boys, a sign of officially entering manhood. The men then head back to the village for a mbitoro erecting ceremony and a celebration of dance and music.

Likewise, boatmaker clans have an initiation ceremony called the kaware . After boatmaker boys don their grass skirts, they release canoes to a nearby body of water and perform musical rowing races.

The rituals of the Kamoro are struggling to survive, according to Muller, the researcher. Decades ago, the Kamoro lived off the land as hunter-gatherers, but today Kamoro children are attending Indonesian schools and the youth are adopting modern lifestyles that require money. Many young adults prefer to work in mining or other growing industries in Mimika, rather than continue their ancestors’ sacred vocations as hunters and carvers.

Muller said he hoped to help preserve the tribe’s traditions by finding markets for Kamoro carvings and promoting eco-tourism in their homeland. With funding from the local mine, Muller’s team mentors young educated Kamoro to carry on as guardians of the tradition, equipped with strategies that make the role profitable for the local community in the 21st century.

When asked about the impact of modernization on the Kamoro, Muller said: “It’s like the saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s up to you to decide whether the positive is stronger or the negative is stronger.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Indonesian Wins Rare Victory Against Noisy Mosque

Jakarta Globe, February 25, 2013

Acehnese Sayed Hasan reads an Islamic book at his house in Banda
Aceh on February 25, 2013. (AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin)  
Related articles

Banda Aceh. An elderly Indonesian said Monday he had won a rare victory against a noisy mosque, despite being forced to withdraw legal action after an angry mob threatened to kill him.

Complaints against the loud speakers issuing the call to prayer have been met with extreme opposition in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation that is home to about 800,000 mosques.

And when Sayed Hasan, 75, filed a lawsuit in December in the city of Banda Aceh, in which he complained of being disturbed by lengthy recordings of Koranic verses, it was met with strong protests from the community.

But Hasan, a Muslim, said despite being taken to see the deputy mayor and Muslim leaders, and then being escorted to the court where he was forced to withdraw his legal suit, he had ultimately won a rare victory.

“I was forced to withdraw my lawsuit as an angry mob threatened to kill me,” he said. “But after I dropped my case, the volume was significantly turned down by about half.”

A local Muslim leader said the imam had decided to reduce the noise.

City dwellers in Indonesia are often woken up before dawn by intermingling calls to prayer from three or four nearby mosques. Many also blare Koranic verses or broadcast day-long events through loudspeakers.

Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 240 million citizens are Muslim. While most practice a moderate form, Aceh province has implemented Sharia law, which is enforced by special Islamic police.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A New Hope for Jakarta's Kota Tua

Jakarta Globe, Lenny Tristia Tambun, February 24, 2013

Building facades in Kota Tua, the historic old city that straddles North
and West Jakarta. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)
Related articles

Batavia was once revered as the “Queen of the East.” But this old dame is showing her age.

Jakarta’s old town center, known as Kota Tua, is now a crumbling relic. Many of its heritage buildings are in a critical state of disrepair, some sprouting treetops through their broken roofs, evidence of years of neglect.

A legacy of colonial rule, the old town has been left behind in the new Indonesia. But support is growing for Kota Tua to be revitalized to serve as a tourist attraction and public space to be enjoyed by all.

Last week, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo announced a new master plan to transform the area into a cultural tourism center. His administration pledged Rp 150 billion ($15.5 million) in 2014 to implement the changes. The Dutch government has also expressed its support of the new plan.

“We are ready to spend a budget of Rp 150 billion to fix this area and make it better. If that is not enough, I will add to the budget,” said Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, Joko’s deputy.

The focus of Joko and Basuki’s plan is to establish a creative public zone, with spaces provided for creative industries such as fashion, food and handicrafts to flourish. At the same time, the pair aims to give the neighborhood a more exclusive feel, by attracting investment from high-end hotels, restaurants and galleries.

Vision for the future

The master plan for Kota Tua aims to return cleanliness, security and order to an area of the city notorious for criminal activity and seedy nightlife.

Basuki said it is this negative image that has scared off investors in hospitality and tourism.

“Kota Tua is too valuable. If it is left to waste away, there will be no community to look after it,” he said. “Even business owners won’t want to invest there because it’s too dirty.”

Basuki and Joko plan to sit down with spatial planning stakeholders and develop an action plan to be implemented starting in 2014.

For 2013, the budget remains at only Rp 12 billion, but with more than 10 times that much in 2014, the administration believes it can make a real change to the area, transforming it into a tourism hub.

In the meantime, the city administration plans to work together with the West Jakarta government to clean up the area from waste left behind by food vendors. There are also plans to improve the condition of Kali Besar, the canal that runs through Kota Tua, with sights on developing water attractions.

Joko aims to replicate his success in Solo as mayor by creating special zones for small traders to operate in.

The food vendors now trading in Taman Fatahillah by night will be allocated 260 places in four distinct trading clusters.

The first cluster will be dedicated to cooked food, and will be located in front of the old post office building. The second cluster will be parked at the other end of the square, near the popular Cafe Batavia, and will be set aside for vendors selling non-food items such as clothes, goods and accessories. Snacks will make up another cluster, while pre-made food and drinks will be sold near the canal.

Traders will be charged Rp 3,000 to Rp 5,000 per day. In return, they will receive a trading spot, equipment and uniforms.

Gathut Dwi Hastoro, the head of the Kota Tua Management Unit, lauded Joko and Basuki’s efforts to restore the historic area. His hope is that the plans for the changes can be consolidated in the coming year, ready to be executed in 2014.

“The biggest share of funds will go to fixing the area around Kali Besar. That area is the most important,” Gathut said. “Those funds can be used to create comfortable sidewalks, bicycle lanes, lighting, sanitation and greenery.”

Challenges past and present

Joko and Basuki are not the first leaders of Jakarta to come up with a master plan for Kota Tua.

Jakarta first began to focus on restoring its urban heritage in the 1970s. At that time, the old Town Hall in Kota Tua’s town square, Taman Fatahillah, was restored to become the Jakarta History Museum. Managing to both preserve the historical building and find a modern usage for it, the restoration work at the time was considered a triumph of town planning.

But in the decades that followed, several plans to revitalize the entire area failed to get up and running as they were tripped up by a tangle of red tape.

Of the 182 heritage buildings in Kota Tua, about 70 percent are privately owned.

The Jakarta government owns 18 percent, while the central government owns 12 percent, including the post office building and Beos station.

State-owned enterprises in 2009 were responsible for 23 unused buildings, among them Indonesian trading company Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia with 16 buildings, Bank Mandiri with three buildings, insurance firm Asuransi Jasa Indonesia with two buildings, as well as pharmacology group Kimia Farma and insurance firm Asuransi Jasa Raharja with one building each.

Despite laws stating that owners can be fined Rp 50 million to Rp 5 billion for neglecting their caretaker duties, few have braved the bureaucratic hurdles to obtain permits to restore the buildings.

During his term from 2007 to 2012, Governor Fauzi Bowo managed to install lighting to highlight key attractions in Kota Tua and draw visitors at night. About 2,041 lights were installed around Kota Tua, including at the Jakarta History Museum, the Wayang Museum, the Ceramics Museum, the Beos station and in pedestrian areas.

A total of about Rp 39.7 billion was spent on constructing a pedestrian tunnel at Beos station to connect it to the Kota TransJakarta busway shelter and the Bank Mandiri Museum. The tunnel was also equipped with toilets, air conditioners and small parks.

At the same time, the West Jakarta government established a night food market that aimed to preserve the area’s history while providing an income for the surrounding community.

One plan that went unfinished after the handover to Joko and Basuki was the creation of bicycle lanes, due to begin in October last year.

Robert Tambunan, chairman of the Jakarta Heritage Trust and manager of PPI trading company, hailed the new master plan for the area, saying that the biggest obstacle would be restoring the old buildings.

He asked for a one-stop service to be provided to ease the bureaucratic process of renovating the historic buildings.

With the buildings restored, he said, Kota Tua will spring to life once more.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Papua Needs Improved Welfare, Not Extra Soldiers, Yudhoyono Declares

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Ezra Sihite, February 23, 2013

Soldiers unload the dead body of their colleague from a helicopter shortly after its
arrival at Sentani airport, in Papua province February 22, 2013. (Reuters Photo/
Ismawan Nugraha)
Related articles

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the national government will use a welfare-based approach rather than a military one to keep the peace in Papua after a deadly series of shootings on Thursday left eight soldiers dead.

At a limited cabinet meeting on Friday, the president declared that the government would continue to seek to improve the living standards of Papuans and would not intensify security arrangements in the restive provinces.

“The [security] status in Papua has not been raised, however the law still has to be enforced in any part of the Indonesian islands,” Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said in a press conference at the presidential palace on Friday.

The government declined to raise the number of officers in Papua but said it was prepared to send additional weapons, if needed, to hunt down the armed group.

“Bear in mind that we have a clear and firm stance on any party who is trying to disrupt public security or refuses to acknowledge the sovereignty of the unitary state of Indonesia in Papua,” Djoko said.

He said he suspected that Thursday’s shootings in Sinak were related to regional elections for which the results will be announced today, and the shootings in Tingginambut were sparked by the opening of new military posts, which made separatists feel uncomfortable.

“Indonesia and the world need to know that the military and police officers were carrying out their job to protect the sovereignty and security [of Indonesia] as well as to protect the people,” Yudhoyono said on Friday.

Former Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra said the state had proven itself unable to resolve conflict in Papua.

Yusril called on the government to remain calm in seeking to ease tensions in Papua. “The approach should be effective to prevent the situation from getting worse,” he said.

The former minister added that unrest in Papua was similar to that in many other parts of the world, in that it stemmed from dissatisfaction with living conditions.

“No matter what, the integration between Papua and Indonesia is part of history and it has happened. It’s been acknowledged internationally,” he said.

West Papua Regional Legislative Council deputy chairman Jimmy Demianus Ijie said that many Papuans felt they had not benefited from Indonesia’s independence and called for an empathy from the national government.

“We’ve never enjoyed Indonesia’s independence. What we have is only blood and tears,” Jimmy said in Jakarta on Friday, adding that his people were frustrated at the lack of delivery on regular promises of improvements by the government.

Jimmy called on the government to build a dialogue with the Papuan people and not take a heavy-handed approach to security.

“Let’s talk about our unity. Why is the government afraid of opening a dialogue with Papua? Today, there are many military personnel in plain clothes in Papua, as if a big war is happening here,” he said.

He added that Papuan people love Indonesia but want to be freed from poverty and want to look after the interests of their children and grandchildren.

Indonesia officially annexed Papua in 1969 with a UN-backed vote, seen by many as a sham, and tensions have persisted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Indonesia to Host Islam-Christianity Conference

Jakarta Globe, February 20, 2013

Related articles

Indonesia will host a conference of Asian Muslim and Christian leaders from Feb. 26 to March 1, a report said on Wednesday.

Under the theme “Bringing a Common Word to Common Action for Justice,” the religious conference will be jointly held by the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS), the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) and the Indonesian Church Association (PGI), at the Acacia Hotel in Central Jakarta.

The conference is also supported by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference and the Christian Conference of Asia.

“This forum is hoped to be able to strengthen the personal relations between Muslim and Christian leaders so that they can be open to each other and be able to conduct joint actions to overcome problems of justice and socioeconomic conflicts,” ICIS secretary general Hasyim Muzadi was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Hasyim said the conference would also be used to address the cases of intolerance that have afflicted Indonesia in recent times.

“There are cases of intolerance, but these are not thoughts of intolerance and we will explain this,” Hasyim said.

He said the trigger behind cases of intolerance in Indonesia were most often not religious fanaticism but instead other socioeconomic and political factors.

PGI secretary general Reverend Gomar Gultom was also quoted by Antara as saying that in many cases, religion was used to hide other interests, including local political considerations.

He said he hoped the conference could explore the role of religion in battling corruption, human trafficking and environmental problems.

“It is hoped that a declaration such as that of the Asia-Africa conference, but from religious leaders on how … new hope for civility in Asia can be produced,” said Benny Susetyo, the secretary general of KWI.

The conference will involve some 150 participants from 20 countries and will be opened by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali.

Among the speakers are leading religious thinkers such as India’s Asghar Ali Engineer, Archbishop Ferdinand Capalla from the Philippines, Archbishop Felix Machado from Hong Kong, Muhammadiyah leader Din Syamsuddin, and Indonesian academics Komaruddin Hidayat and Azyumardi Azra.

Former Vice President Jusuf Kalla is also scheduled to address the conference.

“The delegations will also visit groups active in handling migrant workers’ issues as well as those dealing with the environment, legal affairs and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK],” said Nashihin Hasan, the head of the organizing committee.

Related Articles:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“ … Spirituality (Religions)

Number one: Spirituality. The systems of spiritual design on your planet are starting to change. This is not telling you that certain ones are going to go away. They're simply going to change. Some of the largest spiritual systems, which you would call organized religion on the planet, are shifting. They're going to shift away from that which is authority on the outside to authority on the inside. It will eventually be a different way of worship, slowly changing the rules while keeping the basic doctrine the same.

The doctrine of the Christ has always been to find the God inside. The teachings were clear. The examples of the miracles were given as an example of what humans could do, not to set a man up for worship as a God. So when that has been absorbed, the teaching of the Christ can remain the teaching of the Christ. It simply changes the interpretation. 

The teachings of the great prophets of the Middle East (all related to each other) are about unity and love. So once the holy words are redefined with new wisdom, the Human changes, not the words of the prophets. In fact, the prophets become even more divinely inspired and their wisdom becomes even more profound.

You're going to lose a pope soon. I have no clock. Soon to us can mean anything to you. The one who replaces him may surprise you, for his particular organization will be in survival mode at that point in time. That is to say that fewer and fewer are interested in starting the priesthood. Fewer and fewer young people are interested in the organization, and the new pope must make changes to keep his church alive. That means that his organization will remain, but with a more modern look at what truly is before all of you in a new energy. It is not the fall of the church. It is instead the recalibration of the divinity inside that would match the worship that goes on. It's a win-win situation. The new pope will have a difficult time, since the old guard will still be there. There could even be an assassination attempt, such is the way the old energy dies hard. That is number one. Watch for it. It's a change in the way spiritual systems work. It's a realignment of spiritual systems that resound to a stronger truth that is Human driven, rather than prophet driven.…”

'First' home for transgender elderly

Google – AFP, Kevin Ponniah (AFP), 20 February 2013 

Yulianus Rettoblaut, better known as Mami Yuli, holds a meeting in her
house on January 29, 2013 in the Jakarta suburbs (AFP, Romeo Gacad)

JAKARTA — A dozen elderly women are gathered inside the pink house, set on a narrow dirt road in a dusty suburb of Jakarta. Together they sew, bake and chat.

On first sight they look like a group of benevolent grandmothers, but the sunken cheeks and deep lines on some of their faces tell stories of hardship.

All of these women are "waria", a term used for Indonesian transgender people, and the house in the country's capital has been hailed by activists as the first old person's home for that gender community.

Yoti Oktosea, a 70-year-old Indonesian
 transgender and former sex worker,
 poses for a photograph on January 29, 
2013 (AFP, Romeo Gacad)
The word waria combines the Indonesian for woman (wanita) and the word for man (pria).

It is used to describe a range of gender identities, though it particularly refers to men who feel they are women and is applied regardless of whether they have undergone gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.

A home for elderly waria is an unexpected sight but perhaps also typical of the many contradictions in a nation where, until two years ago, the official government line on transgender people was that they were mentally ill.

As part of new moves towards acceptance, the government will in March begin supporting the home, which officially opened in November, with a basic nutrition programme while offering business seed money to 200 transgender residents in the city.

However, most of the funds needed to support the home will continue to come from its founder, Yulianus Rettoblaut, a waria and prominent activist better-known as Mami Yuli, who turned her own house into the shelter last year.

"We are focusing on elderly waria because NGOs usually focus on young ones," the 51-year-old told AFP.

She was inspired to take action after seeing many of her fellow ageing waria on the streets, ill, unemployed and forced to live in squalid conditions.

In this photograph taken January 29, 
2013, a group of Indonesian transgenders
 listen to a prominent activist (AFP,
Romeo Gacad)
While a few waria have found domestic celebrity as talk show hosts or emcees, most across Southeast Asia's biggest nation of 240 million people are cast out by relatives who would otherwise be responsible for the care of their elderly family members.

"Life for them is very difficult and many live under the poverty line. They often have no choice but to sleep under bridges," Mami Yuli said.

While the home is grossly underfunded, she tries to offer three daily meals to residents who learn sewing, baking and hairdressing if they are jobless.

Conditions are far from ideal -- the 12 waria who live there sleep on old mattresses crammed into one bedroom at the top of steep, narrow stairs.

When Mami Yuli fails to raise the 350,000 rupiah ($36) a day needed to run the house, she organises street performances where the residents of the home sing and dance. Despite their age they are expected to work to make a living if they can.

A devout Catholic, Mami Yuli says that 70 churches in Jakarta support the home, offering shelter during floods. Only four donate money.

Despite the huge challenges, she hopes to one day be able to accommodate all 800 of Jakarta's elderly waria and expand her home into the vacant lot next door, if she can raise enough money or secure state support.

An estimated 35,000 Indonesians are transgender, the Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health reports, but activists suspect the figure is much higher.

Despite being considered sacred by some Indonesian ethnic groups, waria largely remain a target of harassment and intimidation, although there are signs of increasing acceptance.

Discrimination forces many into sex work, fuelling an increase in HIV rates from six to 34 percent between 1997 and 2007 among transgenders in Jakarta, according to Health Ministry data.

Indonesian transgender prostitutes take 
their spots in a dimly lit section of a 
Jakarta street on January 29, 2013
(AFP, Romeo Gacad)
Prostitution is illegal in Indonesia and the country's Islamic clerics say it is "haram" (forbidden).
But the industry thrives in Indonesia's karaoke bars and darker street corners where waria can be found holding up dresses up to show off breasts grown with hormones from birth control pills or silicone injections.

Some also reveal their gender reassignment, though few waria can afford to go down this path. The surgery has been available since the 1970s but not under the public health system.

At 70 years old, Yoti Oktosea is a male-to-female transgender and one of Mami Yuli's current residents.

Dressed down in knee-length shorts and a baggy T-shirt, she's given up putting on make-up and curling her eyelashes, but proudly shows a photo of herself as a young woman.

In those days she was in demand as a sex worker, she says.

"But things are much saggier now!" she laughs.

Smartly-dressed Mami Yuli also worked as a prostitute for 17 years but managed to turn her life around, becoming the first "out" waria to get a law degree from an Islamic university, at the age of 46.

The hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) are the waria's most vocal foe, using violence and intimidation to shut down several transgender events which they say "threaten Indonesia's Islamic values", including the Miss Waria pageant in December.

"We had the pageant shut down and we're willing to shut down other waria gatherings again," FPI Jakarta chief Habib Salim Alatas said.

But signs are growing that the future might be a little brighter for this marginalised community.

In 2008 the first Islamic school specifically for transgender people to pray and study the Koran opened in 2008 in Yogyakarta. The establishment of Mami Yuli's home for the elderly is seen as another victory.

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Nepal introduces transgender category on ID cards

"The Akashic System" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of GodBenevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  - (Text version)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Indonesian Photographer Among Winners of World Press Photo Awards

Jakarta Globe, February 15, 2013

Jakarta Globe photographer Ali Lutfi wins second prize in the Nature category
 of the 56th World Press Photo Contest, the winners of which were announced
 on Friday. The photo, titled ‘Mimin,’ shows a monkey named Mimin wearing
 a mask made from a doll’s head. Mimin is among monkeys trained to entertain
 motorists at busy intersections in the Central Java town of Solo. (JG Photo/
Ali Lutfi)            
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A Jakarta Globe contributor, photographer Ali Lutfi, is one of 54 winners of the 56th World Press Photo Contest, the organizers announced on their website on Friday.

Ali, a photographer based in Solo, Central Java, won second prize singles in the Nature category for his picture entitled “Mimin.”

The picture, taken in Solo on Dec. 5, 2012, depicts Mimin, a trained performing monkey, wearing a mask as part of its routine to entertain motorists at busy intersections in the Central Java city.

The international jury selected a picture by Paul Hansen from Sweden as the World Press Photo of the Year 2012.

Hansen’s “Gaza Burial” shows a crowd on its way to a mosque for the burial of two infants killed in an Israeli missile strike. Two men at the head of the crowd carry their bodies, with the children’s father trailing behind, after their house was destroyed by the missile in Gaza City in November last year.

The photo contest featured nine categories, namely General News, Spot News, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Observed People Portraits, Staged People Portraits, Nature, Sports Action and Sports Features.

The 54 winners were selected from more than 100,000 images submitted for the contest by 5,666 photographers from 124 nationalities, the organizers said.

The awards will be presented in Amsterdam in a ceremony on April 21.

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Dutch Foreign Minister to Visit Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, February 15, 2013

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 Frans Timmermans
Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans will pay a visit to Jakarta next week to further strengthen the two nations’ already close bilateral cooperation, the Dutch Embassy here said on Friday.

During the two-day visit on Feb. 20-21, Timmermans is scheduled to meet with his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, the embassy said in an official statement.

“The meeting will focus on international developments and will seek to identify areas where the already strong and diverse bilateral cooperation between the two countries can be strengthened further,” the statement said.

Timmermans will also call on Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, to discuss issues related to water management and cultural heritage.

Indonesia and the Netherlands enjoy a special relationship. The Netherlands was for centuries Indonesia's colonial master until the country gained independence in 1945.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two hurt in attack by komodo dragon in Indonesia

BBC News, 6 February 2013

Komodo dragons normally feed on large mammals, smaller reptiles
and birds

Related Stories 

Two men have been injured in an attack by a komodo dragon in a wildlife part in eastern Indonesia, park officials say.

The 2m (7ft) long lizard attacked a park ranger in his office, then turned on another employee who tried to come to his aid.

Both suffered serious leg wounds and were being monitored in hospital.

Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizards, growing up to 3m long, with razor-sharp teeth and a poisonous bite.

The dragons' jaws contain highly poisonous glands that can cause paralysis.

The reptiles are unique to a small group of islands in eastern Indonesia.

They live on a diet of mainly large mammals, smaller reptiles and birds, but have been known to attack humans.

The animals are endangered in the wild and protected by international law - fewer than 4,000 are believed to be alive.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Indonesia lecturers study realistic Math in Netherlands

Antara News, Sat, February 2 2013

Utrecht in Netherlands (ANTARA/Jafar)

Related News

Delft, the Netherlands (ANTARA News) - Ten Indonesian lecturers are studying realistic mathematics education in Freudenthal Institute of Utrecht University, the Netherlands through a joint program of Director General of Higher Education (Dikti) and the Dutch institution, Nuffic Neso Indonesia.

The educational activity is International Master Program on Mathematics Education (IMPoME) which started in 2009, the Director of Nuffic Neso Indonesia, Mervin Bakker said in a press release received by ANTARA here Saturday.

"So far IMPoME has produced 22 master degree in realistic mathematics education or RME," he said.

Realistic mathematics education is a teaching and learning of mathematics education which was first introduced Professor Freudenthal, and developed by Freudenthal Institution in the Netherlands.

The education makes math close to children and connecting mathematics with everyday activites. In addition, realistic mathematical idea emphasizes mathematics as a part of life, where students can engage in the same process as when a mathematical concept was first discovered by experts.

Realistic mathematics education master program for teachers is conducted through StuNed (Studeren in Nederland) scholarship program, Mervin said.

According to Mervin, realistic mathematics education in Indonesia has been implemented since 2001 through a pilot project in twelve elementary schools, and today has grown in hundreds of schools from Aceh to Ambon involving 20 teachers.

Freudenthal Institute of Utrecht University is a leading university in the Netherlands, and is one of the top 100 universities in the world.

"Hence, we convince the quality of higher education programs and its graduates will benefit to the development of mathematics education in Indonesia," Mervin said.

The human resources director of Dikti, Supriadi Rustad said the cooperation of mathematics education program involved Sriwijaya University (UNSRI), Palembang and Surabaya State University (UNESA).        

The two universities arrange the candidate selection process, as well as carrying out training to increase the English proficiency before departure to the Netherlands.

"The collaboration with the University of Uthrecht aims to improve the capacity of Indonesian lecturers towards a world-class university," Supriadi said, adding that currently Dikti is preparing a pre double degree for a year and double degree for 2 years, not only at mathematical education, but also covers other sciences.   

Nuffic Neso Indonesia is an agency appointed by the Netherlands government to handle international cooperation in the field of higher education, as well as to manage StuNed (Studeren in Nederland-Study in the Netherlands) scholarship program.

Every year StuNed program sends more than 200 Indonesian students to study in the Netherlands through master, short courses and tailor made training programs.

Editor: Jafar M Sidik