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. …

Friday, May 31, 2013

Yudhoyono Receives World Statesman Award in New York

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, May 31, 2013

An Indonesian shi’ite woman (1st L) is comforted by a Batak Christian congregation
 member (L-white) as they reveal photos depicting persecutions during a protest held by
 Solidarity for Victims of Freedom of Religion, Worship and Faith (Sobat KBB) against
 “the World Statesman” award for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, outside
the presidential palace in Jakarta on May 26, 2013. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received in New York on Thursday evening the World Statesman Award from a US interfaith organization for his role in promoting religious tolerance and freedom of worship in Indonesia.

Yudhoyono said building a tolerant society is a matter of good statecraft.

“And this is something that no leader can do alone. This is something that requires the collective work of a large pool of leaders, of all persuasion, and in all fields doing their statecraft to lead and inspire those who follow them,” he said in his speech, a copy of which was sent to the Jakarta Globe.

The president has been widely criticized by human rights organization over his decision to receive the award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, citing cases of religious intolerance in Indonesia, such as the shuttering of the GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia churches and the attacks on Ahmadiyah members and their mosques.

Philosophy lecturer and interfaith activist Franz Magnis Suseno sent a letter to the foundation objecting to the award. He said that Yudhoyono did not do anything significant to protect the Ahmadiyah and Shia communities, who were considered heretics by conservative Islamic groups.

“This is a shame, a shame for you. It discredits any claim you might make as an institution with moral intentions,” Franz wrote in his letter. “How can you take such a decision without asking concerned people in Indonesia? Hopefully you have not made this decision in response to prodding by people from our government or the entourage of the president.”

The son of Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama figure Imam Shofwan even made an online petition called “No Award to SBY,” calling for the foundation not to give the award.

“I grew up in a Nahdatul Ulama family, and I agree with what Prof. Magnis said. I believe that a crime committed in the name of religion is a crime against religion. Ironically, this happens to be ACF’s credo.”

In his speech, Yudhoyono said that “maintaining peace, order, and harmony is something that can never be taken for granted.”

“We are still facing a number of problems on the ground.  Pockets of intolerance persist.  Communal conflicts occasionally flare up. Religious sensitivities sometimes give rise to disputes, with groups taking matters into their own hands.  Radicalism still exists on the fringe,” he said.

“This, I believe, is a problem that is not exclusive to Indonesia alone, and may in fact be a global phenomenon.”

He said the Indonesian government would use several approaches to solve the problem, and that the government “would not tolerate any act of senseless violence committed by any group in the name of the religion.”

“We will not allow any desecration of places of worship of any religion for whatever reason. We will always protect our minorities and ensure that no one suffers from discrimination. We will make sure that those who violate the rights of others will face the arms of justice,” he said.

Yudhoyono added that people might be surprised to know that there are actually 61,000 churches in Indonesia, which he said was probably more than the number of churches in Great Britain and Germany.

Eva Kusuma Sundari, a lawmaker from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said she was disappointed that the president insisted on receiving the award.

“I’m sad over the president’s decision to still receive the award, which was not accountably given as from the start the process was full of controversy,” Eva said on Friday.

Eva claimed that the award was given after one of Yudhoyono’s former ministers lobbied the foundation.

“I heard that Indonesian embassy staff were busy as they had to be the sales people of the event, which did not receive a positive response from buyers,” Eva said. “This is our concern because the award ceremony was not an interesting show.”

Information from the foundation shows that the tickets to the dinner event were priced at $1,0oo for individuals while corporate sponsorships go from $10,000 to $100,000 per table.

President Yudhoyono received the World Statement Award presented by Rabbi Arthur Scheneier at an event which was also attended by former US state secretary Henry Kissinger, Antara news agency reported.

Also present on the occasion were First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, and Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patty Djalal.

President Yudhoyono receives the World Statesman Award by Rabbi
Schneier. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz).

Related Articles:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/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) 

… Spiritual Systems

Let's speak about spiritual systems. I will report on what we have said in the past and what may very well be in store for you in the future. There are many spiritual systems on the planet, but the one that we wish to speak of is the one right now that has approximately one billion followers, for this is one we have spoken of before and it's the one that's going to change the most. It's old, and the leader is currently called the Pope.

Now, if you want some information about what's going on in his church, find out how many are signing up to be priests and nuns. In most parts of the world, it's very few. Certain countries have sustained the numbers, but most of them are finding the numbers reduced greatly. Without interest from younger people, this whole spiritual breed is dying. The organization is losing its younger leader pool, and it has been noticed by the church.

Now, here's what I'd like to tell you, dear ones: The potentials are that this church is going to survive, as well it should. Know this: There is nothing occurring now that will create a full earth that will be metaphysical, esoterically minded or New Age. That is not going to happen. It doesn't have to happen and it shouldn't happen, for it doesn't respect the elders of those who have different systems, but who also have healings and the love of God in their systems. Instead, these systems are going to see themselves recalibrate - that is, adjust and correct.

Blessed are the Human Beings who find God in their own way. Old souls will awaken to a truth that new souls are still working on. This explains the various levels of worship on this planet and the reason for very diverse spiritual systems. Many Human Beings who do not have the advantage of your old soul wisdom will motivate towards systems you may feel are too simple, and even mythological. But these systems are often the beginnings of understanding God. There is a place for it all. So let us speak about the Catholic Church.

I gave you a channelling years ago when Pope John Paul was alive. John Paul loved Mary, the mother. Had John Paul survived another 10 years, he would have done what the next Pope [The one after the current one, Benedict XVI] will do, and that is to bring women into the Church. This Pope you have now [Benedict XVI] won't be here long.* The next Pope will be the one who has to change the rules, should he survive. If he doesn't, it will be the one after that.

There it a large struggle within the Church, even right now, and great dissention, for it knows that it is not giving what humanity wants. The doctrine is not current to the puzzles of life. The answer will be to create a better balance between the feminine and masculine, and the new Pope, or the one after that, will try to allow women to be in the higher echelon of the Church structure to assist the priests.

It will be suggested to let women participate in services, doing things women did not do before. This graduates them within church law to an equality with priests, but doesn't actually let them become priests just yet. However, don't be surprised if this begins in another way, and instead gives priests the ability to marry. This will bring the feminine into the church in other ways. It will eventually happen and has to happen. If it does not, it will be the end of the Catholic Church, for humanity will not sustain a spiritual belief system that is out of balance with the love of God and also out of balance with intuitive Human awareness.

New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones. ...."

"... Conclusion

This is the message of the day. The recalibration of awareness is going to change systems, education, government and finance. Those who don't choose to be spiritual at all will still move with a new awareness, for they will be aware of something that they are not aware of now - a softer way of living.

We close with a trite statement that we've given before, but that many have stated in jest: "If women ran the world, they would never send their sons to be killed on a battlefield."

Many laugh. How trite, how simple minded. Indeed, there have been women leaders who have put wars together; they had to. They sent their sons, so that's not really a correct statement. However, it's more right than you may think, dear ones.

So now I will make the statement I have made over and over in these recalibrated channellings: "When recalibrated Humans run the world, there will come a day when they will never send their sons into the battlefield." You see, awareness will change all of that. They will eventually see the wisdom of unification, new ways to settle issues, and the intuitive attribute of putting things together instead of tearing them apart.

There will be a time when government armies will not need to be large, and weapons will not be as powerful. Slowly, government won't need them. Slowly, slower than you want, these things will happen as the old soul carries his light and looks at the masters of the planet and emulates them.

You've all heard it: There will come a time when the masters will come back to Earth, and there are many who are waiting for this. However, it has already happened! They couldn't come back until the alignment was right and now it is right. This is what you are feeling in 2012 and beyond. It's starting to happen, and they're back. But they're not back as corporeal Human Beings. They're back as the energy of recalibrating of the awareness of God.

I wouldn't say these things unless they were true. Watch for these things, dear ones. Remember where you heard them first and when some of them start to occur in your news. And when you see the earth working in this fashion, dear one, maybe you'll realize that what I have given today is real.

Be circumspect. There is no perfect timing. Humans will create all this at their own pace. Do not be in fear of the things that might follow, for I say it yet again that the old energy will show itself soon in survival mode and it won't be pretty.

In this beginning of new energy, stand tall and turn on your light. Darkness will shirk before you. That is the truth of the day. ...”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Central Kalimantan Forests Prepare for Ecotourism

Jakarta Globe, Ari Rikin, May 28, 2013

This photograph taken on June 5, 2012 shows villagers travelling on a small
 boat to tend farms in a forest clearing in Central Kalimantan, home to the world’s
third-largest area of tropical forests. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

The Central Kalimantan government is preparing the Tanjung Puting and Sabangau National Park as an ecotourism destination with support from sustainability group Rimbawan Bangun Lestari.

Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang said the province is home to a vast natural resources, specifically forests.

He added that 30 years ago, Central Kalimantan was among the most resourceful provinces in terms of its forestry industry. But government policies in the years that followed led to logging being conducted across its forests.

“Logging was conducted under government policies. In the process, reforestation efforts also occurred but failed to match the logging. Today, natural resources remain abundant. This, to us, is valuable,” he said during the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Central Kalimantan government and Rimbawan Bangun Lestari on Monday.

Agustin said that 82 percent of Central Kalimantan consists of forests, with a total area of 15.4 million hectares. He said he hoped that plans to develop the forests as a tourism destination would include conservation efforts.

“Activities that support the development phase of ecotourism were conducted prior to the signing of this agreement, including the protection of endemic flora and fauna, such as the orangutan,” he said.

Central Kalimantan’s forest area comprise 1.6 million hectares of nature sanctuary areas and nature preservation areas, and 11.1 million hectares of protected forest, limited production forest and convertible production forest.

David Makes, chairman of the Sustainable Management Group, a private-sector conservation organization, said forest resources, especially those outside the nature sanctuary and preservation areas, were prone to disruptions, both natural and man-made.

“Without careful and clever development and utilization, the result may end up damaging and thus threatening the existing natural sanctuary and preservation areas,” he said.

Monday, May 27, 2013

'The Sumatran rainforest will mostly disappear within 20 years'

In only a few years, logging and agribusiness have cut Indonesia's vast rainforest by half. The government has renewed a moratorium on deforestation but it may already be too late for the endangered animals –and for the people whose lives lie in ruin

The Guardian, John Vidal, The Observer, Sunday 26 May 2013

Our small plane had been flying low over Sumatra for three hours but all we had seen was an industrial landscape of palm and acacia trees stretching 30 miles in every direction. A haze of blue smoke from newly cleared land drifted eastward over giant plantations. Long drainage canals dug through equatorial swamps dissected the land. The only sign of life was excavators loading trees onto barges to take to pulp mills.

The end is in sight for the great forests of Sumatra and Borneo and the animals and people who depend on them. Thirty years ago the world's third- and sixth-largest islands were full of tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutan and exotic birds and plants but in a frenzy of development they have been trashed in a single generation by global agribusiness and pulp and paper industries.

Their plantations supply Britain and the world with toilet paper, biofuels and vegetable oil to make everyday foods such as margarine, cream cheese and chocolate, but distraught scientists and environmental groups this week warn that one of the 21st century's greatest ecological disasters is rapidly unfolding.

Official figures show more than half of Indonesia's rainforest, the third-largest swath in the world, has been felled in a few years and permission has been granted to convert up to 70% of what remains into palm or acacia plantations. The government last week renewed a moratorium on the felling of rainforest, but nearly a million hectares are still being cut each year and the last pristine areas, in provinces such as Ache and Papua, are now prime targets for giant logging, palm and mining companies.

The toll on wildlife across an area nearly the size of Europe is vast, say scientists who warn that many of Indonesia's species could be extinct in the wild within 20-30 years. Orangutan numbers are in precipitous decline, only 250-400 tigers remain and fewer than 100 rhino are left in the forests, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Millions of hectares are nominally protected, but the forest is fragmented, national parks are surrounded by plantations, illegal loggers work with impunity and corruption is rife in government. "This is the fastest, most comprehensive transformation of an entire landscape that has ever taken place anywhere in the world including the Amazon. If it continues at this rate all that will be left in 20 years is a few fragmented areas of natural forest surrounded by huge manmade plantations. There will be increased floods, fires and droughts but no animals," said Yuyun Indradi, political forest campaigner with Greenpeace southeast Asia in Jakarta.

Last night the WWF's chief Asian tiger expert pleaded with the Indonesian government and the world to stop the growth of palm oil plantations. "Forest conversion is massive. We urgently need stronger commitment from the government and massive support from the people. We cannot tolerate any further conversion of natural forests," said Sunarto Sunarto in Jakarta.

Indonesia's deforestation has been accompanied by rising violence, say watchdog groups. Last year, more than 600 major land conflicts were recorded in the palm plantations. Many turned violent as communities that had lost their traditional forest fought multinational companies and security forces. More than 5,000 human rights abuses were recorded, with 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

"The legacy of deforestation has been conflict, increased poverty, migration to the cities and the erosion of habitat for animals. As the forests come down, social conflicts are exploding everywhere," said Abetnego Tarigan, director of Walhi, Indonesia's largest environment group.

Scientists fear that the end of the forest could come quickly. Conflict-wracked Aceh, which bore the brunt of the tsunami in 2004, will lose more than half its trees if a new government plan to change the land use is pushed through. A single Canadian mining company is seeking to exploit 1.77m hectares for mining, logging and palm plantations.

Large areas of central Sumatra and Kalimantan are being felled as coal, copper and gold mining companies move in. Millions of hectares of forest in west Papua are expected to be converted to palm plantations.

"Papuans, some of the poorest citizens in Indonesia, are being utterly exploited in legally questionable oil palm land deals that provide huge financial opportunities for international investors at the expense of the people and forests of West Papua," said Jago Wadley, a forest campaigner with the Environment Investigation Agency.

Despite a commitment last week from the government to extend a moratorium on deforestation for two years, Indonesia is still cutting down its forests faster than any other country. Loopholes in the law mean the moratorium only covers new licences and primary forests, and excludes key peatland areas and existing concessions which are tiger and elephant habitats. "No one seems able to stop the destruction," said Greenpeace International's forest spokesman, Phil Aikman.

The conflicts often arise when companies are granted dubious logging or plantation permissions that overlap with community-managed traditional forests and protected areas such as national parks.

Nine villages have been in conflict with the giant paper company April, which has permission to convert, with others, 450,000 hectares of deep peat forests on the Kampar Peninsula in central Sumatra. Because the area contains as much as 1.5bn tonnes of carbon, it has global importance in the fight against climate change.

"We would die for this [forest] if necessary. This is a matter of life and death. The forest is our life. We depend on it when we want to build our houses or boats. We protect it. The permits were handed out illegally, but now we have no option but to work for the companies or hire ourselves out for pitiful wages," said one village leader from Teluk Meranti who feared to give his name.

They accuse corrupt local officials of illegally grabbing their land. April, which strongly denies involvement in corruption, last week announced plans to work with London-based Flora and Fauna international to restore 20,000 hectares of degraded forest land.

Fifty miles away, near the town of Rengit, villagers watched in horror last year when their community forest was burned down – they suspect by people in the pay of a large palm oil company. "Life is terrible now. We are ruined. We used to get resin, wood, timber, fuel from the forest. Now we have no option but to work for the palm oil company. The company beat us. The fire was deliberate. This forest was everything for us. We used it as our supermarket, building store, chemist shop and fuel supplier for generations of people. Now we must put plastic on our roofs," said one man from the village of Bayesjaya who also asked not to be named.

Mursyi Ali from the village of Kuala Cenaku in the province of Riau, has spent 10 years fighting oil plantation companies which were awarded a giant concession. "Maybe 35,000 people have been impacted by their plantations. Everyone is very upset. People have died in protests. I have not accepted defeat yet. These conflicts are going on everywhere. Before the companies came we had a lot of natural resources, like honey, rattan, fish, shrimps and wood," he said.

"We had all we wanted. That all went when the companies came. Everything that we depended on went. Deforestaion has led to pollution and health problems. We are all poorer now. I blame the companies and the government, but most of all the government," he continued. He pleaded with the company: "Please resolve this problem and give us back the 4,100 hectares of land. We would die for this if necessary. This is a life or death," he says.

Greenpeace and other groups accuse the giant pulp and palm companies of trashing tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest a year but the companies respond that they are the forest defenders and without them the ecological devastation would be worse. "There has been a rampant escalation of the denuding of the landscape but it is mostly by migrant labour and palm oil growers. Poverty and illegal logging along with migrant labour have caused the deforestation," said April's spokesman, David Goodwin.

"What April does is not deforestation. In establishing acacia plantations in already-disturbed forest areas, it is contributing strongly to reforestation. Last year April planted more than 100 million trees. Deforestation happens because of highly organised illegal logging, slash-and-burn practices by migrant labour, unregulated timber operations. There has been a explosion of palm oil concessions."

The company would not reveal how much rainforest it and its suppliers fell each year but internal papers seen by the Observer show that it planned to deforest 60,000 hectares of rainforest in 2012 but postponed this pending the moratorium. It admits that it has a concession of 20,000 hectares of forest that it has permission to fell and that it takes up to one third of its timber from "mixed tropical hardwood" for its giant pulp and paper mill near Penabaru in Riau.

There are some signs of hope. The heat is now on other large palm oil and paper companies after Asia Pacific Resources International (APP), one of the world's largest pulp and paper companies, was persuaded this year by international and local Indonesian groups to end all rainforest deforestation and to rely solely on its plantations for its wood.

The company, which admits to having felled hundreds of thousands of acres of Sumatran forest in the last 20 years, had been embarrassed and financially hurt when other global firms including Adidas, Kraft, Mattel, Hasbro, Nestlé, Carrefour, Staples and Unilever dropped products made by APP that had been made with rainforest timber.

"We thought that if we adopted national laws to protect the forest that this would be enough. But it clearly was not. We realised something was not right and that we needed a much higher standard. So now we will stop the deforestation, whatever the cost. We are now convinced that the long term benefits will be greater," said Aida Greenbury, APP's sustainability director. "Yes. We got it wrong. We could not have done worse."

This file aerial photograph taken on June 7, 2012 shows lush
tropical forest in Central Kalimantan (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Youth a Stunning Example of Indonesian Innovation

Jakarta Globe, Vento Saudale,May 25, 2013

Hilbar Syahrul Gafur’s anti-harassment shoe, which earned him a gold medal
 at this year’s International Exhibition of Young Investors in Malaysia. (JG Photo)

Bogor. With his final exam just weeks away, 14 year-old Hibar Syahrul Gafur said he is now busier than ever as he polishes the prototype of his creation, a pair of women’s shoes modified to ward off attackers.

This hard work has not gone unnoticed. It recently earned him the gold medal at the 2013 International Exhibition of Young Inventors in Malaysia held earlier this month.

Upon his return to Indonesia the 8th grader has been running off his feet. He increased his studies, taking on extra lessons in Indonesian, math, geography and physics at school, sometimes staying as late as 6 p.m. — not to mention meeting the endless wave of guests who were eager to meet the young inventor.

“My dream is to become a scientist someday,” Hibar told the Jakarta Globe during a lunch break at his school in Bogor, West Java.

Hibar said the idea for his creation came after he saw a news report that a girl his age had been subjected to a brutal gang-rape attack in India last July. “Women often become victims of sexual abuse because men consider them weak,” Hibar said.

Similar cases were making the news in Indonesia at the time, and the Bogor native feared for the safety of his 19-year-old sister, Ludhini Volva. So, when the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) held a competition for young inventors last August, Hibar saw an opportunity to design something that women could use to ward off attackers.

“At first I planned to make a bra that could give out an electric shock, but it was too complicated to work in practice, so I finally settled on a shoe,” he said.

Hibar then told his parents about the plan to enter the LIPI competition and his father Jamaluddin, a 46-year-old higher-rank enlisted soldier, introduced him to his friend Widodo, an electrician at his father’s military base. “I haven’t had classes on electrical engineering [at school] yet. So Widodo helped me out,” he said.

His shoe features a nine-volt battery packed into the sole along with circuitry to increase the voltage, all connected to two electrodes along the front of the shoe, which were cunningly disguised as decorative flourishes.

Kick someone with it, Hibar said, and the skin closes the circuit between the electrodes, delivering a jolt powerful enough to stun the attacker and give the woman sufficient time to make an escape. “It’s quite effective,” he said. “If you get stunned, it’ll leave you disoriented for maybe one or two minutes.”

At one end of the shoe, a tiny socket connects the battery to a power source for recharging. Fully charged, the battery could last up to three hours.

“You can turn the shoes on when the wearer feels threatened and switch them off when it’s safe,” he said.

A crude design by his own admission, it was still good enough to win fifth prize in LIPI’s National Young Inventors Awards. The accolade earned Hibar a berth on the Indonesian delegation to the IEYI competition, held this month in Kuala Lumpur.

To compete against other talented youngsters from across the world, Hibar had to modify the design from the unpolished prototype that first earned him the ticket to Malaysia.

“I came up with a whole new model for my shoe. Before, it wasn’t waterproof, so I made it waterproof,” he said. “I also increased the voltage of the electric shock, from 220 volts to 450 volts, and I optimized the design so that it could fit into a three-centimeter wedge heel from the five-centimeter one before.”

Hibar said that he was lucky that his parents were very supportive of his dream, with his father saving what he can from his Rp 3.5 million ($350) monthly salary as a corporal stationed at a local Army’s training facility.

For his project, Hibar said he needed Rp 1 million to buy 12 pairs of shoes for the prototype with another Rp 1 million going toward buying the power supply and attendant circuitry.

Jamaluddin said that when he found out his son will be competing at a prestigious event in Malaysia he had mixed feelings — proud that his son had accomplished great things at a young age and at the same time worried about how to provide him with the cash he needed to polish up his work, flight tickets, accommodation and pocket money.

But the love for his son pushed him to work harder, becoming a motorcycle taxi driver after he finished work to earn extra cash. Jamaluddin also had to borrow money from friends and relatives as well as drawing money in the bank, which he originally saved to send his two children to college.

“I’m so blessed to have children that I can be proud of. Hibar is achieving great things. My daughter goes to Bogor School of Chemistry, one of the most prestigious [in Bogor],” he said at his humble home in a densely populated area just north of Bogor.

Hibar said that he once thought of withdrawing from the competition, seeing the great lengths that his father had undertaken to finance his project.

“But my mother convinced me that it’s OK. I’m so lucky to have such supportive parents,” he said.

His teachers at State Junior High School (SMP) No. 1 in Bogor were also supportive of the project, but he said the school could not afford to pay for the shoes’ development.

That prompted Hibar to write a proposal to Diani Budiarto, the mayor of Bogor. To date the rookie inventor has not received any response.

Yusuar, LIPI’s head of science development, said he believed more was needed to be done to support innovation by the country’s youth. The private sector should become more involved in developing homegrown inventions for commercial release, he said.

“If we can, we’d like to help the inventors from the IEYI competition get patents for their designs, or have the private sector show some interest,” he said.

“That would be ideal, although I think it’s going to be a bit of a struggle.”

Nonetheless, he added, the students’ achievement in Kuala Lumpur is a source of pride for LIPI and showcases the high level of creativity exhibited by the country’s young people.

“LIPI believes that Indonesian youths have it in them to succeed,” he said.

Hibar said he has bigger plans for his invention and vowed not to stop developing and improving his shoes until he sees them available for the masses. He said that currently there are two companies that are interested in mass producing his creation.

But Hibar said that he still wants to patent his invention, make the batteries last longer and the circuitry more compact so that it would fit in thinner soles before accepting their offer.

“Hopefully the shoes will be available to the public so that harassment and violence against women will stop,” he said.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Malang Becomes a Symbol of Heritage to Be Saved

Dwi Cahyono points to salvaged artifacts at his museum. (JG Photo/
Dyah Ayu Pitaloka)

Malang. It was a sunny morning and a group of European tourists can be seen walking in front of Malang, East Java’s main Cathedral Church, located near the city’s historic street Jalan Ijen — dotted by centuries-old houses and buildings built during the Dutch colonial period and the early years of Indonesian independence.

One by one, the tourists pulled out their digital cameras, pointing the lenses at the buildings’ unique facades, which have become an important tool in the city’s success to achieve national heritage status this month.

“There’s 19 of us, all from the Netherlands,” says Paul Vasseur, who hails from the Dutch town Hoofddorp. “We are staying for three nights in Malang. After that we will continue the tour to Sukamade Beach in Banyuwangi.”

Vasseur, who is in his 50s, said that one of his uncles used to live in Malang in the 1960s. At the time he used to visit him and go to Malang whenever he traveled to Indonesia as a boy.

Dwi Cahyono showing scenes from his
museum(JG Photo/Dyah Ayu Pitaloka)
“My other friend was also born and raised here. We returned to Malang to reminisce the old days. One of my friends came to dispose the ashes of his parents who used to work in Jember [a short drive from Malang] and the other wants to see his childhood home in Malang,” he said in Indonesian.

Vasseur then pointed his finger at one of the residential buildings across the street. The colonial-style house has many windows on the front with a high roof typical of old buildings such as this. “That’s my friend’s childhood house. The house was built by his parents,” he said.

The home sits across the church, built in 1934 to serve as a landmark for Jalan Ijen, at the time Malang’s poshest area that was occupied by wealthy Dutch merchants and government officials.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Malang transformed itself from a small port town into a booming industrial city and Dutch architect Thomas Karsten was responsible for that change — bringing chaos into

order through careful city planning and designing almost all of Malang’s buildings in just 40 years.

But much of Karsten’s legacy failed to survive, giving way to progress and the need for modern shopping centers and housing. Even along Jalan Ijen, some buildings have begun to crumble through years of neglect, while the nearby traditional market was destroyed to make way for offices and business centers.

And just like Karsten a century earlier, one man may hold the key to the heritage’s survival.

“I began to realize it 15 years ago,” said Dwi Cahyono, 49, about the city’s vanishing historic buildings. “It is important to improve and develop the city without destroying history.”

Dwi said that he had spent around Rp 10 billion ($1 million) of his own money to pursue his dream, knocking door after door to convince Malang officials to support an annual event he initiated 10 years ago, Festival Malang Tempo Doeloe.

This year, the festival provided tourists and locals a glimpse of the past by decorating modern buildings to represent what once stood in their place, be it a rice field overrun with chicken and ducks or a long gone cinema complex.

Dwi, who now heads the East Java tourism promotion agency, also reorganized the city’s street vendors and introduced a curriculum on heritage preservations at local schools. But his biggest achievement, he said, was building the Malang Tempo Doeloe Museum, which opened last year.

To build the museum, he said he had to do 14 years of research to track down and rescue some 72 different artifacts, some as old as 600 years, scattered throughout Malang.

Even the museum itself is a success story at preserving Malang’s history. It occupies an old 1,000-square meter property that he salvaged and renovated to host a collection of artifacts, which tells the history of the city.

To finance his effort to save the city’s history he opened his own restaurant, Inggil, which is decorated by framed old newspapers that were once published in Malang as well as traditional dance masks unique to the city. The restaurant also hosts some of the properties and decorations he uses every year for the festival.

Ida Ayu Made Wahyu, Malang’s tourism and culture chief, realized that preserving historical buildings is key to harnessing the city’s tourism potentials and even acknowledged that the government plays a large part in the bid to save the city’s history. But Ida said there is little her office could do about it.

“With [heritage buildings] being more than 50 years old, some are damaged. Ijen area has been named as a heritage area. There should not be any offices or manufacturing industry there. The houses should also not be transformed [into new buildings] but restored [to original shape],” she said.

“We don’t know exactly why those kinds of permit [to rebuild or demolish old buildings] are issued. It is the authority of the Public Works Agency.”

In the early 20th century, Karsten built more than 90 houses along Jalan Ijen but only a few survived or are still in their original colonial-style architecture. The condition threatens Malang’s burgeoning tourism industry with Dutch tourists like Vasseur, who wish to walk down memory lane and expect a well-preserved city that makes up half of the 25,000 foreign tourists who visit each year.

Henry Helios, who runs a backpacker lodging in Malang, said he caters mostly to Dutch tourists, while other nationalities only make up around 30 percent. Local tourists make up just 20 percent, he said.

“Visitors love to stroll the Splendid Flower Market and Chinese temple in Chinatown,” he said, adding that Malang should also hold more cultural events.

“Normally, they only stay for one night before heading out to [Mount] Bromo, [Mount] Semeru, or Bali. But if there is an interesting event in the city, they can stay for up to three weeks in Malang,” he added.

Dwi’s many efforts to save the city’s history started to bear fruit in 2011, when he spearheaded the establishment of the Jati Daya Community, a group of volunteers who helped repaint old buildings in Kayutangan, another historical area.

Potehi puppets from Malang’s Eng An Kiong Chinese temple. (JG Photo/
Dyah Ayu Pitaloka)

“I sent e-mails to about 500 people I know, containing an invitation to participate in the cause. And that day 1,500 people came,” he said, expressing his surprise at the amount of support and enthusiasm from the locals towards his cause.

The event also attracted the attention of former tourism minister I Gede Ardika, who now runs the Indonesian Heritage Trust. Ardika “came and pushed me to list [Malang] as a heritage city,” he said.

That year, he enrolled Malang to the International National Trust Organization, a global network of National Trusts and similar nongovernmental organizations, to be listed as one of Unesco’s World Heritage Cities, alongside the likes of Singapore and Malaysia’s Penang.

The INTO mandates a city to be listed as a heritage city on the national and regional levels before being considered for World Heritage status.

The group also requires at least 10 years of proven efforts to rescue a city’s historical sites, and Dwi has submitted documents composed mainly of his own work because Malang’s own administration had shown very little interest in formulating its own program.

On May 7, Malang was named as one of two National Heritage Cities in Indonesia alongside Sawahlunto, West Sumatra.

“This early achievement is my pride as well as Malang pride,” Dwi said.

But to attain World Heritage status, Dwi said everyone must do their part.

“Penang can win the tittle after 18 years of long cooperation between the government, society and investors,” he said. “If we are successful, [Malang] can be like Singapore. [Singapore] is neat, clean and had become the destination for many visitors around the world. Economic growth would definitely also follow.”

Indonesian Women in Mixed Marriages Fight for Equality

Dual-nationality families are being hurt by local laws, says group Srikandi

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, May 18, 2013

From left: Srikandi members Ninda Burnett, Ayu Aloisi, Ani Winn, Sylvi Butt,
Xania Maya, Itha Saleem, Yuyun Furry. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

For many Indonesian women, marrying an expatriate is alluring. Foreign men are usually considered to be good looking, well educated and in high-paying jobs.

But mixed marriages aren’t easy. Indonesian women who wed expatriate men are subject to a host of legal disadvantages that effectively renders them second-class citizens.

“There are a lot of problems in mixed marriages,” said Dewi Hardy, one of the founders of Srikandi, an organization dedicated to helping Indonesian women struggling with the legal difficulties of marrying foreign men.

“They’re mainly caused by cultural and educational gaps, as well as legal issues.”

Dewi, Kartini Litsberger, Rahayu Morris and some of their friends established Srikandi in Jakarta in 2000, after meeting at a parent activity program at an international elementary school. All were married to foreigners, and decided to start an organization of similar Indonesian women.

“The organization echoes the struggle of Srikandi herself, who fights for justice and welfare for many,” Dewi said.

In Javanese wayang mythology, Srikandi is the wife of the handsome warrior Arjuna, and also a warrior feared and respected by men and women alike.

The Srikandi organization became a platform for all Indonesian women married to foreigners to meet and help one another out, fighting to change discriminatory regulations on mixed marriages.

Srikandi now has more than 350 members.

“We realize we’ve become foreigners in our own country, just because [our husbands] are foreigners,” Dewi said.

It is largely due to the group’s tireless efforts that many unfair parts of the law have been rectified.

A very disadvantageous regulation used to be the 1958’s Law No. 62 on Indonesian citizenship. Under it, children born into mixed marriages took the citizenship of their fathers, depriving them of a legal Indonesian identity.

“In many cases, the husband left the country and took the children with him,” Dewi said. “There was little the wife could do since legally the children were not Indonesian citizens.”

That law has since been revoked. These days, children of mixed marriages have dual citizenship until the age of 18, at which point they are given a three-year period in which to deliberate what country to belong to and which citizenship to sacrifice. (Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship for adults.)

Another law Srikandi objected to disqualified Indonesian women from sponsoring their husbands to live in Indonesia permanently.

Expatriate husbands were expected to acquire a tourist or business visa to be able to stay in the country with their wives, which had to be renewed periodically and often at great expense.

But a 2007 Ministry of Justice and Human Rights regulation states that an Indonesian woman who has been married to a foreigner for more than two years may sponsor her husband to obtain a Kitap (permanent residency permit) to live in the country.

Indonesian men married to expatriate women have a stronger legal standing. A local man can sponsor his wife to live in the country, and their children automatically get Indonesian citizenship.

Although things have improved for Indonesian women married to expatriate men, their fight for equality is far from over.

Srikandi founder Itha Saleem and Irene
Murphy. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)
“We want to have the exact same rights and legal standing as other Indonesian women in the country,” Dewi said.

Recently, a new governing body was chosen to lead the organization. Members of Srikandi elect their governing body every two years, ensuring new voices are heard.

An inauguration ceremony was held at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub in Plaza Senayan Arcadia, South Jakarta, earlier this month. About 100 members and their families attended.

The new governing body is led by advertising specialist Itha Saleem.

“It’s both an honor and huge responsibility for me to serve as chairwoman of Srikandi,” the 47-year-old said.

“Srikandi is not a playful organization. We have a strong vision and mission we want to achieve in this organization.

“Our next goal is to promote the new regulation of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights that entitles foreigners married to Indonesian women for more than two years to get Kitap.

“The regulation is in effect now. Yet very few people know about this.”

To promote the regulation, Itha said Srikandi would hold an open seminar on the subject in Kemang Village, South Jakarta, on May 29. Kemang is a suburb popular with expatriate families and close to many of Jakarta’s international schools.

Directorate generals of the immigration and labor agencies have been invited as the main speakers, while another seminar on a similar topic will also be held in Jakarta in September, as Srikandi members attempt to enfranchise their Indonesian sisters.

In December, the organization plans to hold a charity ball for all its members and their families. Proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to not-for-profit groups working with underprivileged families around the country.

Itha will also try to push legislators to rectify the dual citizenship status for children born into mixed marriages.

“I want them to have dual citizenship for life,” she said. “After all, they’re partly Indonesian in flesh and blood.”

According to Itha, dual citizenship for children of mixed marriages would protect them in case conflict broke out between their two home countries.

“With dual citizenship status, these children will still be free to visit and stay in both countries in case of war,” she added.

Itha is married to a British entrepreneur and has three children, all now studying in the United Kingdom.

To rejuvenate the organization, it has adopted a new logo portraying Srikandi in human form, with a quiver of arrows on her back.

“It means Srikandi is ready to come to the aid of any Indonesian women facing problems in their mixed marriages,” Itha said.

“We have a team of lawyers and good contacts with embassies in Jakarta to help any woman in this situation.”

In the new logo, Srikandi stands within a fuchsia circle.

“That means all women in this organization will stand hand-in-hand to help all Indonesian women in mixed marriages,” Itha said.

Within the logo’s circle is a world map signifying the international backgrounds of the women’s husbands.

During the inauguration ceremony, Itha also introduced the new slogan of the organization: “Together, we’re stronger.”

After the inauguration ceremony, Ninda Burnett, the organization’s new public relations officer, donated several English books to the Save Street Child charity in Jakarta.
“We hope that the books will help the street children learn English,” Ninda said.

The event culminated with a fashion parade by Tre, a ready-to-wear label conceived by Indonesian fashion designer and Srikandi member Xania Maya Christina.

Members of the Srikandi organization and some of their daughters got into the spirit of the evening by modeling outfits in the fashion show, which showcased traditional Indonesian textiles.

“We’re married to expatriates, but we’re still Indonesians,” Itha said.

“We love Indonesian art and culture and will continue to feature them in all of our next events.”

Jalan Abdul Madjid No. 10
Cipete Selatan, South Jakarta

UK backpacker dies from poisoned alcohol in Indonesia

Cheznye Emmons, 23, has life support machine turned off after drinking methanol from a bottle labelled as gin, Martin Williams, Saturday 18 May 2013

Cheznye Emmons was trekking with her boyfriend and another traveller in the
 Indonesian jungle when they drank the methanol. Photograph: Peter Lawson/East
News Press Agency

A British backpacker has died after drinking poisoned alcohol in the Indonesian jungle.

Cheznye Emmons, 23, had bought a bottle labelled "gin" from a shop, which turned out to be deadly methanol. The beauty therapist from Essex had been trekking with her boyfriend and another man they met while travelling.

All three suffered health problems after drinking the methanol, which can cause kidney failure, blindness, seizures and death. Emmons lost her sight and was taken through the jungle to the nearest eye clinic. She was referred to hospital where she was placed in an induced coma.

Her parents flew to Indonesia where they eventually decided to turn off her life support machine.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Indonesia and we are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

Her brother, Michael Emmons, said: "We're all just in shock. From what we understand, the shop poured the gin out of the original bottle and then replaced it with methanol. It was in the original bottle with the gin label on it. As far as we're aware, the shop has been shut and there's a police investigation."

Home-brewed spirits are common in Indonesia because of an alcohol tax of more than 200%, but methanol is a by-product of poor distillation techniques.