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, July 25, 2013

Bali Villagers Again Prove to Be Among Most Tech-Savvy Voters in the Country

Jakarta Globe, Ari Rikin, July 25, 2013

Teens parade in traditional Balinese costumes in Jembrana district,
Bali, on June 11, 2011. (JG Photo/JP Christo)

Bali’s Jembrana district is set to hold another electronic voting ballot when residents in four of Mendoyo Dangin Tukad village’s hamlets elect a new village chief on July 29.

The district is known as Indonesia’s e-voting pioneer for having adopted the state-of-the-art system in its dusun , or traditional hamlet, election back in 2009 and in several elections that followed.

This year, the e-voting system, developed by the government’s Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), will be verifying voters based on their electronic ID cards, or e-KTP.

Hammam Riza, the director of the BPPT’s Information Technology and Communications Center, said the village chief election in Jembrana would be a major breakthrough for Indonesia as it would be the first use of the e-KTP system in a ballot.

“This will be an effective and efficient solution for our country. The security of this system has also been prioritized. Electoral disputes have always stemmed from ballot fraud, which should be avoided,” he said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Andari Grahitandaru, the head of the Electronic Election System Pro gram, echoed Hammam’s emphasis on the electronic system’s efficiency, citing the significant savings that could be made.

She cited a recent election for village chief in Boyolali, Central Java, where the government had to provide Rp 25 million ($2,430) for each of the 16 villages taking part in the election, for a total election budget of Rp 4 billion.

According to Andari, the e-voting system, which in 2010 was made official by a Constitutional Court ruling that allowed its application, would cut up to Rp 2 billion of the budget as regional administrations only needed to invest in five e-voting devices, each of them costing Rp 50 million, which could subsequently be reused in later years.

“Just imagine, all this time we could have repeated the village elections several times over,” she said.

“The price of democracy is quite expensive. There are 76,665 villages in Indonesia with [the total] election funds amounting to Rp 2 trillion.”

In 2010, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi stated that the country would not be ready to fully apply the e-voting system in time for the 2014 legislative and presidential elections, but could have it in place for the 2019 polls.

Related Article:

Question: I recently attended a Kryon "At Home" seminar where Lee discussed that due to the grid changes, places like Sedona, Arizona, have less energetic resonance, while places like Mt. Shasta, California, now have an increased resonance. What other places now have an increasing resonance, and what can we do to help contribute to the new energy?

Answer (from Lee): There really isn’t anything you can do to enhance or contribute to what Kryon calls the new "vortals." This is an Earth process, and we just get to participate. Sedona is still a beautiful, energetic place, but it lacks the profound polarity of energies that used to be present there. It’s not because of anything that happened there, but rather the new energy of the planet, which is moving more toward Lemurian energies.

So Mt. Shasta is a big one, and Kryon has indicated that it’s ripe for a major change. Other areas that are being affected are New Zealand and Bali. These have very strong Lemurian energies.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The West vs The Rest

History, for Indonesians, is a subject best ignored, Antony Sutton writes on the controversy surrounding the Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung

Jakarta Globe, Antony Sutton, July 22, 2013

Soldatenkaffe owner Henry Mulyana in front of his establishment. Henry
emphasized on Saturday that the cafe was not instructive of his political views.
(AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

It’s hard not to feel a little sympathy for Henry Mulyana, the embattled owner of Soldatenkaffe, the Nazi-themed café in Bandung dripping with memorabilia Adolf Hitler himself would have approved of.

Here we have a businessman being forced to close down his enterprise in the face of a hysterical online onslaught once news of his café’s decorations had gone viral.

Henry gets painted as some kind of ogre. He’s portrayed as a Nazi revisionist when in fact, he is just an unwitting victim of two forces far greater than him: Western cultural morals and an Indonesian education system that has for long not been fit for purpose.

There was recently a massive outcry when students at Chulalongkorn University, one of Thailand’s most prestigious higher education institutions, had painted a mural featuring a number of superheroes including Hitler.

It may have been tongue in cheek but it was not thought to be so in the west, where Hitler and the era he spawned are not viewed with any kind of humor. It was Europe, both east and west, that bore the brunt of Hitler’s excesses and the post-war generations are determined not to repeat, let alone glorify, them.

We in the west are brought up with the war and its horrors through movies depicting cheeky British soldiers up against the robotic Third Reich, and we have the white tombstones that tell the awful truth of one man’s twisted ambitions. We can visit Auschwitz and see the realities of Hitler’s agendas, with the camp’s mocking ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (‘Labor Makes [You] Free’) sign greeting visitors.

Henry Mulyana, foreground, operates the Soldatenkaffee
 in Bandung, which is decorated with Nazi paraphanelia
and has staff dressed in costumes reminiscent of the SS.
(JG Photo/Yuli Krisna)
Indonesians, on the other hand, and the Thais for that matter, aren’t. History for them is a subject best ignored — a never ending monotony of names to be remembered and dates to be regurgitated on demand. There is no context and no perspective, just a state-centric message to be memorized for tests and forgotten straight after.

Hitler, if he appears at all, will simply be a periphery figure.

Henry insists his idea was just a theme for a restaurant, nothing more sinister than that. Perhaps the issue here is not the Nazi memorabilia so much as the Western-led reaction, which is ironic considering that the west themselves can also be accused of insensitivity toward the Holocaust.

A famous English comedy, ‘Fawlty Towers,’ had a skit where the manic hotel manager, Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, welcomes some German guests before slipping into a faux German accent to tell his guests not to “mention the war” before goose-stepping round the hotel reception.

A few years later, an English football club held a player’s Christmas party at a local Indian restaurant. The players came in fancy dress, with one coming as Adolf Hitler. He was later photographed next to the waiters giving the Nazi salute.

Recently, a photograph of a restaurant in Thailand went viral. It showed the familiar Colonel Sanders livery but instead of the bearded, southern US gentleman there was a stern image of Adolf Hitler.

Unlike the incidents that happened in Europe, the media went into a frenzy over Thailand’s tribute to the Third Reich. Here was a Bangkok restaurant called Hitler Fried Chicken, look how the Thais don’t understand the latest gaffe they have made. The ironic thing is, the comments made by western media parroted a subtle, patronizing, even racist undertone. The real KFC said they were consulting with lawyers.

In 2005, Prince Harry, brother of William, the Duke of Cambridge and heir to the British throne, went to a costume party dressed in a German military uniform complete with a swastika armband. The last time I checked Harry is still a prince, but Henry the businessman no longer has a business.

Yet surely the Prince had no excuse for his choice of costume, as he was brought up to understand the war ethos in the finest schools and within a culture that condemns the glorification of Hitler and his Nazis.

And while the screamers are still screaming their rage at poor Henry, perhaps they should redirect their attention to the 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division.

The division is a war re-enacting group. This one in particular has their members dress up as Nazis and pretend to kill the allied powers during their re-enacted battles. They are based in the northeast of the United States and are just one of many.

Despite the group’s blatant disrespect for the events of the era, however, no one seems to be a in a rush to condemn them or shut them down.

When there was outcry in the Islamic world when cartoons of the prophet Muhammad were printed in newspapers, the west hid behind the ideas of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, no such claims are being made for Henry this time — there is no one rushing to defend a small businessman simply looking to find a niche for his business.

Related Article:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Poor Facilities at Indonesian Zoo Spark Rare Animal Seizure

Jakarta Globe, Dyah Ayu Pitaloka, July 16, 2013

A peacock is seen at a zoo in Malang, East Java in this file photo.
(JG Photo/Dyah Ayu Pitaloka)

Malang, East Java. After filing a recommendation more than a year ago, wildlife conservation authorities in Malang, East Java, are awaiting final approval for a rescue mission to relocate dozens of rare animals from a poorly maintained municipal zoo, an official said on Tuesday.

Dedi Sudiana, the head of the Malang Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said his office had issued a recommendation to the Forestry Ministry to allow it to seize the animals from the Malang Recreation Park (Tareko), and was now just awaiting written confirmation before swooping in.

He said that among the animals to be confiscated were two rare primates — a critically endangered Sulawesi crested macaque and a siamang — and several exotic birds. These include a pair of cassowaries, a hornbill, a crested hawk-eagle and a Javan hawk-eagle — the national bird of Indonesia. Dozens of other animals, mostly birds of paradise, are also on the list for seizure by the BKSDA.

Dedi said the the seizure, which the BKSDA had recommended since June 2012, comes amid concerns about the animals’ welfare in the facility, which is part of the Malang City Hall complex in the middle of the city.

He also said the park did not have enough qualified staff to look after the animals properly.

“It takes a lot of money to look after the animals, but the park doesn’t charge an entry fee, so the animals’ welfare is being compromised,” he said.

“Hence this seizure is being carried out in the best interest of the animals.”

Dedi said that the animals would be moved to better facilities in Malang and elsewhere in East Java, including Jatim Park in Malang, Taman Safari in Pasuruan and the Environmental Tourism Study Park in Probolinggo.

“We already have space prepared for the animals at those facilities, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for written permission from the Forestry Ministry,” he said.

Ida Ayu Made Wahyuni, the head of the Malang Culture and Tourism Agency, which manages the park, confirmed the imminent seizure by the BKSDA and conceded that her office lacked the resources to take proper care of the animals.

She said that under a Forestry Ministry regulation, the park should have been turned into a city-owned enterprise to make it more financially feasible.

However, the Malang administration was unable to meet the requirements for the management change, which includes having qualified animal caretakers and veterinarians, adequate space for the animals and a source of revenue.

Wahyuni said the city had to rely on the service of a vet from the municipal agriculture office, and that with a total area of just two hectares — including visitor areas — the park was far too cramped, which destressed the animals.

“The siamang often screams when it hears a car revving because it’s not used to that level of noise. And the noise also spooks the peacocks, which then refuse to look after their eggs,” Wahyuni said.

“In the end, it’ll be a good thing once our conservation permit gets revoked, because then the BKSDA can take the animals to other facilities where they’ll be cared for better.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Preserving Culture in Jakarta’s Villages

Jakarta Globe, Suzannah Beiner, July 15, 2013

This picture shows houses built on a the banks of a river in a slum in Jakarta
 on June 11, 2013. Jakarta administration has proposed moving river-side squatters
 to ‘vertical kampungs’ to alleviate annual flooding. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

None of the lecturers at the Jakarta Vertical Kampung seminar this month defined the word “kampung.” Neither did the guests forming the panel invited to speak about subjects related to the current state of kampungs and plans for affordable housing.

In Indonesian, kampung means village. But the lack of an agreed definition at the event did not inhibit dialogue about introducing a new dimension to affordable housing models for kampung areas: verticality.

The Jakarta office of independent design firm SHAU initiated the master class, conference and exhibition, all of which focused on the Jakarta Vertical Kampung. The Dutch cultural center Erasmus Huis hosted all three events.

The July 7 conference marked the culmination of a 12-day master class between young Indonesian architects and guest teachers, and also the opening of an exhibition that finished on Monday.

The exhibition showcased two collections devoted to models of redesigned kampungs in Jakarta. One collection contained independent projects by professional architects while the other introduced the six models made during the master class.

High rise village?

The international lecturers who kicked off the conference were from diverse fields and had differing opinions on the value in designing high-rise kampungs.

Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana’s Eko Prawoto, the only Indonesian lecturer, and the University of Edinburgh’s Stephen Cairns were outspoken critics of the idea that high-rise kampungs can meet Jakarta’s need for affordable housing while retaining the kampung identity.

Eko opened his lecture by pointing out his lack of experience with designing high-rise buildings. “Jogja [Yogyakarta] is low density and doesn’t have high-rise buildings,” Eko said.

Eko suggested architects should shift from an egocentric or Western approach when redesigning kampungs. Instead they should look to the people living in the community as the inspiration, in order to create designs that fit a community rather than forcing a community to fit into a design.

“I would like to share my thinking concerning the role of architects. It’s more about attitude and cultural approach than purely architecture. What we can learn from kampung is informality,” Eko said.

Eko’s slideshow took the audience into existing kampungs, with pictures of living conditions and adaptations.

His one-hour time lapse of a weekend market in Surabaya generated mild laughter from the audience as they watched a deceptively quiet courtyard burst into a buzzing marketplace and then fade again into calm emptiness.


Eko was the only lecturer to focus solely on Indonesia’s kampung culture.

According to Eko, kampung denizens’ autonomy is critical to fostering community life and self-governance.

“We might think that this kind of chaotic form is not beautiful at all or that it’s very dirty. But we can also see from a different perspective that this is a different kind of intellectual ability,” Eko said.

One slide presented a picture of women hanging laundry early in the morning juxtaposed against a picture taken much later in the day of the same lines being used as an impromptu badminton court.

“They’re able to manage themselves, to create rules that are appropriate for the benefit of the community. [Kampung dwellers] are able to make rules to improve [their] living condition,” Eko said.

His final message was one of caution.

“We need to keep the scale to a manageable size. You have to keep in mind the available skill sets,” he said. “We have to limit our roles as architects. We should give people more of a chance to decide. Life is bigger than an architect.”

Cairns used Singapore’s success with the transition to high-rises as a lens to examine the viability of vertical kampungs in Jakarta. He found Jakarta’s existing infrastructure came up short.

“Fifty years ago, Singapore undertook the kampung-to-high-rise project. … It was a very dramatic, a very traumatic and a very demanding and aggressive transformation,” Cairns said.

Cairns related how in 1961, a fire broke out in the Bukit Ho Swee settlement, killing four people and completely destroying the kampung.

The following day, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had “a series of responses” that centered on high-rise housing models.

“So, in a way, almost overnight the transformation from kampungs to high-rises was achieved through this highly disastrous situation,” Cairns said.

Cairns said the transition relied on a “huge amount of bureaucratic work and technical work” from a highly centralized state.

Cairns noted how the Housing and Development Board (HDB) took an active role in re-educating citizens not only “how to live in a modern way” but also how to live accommodatingly in a multistory building.

Educational catalogs were sent to each high-rise residence, informing the 85 percent of Singaporeans living in them how to decorate, handle domestic tasks and operate lifts, among other lessons.

“My research colleague and I have published some of the kind of detail required to sustain this kind of high-rise housing. It involves daily, weekly, monthly, three-year, 15-year maintenance cycles to sustain the fabric of this kind of condition,” Cairns said.

‘The most desirable housing’

The last lecturer at the conference was University of Seoul’s Bin Kim.

Kim presented a converse outcome of what can happen to high-rise social housing by examining South Korea’s rebuilding process following the Korean War of 1950 to 1953.

High-rises, which began as affordable housing for the “native people” of Seoul, are now “the most desirable housing in Seoul,” according to Kim.

“Apateu started as affordable housing and is no longer affordable,” said Kim, using the Korean word for apartment.

Kim said that following the rapid population growth of the 1960s, the government responded by building high-rises “in quantity over quality.”

From the 1970s to 1990s, rapid economic growth created a rise in housing development. In turn, the government responded with the adoption of new laws to protect development.

By 2000, high-rises were being built on a much grander scale. Apartments began to be constructed by private companies and branded, such as the Lotte Company’s Lotte Castle high-rise.

“Gangnam, you probably know that from the song by PSY, this area is the most trendy area to live,” Kim said of the Seoul neighborhood.

High-rises have now become so unaffordable for South Koreans that they are looking into other types of affordable urban housing, according to Kim.

Shared housing, where 10 or more people share the common facilities of a kitchen, living room and recreational room, and have private bedrooms, have gained in popularity. Other people are turning to duplex houses.

Following the lectures, a panel of representatives from the public and private sectors discussed topics relating to affordable housing and kampung needs.

Toward the end of the conference, both Dutch Ambassador Tjeerd de Zwaan and Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu gave their support to the event, offering their views about the importance of architecture and commending the master-class participants.

The ambassador said he was pleased that during the master class Erasmus Huis had been “full of action” as a hub for “Dutch professionals and young Indonesians to interact.”

“This type of venue is especially here to build a bridge between our two countries, Indonesia and the Netherlands,” de Zwaan said.

The ambassador said architects should be aware of their influence on people’s lives and that they should design “practicable solutions.”

“The social and economic environment of the buildings should be inspired by the people who will live there in the future,” the ambassador said.

Questions remain

Mari said it was important for Jakarta to “retain and regain its character and soul” in the pursuit of affordable housing.

“Let’s save the villages that are in Jakarta, the kampung, before we become too affluent and they’re gone,” the minister said.

Mari also discussed her wish to end the long daily commutes of those people who migrated to the suburbs because they were pushed out of the city due to rising housing costs.

“Keep the people in Jakarta living in the city of Jakarta and not just on the outskirts,” she said.

Dede Krishnadianty, a master’s student at the University of Melbourne, said she was disappointed by the lack of government representatives in attendance.

“It’s academic snobbery. This is a community-based participation project,” Dede said.

She expressed frustration at the vagueness of the word kampung.

“The government needs to differentiate the term itself. What is kampung? What are slums?” Dede said.

“Kampung is the culture of Indonesia.”

This sentiment, echoed throughout the conference, will perhaps prove the most challenging issue in addressing the housing issue. Attendees said the preservation of culture was as important as budgetary concerns.

Six designs were sent to Jakarta provincial administration “for next steps,” according to the Jakarta Vertical Kampung website.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Raising Kids Without God: Atheist Parents in Indonesia

A growing number of people are turning to atheism in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Marcel Thee, July 15, 2013

(JG illustration)

The members of Indonesian Atheist Parents come together to answer a simple question: How do you survive as an atheist parent in a country where such a stance is considered blasphemous?

In a place where a hint of holding an unpopular opinion — about God, no less — can land a person in jail, or at the very least make someone a social outcast, it can often feel like raising a child to think differently is impossible for both child and parent.

For too many, the social and administrative challenges will be too much. Seemingly trivial tasks such as filling out forms, visiting family and chitchat around the table become a burden wrought with personal ramifications.

Simply put, is the effort worth the trouble?

The Indonesian Atheist Parents Facebook community was established in April. As an outgrowth of Indonesia’s increasingly vocal atheist movement — showcased most visibly by Karl Karnadi’s Indonesian Atheist group — the group’s specific focus has garnered it followers with a dedicated interest toward what its founders tags as “parenting beyond belief.”

The group’s 70-plus members discuss topics ranging from specifically atheist issues (“What schools are secular?”; “What do you do when a relative asks the children about their religious studies?”; “How do you survive religious holiday gatherings?”) to more general ones about sex education, home-schooling and holiday destinations.

A.F. Simanjuntak, who agreed to speak only under his initials and clan name, founded the Indonesian Atheist Parents group. His clan name indicates that A.F. is Batak, a North Sumatran ethnicity that in general, holds strong Protestant values. He also comes from a military family, prompting him to joke that elements of his background are “not exactly a good combination” for him to be able to express progressive beliefs.

Along with his wife, A.F. hides his non-religiosity from their families, an understandable survival mechanism for the majority of Indonesian atheists.

The familial pressures of endless religious rituals — as well as the general outlook of a strongly religious family — became even more of a challenge when A.F. and his wife had children.

The Protestant religious rite Peneguhan Sidi (Sidi Confirmation), practiced as children enter their early teens, is of particular concern for the couple.

“We don’t particularly want our two children (boys in grades four and six) to partake in those rituals, but at the same time, it is a social process [in Indonesia] that is part of the child’s life,” A.F. said.

Announcing that their children will not undergo such rituals is likely to provoke family and friends, and has the potential to lead to alienation.

It could also deny their children a sense of shared experience with their peers.

“The biggest challenge is in encouraging the children’s character-building away from religious dogmas that surround them,” A.F. said. “Don’t get me wrong, we are not molding our kids into atheists — they are free to choose their own path, even as persons who believe in God — but they should be critical, free, and responsible.”

A.F.’s wife — who would only speak anonymously — said the children’s challenge as freethinkers is in making peace with themselves if they choose to continue living in the country.

“With the advantages they have [of not being subscribed into any religious dogma], our children could slip into being persons filled with hatred,” she said.

“Our task now as parents is to show them that people who believe in God can live next to someone who doesn’t; someone who is ‘smart’ can live along with someone who may not particularly be so, and so on. It is important for them to know that being able to survive in a society is much more important than basing their lives on a sense of narrow idealism.”

Group member Cherrie Petrissa, who lives in the Netherlands with her German husband, said being an atheist parent does have its drawbacks in terms of relationships, which she has come to terms with.

“I was raised in a mixed-faith family myself, with a Muslim father and a Catholic mother,” she said.

“My father is not a practicing Muslim, but my mother deals with me being an atheist raising an atheist child by being in denial. She keeps thinking that deep in my heart we’re all still believers. I let her have her peace that way.”

Another group member, a political journalist who only wishes to be identified as T.R., says he and his wife (who is not an atheist but a “very, very liberal Muslim”) have made peace with how much of their child’s life will be surrounded by religious beliefs. T.R. still commits to Muslim praying practices sometimes for the sake of familial “togetherness.”

“[My wife and I] think that shielding our daughter from religion will actually make her susceptible toward it, and vice versa,” he said.

T.R.’s only daughter, who is now in elementary school, goes to a “dangerously” religious school because of a lack of alternatives. But T.R. considers what matters most is the example that he and his wife set at home.

“If her home is filled with rational thinking, [her school and home life] creates a good balance,” T.R. said.

T.R. has little trepidation about how his daughter will cope in what he calls an “increasingly Muslim Indonesia.”

“The substance of [my daughter’s] generation of irreligious, rational thinkers will be the ones battling against [fundamentalists], and they will be prepared,” he said.

Both A.F. and T.R. accept that their children will have to live their lives — at least on paper — as religious believers. Their citizen ID card notes their religion (“Hers states Muslim, but does that really mean anything?” T.R. said of his daughter) and they both go to schools where religious studies are compulsory.

For A.F., religion benefits his children at least in familiarizing them with their ethnic roots. He said it was important for his family to be able to live a normal life despite their beliefs, or lack thereof.

His wife said it was important to prepare their children to be flexible in their idealism in order to survive.

She explained that although there “might be some great, achievable things without the presence of religion, [we’ve] gotten used to just see, take, and process the best out of all the bad things that exist in this life.”

For T.R., being a parent without the baggage of religion results in “a child who is stronger and not a crybaby, because she would not have to be dependent on something outside herself that is abstract and never concretely debated.”

He added: “There is nothing sadder than seeing an 8- or 9-year-old explain everything using ‘by the grace of god,’ showcasing a formed weakness of a mind that should be thinking about things without any limits.”

Facebook group (closed membership) Indonesian Atheist Parents.

Related Article:

"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) 

“… Hearing the Whole Song

I wish to give you a metaphor. Consider there's a broadcast station that you wish to tune into on your radio to hear a song that is playing. However, your antennas are very short. The signal comes and goes, and you don't really get to hear the full tune. Instead, you get snippets, just enough to know there is something there, and it's a song. Because of this incomplete message, you feel the need to trust others to tell you what the snippets mean and interpret the song. Now, in this metaphor, the antennas are the sensors picking up awareness of spiritual truth, a higher consciousness and the way things work.

Suddenly, you are aware that in this new energy, your antennas are getting longer, and you are beginning to hear much more of the entire signal. You no longer have snippets, but instead you are hearing the whole song! You now hear the entire thing, including the lyrics. But it's difficult to then turn to a Human Being who has interpreted the snippets in the past and tell them the song is different from the one they have been reporting on for ages.

This new awareness is starting to change the entire planet, and some of the changes are not all spiritual. Even though the antennas are about awareness, it becomes awareness of many principles, not just the ones about the attributes of God. This awareness shift will even change an atheist who would never believe in God. So let me itemize for you some of the changes that are potentially in store for you. For, as spiritual awareness starts to shift on the planet, systems awareness will also shift. More than systems, but the actual ways of creating systems and the reasons you used to create them will shift. Awareness changes everything.

If you can hear the song and you know what it tells you through the lyrics, then you are complete. It explains why today there are those in the chairs [seminar attendees] who don't need a building and don't need a leader or an organization. Although this is a metaphor, I'll tell you, dear ones, that all over the world you're singing the same tune and you don't need anybody to tell you what it sounds like or what the lyrics are. The song is beautiful and it is sung about the love of God, respect for humanity and the potential for peace on Earth. ..”

“.   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. ...."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Pakistani women paratroopers make history

Google – AFP, 14 July 2013

Pakistan paratroopers forces take part in military drills near Karachi 
(AFP/File, Asif Hassan)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's first group of female paratroopers completed their training on Sunday, the military announced, hailing it as a "landmark achievement" for the deeply conservative Muslim country.

Captain Kiran Ashraf was declared the best paratrooper of the batch of 24, the military said in a statement, while Captain Sadia, referred to by one name, became the first woman officer to jump from a MI-17 helicopter.

Women have limited opportunities in Pakistan's highly traditional, patriarchal society. The United Nations says only 40 percent of adult women are literate, and they are frequently the victims of violence and abuse.

But in 2006 seven women broke into one of Pakistan's most exclusive male clubs to graduate as fighter pilots -- perhaps the most prestigious job in the powerful military and for six decades closed to the fairer sex.

After three weeks' basic airborne training, which included exit, flight and landing techniques, the new paratroopers completed their first jump on Sunday and were given their "wings" by the commander of Special Services Group, Major General Abid Rafique, the military said.

Related Articles:

Malala delivers defiant riposte to Taliban militants as UN hails 'our hero'

Women far better off in Aceh: Study

VEILED SOLDIERS: Women soldiers line up during the
 52nd anniversary of the Iskandar Muda military battalion
 in Banda Aceh on Monday. Under Aceh's local sharia-based
 ordinance, all women including soldiers, are required
to wear veils in public. JP/Hotli Simanjuntak

Indonesian province bans female secretaries

Yahoo – AFP, July 13, 2013

Indonesian province bans female
GORONTALO, Indonesia (AFP) - The governor of an Indonesian province on Saturday said he had ordered his top staff to replace their female secretaries with men following a string of extra-marital affairs.

"I received inputs that many government office heads here are involved in extra-marital affairs with their female secretaries," Rusli Habibie, the governor of Gorontalo province on northern Sulawesi island told AFP.

"They treat them much better than their own wives. They bring them presents from official trips like perfumes or branded bags while their poor wives get nothing," he said.

"For these reasons, I ordered them to replace their female secretaries with male assistants or with old women who are no longer attractive," he added.

Habibie is convinced that his subordinates will follow his instructions, though there won't be any punishment for those who don't comply.

"This is a moral sanction. I'm pretty sure they will follow my order, and all of them will get a male secretary soon," he said, adding that there were about 50 senior officials in the province who had hired female secretaries.

Last year, the Gorontalo administration demanded 3,200 male civil servants to transfer their monthly pay to their wives' bank accounts in order to limit the number of affairs.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Malala delivers defiant riposte to Taliban militants as UN hails 'our hero'

'They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed,' says Malala, 16, at UN to push campaign for girls' education, Ed Pilkington in New York, Friday 12 July 2013

Malala Yousafzai spoke at the UN in New York on her 16th birthday, a day
now dubbed Malala Day. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

When the Taliban sent a gunman to shoot Malala Yousafzai last October as she rode home on a bus after school, they made clear their intention: to silence the teenager and kill off her campaign for girls' education.

Nine months and countless surgical interventions later, she stood up at the United Nations on her 16th birthday on Friday to deliver a defiant riposte. "They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed," she said.

As 16th birthdays go, it was among the more unusual. Instead of blowing out candles on a cake, Malala sat in one of the United Nation's main council chambers in the central seat usually reserved for world leaders.

She listened quietly as Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, described her as "our hero, our champion"; and as the former British prime minister and now UN education envoy, Gordon Brown, uttered what he called "the words the Taliban never wanted her to hear: happy 16th birthday, Malala".

The event, dubbed Malala Day, was the culmination of an extraordinary four years for the girl from Mingora, in the troubled Swat valley of Pakistan. She was thrust into the public glare after she wrote a pseudonymous but later celebrated blog for the BBC Urdu service describing her experiences struggling to get an education under the rising power of Taliban militants.

By 11 she was showing exceptional determination, calling personally on the US special representative to Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to use his influence to combat the Taliban's drive against education for girls. By 14, she was on the radar of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who put her forward for the international children's peace prize, and by 15 she became the youngest Nobel peace prize nominee in history.

But such dizzying global attention came at a price. Death threats followed her growing recognition, and on 9 October 2012, following a meeting of Pakistani Taliban leaders, the gunman was dispatched to remove what they called the "symbol of infidels and obscenity".

Multiple operations in Pakistan and the UK followed the attack on the bus, including the fitting of a titanium plate on her left forehead, and a cochlear implant to restore her hearing. She now lives with her family in Birmingham and does what the Taliban tried to stop her doing: goes to school every day. "I am not against anyone," she said in the UN chamber, having taken this day out from the classroom. "Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group."

Malala responded to the violence of the Taliban with her own countervailing force: words against bullets. "I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him."

She spoke confidently, with only an injured eye and a slightly drooping left side of her face to hint at such fresh traumas. There was one other unstated allusion to the horror of her past: she wore a white shawl belonging to a woman who was also targeted by extremists but who, unlike Malala, did not survive to tell the tale: Benazir Bhutto.

"The extremists are afraid of books and pens," the teenager continued. "The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them."

She cited last month's attack on a hospital in Quetta, capital of Baluchistan, and killings of female teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "That is why they are blasting schools every day – because they were and they are afraid of change, afraid of the equality that we will bring to our society."

And she gave her own opposing interpretation of Islam to the Taliban's. "They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits. Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility."

Such ability to articulate what normally remains unarticulated – to give voice to young people normally silenced – has generated its own response. The "stand with Malala" petition, calling for education for the 57m children around the world who do not go to school, has attracted more than 4m signatures – more than a million having been added in the past few days.

At the start of her speech, Malala said: "I don't know where to begin my speech. I don't know what people would be expecting me to say."

She need not have worried.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Greener Path to Fine Batik Fashion

Sylviana Hamdani looks at efforts to adopt batik production methods that are better for the planet

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, July 9, 2013

A model shows off a natural-dye design
as part of the ‘Clean Batik Initiative,’ a
 collaboration between fashion designers
 and textile makers. (Photo courtesy of
Batik is synonymous with Indonesian elegance and is a source of national pride.

Acknowledged in 2009 by Unesco as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Indonesian batik is seen everywhere — boardrooms, glamorous parties and even malls.

But unfortunately, batik production is not very environmentally friendly. Batik home industries usually operate with excessive use of water, wax and chemicals that can harm people and the natural environment in the long run.

“I’ve seen a whole river turned red from the chemical waste that comes from batik-making,” said Frans, a designer at Batik Fractal, a batik fashion house based in Bandung.

The Clean Batik Initiative of the German-Indonesian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Ekonid) was launched in 2010 to address the concern.

The four-year program, co-financed by the European Union under the Switch-Asia grant, aims to influence discussion on Indonesian batik by introducing sustainable production and consumption.

From 2010 to 2012, CBI programs focused on sustainable production. Through workshops, seminars and training sessions, the CBI team encouraged small batik makers to produce their wares in more environmentally friendly ways.

CBI project coordinator Martin Krummeck said recently: “We’re proud to announce that this year we’ve successfully reached our target of assisting over 500 batik SME’s across six provinces in Indonesia.”

The small-to-medium enterprises receiving CBI coaching are in Yogyakarta, Cirebon (West Java), Pekalongan (Central Java), Sumenep (East Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Tarakan (North Kalimantan).

CBI entered its final year in 2013 and, to mark this milestone, the CBI team invited five Indonesian designers — Carmanita, Caterina Hapsari, Frans, L e n ny Agustin and Musa Widyatmodjo — to cooperate with designated batik makers on a series of fashion mini-collections.

High fashion

The designs produced through the collaborations were recently the subject of a gala fashion show and exhibition.

Models show off natural-dye designs that
 are the fruits of the ‘Clean Batik Initiative,’
 a collaboration between fashion designers
 and textile makers. (Photo courtesy of
“EcoBatik Signature Collection,” saw the five designers present 42 outfits made from eco-friendly batiks.

Senior fashion designer Musa said EcoBatik was batik with “a beautiful story about the production process, natural dyes, natural forces like the sun and wind.”

Musa’s mini-collection, for men, was themed “Natural Society.” The collection consisted of men’s casual and formal batik shirts in dark, earthy colors. “I hope Indonesia will soon become a natural society with EcoBatik,” Musa said.

All the batik shirts shown were made of breathable natural fibers, such as linen and cotton and paired with tailored pants and Bermuda shorts.

Caterina’s green showcase was titled “Exotic Silhouette of Indonesia” and consisted of elegant evening gowns made of a combination of batik on silk, brocade and tulle.

“My designs are my personal interpretation of the cultural heritage, to combine the modern with the traditional,” Caterina said.

Batik Fractal presented a mini- collection inspired by the German Bauhaus movement of between 1919 and 1933 that combined crafts and fine art. The collection, designed with special software, consisted of casual and cocktail dresses made of a combination of batik on cotton and tweed, with elegant patterns of flowers and poison ivy.

“We’re very honored to be appointed as the youngest designer partner for this program,” Frans said. “With our participation in CBI, we hope to bring in younger customers to this natural and traditional fashion style and create a new market for it.”

Lenny wowed the audience with clothes very different from her usual vibrantly colored collections.

Themed “In the Woods,” Lenny’s collection featured men’s and women’s casual items in a subdued palette of pale green, brown, khaki and sky blue.

Despite the more subdued colors, Lenny’s batiks are endearing, patterned as they are with flowers and butterflies.

“It’s quite a challenge for me,” Lenny said. “Personally, I love very vibrant colors, while natural-dyed batiks have pale or dark colors. But surprisingly, my customers really love [the new collection].”

A founder of the Indonesia Batik Foundation (YBI), Carmanita presented a series of elegant batik evening dresses of silk and lace.

The senior designer has been involved with the Clean Batik Initiative from the start of the program in 2010.

She said that while she was already using natural-dye batiks in her collections, “the CBI program has got me more involved with the batik artisans.”

How it works

Models show off natural-dye designs that
 are the fruits of the ‘Clean Batik Initiative,’
 a collaboration between fashion designers

and textile makers. (Photo courtesy of
With the CBI team, Carmanita tutored batik artisans to use natural dyes for batik.

Secang (Caesalpinia sappan) bark and banana stem, for example, are combined for a dark ruby color, while belimbing wuluh (Averrhoa bilimbi) is used to produce a rich blue. Mahogany bark, meanwhile, is used for dark purple.

Carmanita encouraged the artisans to themselves grow the species they would use for natural dyeing and also recommended turning to local wet markets as well as nearby farms as a source of dye materials and as an alternative to harvesting the raw materials from the wild.

Batik Mayani is an SME batik-maker in Cirebon that has adopted these methods, including having its employees plant natural dye species in their backyards.

“We’ve tried and discovered new things in CBI programs,” Batik Mayani co-owner Gusak Tilaswangi said. “They’re all very exciting. And we’re very proud that our batiks are helping protect the natural environment.”

However, environmental awareness applies throughout the sustainable batik production process, not just to dyes.

Traditional batik is usually hand-stenciled by teams of women working in an open-air environment that is covered but lacks walls. Even during the day, high-powered lamps are used in these workshops to provide better illumination to the working artisans.

To conserve energy, CBI introduced simple and easy-to-make solar lamps made of water bottles, bleaching agent and tin plates.

With the tin plates set into the roof overhead, the bottles are filled with a bleach solution and inserted part-way into the plates so that the top part protrudes into the sunlight.

“During the day, these bottles transmit sunlight into the workshops,” explained Mohammad Iqbal, a CBI project officer. “Each bottle can output the equivalent of a 55-watt bulb.”

The kerosene stoves that batik artisans have traditionally used to melt wax for stenciling emit fumes that may cause nausea and, over the long run, more serious health consequences.

As such, CBI has introduced, as a replacement, small electric stoves that provide much cleaner energy and are also more cost-effective.

A small batik maker may spend some Rp 250,000 per month on kerosene but the outlay can be as little as Rp 20,000 with electric stoves.

“That’s 90 percent more efficient,” Iqbal said.

Finally, batik artisans usually rinse the wax-resist dyes from raw textiles by immersing them in massive pots of boiling water heated with firewood.

To minimize wood burned, the CBI program introduced a homemade blower that feeds fresh air to the fire.

“This blower decreases the amount of firewood used in the industry by 50 percent,” Iqbal said.

In fact, CBI’s own calculations show that, since 2012, the program has prevented over 1,100 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the environment.

CBI has clearly benefited the environment and the batik home industries involved in its programs. The initiative has also catalyzed valuable collaboration between fashion designers and batik producers.

So, what’s next?

Through to mid-2014, the CBI team will focus on encouraging sustainable batik consumption by raising awareness about eco-friendly batik among local and international consumers.

The Indonesia and international tour of the “EcoBatik Signature Collection” has already kicked off and exhibitions are upcoming at the Singapore Gifts & Premiums Fair (this Wednesday to Friday) and the International Tourismus-Borse Berlin (March 2014).

The CBI team is also lobbying the national government to formulate policies that encourage SME’s to switch to more environmentally friendly ways of making batik.

“We’ve asked [Indonesia’s] minister of industry to establish an independent certification body to guarantee the authenticity of eco-friendly batiks for the customers,” Krummeck said.

The “EcoBatik Signature Collection” is also available at the outlets of the participating designers.

“CBI is a good project that has given us an option to produce batik and save the natural environment,” Carmanita said.