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January 17 2014

North Sulawesi in Indonesia Hit by Flashflood and Landslide

Manado also experiencing horrible flood! Not only Jakarta!

The town of Manado in Indonesia was hit by a massive flashflood and landslide that displaced more than 40,000 residents.

Strong winds and heavy rains that lasted days triggered a landslide that buried dozens of vehicles and their passengers. It was also reported that the road that connects Manado city with Tomohon city was destroyed due to the landslide.

Photos, latest disaster updates from the ground, and solidarity messages are pouring on Twitter through the hashtags #prayformanado, #GodSaveManado, and #prayforsulut.

Storm followed by earthquake, followed by power outage. My one hope for tonight, soundless sleep and awake tomorrow. #GodSaveManado

O Lord, please facilitate the distribution of aid and evacuation for our brothers and sisters..#prayformanado

3-meter high sea waves at Boulevard avenue, Manado.

best prayers for friends and relatives in Manado and its surroundings. hopefully flood can be resolved at the soonest.

Twitter was maximized to to coordinate rescue missions:

Tweeps, please help RT this, a friend of mine Alex in Manado requires help from SAR team. Big thanks.

On Facebook, community pages and North Sulawesi diaspora groups provide latest updates and news regarding the status of disaster reliefs.

Landslide in Paslaten Minsel Village, North Sulawesi. Photo from Facebook page of Manado

Landslide in Paslaten Minsel Village, North Sulawesi. Photo from Facebook page of Manado

Ferix Sonanda expressed gratitude to Facebook friends who helped in facilitating the rescue of his nephew in a flooded village:

Terima Kasih atas bantuannya kawan2…. Seluruh anggota kantor ponakan saya telah dievakuasi skitar 30 mnt yg lewat…

Thank you for your help, friends. All of the office members where my nephew works have been evacuated 30 minutes ago.

Meanwhile, the Manado community Facebook page advised netizens to refrain from circulating news from unconfirmed sources that could trigger chaos amid uncertainty.

Minister for People's Welfare Salim Segaf Al Jufri assured that aid for flood victims are ready to be distributed. The Manado Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG Manado) predicts the possibility of further flooding due to heavy rainfall in the next few days.

Besides Manado, other towns were also devastated by the flooding such as North Minahasa regency, Tomohon city, Minahasa, South Minahasa, and Sangihe Islands.

Disasters caused by extreme rainfall have been reported in many parts of Indonesia, including the capital Jakarta.

January 09 2014

The Faces of Those Affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

the three-dimensional terrain of Google Earth, and the testimony of the victim who survived the tsunami disaster, a photo that is collected from immediately after the disaster.

Screenshot of Project Aceh Tsunami Archive. The project page allows users to view the three-dimensional terrain of Google Earth overlayed with stories of people who survived the tsunami disaster as well as photos collected from immediately after the disaster.

[All links lead to Japanese-language webpages unless otherwise noted.]

A group of researchers in Japan in cooperation with the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center of Syiah Kuala University in Indonesia have used Google Maps to publish an extensive digital archive of stories and images of people in the Indonesian province of Aceh, one of the areas hardest hit by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami [en].

Project Aceh Tsunami Archive was developed by three professors, Hidenori Watanave, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, and Yoshimi Nishi, and their students to digitally archive the stories of Aceh's damage and recovery toward a brighter future.

Hiroyuki Yamamoto shared his hope that there is something everyone can learn from the disaster recovery process:


The process of recovery from the disaster has universal interest. It serves as a reference which will be very helpful for other affected areas, as well as helpful in disaster prevention education outside the affected area. In this regard, we believe that the changes in the region towards recovery should be recorded. Even though there is a movement to preserve damage as a monument, some areas undergo such drastic changes during reconstruction that no damage from the disaster can be traced. I have been researching the regions on a regular basis along with the data sets from Aceh Tsunami Mobile Museum. I hope that our usefully designed interface for the Aceh Tsunami Archive will help connect the people inside and outside of the affected region, and that the experience of Aceh will be shared as common property of mankind. 

Users have the option to select what information appears on the map, such as stories, photos, and aiding countries. By clicking the round photos of people, users can read the story of disaster victims in both Indonesian and Japanese. These stories of survivors were originally compiled and published by Badan Arsip Provinsi Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, the library branch of the National Archives of Indonesia in Aceh, and will be updated more in the near future as more of the text is translated into Japanese.

Screenshot of Aceh Tsunami Archive

Screenshot of the Aceh Tsunami Archive showcasing the story of Intan Mayasari, survivor of the disaster who quickly ran out of the house after the earthquake. 

Project Aceh Tsunami Archive is a counterpart to the already published East Japan Earthquake Archive [ja], so both sets of information can be viewed on a single globe integrated in Google map.

Hidenori Watanave, who has worked on a series of digital archive projects including the aforementioned archives as well as the Tuvalu Visualization Project [en], Nagasaki [atomic bomb] Archive, Hiroshima Archive, and Peace Learning Archive in Okinawawrote:


The students in Aceh unanimously said that the memories of the tsunami are fading away. That's something different from Japanese counterpart victims, which may reflect the different characteristic of each nationality. Yet these students are working hard so that their experience will be preserved for the future. We have also seen children playing around the powership and the stranded ship, which are remnants of the tsunami. These scenes are example of memories of the tsunami staying in everyday life, and knowing the condition of the effects and aftermath of the disaster may give clues to how we think about the future of Japan.

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November 26 2013

Indonesia-Australia Diplomatic Tension Escalates Over Wiretapping

Indonesian activists hold a demonstration denouncing the alleged wiretapping conducted by Australia in Indonesia. Photo by Akbar Gumay, Copyright @Demotix (11/21/2013)

Indonesian activists hold a demonstration denouncing the alleged wiretapping conducted by Australia in Indonesia. Photo by Akbar Gumay, Copyright @Demotix (11/21/2013)

A diplomatic row erupted between Australia and Indonesia after a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that Australia's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has been monitoring the mobile phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his proxies for at least 15 days in 2009.

In response, Indonesia is ceasing military and intelligence cooperation starting next year aside from planning to recall its ambassador to Australia. Other affected diplomatic cooperation includes the interceptions of Australia-bound illegal immigrants and parole for Schapelle Corby, an Australian convicted for drug smuggling in Bali.

For the past few days the Australian Embassy in Jakarta has been targeted by protesters who have condemned the Australian government's surveillance as an act which undermined Indonesia's sovereignty. The protesters have been burning the Australian flag and photos of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Islamist mass organizations have also used the issue to intensify their criticism against Western powers. For example, many Indonesian Path users have been circulating a photo collage to illustrate the protesters’ antics.

demo kedubes australia

Photo collage of an imaginary phone conversation between US President Barrack Obama and Australian PM Tony Abbot regarding the flag burning in front of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. From Path user Wasis Gunarto.

A group of hackers called Anonymous Indonesia also attacked several websites of the Australian government last week which included the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Australian Reserve Bank (ARB).

Meanwhile, a Blackberry Broadcast Message is circulating in Jakarta where motorists are urged to honk three times in protest whenever they're passing in front of the Australian Embassy:

“Untuk menujukan Protes terhadap Australia yang telah melakukan penyadapan kepada Pemerintahan Indonesia mari kita lakukan protes kepada mereka dengan MEMBUNYIKAN Klakson Mobil atau Motor anda 3 X jika melintas di depan KEDUTAAN BESAR AUSTRALIA …”

To show our protest against Australia which has been conducting wiretapping against our government, let them know by honking your car or motorbike's klaxon three times whenever you're passing in front of the Australian Embassy.

Below are some Twitter reactions over the wiretapping scandal:

Not only Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY)'s phone needs to be protected from surveillance. Everyone deserves communication privacy. None of us would like to be tapped, right?

It is not impossible that the wiretapping frenzy with Australia is a form of play to raise the value of SBY's administration before his end of tenure.

This (scandal) indicates SBY's personal fear and panic, because the First Lady Ani Yudhoyono is among the people under surveillance.

We have to believe that truth will prevail. Time is the key. WikiLeaks: SBY Abusing His Power

Meanwhile, Mark Textor, Tony Abbot's campaign strategist and adviser, tweeted a demeaning comment comparing Indonesian Foreign Minister, Martin Natalegawa, to a 1970s Filipino porn star. Textor has offered an apology for his offensive tweet and deactivated his Twitter account.

Following Textor's remark, a Filipino-owned website Interaksyon launched a poll asking the public which 1970s Filipino adult star resembled Mr. Natalegawa.

June 24 2013

Indonesia Fuel Price Hike Ignites Protests

It has been a tough week for Indonesia which finally decided to raise fuel prices. The controversial new energy policy sparked a lot of debates and arguments especially since the presidential election is only a few months away.

The government insists the price hike is necessary to save the economy. This was argued by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik:

To save the economy, higher fuel prices will take effect as of tomorrow ( Saturday, June 22)

He later detailed that the new price for Premium fuel is 6,500 rupiah (66 US cents) per liter, up from 4,500 rupiah; and Solar diesel will cost 5,500 rupiah per liter, also up from 4,500 rupiah per liter.

For many years, the government has been attempting to raise fuel prices. Last April 2012, several protests in key Indonesian cities succeeded in blocking the planned fuel price hike.

Indonesians at last learned the bitter fact of the price hike after weeks haunted by predictions, uncertainty and anxiety caused by media reporting.

The fateful decision was announced after Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (Indonesian House of Representatives) passed the draft bill of 2013. The draft involved the revising of the state budget into law during the plenary session in the capital on Monday (June 17), which included the Indonesian government's proposal for a higher fuel price scheme.

As expected, various groups staged protest actions in response to the fuel price hike. Students and workers trooped to the streets to denounce the approval of the new fuel price scheme.

Students held a rally in front of the parliament building in Jakarta. Photo by Ngarto Februana, Copyright @Demotix (6/17/2013)

Students held a rally in front of the parliament building in Jakarta. Photo by Ngarto Februana, Copyright @Demotix (6/17/2013)

Thousands of workers from the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union following a demonstration in front of the parliament building.. Photo by Ngarto Februana, Copyright @Demotix (6/17/2013)

Thousands of workers from the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union following a demonstration in front of the parliament building.. Photo by Ngarto Februana, Copyright @Demotix (6/17/2013)

To help the poor cope with the higher fuel prices, the government has pledged to provide direct cash assistance to low income families. Only those which have Social Protection Card (KPS-Kartu Perlindungan Sosial) in 14 cities and regencies are entitled to receive the short-term aid. These 14 cities are Jakarta, Palembang, Bogor, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Banjarmasin, Solo, Makasar dan Ambon.

This is not the first time that the government has imposed higher fuel prices. According to, the highest price increase was approved on March 2005. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono raised the price as much as 2,100 rupiah per liter. Prior to the increase, the fuel price was only 2,400 rupiah.

Some Indonesians rejected the cash assistance since according to them it is not exactly what the people need to cope with the fuel price hikes. Citizen reporter Ibnu Dawam Aziz wrote:

The direct cash assistance would only fool the grassroots once again.

Others think this is what the ruling party had plotted to gain and retain public favor. One of them is Jeffry Hidayat, who believes this is how the ruling Democrat party planned to recover its degrading image before the voters.

Not all Indonesians responded seriously to the hikes though. In the popular online forum Kaskus, for instance, they made and posted jokes and anecdotes of the fuel price, like Cittapallo who wrote a comic poetry.

June 01 2013

Protests Over ‘Religious Tolerance’ Award for Indonesian President

Some Indonesians think their president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY, does not deserve the World Statesman Award given to him by the US-based interfaith group Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York on May 30, 2013.

When the award was announced, many people immediately pointed out that SBY has done little to address the growing religious intolerance and religious violence in the most populous Muslim country in the world. Indeed, attacks against minority religious groups have risen in the country in recent years.

Imam Shofwan, a Jakarta resident, initiated a petition on

Nama saya Imam, seorang Muslim dari keluarga Nahdlatul Ulama. […]Sebagai Muslim dan warga Indonesia, saya malu dengan banyaknya kekerasan atas nama agama di bawah pemerintahan saat ini. Kelompok ekstrim dibiarkan membunuh warga Syiah dan warga Ahmadiyah. Di beberapa daerah mayoritas Kristen di Indonesia, mulai ada masjid yang dipersulit pembangunannya. Pemerintahan lokal menghambat pembangunan gereja-gereja Kristen, termasuk HKBP Filadelfia dan GKI Yasmin, dekat Jakarta. […]Saya minta pada ACF untuk menunda penghargaan tersebut sampai SBY bisa memperbaiki kinerjanya melindungi minoritas di Indonesia.

My name is Imam, I'm a Muslim from Nadhlatul Ulama family. [...] As a Muslim and Indonesian citizen, I'm embarrassed by the numerous cases of religious violence under the current government. The extreme groups are allowed to kill the Shiah and Ahmadiyyah followers. In several Christian majority areas, building mosques is becoming difficult. The local authorities restricted the development of Christian churches, including HKBP Filadelfia and GKI Yasmin near Jakarta. [...] I ask ACF to postpone the award until SBY can improve his performance to protect the minorities in Indonesia.

His petition received support from a Catholic priest, Fr. Frans Magnis Suseno:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF),[...] Do you not know that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his up to now 8 1/2 years in office has not a single time said something to the Indonesian people, that they should respect their minorities? That he has shamefully avoided responsibility regarding growing violence towards Achmadiyah and Shia people? Hundreds of their people have under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's presidentship been driven out of their houses, they still live miserably in places like sports halls…

A few days before the awarding ceremony, victims of religious violence gathered in front of the State Palace in Jakarta to present President Susilo with the “Statements Award”.

the Statements Award presented by victims of religious violence. Photo courtesy of GKI Yasmin, used with permission.

The Statements Award presented by victims of religious violence. Photo courtesy of GKI Yasmin, used with permission.

Interfaith protesters presented the Statements Award to the President. Photo courtesy of GKI Yasmin, used with permission.

Meanwhile, Indonesian migrants in New York organized a sit-in protest in front of the hotel where the president stayed.

Indonesians in New York protesting the Appeal for Conscience Foundation award.

Indonesians in New York protesting the award given to SBY. Photo by @Fitrimohan, used with permission.


Spontaneous protest by Indonesians in New York. Photo by @Fitrimohan, used with permission.

Abdul Muchtar claimed he was bribed to express support for the award:

saya dihubungi agar mau mendukung pemberian award buat SBY di NY.
Saya diberikan uang US$ 100,- plus dijemput dan diantar pulang pergi, serta disuapin dengan lunch dan dinner.
ternyata teman2 saya lainnya di NY, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Virginia, DC, dan Maryland juga telah dihubungi dengan iming2 yang sama.
mau muntah saya, sangat menjijikan

Disgusting. I was contacted to support the award for SBY in NY.
I'd be given US$100 plus return transport, lunch and dinner.
Apparently my friends in NY, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Virginia, DC, and Maryland have been contacted, offered the same perks. Makes me nauseous, very disgusting.

On his post, Daniel HT said:

Di laman resmi Appeal of Conscience Foundation ini tertulis filosofinya sebagai berikut: freedom, democracy and human rights are basic principles.

Sedangkan slogannya adalah: “A crime committed in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion.” Suatu kejahatan yang dilakukan atas nama agama adalah kejahatan terbesar terhadap agama.

Dari filosofi dan slogan yayasan ini saja, SBY sudah tidak memenuhi kriterianya.

In the Appeal of Conscience Foundation official web page, it is said that their philosophies are as follow: freedom, democracy and human rights are basic principles.

While its slogan is: “A crime committed in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion.” Based on their philosophy and slogan, SBY has already failed to meet the criteria to deserve the award.

On Twitter, reactions vary:

@Abdan_dj: Selamat ut Bpk. Presiden @SBYudhoyono atas penghargaan World Statesman Award dari organisasi nirlaba Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF).

@Abdan_dj: Congratulations to Mr. President @SBYudhoyono on World Statesman Award from non- profit organization Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF).

‏@adhe_cj: Silakan ambil, tpi itu sbnrnya adlh tantangan!!RT @tempodotco: SBY Dapat World Statesman Award, Beri 4 Janji

‏@adhe_cj: Go ahead and take it but frankly it's a challenge.

‏@dinopattidjalal: Pemenang Nobel Daw Ang San SuuKyi puji kemajuan demokrasi Indonesia yg inspiratif+dukung pemberian World Statesman Award kpd Presiden SBY

‏@dinopattidjalal: Nobel Prize winner Daw Ang San SuuKyi praised Indonesia's democratic progress as inspiring and supported World Statesman Award to President SBY.

‏@DukungMahfudMD: Pemberian World Statesman Award kepada SBY tidak sesuai dengan fakta lapangan. Jika berintegritas, dia akan malu untuk nerima.

‏@DukungMahfudMD: Bestowing World Statesman Award to SBY is different to the facts in the field. If he's a man of integrity, he'll be ashamed to accept.

@daanandraan: SBY dapet penghargaan “kebebasan beragama” dr ACF (Appeal of Conscience Foundation) ?? I'am Atheist now.

@daanandraan: SBY got an award for “religious freedom” from ACF (Appeal of Conscience Foundation)? I'm an atheist now.

‏@jery_tbn: Selamat Pak @SBYudhoyono mendapat penghargaan World Statesman Award terhadap negara yg kehidupan toleransi beragamanya masih dipertanyakan..

‏@jery_tbn: Congratulations Mr. @SBYudhoyono on the World Statesman Award for the country with questionable religious tolerance.

April 22 2013

Indonesia: Reflections on Women's Emancipation Day

Every year, Indonesians celebrate the birthday of Raden Ajeng Kartini on April 21, who is popularly known for championing women's rights.

Kartini was born into an intellectual noble family, her father was a Regency Chief of Jepara, a post available only to the nobility. Her maternal grandfather was an Islamic teacher. Being the daughter of a regent, Kartini was allowed to attend a European lower school in the Dutch East Indies until the time her family decided to marry her off.

At a time when women's education is inaccessible to most Javanese, Kartini taught herself Dutch and wrote letters to her Dutch friends who introduced her to feminist ideas.

Women making batik pieces together in celebration of Kartini Day. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto, copyright @Demotix 4/20/2012

Women making batik pieces together in celebration of Kartini Day. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto, copyright @Demotix 4/20/2012

Kartini fought for the improvement of the rights of Javanese women. However, until this day her visions have yet to be realized completely.

Twitter hashtags #Kartini and #Emansipasi were used to discuss what the day means to many Indonesians:

@e_christmas Emansipasi mnrt saya berarti perempuan punya hak utk tidak ditindas. Tp bukan berarti kesetaraan gender yg keblinger #Kartini

@e_christmas: To me, emancipation means that women have the right not to be oppressed. But it doesn't mean overwhelming gender equality.

@dhana_ard Emansipasi sih udah dipegang,tp solidaritas sesama perempuan kpn dong. Selamat hari kartini perempuan indonesia =]

@dhana_ard: Emancipation is now present. But when will we have women's solidarity? Happy Kartini Day to Indonesian women!

‎‏‪@fajarwidd‬ Emansipasi tdk melulu protes ttg kesetaraan gender. Tapi lebih pd kemandirian perempuan. Happy Kartini's day

‎‏‪@fajarwidd: Emancipation is not always about demanding gender equality. It's more about women's independence.

On Facebook:

Kazhiem Afif Shalihi: Kata Mamah Dedeh di acara ceramahnya di ANTV (liat iklannya) dalam rangka hari Kartini, dia bilang, “Buat perempuan gak perlu ribut soal persamaan gender, kita cukup kembali saja pada al-Qur'an”
Makanya jadi begini deh perempuan-perempuan di Indonesia, pada manggut2 dijualin atas nama agama.
Penjualan Santriwati oleh Guru Pesantren Marak di Garut

Kazhiem Afif Shalihi: According to Mamah Dedeh (a popular female Islamic televangelist) in her sermon in ANTV celebrating the Kartini Day, she said “women shouldn't make a fuss about gender equality, we only need to return to Koran”
That's why many women in Indonesia are submissive even when they are sold in the name of religion.
Female Islamic school students in Garut sold by their teachers

Kaisar Victorio : hari kartini sepertinya sekedar ceremonial dan pameran kebaya aja Mestinya Menteri peranan wanita pada moment ini blusukan kedesa desa sejauh mana kondisi wanita disana sat ini….

Kaisar Victorio: Kartini Day seems ceremonial and exhibition of Kebaya (traditional costume). Minister for Women's Affairs should use this moment to visit villages to see the actual state of women

Meydi Meidyawati Banyak Kartini-Kartini jaman sekarang d perdaya dan nggak berdaya..baik oleh kaum adam ataupun oleh negara/pemerintah sendiri..salah satu bukti ƴƍ aq lihat d sini….sejauh mataku memandang..ada air mata jatuh melihat putri2 bangsa ƴƍ besar d perbudak oleh bangsa ƴƍ kecil..seperti tak ada jln lain untuk mereka dapat d negri sendiri…emansipasi ƴƍ d perjuangkan Ibu kita Kartini nggak ada maknanya lagi..sekedar sejarah belaka..

Meydi Meidyawati: Many modern “Kartinis” are fooled and marginalized .. by men or by the state/government. One of the evidence I see is that tears are shed by daughters of Indonesia slaved by smaller countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Arab, etc, but there's no other way for them to do something in their own country. Emancipation fought by our Dame Kartini no longer has meaning, it's only history.

Abdul Khaliq Ahmad Kartini adalah tokoh emansipasi bangsa, bukan sekedar tokoh emansipasi perempuan..

Abdul Khaliq Ahmad: Kartini is the nation's emancipation figure, not only women's emancipation figure

In general the reactions of Indonesian netizens show how the nations's Emancipation Day is seen differently by the population.

@ayaslarass Jgn krn hari kartini, trus perempuan jd sok emansipasi seenak-enaknya yah, ingat lelaki tetap Imam kita :))

@ayaslarass: (It's) not because it's Kartini Day, (us) women could ostentatiously be emancipating at will, remember, men are our religious leaders

‎‏‪@pergijauh‬ Selamat hari Kartini, mari minimaliskan budaya ‘ladies first', biar gak dibilang lemah.

‎‏‪@pergijauh‬: Happy Kartini Day, let's minimize the “Ladies First” custom, so you won't be called weak.

@ajuNna_njun Emansipasi tanpa melupakan kodratnya sebagai perempuan ‪#HariKartini‬

@ajuNna_njun: Emancipation without forgetting our qualities as women

‎‏‪@IhsanMDe‬ Slh 1 bntuk emansipasi? “‪@VIVAnews‬: Ketua KPU: Banyak Partai Gagal karena Perempuan ‪ ‬”

‎‏‪@IhsanMDe‬: One of the forms of emancipation? “‪@VIVAnews‬: General Elections Committee Chairman: Many political parties failed because of women ‪‬”

An anonymous blogger known as m3d14ku's wrote a post about the relevance of Kartini today:

“Banyak orang mengeluhkan bahwa perempuan masa kini salah mengartikan emansipasi.”
[...]Tampaknya ada sepenggal perjuangan yang selama ini luput dari kita. Mayoritas dari kita hanya mengenal emansipasi yang diperjuangkan R. A Kartini hanya dalam bidang pendidikan dan pekerjaan, tetapi bagian untuk menjadi pendidik dalam keluarga justru terlupakan.
[...]Tetapi sebagai tonggak generasi bangsa, kebaya saja tak cukup, karena Andalah sang pendidik utama bagi generasi bangsa ini.

Many people complain that modern women misrepresent emancipation.
[...]It seems that there was a fight that we've forgotten. Most of us know emancipation that was fought by R.A. Kartini is only valid in the fields of education and job, but many of us forgot the part where we're supposed to be the educators of the family.
[...]Despite so, as the pillar of this generation, wearing Kebaya is not enough, because you are the main educator of the current generation in this country.

April 20 2013

Indonesia: Relief Still Needed for Rokatenda Refugees

The impact of the Rokatenda volcanic eruption in Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia is still felt by some 3,000 refugees from Sikka District.

Rokatenda erupted last February and following the natural disaster, residents are still hesitant and afraid to return to their houses.

Rokatenda artwork by Rara W (@jamduapagi)

Rokatenda artwork by @jamduapagi, used with permission

Through a text message sent to Global Voices, Father Hilde Tanga, from Maumere Diocese said that residents living near Mount Rokatenda are still living in shelters in Palu'e Island. Although the volcanic activity has receded, ash spew and small eruptions followed by tremors are still occurring.

Once again several Indonesian online network coordinated with each other to make sure the effectiveness of humanitarian response coming from all corners of the archipelago.

Communities of bloggers and social media users were actively and responsively passing on news about the eruption  through Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter they used hashtags #Rokatenda and #KupangBagarak. Some of them also broadcast news through the popular Blackberry Messenger service.

Flobamora, East Nusa Tenggara bloggers community, dedicated their time and energy to report new developments from the field as well as continuously dispatching provisions badly needed by the refugees. Latest updates on  Rokatenda can be read on Flobamora's Twitter timeline or their Facebook page.

Christian Dicky Senda in his blog Naked Timur reflected on the social media users’ contribution in the wake of the disaster:

Bencana yang memicu terjadinya gelombang pengungsi ke kota Maumere dan Kec. Maurole di Kabupaten Ende ini memang harus membutuhkan perhatian kita, ketika pemerintah daerah sendiri terkesan abai dalam hal tanggap darurat, maka kelahiran gerakan baru di media sosial seperti Twitter, Blog dan Facebook saya rasa adalah sebuah keniscayaan baru yang baik. Ini terkait nyawa ribuan orang, tak bisa juga kita berlama-lama atau berdiam diri saja.


Siapa sangka bahwa dari status Facebook, Twitter, BBM atau menulis kisahnya secara lengkap di blog, orang-orang secara sukarela menyodorkan bantuannya. Di beberapa kota seperti Ambon, Kupang, Soe dan khususnya Ende sebagai kota dengan member Komunitas Blogger NTT terbanyak kemudian mencetuskan aksi-aksi solidaritasnya.

The situation of refugees in the city of y and Maurole Sub-District in Ende requires our attention, (when) administrative government seems ignorant about humanitarian response, I think the new Social Media movements such as those on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook  are of great importance. Thousands of lives are involved, we can't be sluggish or remain idle.


Who knew that from Facebook statuses, Twitter, BBM (Blackberry Messaging), or by writing stories on blogs, people would be inspired to volunteer or offer their help? In cities like Ambon, Kupang, Soe and especially Ende where most of the Flobamora's community members are based, solidarity actions began.

On their blog, Flobamora community said scores of residents have been moving out of their villages since November 2012, long before the big eruption on February 3, 2013.

Gunung Rokatenda terletak di sebuah pulau kecil bernama Pulau Palu’e. Pulau ini masuk dalam wilayah administratif Kabupaten Sikka tapi letaknya justru di depan pantai di wilayah Maurole, Kabupaten Ende.


Ada sekitar 11.000 penduduk di sana dan pengungsi yang tercatat baru 2.000 jiwa saja.

Kenapa ada penduduk yang memilih tidak meninggalkan Palu’e? Karena terikat perasaan dan tradisi.

Mount Rokatenda situated in a small island called Palu'e. The island is listed as part of Sikka District, however its location is exactly facing the beach of Maurole area in Ende District.


There are 11,000 residents living there and only 2,000 people listed as displaced. Why many choose to stay in Palu'e? Because they're attached with the place and bound to traditions.

Malnutrition, respiratory infection, Malaria, and Diarrhea are haunting those living in the emergency shelters. Faced with trouble in accessing humanitarian aid from the administrative government, some of the refugees held a protest action last January. The protest didn't end well since it led to the arrest of some protesters.

The mainstream media reported that refugees are experiencing logistics problem due to the preparation of the local election and limited stock of clean water and food reserve.

Information on logistics and donation for refugees are available by using the Twitter hashtags #Geser #Rokatenda, #1mugberas and #Kupangbagarak.

January 21 2013

Indonesia Flood: Emergency Phone Numbers in Jakarta

Enda Nasution posted a list of phone numbers of emergency flood mitigation posts throughout Jakarta in Indonesia. Jakarta was heavily flooded last week and was placed on a state of emergency. The flooding has eased already but residents are still on high alert following the reported damage in the city floodgates.

January 17 2013

Indonesia Flood: Jakarta Placed Under State of Emergency

Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, is paralyzed by massive flooding. Governor Joko Widodo placed the capital under emergency status until January 27. It is reported that 27 out of 44 subdistricts in Jakarta are flooded. Netizens are using the hashtag #banjirJKT (Jakarta flood) to share information about the flood situation in various districts.

@Posma_ Jokowi-Ahok menghadapi salah tantangan terbesar Jakarta. Ini baru banjir 5 tahunan. Semoga terobosan solusinya berjalan baik #banjirJKT

@Posma_ (Mayor) Jokowi-(Deputy Mayor) Ahok are dealing with Jakarta's toughest challenge. This is what we call the five-year flood. Hopefully, the solution will be smooth #banjirJKT

Flooding in central Jakarta. Image from twitter page of @KartuPos

@cewequat Silakan berpartisipasi di #BerbagiSELIMUT Menolong warga terdekat sekitar & siapa saja yg bisa kita bantu meringankan musibah #BanjirJKT

@cewequat Do participate in #berbagiselimut (share a blanket). Help your neighbors or anybody. We can help those who suffer in this Jakarta flood.

The local economy was paralyzed after two consecutive days of heavy rains in Jakarta

Johannes Silentio Hari-hari ini wajah paradoks Jakarta terkuak lebar. Kota metropolis-modern yang berkali-kali salah urus dan bisa lumpuh hanya karena hujan semalaman.

Johannes Silentio These past days, the paradoxical facade of Jakarta was revealed. A modern metropolis that is mismanaged many times over and can be crippled by overnight rainfall.

Heavy flooding in central Jakarta. Photo from @MustafidzZ

@BLUTransJakarta: Info | 09:16 Mhn maaf saat ini semua koridor stop operasi imbas banjir dan jlr tdk dapat dilalui

@BLUTransJakarta: We apologize to announce that currently all our bus corridors have stopped operating due to flooding and lanes are impassable.

Jennie S. Bev Many things need to be cancelled today, including business meetings.  Floods in Jakarta as high as 3 meters in some areas. Internet connection is also bad. My sympathy to all affected.

‏@kalamkata Tol bandara arah tengah kota, jalur kanan terendam setinggi setengah bodi mobil sedan. #BanjirJKT #JKTBanjir

‏@kalamkata Inner city highway's right lane is submerged. Half a sedan high.

Jakarta residents cross a flooded street. Photo by asep sambas Copyright @Demotix (1/16/2013)

Flood photos are also pooled on Pinterest. Meanwhile, Google user Dest created a Google Map to locate the heavily flooded areas in Jakarta. Below are other twitter reactions and updates about the flood:

@DianOnno Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) sepertinya juga sedang membantu hewan yang terkena dampak #banjirJkt. Kalau butuh bisa kontak mereka.

@DianOnno Looks like Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) is helping animals that are affected by Jakarta flood. Do contact them if you need assistance.

@Oepaij Wilayah yang harusnya jadi zona luahan air (discharge) malah dibikin pemukiman. Sama aja nyuruh orang ngebangun rumah di empang. #BanjirJKT

@Oepaij Areas prepared to receive water evacuation are now filled with residents. That's like telling people to build a house on top of swamp.

@Ngelantour Flood in the world is measured by ‘cm' or ‘meters'. Only in Indonesia, it is measured by ‘mata kaki, betis, dengkul, dada, pinggang, leher' (ankle high, calves, knee, chest, hip and neck deep)

‏@KartuPos Ular gede banget ditemukan depan sekolah Santa Ursula sekitar Lapangan Banteng. Dari path @BeckTum:

‏@KartuPos Large snake found in front of Saint Ursula school near Lapangan Banteng (note: a sports field). From Path Dari path @BeckTum:

August 01 2012

Indonesia: Athlete Arrived Late for her Olympics Debut

With a population of 220 million, Indonesia is sending only 22 athletes to compete in seven sports events in the 2012 London Olympics. The small delegation was criticized when it was reported that 54 sports officials, or double the number of athletes, are attending the games too.

Diaz Kusumawardani, 16 years old, is one of the players competing in shooting the morning after the opening ceremony. She's the youngest athlete from the Indonesian contingent. Diaz grabbed the Olympics ticket after reaching the 388 limit score in the Asian Shooting Championship in Doha, Qatar last January, and she's supposed to be ready to make her Olympics debut in London. She was in fact released from the duty to march in the parade during the opening ceremony for her big time. But by the next morning her preparation suddenly fell apart.

Indonesian athlete Diaz Kusumawardani. Photo from twitter page of Diaz

She admitted it in her twitter account. Apparently, her coach told her that the race will begin at 9am. When they arrived in the venue, Royal Artillery Barracks, the race was set to begin at 8.15am and other athletes have already prepared their equipment.

She explains the morning rush in her twitter account: [Id]

@diazdkw Great ya, datang telat hasil tak maksimal.

@diazdkw: Great, arrived late and didn't reach maximal outcome.

@diazdkw Yang bilang tanding jam 9 itu siapa ya? Uhuk ga ikut TM sir

@diazdkw: Who said the race begins at 9 am? Did you attend the technical meeting?

@diazdkw Jangan sampe kesalahan tolol ini terjadi lagi ya, atlet dan pelatih harus tau tanding jam berapa. Jangan sampr misscom dan lebih profesional

@diazdkw: Next time, please avoid this stupid mistake. The athlete and the coach must know exactly what time they must be present in the venue. Avoid miscommunication and act more professionally.

Out of 56 contestants, Diaz finished second to the last. Her comments are of course a news material. The issue became a controversial topic in the mainstream and social media.

@zenrs Dg jumlah official 2 kali lipat lebih banyak dr jumlah atlet, masih ada cerita atlet datang mepet ke arena. Ngapain aja di sana official?

@zenrs: With more officials than athletes, we have situation like this, athlete arriving late in the venue. What are you doing there, officials?

@AyuWidy Diaz Kusuma satu2 nya atlit tembak Indonesia di Olimpiade telat dateng ke venue. Bener2 konsisten bawa budaya ngaret. Anda luar biasa!

@AyuWidy: Diaz Kusuma is the only Indonesia shooting athlete, but she came up late in the venue. Really consistent in bringing out our time discipline culture. You're amazing!

@ayshardzn Diaz Kusuma,1st Indonesian to compete in London (Shooting) came 1 hour late to venue. Finished 55th from 56. 1 hour late! #London2012

@khalidolit Atlet cabang nembak, Diaz Kusuma telat sejam ke venue. Karena telat adalah budaya bangsa.

@khalidolit: Diaz Kusuma, shooting athlete, arrived an hour late in the venue. Because being late is our nation's culture.

Last Monday, Diaz used her Twitter again to clarify that she didn't come late hours after the race began, but that she arrived when the race was about to begin.

@diazdkw konfirmasi ya, saya tidak telat sejam ke RAB. tolong dong jangan terlalu membesar2kan.

@diazdkw: I want to confirm, I didn't arrive an hour late to RAB [the venue]. Please don't overexpose it.

@diazdkw saya tidak pernah marah atau menyalahkan siapapun tentang hasil saya kemarin, saya minta kepada semuanya jangan membesar2kan ini.

@diazdkw: I have never been angry or blamed anyone about what I achieved yesterday, I beg people for not overexposing this.

Indonesia has collected six gold medals in Olympics history, all of them came from badminton.

June 24 2012

Will A Unified Time Zone Work For Indonesia?

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic country, plans to synchronize its three time zones on October. The business sector, especially travel operators, applauded the plan saying that synchronized time with Asia's financial capitals such as Seoul, Hongkong and Singapore would boost business activities and tourism. However, former Vice President Jusuf Kalla said that the plan is ‘illogical' while the Indonesian Council of Ullemas (MUI) said that change will confuse the believers.

Daytime in Bromo Mountain, East Java. Flickr photo by Robertus B. Herdiyanto used with permission under Creative Commons.

According to blogger Rusrian Yuzaf, the time change will influence people's habits including prayer habits of Indonesian Muslims.

Teman-teman muslim yang tinggal di Jayapura misalnya tentu waktu subuhnya menjadi sekitar jam 3 atau jam 4 pagi (GMT +8).  […] Secara geografis kebijakan satu zona waktu ini mungkin tidak cocok untuk di terapkan di Indonesia. Belum lagi sebagian besar penduduk di negara ini beragama Islam. Toh jika nantinya ada lagi kebijakan mengenai jam masuk kantor dan jam istirahat diserahkan kepada masing-masing daerah disesuaikan dengan letak geografis masing-masing ngapain susah-susah merubah zona waktu.

Our fellow Muslims who live in Jayapura Papua for example will have to conduct their  Fajr prayers around 3 or 4  AM  (GMT+8). […] Geographically, unified timezone isn't suitable to be implemented in Indonesia, where most of  its citizens are Muslims. If later on the office and break hours are to be  decided by provincial administrators, then why bother with the time zone adjustment.

Indoflyer is a site for the country's aviation enthusiasts.  On its forum, users are debating the economic benefits of a unified timezone.

Indoflyer user afterburner said:

Untuk menjadi sebuah negara yang maju, penyatuan zona waktu bukan satu-satunya jalan. Tapi kalau memang bisa membantu mempercepat kemajuan, mengapa tidak? […]

Saya pribadi sih suka kalo Jakarta jadi GMT+8. Berangkat kantor udara belum panas, pulang kantor langit masih terang, tapi sudah tidak terlalu panas. Hal yang sama berlaku juga untuk kota-kota di zone WIB lainnya. Tapi penyatuan zone waktu ini bisa bermasalah untuk masyarakat yang tinggal di daerah zona WIT. Meraka berangkat kerja ketika matahai sudah tinggi, dan pulang ketika matahari sudah terbenam.

To become a developed nation, time  zones unification isn't the only way. If it helps the development, why not?[…]

I personally like Jakarta to be on GMT+8. The weather won't be too hot on the way to the airport, on the way home it'll still be daytime but temperate.  The same case will apply in other cities in Central Indonesia Time (WIB). But the time zones unification will become a problem to those living in Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT). They'll go to work when the sun is up and come home when the sun is set.

While user fadelart said:

Ane yang tinggal di Kaltim GMT+8 heran pas pertama kali ke Surabaya bangun saur jam setengah 4 udah pada imsyak

Kalau satu-satu cuma itu jalan terbaik buat kepentingan bisnis indonesia ane setuju aja.

I  live in East Kalimantan under  GMT+8, I was  surprised when I visited Surabaya, I had to take my Sahoor (author's note: last meal of the day during Fasting Month, consumed before dawn) before 3:30  AM, because  at that time Imsak (author's note: the beginning of fasting) has started.

If  the unification is the best way for business in Indonesia, I agree (with the plan).

Astronomist Marufin Sudibyo who wrote his assessment at Kompasiana, a citizen journalism division of a local newspaper,  said that the unified timezone may have serious implications:

penerapan WKI membawa sejumlah implikasi serius setidaknya pada dua hal. Pertama, terkait waktu Matahari dan ritme kerja. Waktu Matahari adalah waktu intrinsik yang dimiliki Matahari oleh posisinya akibat rotasi Bumi, yang nampak secara gamblang dalam terbit dan terbenam. Waktu Matahari ini amat berbeda-beda bagi setiap kawasan di Indonesia. Meski waktu Matahari tidak terganggu oleh rekonfigurasi zona waktu di bagian Bumi manapun, namun aplikasi setempatnya dalam waktu sipil akan turut berubah.

The implementation of Unified Indonesia Time (WKI) could bring various implications, at least two of them are  serious. First, regarding the Solar time and work period. Solar time is an intrinsic period of the sun due to the earth rotation, the obvious results of this are sunrise and sunset. In Indonesia, the solar times are different in each regions. Although the solar time won't be disturbed  by time zone  reconfiguration,  the application on civil time will create adjustments.

Should the government move forward with the plan, then it shouldn't rush to implement it and the populace should be thoroughly informed. Sudibyo elaborates.

implementasi WKI sebaiknya mulai berjalan per 1 Januari 2013. Pertimbangannya, selain meminimalkan gejolak publik (meskipun gejolaknya takkan bakal separah resistensi kenaikan harga BBM), tidak terburu-buru dan juga menyediakan rentang waktu lebih lama guna melaksanakan sosialisasi. […]

Kita belum mendapatkan satu gambaran utuh bagaimana Indonesia setelah penerapan WKI, khususnya dari dua kawasan ekstrim : kawasan terbarat dan tertimur Indonesia. Janganlah pembicaraan mengenai WKI hanya datang dari kementerian-kementerian bidang ekonomi tanpa menyertakan Kementerian Agama, padahal WKI memiliki implikasi cukup luas dalam aspek religi (khususnya bagi Umat Islam di Indonesia).

The WKI implementation is planned on January 1,  2013. In consideration, other than minimizing social turmoil (though the turmoil won't be as bad as resistance against fuel price increase), it won't be a rush as well as providing enough time to socialize the plan. […] We haven't got a clear picture on what would happen if WKI is implemented, especially on two regions in the westernmost and easternmost parts of the country. WKI discussions should not be initiated only by the economic ministry. The Ministry of Religious Affairs should be part of discussions because WKI would  have wide implications in religious aspects (especially for Indonesian Muslims).

May 06 2012

Indonesia: Geography Lesson For Justin Bieber

In a recent interview during an event in London, Justin Bieber cited Indonesia as “random country” and no wonder it made a trending topic on Twitter during the last week of April.

While explaining the creative process for one of his new tracks, Bieber said that it was recorded in some “random country”. His manager, Scott Braun, interjected by saying it was produced in Indonesia. “I recorded it in a studio. Some little place. They didn't know what they were doing,” Bieber continued.

Bieber has a big following in Indonesia. He had a one day concert in Jakarta attended by ten thousand people last year. His poor sense of geography broke the hearts of his fans and made him an easy target for a banter in the internet.

Justin Bieber in Indonesia. From Twitpic page of @AnisOphelia

And netizen raise their voices to criticize the superstar:

@BarryLikumahuwa Random country? Thanks Bieber, but we got the biggest Jazz festival, even bigger than Canada's own Montreal Jazz Fest.. *boo-yah*

@anonbeliebers A Belieber Confessed: Justin Bieber said that Indonesia is some random country…. I'm sad about it. :((

@kartika_mariana don't judge my lovely country with word random. You not something without your fans here. Understand kid!@justinbieber

@kartika_mariana here, in the random country you have fans! Your statement can make them sad.@justinbieber

@mariastephani you know @justinbieber .. you`re saying my country as RANDOM COUNTRY.. I know you`ve apologise. But, ITS TOO LATE

@thaliaviotama #IHATEJUSTINBIEBER on TT because of he said “random country” to Indonesia? Honestly, I just dislike his words.

@AcilEnor You said indonesia as a random country!!! You're a random singer!! You are a boy with no manner!! Lallalallalallla

@INDOADOREBIEBER HE thought Bali was a name of a country and he forgot to say ‘Bali' so he said “some random country”

Last but not the least, there's also netizens who defended the young star:

@pwgdochi Random country kan artinya bukan negara ga jelas, tapi dia (menurut berita) rekaman di negara acak yg ga direncanakan, y u so stupid

@pwgdochi He didn't mean ‘nowhere land' by saying random country, but it's a country selected randomly that he didn't plan to record his song

May 02 2012

Indonesia: Should Mosques Lower Prayer Volume?

In a speech delivered during the national congress of the Indonesian Board of Mosques (DMI) last week, Vice President Boediono sparked a debate when he suggested that mosques should lower the volume of loudspeakers during the daily prayer call

Mosques in Indonesia use loudspeakers to broadcast “adzan” five times a day reminding people to pray. Boediono warned that the loud volume might disturb other people, including fellow Muslims. He added that a less noisy call to prayer is more likely to enter a person's heart rather than loud sounds.

Grand Mosque Al-Mashun. Photo from Flickr page of hophoptuing

But many Indonesians advised Boediono to address other more important issues. Blogger happydsf, voices his concern:

Sungguh disayangkan, bahkan sepertinya negara ini ingin mengintimidasi kebebasan warga muslim, di negaranya sendiri, yang notabene juga di sebut negara dengan jumlah penduduk muslim yang mayoritas. masih banyak hal yang harus diselesaikan para wakil rakyat daripada harus mengurusi pengeras suara untuk panggilan sholat.

Too bad that this country even tries to intimidate freedom of religion in the most populated Muslim nation. There are still a lot of problems that should be solved by the lawmakers rather than taking care of the prayer's call volume.

Another blogger, Tototapalnise, tries to understand the Vice President's message:

Namun, kalau kita coba cermati dengan hati dan kepala dingin, perkataan wapres tersebut merupakan teguran halus buat kita kaum musliman dalam menjaga kualitas para muadzin sekaligus kualitas sound system di masjid-masjid….

…Lalu kenapa kita umat muslim harus memasang muka marah dengan ucapan tersebut dan langsung naik pitam? Apakah sedemikian reaktifkah umat muslim Indonesia yang merupakan mayoritas di negeri ini dengan sebuah kritikan atau masukan?

If we try to think about it carefully, the statement is a soft warning for Muslim people to maintain the adzan's quality and also the mosques' sound system quality…

…So why we have to be angry with that and losing our temper? As the majority religion in the country, why are we so angry when we receive criticism?

Haris El Salman said that the loudspeaker's volume has never been an issue in the real world:

Bukankan selama ini tenggang rasa antar pemeluk agama masih dalam tahapan yang baik? Bahkan di daerah saya masih ada masjid dan gereja yang hanya dipisahkan oleh sebuah dinding, namun belum pernah saya melihat atau mendengar terjadi pertentangan antara jemaat masjid dan gereja ditempat tersebut, mereka akur-akur saja menjalankan ibadah masing-masing…

…Bukankah ini hanya akan menimbulkan perdebatan-perdebatan yang tidak esensial? Mungkin maksud beliau baik, tapi tidak pada tepatnya. Great idea in the wrong place?

We still have great tolerance among different religions. In where I live, there's a mosque and a church only separated by a thin wall, but I never see a conflict between people. They get along together when practising their religions…

…It will only provoke non-essential arguments. His intention might be right, but not in the right place. Great idea in the wrong place?

There are also mixed reactions on Twitter:

@fgaban Dalam soal TOA, pernyataan Pak Boed itu otokritik bagus bagi Muslim Indonesia.

@fgaban In case of the speaker's volume, Boediono's statement is a good self-criticism for Indonesian Muslims.

@anatriyana Knp jd msalah? Selama ini kan adzan gak ganggu? RT @Yahoo_ID: Wakil Presiden Boediono meminta suara azan diatur supaya tdk trlalu kncang

@anatriyana Why it should be a problem? All this time adzan has never been disturbing.

@gitaputrid Sayah senang Wapres Boediono ngomong soal TOA masjid u/azan; minimal ada nyali berani buka front versus suara mayoritas.

@gitaputrid I'm happy VP Boediono talked about speaker's volume for adzan. At least someone bravely started a discussion against the majority opinion.

May 01 2012

Indonesia: The Curious Case Of The Governor's Middle Finger

In the heat of his run for second term as Jakarta's governor, Fauzi Bowo sparked controversy when netizens exposed his picture giving a middle-finger salute.

The incident took place two weeks ago when the governor attended a youth event at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. As he stood between a girl and a boy, he was seen raising his middle finger imitating the girl's gesture. Instead of earning admiration for supporting an event organized by young people, Fauzi, or more popularly known as Foke, was seen giving a bad example instead.

Jakarta Governor Foke Giving the Middle Finger Gesture. Photo from @SHANDYKIIDNAHS

As netizens expressed their shock and rage over the “indecent” behavior, Foke's spokesman said that the governor was only joking among young people who gathered for a band competition event. The governor claimed that he doesn't “understand those kinds of things”.

Many netizen can't hide their surprise:

@vankaay baru nyadar, bapak fauzi bowo.. acungin jari tengah pas lagi rame rame sama komunitas motor. mau gaul atau gatau artinya pak?hualahh

@vankaay Just realized, Mr. Fauzi Bowo's showing his middle finger when being around with bike community members. Do you want to mingle or don't you know what it really means?”

@Ganyut Fauzi bowo mulai berkampanye dgn mempromosikan jari tengah,..hidup jari tengah paak!,..lanjuuuutttt!!

@Ganyut  Fauzi Bowo started his campaign by promoting middle finger's salute. Viva the middle finger! Go on with it!”

@ariefadjar jargon kampanye yang akan diserukan oleh Fauzi Bowo adalah “FOKE YOU!!!” sembari mengacungkan jari tengah. :)))”

@ariefadjar The campaign slogan for Fauzi Bowo is ‘Foke You!' with showing up middle finger.”

Pangeran Siahaan wrote a column and tried to understand:

With his middle finger raised and the fatherly smile glued on his face, the same smile that can be seen on billboards around the capital, the governor looked cool and firm. It’s some sort of a non-verbal communication that reflects his thoughts on the people….

…What was a little bit baffling is that wasn't what the governor was thinking when he gave the gesture. His staff clarified that Fauzi wasn't aware of the figurative meaning behind the middle-finger salute and he was just imitating the band members standing next to him.

Jakarta's election will take place on July 11 but Foke has not been attending public debates with other candidates. After not showing up in a TV debate, he also turned down a chance to face an open debate in University of Indonesia last week

April 17 2012

Indonesia: Popular Minister Starts His Twitter Account

Dahlan Iskan, State Enterprises Minister, has caused another hype in the virtual world, especially among Indonesian twitter users.

Last March 19, Dahlan caused a commotion at a tollgate in Jakarta after becoming upset by the long queue blocking his way. Dahlan had earlier instructed that there should be only five cars queuing at each ticket counter. That morning, he became upset finding many cars queuing and only two out of the four booths were open. Dahlan got out from his car and then lifted the barrier blocking the way to allow the vehicles, at least 100 cars, to pass without paying.

His action might be considered as excessive, but Jakarta's heavy traffic in the weekdays still remains a main issue in the capital so good traffic management is needed. His action generated a lot of buzz especially on social media.

Last week, he repeated the same trick but he targeted the wrong toll booth because the operator is a private corporation. He has apologized for that, but he still has public sympahty. Before the toll incident, Dahlan grabbed attention when he attended a minister meeting in Bogor (approximately 60km from Jakarta) by riding a train and ojek (a hired-motorbike) last December. He even spent a night in a farmer's house in Central Java last month, after helping out the farmer to gather eggs.

A few days ago, Dahlan launched his own twitter account, @iskan_dahlan. Six hours after posting two tweets, Dahlan is already being followed by almost 18 thousand netizens.

And here are some reactions on twitter

@TE8270: @iskan_dahlan selamat pa atas resminya akun twitternya, berarti sdh ada tempat kami rakyat utk langsung mengadu tentang pelayanan BUMN.

@TE8270 “Congratulations on your Twitter official account, so it means we as common people can inform you about state enterprises services directly.”

@aforasri: Selamat datang di Twitter,pak @iskan_dahlan! :) Sudah banyak warga Twitterland yg menunggu kehadiran Bapak. *bahagia*

@aforasri “Welcome to Twitter, there's already many Twitterland citizens awaiting your presence, sir. Happy.”

@NajwaShihab: Pak @iskan_dahlan lagi buka akun twitter di @MataNajwa :D

@NajwaShihab (Metro TV presenter): “@iskan_dahlan is starting his twitter account.”

@jetsilvers ayo pak Dahlan kuatkan stamina, lawan terus , gunakan media > people untuk lawan @iskan_dahlan #janganmenyerah aturan ga bagus ganti sj

@jetsilvers “Please sir, hold strong, keep fighting, use media people to fight against unfair rules.”

@mamanyamilo: Pak @iskan_dahlan sekali2 naek commuter saat jam sibuk dong pak,biar ngerasain gmn padat n panasnya krn ac sering mati plus gangguan sinyal

@mamanyamilo “Sir, please find time just to try commuter train during busy hour so you can experience the inconvenience because the air conditioner is not working plus cellular network trouble”

After a week on twitter, Dahlan is still quite coy in using his new account. He has posted only 25 tweets but he already has more than 50,000 followers. It is understandable due to his full-day activities as a minister, but he found time to reply to a news item about the House of Representative (DPR) intention to use their interpellation rights to ask his policy.

@iskan_dahlan (replying to his follower's mention) “@rizalcalvary: Nih Dia ‘Dosa-Dosa' Dahlan Iskan Versi DPR:” Tambah satu lagi: interpelasi!

@iskan_dahlan@rizalcalvary: (article's title) This is Dahlan Iskan's Sins in DPR Version” Add another one: interpellation!

Some netizens gave their support to Dahlan regarding the interpellation issue:

@DyanMeti: @iskan_dahlan saya salut sama Bapak yg membuat gelisah para oportunis d DPR yg kayak taman kanak-kanak ..hehehe

@DyanMeti: Salute to Mr. Dahlan Iskan who made opportunist people in DPR act like children.

@Sugito_btm: @DahlanIskanNote @iskan_dahlan interpelasi ini justru akan semakin menaikan pamor pak dahlan…lanjutkan dah interpelasinyahahahha

@Sugito_btm “This interpellation issue will only raise Dahlan reputation. Just continue your effort to interpellate [referring to the DPR].”

April 14 2012

Fuel Price Protests in Several Indonesian Cities

Several Indonesian cities were rocked by protests against petrol price hikes in the past few weeks. According to local media reports [id], violence marred some of the protests which resulted in injuries.

Initially, the Indonesian government was planning to raise the petrol price on April 1. There was no official statement about the adjusted petrol price. Currently the subsidized petrol known locally as Premium is sold at IDR 4,500 (USD 0.50) per liter. Without the state subsidy, Premium could cost around IDR 8,400 (USD 0.92) per liter.

Protesters near Parliament Building. Photo from Flickr page of Djembar Lembasono used under CC License

Protesters near Parliament Building. Photo from Flickr page of Djembar Lembasono used under CC License

Gianrigo Marletta, a Jakarta-based video journalist posted the following video on YouTube.

The protests last month and the active military presence [id] in the cities to secure the protests somehow refreshed memories of the nation's past experience with fuel riots. Back in 1998, the country descended into chaos following the government's plan to increase the fuel price. Chinese-Indonesian shop houses were torched by furious mobs, somewomen were raped, student protesters were kidnapped and gunned down, and in the end, Indonesia's longest running president Suharto was forced to resign.

On his timeline, Twitter user @cuapolitik said that it's about time to increase the fuel price. He reasons:

3. Jk BBM tak naik, subsidi untuk solar premium th 2012 ini bs melonjak dari Rp123,6 T menjadi Rp191,1 T. #BBM
4. Pdhl, subsidi itu akan lbh brmanfaat kl dipake utk infrastruktur atau tuk peningkatan pendidikan n ksehatan. Lbh terasa utk rakyat. #BBM
5. Msyrakat yg krang mampu akan menikmati manfaat jk BBM subsidi naik. Sebab, msyrkat kurang mampu bukan konsumen BBM yang terbesar. #BBM
6. Harga jual bbm subsidi yg terlalu rendah dibanding di LN mendorong penyelundupan penyelewengan. Yg untung ya para penyelundup. #BBM
7. Krn subsidi, harga jual bbm subsidi di dlm negeri jauh lebih murah daripada harga barang yang serupa di negara2 tetangga. #BBM
8. Itu sebabnya, para penyelundup justru menikmati perbedaan harga ini, hingga merugikan keuangan negara dan kita semua #BBM
11. Slama ini org2 bilang pmrntah hanya ambil kbjakan menaikkan #BBM subsidi. Salah. Ada kbjakan lain utk atasi defisit. #BBM
17. Kbjakan subsidi ini adlh kbjakan dr masa lampau. Dl bs subsidi, krn kt eksportir. Tp skrg kt importir, n sdh keluar dr OPEC #BBM
18. Slain itu, dl knsumsi BBM kt rendah, jauh brbeda dgn skrg. Karenanya kbjakan subsidi hrs diubah perlahan. #BBM

If we don't raise fuel (prices), the subsidy for the diesel fuel and premium in 2012 will jump from IDR 123.6T to IDR 191.1T.
In fact, it would be better to allocate the subsidy (budget) for infrastructure, education, and health (improvements). The people would benefit more from them.
The least fortunate people will benefit more from the fuel price hike, because they're not the biggest fuel consumers.
The price of subsidized fuel is way too low compared to prices abroad, this triggers smuggling and misuse. Smugglers are the ones who benefit more from this.
Since they're being subsidized, the fuel prices in this country are far cheaper compared to the similar items in neighboring countries.
Therefore, smugglers are enjoying the price differences, they hurt our economy and all of us.
All these times people said that the government created a policy to raise fuel prices. That's wrong, it's a policy to control deficit.
The fuel subsidy is a policy from a by-gone era. At that time, we can have subsidy because we're an (oil) exporting country. Now we're an (oil) importing country, and we're no longer an OPEC member.
Furtheremore, back then our fuel consumptions were low, way different to what we are experiencing today. Hence, the subsidy policy has to change gradually.

Blogger Sony Haryo Prabowo wrote a post on his blog, saying that demonstrators in Makassar, Sulawesi, have wrongly targeted fuel resellers:

sekian banyak SPBU di Indonesia, Pertamina hanya memiliki 74 di antaranya (sumber: Pertamina Retail). Ribuan lainnya dimiliki oleh dealer (swasta).  Dengan demikian, perbuatan para pendemo yang merusak SPBU telah membuat hilangnya lahan mencari nafkah bagi seorang wiraswasta, bahkan mereka juga menghilangkan lapangan kerja andai SPBU tersebut benar-benar berhenti beroperasi.

From numerous petrol stations in Indonesia (baring its name), Pertamina owns only 74 among them (source: Pertamina Retail). Thousands others are owned and managed by private owners. Therefore what the protesters have done by destroying petrol stations are forcing business owners to lose their daily bread, and terminate jobs for the employees if the stations stop to operate altogether.

Sony concluded:

Demo yang mereka lakukan juga menutup jalan, merusak kendaraan pribadi, bahkan kendaraan pengangkut minuman ringan ternama yang mungkin seringkali mereka minum. Saya ingin mengajak para pembaca berdiskusi dan merenung. Dalam demokrasi, demonstrasi memang boleh dilakukan, bahkan harus. Namun, harus selalu diingat bahwa demonstrasi harus dilakukan dengan dasar yang benar dan dengan akal sehat. Demonstrasi yang terjadi di Makasar ini membuktikan ada sebagian mahasiswa di Indonesia ini tidak menggunakan akal sehat dalam berpikir. Mereka hanya ingin melampiaskan apa yang mereka inginkantanpa berpikir apa kerugian yang mereka sebabkan. Bahkan lucunya lagi mereka melakukan demo seakan-akan tahu masalah yang mereka hadapi.

The protesters also blocked the streets, trashed private cars, even hijacked a known softdrink truck. I invite my readers to discuss and reflect. In democracy, demonstration may take place. However, we should start the protest with good base and reasoning. The protest in Makassar proves that some of the students in Indonesia don't use common sense. They only do what they want to do without reflecting on the loss they could cause. More ridiculously, they seemed to protest without understanding the real issue.

Twitter users have maximized the microblogging site to report clashes between the police and students in Jakarta. They also debated if the price increase is appropriate.

@ikovoz: Issue korban meninggal di bentrok salemba itu hoax. skg di RSCM 3 org mahasiswa dan 1 satpam yg msh dirawat

@ikovoz: The rumor about one died during the Salemba clash was a hoax. Now 3 students and 1 security guard are being treated in RSCM  (Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital).

@LBH_Jakarta: Polisi melakukan sweaping ke LBH,47 ditangkap paksa.6 ditangkap di samping LBH.Total 52 org dibawa paksa ke Polda.

@LBH_Jakarta: Police was doing a security sweeping at the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), 47 students arrested by force. 6 arrested near LBH. Total of 52 students taken to the district police.

@komar_hidayat: Terlepas harga BBM naik atau tdk, apakah ada tanda2 nasib rakyat akan membaik?Terbuka lapangan kerja baru?

@komar_hidayat: Aside from the rising petrol price, is there any sign that says the people's life is improving? New jobs are available?

@BankDunia: 40% penerima manfaat langsung subsidi #BBM bagi rumahtangga adalah 10% rumahtangga terkaya

@BankDunia: 40% of those who benefit from the  subsidy scheme are households, 10% of them are the well off  households

March 10 2012

Should Indonesia Ban Hard-line Islamic Groups?

The Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam or FPI)), a hard-line Islamic group in Indonesia, was recently in the news after Dayak Tribespeople in Central Kalimantan chased away the group's delegates who flew in from Jakarta to inaugurate the establishment of its local chapter.

Shortly thereafter, the Central Kalimantan administration informed the Indonesian President, Parliament's chairman, ministers, and the chief of National Police of its opposition to FPI presence in the province and asserted that FPI's methods aren't aligned with the Dayak's (author's note: indigenous Kalimantan ethnic groups) way of life.

The FPI is accused in the past of using intimidation and brutal acts to attack religious minorities as well as raiding bars and pubs operating during the fasting month.

The Dayaks have inspired other Indonesians to speak up their minds about FPI. There are even proposals to disband the FPI and other similar groups. Hashtags such as #IndonesiaTanpaFPI (Indonesia without FPI), #indonesiaamantanpafpi (Indonesia's safe without FPI) and #bubarkanfpi (disband FPI) were flooded by comments from Indonesian netizens and internauts.

@goodXgars: Sesungguhnya surga itu diperuntukkan bagi orang baik dan beriman, bukan bagi yg paling lantang meneriakkan nama Tuhan. #bubarkanFPI

@goodXgars: Truly, heaven is reserved for the good and faithful, not those who yell God's name out loud. #bubarkanFPI

@IwanKamah: Ikut #IndonesiaTanpaFPI, pasti org itu tak suka kekerasan krn track record FPI buruk. #IndonesiaTanpa JIL pasti org kolot tak suka debat..

@IwanKamah: Joining #IndonesiaTanpaFPI means that the person hates violence because FPI has bad track record. (Those who join) #IndonesiaTanpa JIL must be an old fashioned person who dislike being argued..

@absolutia: semoga kampanya hari ini tdk ada aksi2 “dadakan” rampas poster, gebuk protester, seperti yg dilakukan antek FPI2 saat #IndonesiaTanpaFPI :)

@absolutia: Hopefully there won't be any surprise incidents such as poster grabbing or protestor being hit like what the FPI sympathizers did during the IndonesiaTanpaFPI (protest).

@rarawilis: Liat demonya FPI, gak mutu, blgnya demo damai, tp kok nolak demokrasi?#IndonesiatanpaFPI

@rarawilis: Observing FPI's protest, lame, claiming it's a peaceful protest against democracy.

Digital art by blogger Hasyim Soska which reads "I support Without FPI movement. It's time for Indonesia to speak up."

Radio personality and blogger Panji Pragiwaksono wrote about the demand for FPI to be disbanded. Panji lists some arguments against the disbandment of the FPI:

1) Karena pembubaran FPI hanya akan membuat mereka muncul kembali dgn nama yg baru
2) Karena negara membebaskan siapapun untuk berkumpul dan berserikat. Menghalangi itu, hanya akan berdampak buruk kpd diri kita sendiri
3) Kalau FPI melakukan kegiatan2 yg melanggar hukum, ya pelakunya yg ditindak. Sama aja seperti misalnya POLRI ada yg melanggar hukum, ya pelakunya yg ditindak. Bukan POLRInya yg dibubarkan

1. By disbanding them, FPI will only resurface under a new name.
2. The state allows gatherings and form a union. Disallowing them to do that will only bring bad impact among ourselves.
3. If FPI did things that violate the laws, then punish the culprit. Just like when a police officer violates a law, then we will have take action against the person, not disband the national police.

On his talk show, Panji invited FPI official Habib Selon who claimed that FPI acts as a shield for the people, and only “attack” immoral places when the police refuse to do anything to improve those places. Responding to Panji's question on why FPI was founded by army generals (one of them is General Wiranto who will run for the 2014 presidency) Selon said:

“Jendral jendral itu adalah pendukung Islam. Boleh boleh saja mereka mendukung Islam. Semua orang Islam pasti mendukung FPI”

Saya memotong dan berkata “Tidak semua lho Bib. Saya aja tidak mendukung FPI..”
Dia menyahut “Mereka yang ga stuju FPI, bukan org Islam!”
I got that on air. On tape.

Those generals are supporters of Islam. It's okay that they support Islam. All Muslims surely support FPI.

I interrupted and said “Well, not all. I don't support FPI.”He responded, “Those who disagree with FPI, are not Muslims!”

I got that on air. On tape.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) told Jakarta Post that Indonesians should ask how organizations like FPI got the permit to speak in behalf of Islam.

An anonymous blogger known as Jakarta Commuter said that Indonesia still needs FPI.  He elaborates:

Jujur, saya lebih memilih FPI untuk tetap ada. Mereka yang berani kontrol bung.. Tapi anarkis harus dibuang jauh-jauh. Tindak pelaku, bukan organisasinya.

FPI juga jangan membela anggota-nya yang memang salah dan memanfaatkan atribut organisasi untuk melakukan tindakan anarki maupun premanisme.

Gerakan anti FPI hanya merupakan tunggakan liberalis yang pro terhadap kebobrokan moral. Mengatakan kebebasan sebagai hak asasi, tapi menjatuhkan martabat budaya timur. Sok kebarat-baratan, tapi tidak mengetahui apa yang harus dibela.

To be honest, I prefer FPI to stay. They're brave enough to control (situations). But anarchy needs to be put away. Punish the culprit, not the organization. FPI should not defend its gulity members who are guilty (of violating the laws) and use the organization's symbols to condone anarchism or thuggery.

On his blog post, Panji points out the poor confide in groups like FPI which provide what they need like health assistance, micro lendings, education — assistance that the government has failed to deliver.

Pemerintah lalai dalam membantu mereka, masyarakat kelas menengah dgn starbucks di tangan kanan dan iphone di tangan kiri tidak peduli kepada masyarakat sekitar.

The government fails to help them (the poor), while the middle upper class with Starbucks on their right hands and iPhone on their left ones don't care about the people around them.

He added:


Di satu sisi apa yang mereka lakukan adalah baik.
Di sisi lain, mereka memanfaatkan rakyat yg mereka beli untuk jadi basis massa yang kelak mereka manfaatkan untuk kepentingan kepentingan pribadi

Ketidak pedulian kelas menengah kepada sekitarnya, telah berbalik dalam wujud yang lebih membuat resah.

On one side, what they did was good.

On the other side, they use the people's trust that they bought and turn it into their mass support which one day they could use for their personal interest.

The upper middle class' ignorance has turned into anxiety.

In conclusion, Panji said that disbanding FPI is not a solution:

Solusi yang benar, adalah dengan mulai peduli kepada sesama rakyat Indonesia yg membutuhkan

The right solution is to start caring our fellow Indonesians who are in need.
Digital art by blogger Hasyim Soska.

December 29 2011

Indonesia: Activist Dies After Self-Immolation in Front of Palace

Sondang Hutagalung, a human rights activist and law school student, died after suffering from first degree burn injuries which he got after setting himself on fire in front of the state palace in Jakarta, Indonesia

Sondang Hutagalung at a protest commemorating the death of rights activist Munir Said Thalib. Photo by Dina Savaluna, used with permission.


Moch Najib Yuliantoro wrote on his blog:

Ia lakukan itu dengan sadar, terencana, dengan satu tekad: perubahan. Tetapi apa setelah Sondang tak ada? Mereka yang berkuasa tetap bertahta sebagai pengusa. Secara kolektif, setelah 10 hari kepergiannya, kita pun tak bergerak. Perubahan yang diimpikan Sondang tak kunjung datang.

He did it consciously, planned, with one determination: change. But what happened after Sondang is gone? Those with power continue to rule on their thrones. Collectively, 10 days after his passing, we stay where we are.

Najib fears that Sondang's dream of a better Indonesia may fell on deaf ears:

Kesadaran kolektif sebagai “Indonesia” sudah hangus terbakar menjadi abu. Jika dengan bakar diri yang dikehendaki Sondang adalah perubahan drastis, seperti di Tunisia, misalnya, tampaknya ia salah cara. Bangsa ini tak seperti Tunisia. Bangsa ini sudah “mati”. Tak lagi berhasrat untuk melakukan “revolusi”.

(Our) Collective consciousness as “Indonesia” was incinerated into ashes. If  by self immolation, Sondang is wrong to think that drastic changes like in Tunisia will happen. This nation is different from Tunisia. This nation is “dead”. We no longer has the wish for revolution.

Sella Wahyu said on her blog:

[…] peristiwa ini menimbulkan reaksi beragam dari masyarakat. Kebanyakan menyayangkan aksi ini mengingat Sondang masih muda dan masih panjang jalan hidupnya, sebagian menganggap Sondang adalah seorang yang “berani mati tapi tak berani hidup” dan sebagian lagi menganggap Sondang adalah seorang martir demokrasi.

Kita terperosok untuk menghujat dan menghina Sondang sehingga alpa bahwa ada masalah yang sangat pelik di negeri ini yang mungkin menjadi dasar dan alasan dia memilih bakar diri sebagai ekspressi pribadinya.

This incident has triggered different reactions from the people. Most of them regret it, considering how young Sondang is and that he had a long life path ahead of him, some considered Sondang as someone who “dared to die but didn't dare to live” and some considered him as a martyr of democracy. 

We're trapped in the puddle of insults for Sondang, we failed to see that the crucial problems of this country were the reasons why he set himself on fire, as a way to speak up his mind.

Arman Dhani Bustomi wrote a blog post tribute for Sondang with an opening that says, “the revolution devours its own children”.

Kukira Sondang menyadari bahwa dalam sebuah perjuangan akan selalu ada tumbal. Ia juga menyadari, bahwa hanya sedikit perbedaan antara menjadi idealis atau melakukan kebodohan. Bahwa perihal kurban itu adalah permasalahan sudut pandang. Tak ada satupun manusia di bawah kolong langit yang berhak memberikan nilai atau kuasa hukum dalam sebuah perjuangan. Perjuangan adalah perkara keyakinan diri.


Kukira Sondang saat itu mengingat mama. Mengingat bagaimana dengan mesra dan patuh ia memeluknya di gereja. Mendengar kidung puji. Doa tuhan bapa kami dengan khusyuk. Mengingat betapa natal dan keriuhan bersama keluarga adalah kenangan yang sangat indah. Dan perlahan merapal doa-doa minta maaf. Kalut ia bertanya. “apakah aku akan diampuni bapa?”


Kukira Sondang terbakar amarah. Tapi ia tak sendirian. Karena aku kini juga terbakar amarah. Atas kebodohanku. Kelemahanku. Dan ketakpedulianku pada masalah bangsa ini.

I think Sondang realized that there'll be sacrifice on every struggle. He also realized that there's a fine line between being an idealist and making a stupidity. That a sacrifice is only a matter of point of view. That no one under the sky has the right to judge or authorize a struggle. A struggle is a matter of self belief.


I think Sondang remembered his mother at that time. Remembered how loving and obedient he held her at the church. Listening to the hymns of worship. The solemn Lord's Prayer. Remembered how Christmas and his family's glee, the wonderful memory. And he slowly recite prayers, asking for forgiveness . In his darkest hour he asked, “Father, will I be forgiven?”


I think Sondang was angered. But he wasn't alone. I, too, now am angered. By my stupidity. My weakness. My ignorance towards the problems of this country.

A local newspaper in North Sumatra, Harian Orbit, quoted Sondang's fellow human rights activists saying that Sondang has sent some 1,400 letters regarding human rights violations to President Susilo Bambang, but none of them has actually reached the president due to the state palace protocols.

Sondang's alma mater, Bung Karno University, gave him an Honoris Causa title and renamed the Faculty of Law's courtroom, Sondang Hutagalung room.

Regarding Sondang's honorary title, blogger Yusuf Harfi asked, “how come a self immolator received honorary degree?”.

He continues:

Saya sendiri tidak memandang Sondang ialah pahlawan perubahan ataupun patriot pembaharuan seperti yang banyak orang amini.


Ya, saya juga sama dengan Sondang, saya juga prihatin kepada kondisi Indonesia saat ini. Tapi, hal ini bukan berarti kita sebagai warga negara untuk menempuh aksi nekat seperti bakar diri. Agama apapun pasti mengajarkan untuk terus berusaha, gigih, pantang menyerah, dan tidak putus asa.

I personally don't see Sondang as a hero of change or a patriot of revival like many people thought he is.


Yes, I also share Sondang's concerns, I'm also concerned about Indonesia's current condition. But, this doesn't mean that as citizens we should do a reckless act like self immolation. Any religion taught us to continue trying, determined, adamant, and never put up hope.

A day after Sondang's self immolation incident, the head of the central Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Amidhan, said [id] that self immolation is “haram” (forbidden by Islam), and considered self immolators people in despair and depressed.

Special thanks for Dina Savaluna for the photo.

October 19 2011

Indonesia: Yogyakarta Royal Wedding

The Yogyakarta princess, Gusti Raden Ajeng (GRAj) Nurastuti Wijareni a.k.a Jeng Reni, tied the knot Tuesday October 18, 2011 and everybody was invited to witness the ceremony via the Internet.

Jeng Reni, the youngest daughter of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, married Achmad Ubaidillah, known affectionately as Yuda, and for the first time ever, a royal wedding was reported realtime through Twitter.

Prior to the wedding, Ubai was knighted and given the name Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo Yudanegara. As for Reni, her new royal title will be Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara.

Javanese royal names can differ depending on the person's current status, whether the person is a man, woman, young adult, or adult, proximity to the Sultan, and so forth.

The wedding updates can be accessed through Twiticker, Tumblr, Twitter via #kratonwedding and #kirab, as well as the official Twitter account @kratonwedding.

Ubai, a Javanese descent born in Jakarta, met Jeng Reni through a mutual a friend. The lovestruck Ubai didn't know at first that the girl he fell in love with was a Javanese princess of one of the oldest royal houses in the archipelago. The couple dated for four years.

Waves of wishes, greetings, and comments were pouring at #kratonwedding and #kirab (author's note: means carnival in Javanese).

arieslukman: This is how people in Yogyakarta loves their Sultan an Family! #kratonwedding

kikoadh: #KratonWedding !!!! Malioboro is so crowded and everyone's sweating. But it was fun

helloikun : Turut berbahagia untuk pernikahan GKR Bendara & KPH Yudanegara semoga menjadi keluarga sakinah dan bahagia #kratonwedding

helloikun: Happy for the marriage of GKR Bendara & KPH Yudanegara. I wish the two of you a serene and happy family.

ferrymbaldan: Luar biasa….lautan manusia yg hadiri kirab dr Kraton ke Kepatihan….DIY: Memang Istimewa dan Harus Tetap Istimewa #kratonwedding

ferrymbaldan: Amazing… A sea of people attending the carnival from the Kraton (author's note: Royal Palace) to the Kesatriyan (the Knights' Ward). Special Region of Yogyakara is truly special and it should remain that way.

Some Twitter users, like Dayu, were disappointed that major TV networks didn't care enough to cover one of the major events of the year.

Kenapa hanya di BChannel? Kemana TV2 keren dan beken lainnya? Ini urusan warisan budaya bangsa lho.. *tetep ga trima*

DayuWijanto: Why only on BChannel? Where are other cool and popular TV stations? This is a matter of the country's cultural heritage. Unacceptable.

Javanese weddings are known for their elaborate processions which could begin days before the nuptial, and last up to seven days. A strict dress code is applied to guests and those who are allowed to enter the ceremony hall.

The Royal Guards. Photo by irwan_f3

Sambutan dari teman teman wartawan peliput #kratonwedding

The photographers in traditional Javanese attires. Photo published by @kratonwedding on Twitpic.

Yogyakartans await Prince Yuda outside of the Knights' Ward. Photo published by Bakpia Pia Djogdja on Lockerz.

GKR Hemas beserta kerabat putri kraton memasuki Kesatriyan untuk siraman KPH Yudanegara

Her Serene Highness GKR Hemas and the relatives arrived at the Knights Ward. Photo by Kraton Wedding on Tumblr.

Presiden RI mengucapkan selamat

Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, the couple and President Yudhoyono. Photo by @kratonwedding on Twitpic.

Bedhaya Sangaskara dancers. Photo by @kratonwedding

Masyarakat mencintai kedua mempelai

Greeting the Yogyakartans from the open carriage. Photo by @kratonwedding published on Twitpic.

The Indonesian state recognizes Yogyakarta as a Special Region in the archipelago with Sultan Hamengkubuono X acting as its governor.

The Yogya Sultan is highly revered by his subjects. Back in 2009, he was nominated as a Presidential Candidate by Golongan Karya (Golkar) party.

September 26 2011

Indonesia: Suicide Bomb Blast at a Protestant Church

Another suicide bomb blast occured Sunday (September 25) in Solo, Central Java in Indonesia.  The bombing happened in Kepunton Church, a Protestant Church, right after the morning Sunday service when the congregation was walking out of the Church

As of this writing, twenty people were reported injured and two were killed in the bombing.  The bomber was among the casualties.

President Susilo Bambang said [id] that they found the similarity between the Solo bombing and the one that blew up in Cirebon six months ago, and according to the preliminary investigation of the police, the blast was intended to harm as many Church goers as possible.

Twitter users in Solo and elsewhere are extending their condolences and expressing their disappointment over this tragic event. Here are some reactions from twitter users using the hashtags #prayforsolo and #pray4solo:

@radixhidayat: Ini bukan soal agamamu dan agamaku. Ini soal Indonesiamu dan Indonesiaku. #prayForSolo

@radixhidayat: This is not about your religion and mine. This is about your Indonesia and mine.

@papanjari: ini akibat dr masyarakat yg kurang mdapat pendidikan yg layak..mudah dipengaruhi org tdk bertanggung jawab.. #prayforsolo #prayforindonesia

@papanjari: This happened because the people didn't get a decent education, they become easily influenced by irresponsible persons.

@BiancaAllysa: Masi ngebom?astagfirullah islam tidak pernah mengajarkan umatnya untuk mencelakai sesama mahluk hidup

@BiancaAllysa: Bombing still? Astaghfirullah (author's note: means God have mercy), Islam never taught its followers to harm others.

@RyuDeka: Tuhan, sesungguhnya kami lelah dengan segala tindak kebencian yang mengatasnamakan-Mu..#prayforSolo

@RyuDeka: God, frankly we're tired with all of those acts of hatred done in Your name.

@tarsih_ekp: Utk temen di media harap jeli, jangan bawa masalah #bomsolo ke ranah minoritas /pun mayoritas #pray4solo

@tarsih_ekp: To our media friends, please be meticulous and don't immediately link the bombing with majority/minority group.

And here are reactions from the hashtag #bomsolo:

@ferouz_afr: Selama gerakan ormas2 agama yg radikal yg jelas2 ada tdk d tindak dan d biarkan teror2 bom akn selalu ada krn d situ lah bibit2 nya #bomsolo

@ferouz_afr: As long as the movements of radical religious mass organizations go unpunished and being left off, the bombing terrors will always exist, because they are the seeds.

@gstff:#BomSolo Kepada para agen intelijen yg jadi makelar pengaburan persoalan: kalian semua penghianat bangsa.

@gstff: To all intelligence agents who act as the broker of the blurring of issues: you are all traitors to this country.

@inyourdeathbed: stupid suicide bomber, you have accomplished NOTHING but remind us that our current government administration is a TOTAL FAILURE. #BomSolo

@blangk_on: Ada pihak2 tertentu di republik ini yg tetap melihara monster pembunuh dg ideologi agama. Kapan pun bs mrk gunakan #bomSolo

@blangk_on: There are certain parties in this Republic who nurture monsterous murderers under religious ideology, to be used at their disposal.

@AlexKomang2000: Di mana kita mencari perlindungan keselamatan di negara ini?#bomsolo

@AlexKomang2000: Where can we find a safety protection in this country?

Solo (also known as Surakarta) is known to be the stronghold of Abu Bakar Bashir, the former emir of Southeast Asian Al Qaeda Network called Jemaah Islamiyah and a spiritual guru at Ngruki Al Mukmin.

Some of Ngruki's former students have been linked to various bombings in Indonesia. However the school has never been banned by the Indonesian government. Meanwhile, mainstream media also noted the rise of religious freedom violations in 2010.

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