Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Komodo Island



http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/93286-hah__komodo_bukan_hewan_asli_indonesia

Hah! Komodo Bukan Hewan Asli Indonesia
Komodo sampai di Pulau Flores, rumah terbaiknya, sekitar 900.000 tahun lalu
Rabu, 30 September 2009, 12:51 WIB
Elin Yunita Kristanti
Komodo (AP Photo)

VIVAnews - Komodo yang habitat aslinya kini hanya ada di Taman Nasional Komodo di Nusa Tenggara Timur, ternyata bukan hewan asli Indonesia.

Hasil penelitian membuktikan bahwa tulang komodo sama dengan tiga fosil hewan yang ditemukan di Queensland. itu memperkuat teori bahwa Australia adalah evolusi komodo.

Penelitian tersebut dilakukan oleh ahli palaeontologi dan arkeologi dari Australia, Malaysia, dan Indonesia, dan dipimpin kurator Museum Negara Bagian Queensland, Australia, Scott Hocknull. Hasil penelitian tersebut dimuat dalam laman jurnal ilmiah, PloS ONE hari ini.

"Fosil yang ditemukan di Queensland menunjukan bahwa komodo berasal dari Australia empat juta tahun yang lalu dan bertahan kira-kira hingga 300.000 tahun lalu," kata Hocknull, seperti dimuat laman ABC, Rabu 30 September 2009.

Hasil penelitian ini, kata Hocknull, membuktikan Australia sebagai asal beberapa hewan unik di dunia. "Namun hewan-hewan itu tak bertahan lama di Australia dan menemukan rumah di tempat lain," kata dia.

Para peneliti juga menemukan bahwa komodo menyebar ke sejumlah wilayah, kemudian sampai di Pulau Flores sekitar 900.000 tahun lalu.

Mengapa komodo bisa punah di Australia 300 ribu tahun lalu? "Mungkin manusia yang menyebabkan mereka punah, mungkin juga perubahan iklim, atau kombinasi keduanya," kata Hocknull.

Penelitian juga menemukan bahwa komodo menemukan Flores sebagai rumah terbaiknya. "Perubahan habitat, erupsi vulkanik, dan berbagai hal terjadi di Pulau Flores tak menimbulkan masalah bagi komodo," tambah dia.

Menagapa komodo bertahan di Flores? Guru Besar Palaeontologi dari Universitas Macquarie, Sydney, Tim Flannery punya teori.

"Komodo punah di Australia, kami perkirakan sekitar 50.000 tahun lalu, saat manusia tiba di Australia. Komodo juga menghilang dan punah di beberapa pulau lain di Indonesia, kecuali Flores," kata dia.

Yang menarik, kata dia, adalah fakta bahwa Pulau Flores menjadi rumah komodo. Di Flores, komodo yang telah ada sejak 2 juta tahun lalu belajar untuk tidak tersingkir oleh manusia.

Di Flores, komodo belajar tentang bagaimana berurusan dengan manusia-menjadi pemburu manusia.

"Di manapun di Australia dan pulau-pulau lain, yang paling berkembang adalah kehidupan modern manusia. Komodo, tak bisa mengatasinya," tambah Flannery.
• VIVAnews


http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/82906-taman_komodo_masuk_nominasi_6_keajaiban_dunia

Jum'at, 14 Agustus 2009, 15:24 WI

VIVAnews - Masyarakat Nusa Tenggara Timur boleh berbangga hati, karena hasil poling terakhir yang menempatkan Taman Nasional Komodo di Kabupaten Manggarai Barat masuk tujuh besar keajaiban dunia yang baru.

Dengan demikian, semakin kuatnya kepercayaan dunia internasional yang terus mendukung komodo sebagai salah satu asset terbesar dunia.

Pemerintah dan berbagai lembaga terkait, terus menyerukan kepada masyarakat agar memberikan dukungan melalui situs www.new7wonder.com.

Pemerintah melalui Dinas Pariwisata NTT telah menyediakan fasilitas di arena promosi kerajinan Fatululi Kupang, agar setiap warga yang mengunjungi pameran pembangunan dalam rangka HUT RI ke-64, dapat memberikan dukungan langsung.

"Ada belasan computer dengan fasilitas internet telah disiapkan. Silahkan warga NTT memberikan dukungan melalui jaringan internet gratis," kata Gubernur NTT, Frans Leburaya, kepada VIVAnews.

Berdasarkan hasil poling terakhir, Taman Nasional Komodo berada pada urutan ke-enam dari 28 finalis yang masih tersisa.


http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/77458-pulau_komodo_masuk_empat_besar_finalis

Tujuh Keajaiban Dunia
Pulau Komodo Masuk Empat Besar Finalis
Sebelumnya, Pulau Komodo masuk 28 finalis yang dipilih oleh sebuah panel dari 77 nominasi.
Jum'at, 24 Juli 2009, 08:29 WIB
Ita Lismawati F. Malau
Komodo (AP Photo)


VIVAnews - Pemerintah terus melakukan promosi agar Taman Nasional Komodo, Nusa Tenggara Timur, masuk dalam tujuh keajaiban dunia. Saat ini, taman nasional yang lebih dikenal dengan Pulau Komodo itu sudah berada di peringkat 4 besar finalis.

Demikian disampaikan Direktur Jenderal Pemasaran Diskespar RI Sapta Nirwandar, Jumat 24 Juli 2009. "Kami harapkan masyarakat Indonesia ikut memilih Pulau Komodo supaya masuk dalam tujuh keajaiban karena voter-lah penentunya," kata dia dalam diskusi di TVone.

Menurut Sapta, saingan terberat Pulau Komodo diantaranya hutan Amazon (Brazil) dan Black Forest (Jerman). "Kita punya waktu sampai 2011 untuk memilih dan membuat Pulau Komodo masuk dalam tujuh keajaiban dunia," jelasnya.

Ia pun mengajak seluruh masyarakat untuk menyukseskan ajang pemilihan itu dengan memberikan suaranya melalui laman www.new7wonders.com.

Sebelumnya, Pulau Komodo masuk 28 finalis yang dipilih oleh sebuah panel ahli dari 77 nominasi. Sebelumnya ada 261 lokasi di dunia yang dicalonkan menjadi salah satu dari tujuh keajaiban dunia.

Pulau Komodo, yang jadi andalan Indonesia dalam ajang New7Wonders of Nature punya keunggulan di banding lokasi-lokasi lainnya, apalagi kalau bukan komodo, satwa langka yang dipercaya sebagai 'dinosaurus terakhir di muka bumi'.

Taman Nasional Komodo yang meliputi Pulau Komodo, Rinca and Padar, ditambah pulau-pulau lain seluas 1.817 persegi adalah habitat asli komodo. Taman Nasional Komodo didirikan pada 1980 untuk melindungi kelestarian komodo. Tak hanya hewan langka tersebut, Taman Nasional Komodo juga untuk melindungi berbagai macam satwa, termasuk binatang-binatang laut.

Masyarakat dunia bisa memilih lokasi-lokasi mana yang layak berstatus keajaiban baru melalui internet maupun telepon. Tujuh besar pemenangnya akan diumumkan pada 2011. Menurut Ketua New7Wonders, Bernard Weber diharap 1 miliar penduduk dunia akan berpartisipasi dalam voting.

"Kampanye ini diharapkan dapat meningkatkan pengetahuan mengenai alam, tak hanya yang ada di lingkungan kita tapi juga di seluruh dunia," kata dia kepada AP, seperti dimuat laman JC Online, Selasa 21 Juli 2009.

Kampanye tujuh keajaiban dunia, tambah Weber, juga didedikasikan untuk generasi di masa depan. "Jika kita ingin anak-anak kita menjaga kelestarian alam, kita harus memberi contoh pada mereka," tambah dia.

The Anti Corruption Court bill


After months of uncertainty, the outgoing Parliament (DPR) finally passed the Amendment of the Anti Corruption Court bill on Tuesday, 29 September.

This amendment will allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to keep its authorities to Prosecute Corruption cases and conduct wiretaps on suspects, which is contradictory to the initial wishes of some members of the DPR to strip KPK of those authorities.

Some anti corruption activists have stated their objections on some stipulations of the bill, such as establishment of Anti Corruption Courts in 33 provinces compared to the current Special Anti Corruption Court in Jakarta. Beside that questions have been made on the stipulation which lets a Chairman of Anti Corruption court to decide the composition of carrier and non carrier judges who will try the cases.

For details media reports on the above, please click here and here.

In spite of the weakness of the anti corruption court bill, in my humble opinion the bill is good enough because it maintained KPK's authority to Prosecute and conduct wiretaps on suspects. Therefore, I can say that this is a victory for KPK and most people who are against corruption in Indonesia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taxable Sex

The United States Tax Court has decided that payments for Prostitutes and Pornographic materials are subject to tax. Please find below an article in Legal Blog Watch/Robert J. Ambrogi regarding this matter.

Tax Court Writes Off Lawyer's Deduction for Prostitutes

A veteran New York tax lawyer has lost his legal battle to claim tax deductions for more than $100,000 he spent on prostitutes and pornography. But, hey, you can't blame a guy for trying.

William G. Halby, a tax lawyer first admitted to practice in New York in 1956, claimed the deductions as medical expenses. His visits to prostitutes and his purchases of books and magazines constituted sex therapy, he contended. Over two years, he claimed deductions for $108,086 spent on prostitutes and $7,373 on books, magazines, videos and pornographic materials.

But in a decision issued this week, the U.S. Tax Court ruled that Halby's sex therapy was not an allowable deduction.

Petitioner’s payments to various prostitutes were personal expenses not prescribed by a doctor and not intended to treat a medical condition. Petitioner is not entitled to deductions for these amounts.

Petitioner is likewise not entitled to deductions for amounts paid for books and magazines on sex therapy and pornography. The purchases were not for the treatment of a medical condition but were instead personal items.

At least it can be said that Halby was meticulous in claiming these deductions. The Tax Court said that he kept track of his visits to prostitutes in a journal. "The journal included the date, the name of the 'service provider,' and the amount." He did not, however, ask the "service providers" for receipts.

Not only did Halby lose the deduction and have to make up some $21,000 in tax deficiencies, but he was also ordered to pay a penalty of $4,298 for claiming deductions without any reasonable basis in the tax law. As an attorney who specialized in tax law for more than 40 years, the court said, Halby "should have known that his visits to prostitutes in New York were illegal and that section 213 [of the tax code], the regulations thereunder, and caselaw do not support his claimed deductions."

Halby's Martindale-Hubbell profile shows him as being of counsel to a law firm in Larchmont, N.Y., but the firm's Web site does not list him anywhere. Halby had already lost a state tax case involving these same deductions, with the N.Y. Division of Tax Appeals concluding that "permitting the deductions would be counter to public policy."

Bambang-Halimah failed to Divorce

The Supreme Court has confirmed the verdict of the Religious High Court of Jakarta which rejected the Divorce of the son of late President Soeharto: Bambang Trihatmodjo from Halimah Kamil.

The Supreme Court's verdict was passed on 4 August 2009 and announced on 28 September 2009. As a consequence, Bambang and Halimah will remain legitimate husband and wife according to the Marriage Law No. 1/1974.

It all started on 7 July 2000 when Bambang secretly married Singer Mayangsari based on the SIRI Islamic way, without permission from Halimah whom he married on 24 October 1981, therefore contradictory to the Marriage Law.

This marriage was kept secret from public until 30 March 2006 when Mayangsari gave birth to a baby girl Khirani Siti Hartina.

On May 2007, Bambang filed a Lawsuit with the Religious Court of Central Jakarta to request for Divorce from Halimah, and on 16 January 2008 the Court granted the Divorce.
Unsatisfied with the Court's Verdict, Halimah filed an Appeal with the Religious High Court of Jakarta which decided on 8 October 2008 to reject the Religious Court's verdict, therefore declaring the marriage still exists.

With this Supreme Court's verdict, Bambang is only legally married to Halimah. Whereas Bambang's marriage to Mayangsari will remain illegitimate and so will the status of their daughter who only has legal relationship with Mayasari and cannot inherit from Bambang.

Nevertheless, Bambang still has a chance to get the Divorce i.e. by requesting the Supreme Court to review its verdict, for which purpose he should submit within 180 days after the date of verdict, and must have new evidence to back up the request.

For detailed media reports regarding the above, please click here, here, here, here and here.

It would be very interesting to know about the next step that will be advised by Bambang's attorney Juan Felix Tampubolon on this case.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eid Holiday Blues

I feel Good! that's how I felt when I drove my car to the office this morning.
After ten days of Eid holidays, I have every reason to feel good inside and out.

However, I am very sad that many people do not share the same feeling as I do in spending the holidays. As matter of fact many people are now in deep grievance due to the death of 576 people, 637 people badly injured and 1,397 lightly injured. For detailed media report on this matter, please click here.

According to the Minister of Communication the death and injuries are mostly caused by transportation accidents, and the number of death has decreased to 50% compared to last year.

Considering the above, I felt that actually the deathly accidents can be avoided or at least be minimized if the transportation and traffic authorities have been more strict in imposing the safety regulations. But the most important is that the travellers should pay very careful attention to their own safety i.e. by making sure that all safety requirements have been met before they start traveling.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Twitter's Soaring Popularity

Twitter, a microblog which lets people send 140-character text messages to groups of "followers," is one of the fastest growing internet social media companies in the world.

According to survey, worldwide visitors to its site hit 44.5 million in June, up 15-fold from a year earlier. And in the last three months its popularity has been soaring very high.

Last Tuesday evening, Twitter has been the focus of Indonesian online media networks when Film Director & Screenwriter Joko Anwar walked to a Circle-K minimarket completely naked.
It all started with a message he posted on Twitter: “If I got my 3000th follower today, I’ll go into a Circle-K naked.” Joko posted earlier in the day when he had 1,800 followers. Words spread very fast on Twitter that in about one hour Joko gained 3,000 followers.

Last June, Twitter was the only operational online media network during the violent protest against the result of general election in Iran. Twitter conveyed messages and photos/video from protesters in the street of Teheran.

And earlier today, I read a media report about investors pouring US$ 100 million into Twitter last Friday, valuing the Web company at $1 billion, as investors bet that its explosive growth will yield actual revenue or a lucrative deal.

For details on the above media reports, please click here, here and here.

As a user, I am glad with Twitter's growth, because it will surely attract many more people to become users.
However, it would be very interesting to know whether or not Joko Anwar's naked appearance is a violation of the Anti Pornography Law and/or Electronic Information & Transaction (ITE) Law. Maybe Anggara and/or Rob can provide me with the answer.

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.

Complaint against Indonesian Paper


The United States of America have been very worried about the export of Wood and Wood Products from Indonesia and China.

This can be seen from the fact that the U.S government has recently issued the Lancey Act which require that exports of the said goods should be based on legal trading.

At almost the same time, three U.S Paper companies and a workers union submitted petitions to the U.S. Department of Commerce & International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming that Coated Paper imported from Indonesia & China have been exported to the country at abnormal low prices. They said that such sales has eliminated thousands of American jobs and are hurting American producers. So, they called for Anti-Dumping and Anti-Subsidy duties against Chinese and Indonesian coated paper.

The companies need to prove to the U.S Dept. of Commerce that Indonesian & Chinese governments provided subsidies to coated-paper producers, and they were sold in the U.S. at prices below the home-market price or the cost of production. They also need to show the ITC that the paper imports caused material injury to the U.S. market or threaten to.

For detailed media reports on the above, please click here and here.

It is very sad to know that Indonesia is being accused for selling Paper products at very low prices, considering that Indonesia has sacrificed its Forrest Trees to be cut down & sold as raw materials for those products.

Photo: Courtesy of Kabar Indonesia.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Export of Woods


For many years the media reported about experts' allegations that forest trees in Indonesia have been cut and sold illegally as logs to China and Malaysia, which then export them as finished wood products to the U.S.A, Japan, and E.U countries.

Due to this fact, the U.S has imposed the Lacey Act which stipulates that export products based on Wood from third countries now require proper certification.

This new regulation have received positive reactions from Wood and Wood Products exporting countries. Indonesia has introduced a new system of certifying forest management and wood products, and China agreed to cooperate with Indonesia to ensure that legal wood trading between them comply with rules on certification of origin under the US Lacey Act.

For details on the above media reports, please click here and here.

Considering the above, I felt happy that the U.S has issued a regulation which stipulates that trading of woods and wood products should be carried out legally, thereby forcing law enforcement agencies in Indonesia to make sure that illegal forest tree cutting and trading are banned.

Photo: Courtesy of Kabar Indonesia.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Indonesia's Islamic Schools

Foreign news media often describe Islamic Schools (Pesantren) in Indonesia as institutions which are dominated by Males

But today, I read an article in Time about the oposite condition, as follows:

Indonesia's Islamic Schools: More Female Friendly
By Carla Power / Cirebon Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2009

When she was widowed two years ago, most people in the Javanese village of Babakan Ciwaringin expected Nyai Yu Masriyah Amva to marry again. They also assumed that the local pesantran, or traditional Indonesian Islamic boarding school, would close with the death of her husband, its head Islamic scholar. Neither happened. Bucking tradition, Amva decided that she would run the school. "If men can do it, then why can't I?" the 48-year-old recalls praying. "If you, Allah, are the source of all power, then why do I have to find someone else to run it? Just give me the power. I know that I can do it." After all, she reasoned Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia's ex-president, was a woman, joining the ranks of "Benazir [Bhutto], and Elizabeth, and the woman Madonna played in that movie" — Evita Peron.

Straight-backed, in red lipstick and maroon-and-white polka dots, a sheer black veil slipping off her hair, Amva strides around the campus of Pesantran Kebon Jambu, which takes its name from the guava orchards that stood there before the school's mint-and-white mosque and tile-roofed dormitories. Born in the village to a family of respected kyais, or Islamic teachers, she learned her Arabic and the study of the Quran and the Islamic traditions at her father's pesantran. "My grandfather and parents always hoped someday I'd become a respected scholar," she smiles, pouring tea in her airy her on-campus house. "But since my husband died, people say I have become a superstar." She recalls addressing a nervous student body the week she took over: "You don't have to be afraid because the kyai has passed away," she says she told the 700-odd teenagers. "You still have the greatest thing in this world: Allah. He is with us, and you will be guided by his light."
(See pictures of modern Muslim societies around the world.)

This July's bombings at two five-star hotels in Jakarta and the 2002 bombings in Bali raised fears among counterterrorism experts that Indonesia's 12,000 pesantran were potential breeding grounds for radicalism. And while suicide bombers and radicals have been traced to a few schools notorious for their extremist teachings, others have been incubators for a more benign trend in the world's most populous Muslim nation: the development of feminist readings of the Quran and Islamic traditions. Indonesia's two largest Muslim political parties — the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah — have intricate campaigns promoting women's rights. Indonesian feminists, male and female alike, have worked with progressive pesantran to develop women-friendly interpretations of shari'a — a radical break with the conservative notions of shari'a across the Muslim world, which tend to be heavily reliant on the world views of medieval — and male — jurists.

Feminism has found fertile soil in Indonesia, whose Islamic traditions are relatively porous, and whose traditional agricultural culture often had men and women working together in the fields , in contrast, say, to the segregated tribal customs of Arabia. It's not that these ideas don't find resistence: There's a strong tradition of male authority in Indonesia, as well as a more recent trend towards fundamentalism, so feminists have to be careful to pick kyais who will be open to their teachings. Jakarta-based feminist activist Lies Marcoes-Natsir says much of her work is protecting indigenous Indonesian Islamic culture from the spread of stricter, Saudi-style Wahhabi interpretations of Islam. "The good thing is that [Indonesia's religious scholars] are also worried about Wahhabism, so we can work hand-in-hand with them," she says. Tellingly, Marcoes-Natsir finds that traditional scholars are easier to get through to than many middle-class urbanites. Where classically trained scholars know of the diversity of interpretations of Islamic law, those less versed tend to insist that it's far stricter than it really is.

Together with Indonesia's most prominent male feminist cleric, Kyai Husein Muhammad, Marcoes-Natsir has developed a course for teaching gender equality in Islam. On a hot summer morning in Cirebon, Northern Java, she taught a workshop on reproductive health, which had her gamely sketching fallopian tubes on a white-board, and parsing Quranic verses on reproductive rights. From the young men and women students, there were nods, furious scribblings, and the odd giggle. And then there was the group of young women, all majoring in gender studies at the local Islamic college, who were snapping pictures to post on their feminist blog. "The patriarchy is very strong," concedes one blogger, Asih Baet, in John Lennon specs and a black hijab. But across Indonesia, in mosques, on blogs, and in former guava orchards, there are rebellions against it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perppu for KPK


In spite of protests by anti-corruption activists, on 23 September, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) issued the Government Regulation in liue of Law (Perppu) which enabled him to appoint three leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) without approval from the Parliament (DPR).

Based on the Indonesian Constitution Article 22, the President may issue a Perppu in times of emergency and asked for DPR's approval afterwards. In this case, the Perppu by-passed the procedure stipulated by the KPK Law No. 30/2002.
Further, SBY has formed a Team of Five to select candidate KPK leaders who will be appointed by SBY in 7 days. The Team consists of the Coordinating Minister for Politics Law & Security: Widodo AS; the Minister of Law: Andi Matalatta, former KPK Chairman Taufikkurahman Ruki, Senior Lawyers Adnan Buyung Nasution and Todung Mulya Lubis.

In reaction to the issuance of the Perppu, former Constitional Court Chaiman Jimly Assiediqi said in TV interview that the Perppu is legitimate therefore should be implemented accordingly.

For details on the above, please read here, here, here, and here.

Although I share the opinion of those against the Perppu who feared that it might make KPK a subordinate of the President, however considering that the Team of Five consists of highly respected people in Indonesia, therefore I hope that the choosen KPK leaders would be able to work independently as their predecessors. And if the DPR do not agree with the Perppu, they can always cancel it.

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Miyabi's Indonesian film


The Eid holidays have enabled me to browse the internet to look for interesting news that I never posted on my blog.

And one of the sites that provide such news is the blog of Rob Baiton, former English Editor of law site Hukumonline. This blog has interesting posts (and naughty photos) of some Indonesian celebrities like Krisdayanti, Manohara and Miss Indonesia 2008.

One post that drew my attention is about Japanese Porn Star Maria Ozawa a.k.a Miyabi who plan to play in an Indonesian movie : Kidnapping Miyabi scheduled for release at the end of this year.

The movie will purely be a Comedy, without any sex scenes, written by popular young blogger Raditya Dika, and produced by Maxima Pictures. The movie tells about a man, played by Raditya, who is so obsessed to Miyabi that he plan to kidnap her.

In spite of the above, the Chairman of the Indonesian Ulama Council(MUI) protested the movie plan, saying that Miyabi's status as a porn star will create bad image on Indonesia's film industry.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

It would be interesting to know the further development of this movie, especially in connection with the recently passed Law on Film bill.

Tragedy at City Hall


In accordance with the tradition of previous Governors of Jakarta during Eid Ul Fitr, yesterday the Governor of Jakarta Fauzi Bowo and his staffs held an open house at the City Hall allowing citizens, mostly poor people, to meet and shake hands with them.

After that, the Governor's staffs gave each of the guests Rp 40.000,- in cash and a package containing Cooking Oil, Sugar and Snacks.

Unfortunately, things do not work according to plan when the number of people grew larger than expected causing chaos, many children and elderly people were hurt, two of them were taken to a hospital.

Due to this fact, the City's Regional Secretary explained that actually they have prepared gifts for 6.000 people, which is 2.000 more than last year, but considering that the people were not patient in queuing then the tragedy occured.
Meanwhile, the Governor has publicly apologized and promised that the tragedy would not happen again in future, for which purpose such event would be conducted through Villages.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

It is very sad to know that such tragedy could ever happen at a capital city like Jakarta, especially that the City has enacted a by-law in 2007 which forbid giving money to beggars (= poor people). Hopefully it would not happen again in the future.

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Eid Holidays


On Sunday, 20 September, Muslims around the world celebrated the Victory Day of Eid Ul Fitr which marks the end of one month of fasting from dawn to dusk in the Holy month of Ramadhan.

In Indonesia, the special day is also called Hari Raya Lebaran officially celebrated on 20and 21 September. It started with Eid Prayer at 7 pm. and Muslims would offer forgiveness to each other.

In Jakarta whose population mostly orginated from other provinces, the streets are usually almost empty until 4-5 days after Lebaran, because around half of the city's population went to their hometown or holiday to other provinces or overseas.

As for me, I started Lebaran by praying at a mosque located around 300 meters from my home, afterwards visit my parents' home and then to my elder sister's home.
Yesterday and today I did not go anywhere, just stay at home watching TV, read books and browsing the internet. Actually I want to go to the beach resort in Anyer, or Thousand Island resort, or Bandung, but unfortunately the hotels are fully booked. Beside that, another reason that kept me from leaving the city is because my servants
went to their hometown in Central Java and will be back here on the 28 September, that's the time when I will start working again.

I hope that this year's Hari Raya Lebaran will bring Peace and Joy to all Muslims as well as non Muslims in Indonesia and other parts of the world.

Photo: Courtesy of Portaltiga/J.Valentino

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Outgoing DPR


The members of the national parliament (DPR) are racing against time as their five years office term is about to end on October. Maybe that's why they are so eager to end it that they wanted to pass as much law bills as possible.

But the strange thing is that only less than one third of the 550 members of DPR attended the plenary sessions, while the others were absent for unknown reason.

Last week, less than 100 members attended the plenary session that passed the Environment Management & Protection and the Film bills.
Last Monday, only 180 members attended the session that passed four bills into laws i.e Anti-Narcotics, Health, Haj and Immigration bills.
And on Wednesday similar number of members attended the plenary session that passed the Value Added Tax & Sales Tax bill into law.
But unfortunately, the DPR has not been so eager to finalize discussion with the government about the amendment of the Corruption Crime bill that they have to pospone the discussion to a later date. So is the discussion about the Secrecy bill.

Many critics said that those bills were not prepared properly therefore the quality of the laws are questionable. Due to which fact, when they become laws, most most likely the would be subject to Judicial Review.
They criticized the Anti-Narcotics bill which classify Drug Users as crimminals that should be punnished, while according to doctors drug addiction is a curable disease.
They critisized the Health bill which only stipulate the maximum but no minimum punnishment for Hospitals and their doctors who were proved to have caused injury to a patient.
The Haj bill is merely to comply with the regulation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that Haj pilgrims should have special passport.
The Immigration bill includes measures to curb illegal immigration, terrorism, money laundering and people trafficking, and makes “fake marriages” to obtain Indonesian citizenship a crime.
While the Tax bill changed the Value Added Tax from a fixed 10% to 5 into 15%.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

Considering the above facts, I hope that they are not as bad as described by the critics, in this case I will have to keep my fingers crossed!


Photo : Courtesy of DPR

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Terrorist is Dead


" Justice has finally Prevailed ! "
That's what I said to my friends when we heard that the Police's Special Unit Densus88 has successfuly killed the Malaysian Terrorist Noordin M. Top after nine hours of shoot out at a house rented by a group of terroists in Solo, Central Java, earlier today.

The good news was announced by the Chief of National Police Bambang Danuri, who gave reporters a brief explanation about the incident and show photos of the terrorist's finger prints.

The Malaysian Terrorist was responsible for a series of bombings that have killed hundreds of people, mostly Muslims, in Bali and Jakarta, since 2002,

The Police action has been praised & supported by President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono and the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia i.e. Nahdathul Ulama (NU).
However, Abu Jibril i.e. father of Muhammad Jibril the suspected financial arranger of terrorist suicide bombing last July, has condemned the Police raid on the terrorists. He called the raid as 'brutal' because in the raided house there was a wife of one of the terrorists suspect who's pregnant.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here and here.

I hope that the death of the Malaysian Terrorist would not soften the Police's efforts to hunt down other terrorists.

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

KPK is dying

On Tuesday night, two Deputy Chairmen of the Commission for Eradication of Corruption(KPK) i.e Bibit Samad Riyanto & Chandra Hamzah, have been named as Suspects by the National Police on allegations of violation of the Corruption Law No.31/1999 Article 23 and Penal Code Article 421.

Both were suspected of abusing their authority by lifting the travel ban against businessman Djoko Tjandra who was sentenced two year prison for misusing state money, but fled the country before the Supreme Court passed its verdict, and issuing travel ban against businessman Anggoro Widjaja who was a suspect in a corruption case handled by the KPK, but fled the country before he was declared a suspect.

These allegations were made by suspended K.P.K Chairman Antasari Azhar, who has been arrested by the Police last May in connection with murder of the director a state owned company Nazruddin.

With their Status as Suspects according to the Law both Deputy Chairman will be suspended from their position, leaving KPK with the remaining two other Deputy Chairmen i.e. M Jasin dan Haryono Umar.

In recent months, tensions between the KPK and the police have exploded onto front pages and nightly newscasts. Anti-corruption activists have accused the police and the Attorney General’s Office of efforts to undermine the KPK, which has an extraordinary track record of bringing corrupt officials to justice.

Further, lawmakers are debating a bill that anti-corruption activists say will limit KPK’s power. Those activists have called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to intervene in the dispute between the two institutions, and to defend the KPK against attack.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

In conclusion, I felt that the actions taken against KPK's leaders will eventually weaken Indonesia's efforts to eradicate corruption. Considering that the people are sick and tired of corruption practices, and until now KPK has been regarded as the most reliable Anti-Corruption fighter, efforts to weaken KPK will effect people's hope and trust on the law enforcement agencies.

Image: Courtesy of Media Causes

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kutai National Park


Kutai National Park is a 200,000 hectare low-land tropical rain forest located in the Province of East Kalimantan (Borneo).

The park has a very rich biodiversity of 903 species of Flora, 79 Mammals including 11 primates a.o. the most endangered Orangutan, and 252 species of Birds.
As a National Park, it is supposed to be safely protected against any kinds of disturbances for whatever reasons. But unfortunately, like many national parks in Indonesia, it is not safe from trespassing, poaching and especially illegal logging.
Things became worst after Oil was found and pumped in neighboring Bontang area and later on inside the Park itself. Many people then came and built homes illegally inside the Park. Unlike other national parks in the world, this Park has roads, houses, gas station, bus terminal, etc.
According to the data of the Department of Forestry, now there are 23,712 hectares of the Park land which is illegally occupied by 24,339 people.

Moreover, last June a joint research team of Geological and Biological experts from the national research institute (LIPI), the Department of Mining & Energy, the Department of Forestry and Gajah Mada University, discovered Coal deposits of 12 million tons under the illegal settlements.


Unable to stop the increasing number of illegal people living inside the Park, the management of the Park then proposed a solution i.e. to turn the inhabited area into a special zone with rules protecting its dwellers and the rest of the Park.
However, the Minister of Forestry in Jakarta has other plan i.e. to remove 23,712 hectares of the illegally occupied land from the 200,000 hectare park, a move which need to be approved by the national parliament (DPR) in Jakarta. And it seems that the lawmakers are supporting this plan.
Conservationists suspected the Minister's plan as a covert attempt to hand over the land to Coal Miners who have been longing to take the Coal.

Last month an oil storage tank of state owned petroleum company Pertamina over flowed spilling around 5,000 barrels of crude oil into the Park land. According to an environmental investigator local residents claim the oil spill originated from inside the underground well. The spilled oil damaged tracts of the forest in the park. Some of the Oil also flowed into the Sangata River.
The investigator estimates that thousands of animals, including rare types of fish and reptiles, would be affected by the oil spill.


For details on the above, please click here, here, here, and here.

Considering the above, I hope that the central government in Jakarta and provincial government of East Kalimantan would seriously maintain & protect the Kutai National Park i.e. by keeping the whole Park area unchanged. That way the rain forest, the animals and plants would be remain safe.

Photos: Courtesy of 1) Sudewi, 2&3) The Jakarta Globe

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Model Country


“ If you want to know whether Islam, Democracy, Modernity and Women’s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia, ” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on a trip to Southeast Asia earlier this year.

Mrs. Clinton has a whole lot of reasons when she said those words, because Indonesia with a population of 240 million people is the fourth most populated country on earth, it has the largest Muslim population, with a land area of around 2 million square kilometers, sucessfully and peacefully carried out national and regional Parliamentary elections last April, Presidential election last July, once had a woman president, economy that is not bad, strong civilian government, improving legal system and implementations, plus a whole lot of other good things.

Compared to other Muslim countries which have been plagued by social and political unrests, e.g Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afganistan, the over all conditions of Indonesia can be regarded as much better.

For details on the above, please click here.

I pray to God that my fellow Indonesians would work much harder, smarter and less emotional to make sure that everything, including security condition, would be much better. For which purpose we must seriously focus on developing our country, including maintaining our cultural heritage.
GOD BLESS INDONESIA!

Image: Courtesy of Lonely Planet.

Moral Transcendence

Author: Anastasia F-B, a young lady who is studying History in London.
Blog: http://anatheimp.blogspot.com

This is an answer I gave in a debate on the question of moral transcendence.

OK, I’m going to strip this right back, just to uncover some of the assumptions behind my argument that ethics and simple morality are based on transcendent values whereas laws are based on power. I’m not sidestepping your examples, though whether Genghis Khan led a ‘good life’ or a ‘moral life’ is clearly open to question, as, indeed, is that of Gandhi, inasmuch as he pursued political goals which, albeit unintended, had seriously adverse consequences.

Please note I said that ethics were transcendent, meaning they go beyond history and circumstances, not that they were based on a ‘higher law’, which is something quite different. Also there are values that are shared across cultures and traditions; all of the main religions, from Judaism to Buddhism, contain certain core principles governing inter-personal conduct.

Yes, there are societies where killing may indeed have been perceived as a virtue, just as there were societies where cannibalism and head-hunting were also ‘virtuous’, if that word has any meaning in this context. Let me make it clear that ethics, in the complex philosophical sense, and morality, in the simple sense of knowing right from wrong, are not ‘there’, so to speak, floating around; nor are they God-given. They emerge by a process of deduction and reason, beginning with the ancient Greeks. Socrates is speaking not just to Athenians; he is speaking to all people.

I cannot possibly explore all of the nuances of moral philosophy here; it would just be too horribly complex. Let me just say that my argument is based upon what is known as ‘moral universalism’; that the same principles apply across culture. In simple terms this is based on forms of self-reflection and understanding. On an intuitive level one is aware of the possibility of pain and suffering, and the need to avoid the things that cause pain and suffering, as an act of self-preservation. On a rational level this leads, on the basis of a good life, an awareness that others are also subject to pain and suffering, and the moral position is to avoid inflicting on them what one would wish to avoid having inflicted on oneself. Self-interest and reason coalesce into what I have alluded to as a transcendent value.

For instance Immanuel Kant, one of the architects of the argument I am advancing here, says that moral values-though ‘law’ is his preferred term-are binding on all, irrespective of their empirical circumstances or their individual preferences or proclivities. It is in the exercise of rationality that true moral thought lies. If this did not exist then the only basis for action would be immediate and sensuous impulses, and the only basis for morality one of self-gratification. That is to say, morality enables us to act in defiance of baser impulses, to reject the pursuit of power and glory as a justifiable end in itself, no matter what the consequences, as in the example of Genghis Khan. Morality is a free construct, freely arrived at; not dictated by God or any external impulse. Even Schopenhauer, who argues that Egoism is the guiding principle in all moral choice is forced to admit compassion as one of the ‘mysteries’, as he puts it, of ethics. Compassion reaches beyond egoism; compassion transcends egoism.

Look, I’m going to stop now, though there is so much more I could say. I do not want to test your patience too much, nor do I wish to develop a full-blown dissertation on the philosophy of ethics. Let me just say, returning to my earlier points, that it is possible to recognise the difference between what is moral and what is legal. If I had lived in Nazi Germany I know that my rational understanding, my ability to go beyond the immediacy of my circumstances, would have enabled me to see that the Nuremberg Laws were wrong and un-ethical. If I am a free, intellectually free and rational, then I will not be blinded by sophistry. Law is based on power; morality is based on truth.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Balibo Investigation: Why Now?

I always thought that anyone who are alleged of committing crime should be investigated, prosecuted and fairly tried by the court of law, all of which should be based on legal grounds, free from political intensions.

However, I was surprised when I read the blog post of Rob Baiton about the Australian police's plan to investigate allegations that the Indonesian military was involved in the death of five Australian journalists in Balibo, East Timor in 1975.

My surprise was based on the fact that 34 years have already passed since the alleged killing, and lots of things have happened e.g military top brass & other officers have retired, change of government in Indonesia in 1998 from president Soeharto to free democratic governments afterwards.

I would not have been surprised if the investigation was carried out when Soeharto was still in power, or not long after, when all who are allegedly involved are still around. I wonder whether the investigation was not carried out at that time because Australia has fully backed the invasion of East Timor just like when they supported Soeharto's rise to power in 1965.

For details on the above, please click here, here and here.

Considering the above, I hope that the investigation would be carried out free from any 'hidden agenda' to undermine the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono who has been re-elected to lead Indonesia for the next 5 years.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cigarette ads on TV


Everyday, cigarette producers have aggressively advertise their trademarks and/or service marks on Indonesian televisions i.e. by sponsoring various shows, especially Musical & Sports, watched by people of all ages.

This is possible because according to the Broadcasting Law No. 32/2002 Article 46 Paragraph 36c, commercial advertisements may be aired by electronic media as long as they don’t show cigarettes or people smoking.
This implies that it is okay to advertise trademark and/or service mark of the cigarette producers.

In order to minimize the negative effect of such commercial ads, on 29 January 2009, the National Commission for Children Protection, the West Java Children’s Protection Council, and two children Alfie and Faza filed a petition with the Constitutional Court to request for deletion of above article, saying that such cigarette advertisement could encourage children to start smoking

Unfortunately, on 10 September the Constitutional Court rejected the petition saying that it has no legal grounds because cigarette is a legal commodity therefore cigarette promotion should also be seen as a legitimate action.

For details, please click here, here, here and here.

I hope that the government would make efforts to minimize the negative effect of cigarette commercial ads on TV perhaps by limiting the time for such ads to be aired.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Amendment of the Film Law


Yesterday, the Indonesian Parliament(DPR) passed a Film Law Bill which amended the Film Law No. 8/1992, and will be effective after the President sign the Bill.

The new law stipulates that at least 60 percent of the overall screen time in cinemas throughout the nation should be alocated for Indonesian films.
Further, movie producers are required to obtain licenses from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Furthermore, domestic filmmakers and foreign producers who want to make films in Indonesia must submit plans, movie titles and scenarios to the authorities at least three months before making the film. Violations could result in a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $500,000.00.
Moreover, a special film censor agency will be set up.

According to the Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik, the new law will boost the national film industry. He said : "The number of films will increase and will be better quality so that the national films wil be host in their own country".

Whereas the Indonesian film community protested because they said that the DPR passed the Film Law bill without paying attention to their opinions.
Actor Deddy Mizwar said that the bill is against freedom of expression, director Riri Riza said that the law do not provide conducive condition for the growth of film industry, and producer Manoj Punjabi said the law will not enhance growth of the film industry.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here and here.

Considering that the Film Law Bill has been passed by the DPR, and will be effective after the President sign it, I hope that its implementation would not be contradictory to its mission i.e. to boost the growth of film industry in Indonesia.

Image: Courtesy of Forum Politisi

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Amendment of the Environment Law


Destruction of natural resources in Indonesia have been going on for so many years, and inflicting heavy losses not just to human beings but also to animals.

In the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, huge area of forests have been burned and/or cut either legally or illegally by companies and individuals who want to get money from the timber and/or land clearing for plantations. But unfortunately, not many of those who are responsible have been severely punnished.

In the eastern part of the island of Java, land area flooded by the mud flow caused by improper drilling process by PT. Lapindo Brantas is getting larger from day to day. Yet, no favorable solution for the victims has been found until now.

And in the western part of the island of Papua, environmental destruction caused by the gold & copper mining operations of PT Freeport-McMoran is getting larger from day to day.

In spite of the fact that Indonesia has already enacted an Environmental Management Law No. 23/1997, however considering there has been too much bureaucracy, resulting in very weak law enforcement and unfinished law enforcement.

Considering these facts, today the People's Representative Council (DPR) has passed the Environmental Protection and Management Bill, which will strengthen the role of the Ministry of Environment in terms of law enforcement & covers both environmental protection as well as recovery.
The new law will grant power to National Park Rangers so that they can investigate and arrest anyone who destruct the environment.
At present, the authority of the civilian Rangers is limited to investigating and forwarding any crime reports to the Police. With the new law, the Rangers would be able to investigate and arrest perpetrators and forward investigation reports to the Prosecutors.

For details on the above, please click here, here and here.

I hope that the new Environmental Protection & Management Law would be enforced accordingly so that there would not be illegal deforestation, improper mining operation and other acts of environment destrcutions in Indonesia. And anyone responsible shall be punnished.

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.

The Sumatran Rhino



The Sumatran Rhinoceros are considered as the most endangered of the five living Rhino species in the world. Their numbers are decreasing at a rapid pace, due to poaching and cutting/burning of forest in Indonesia and Malaysia.

There are only around 200 Sumatran Rhinos in the world, most of them live in the wilderness of Sumatra, Indonesia, and Sabah, Malaysia, where they live up to the age of 40.

Nine of them live in captivity around the world, including Emi, 21 years old, who died last Saturday after living at a zoo in Cincinnati, USA, for 14 years.
With Emi's death, the zoo still has Emi's mate, Ipuh, and Suci, a calf that Emi birthed in 2004.

For details, please click here.

I hope that there would be more serious efforts to maintain the Sumatran Rhino among others by keeping their forest habitat remain unspoiled, i.e. by strengthening the Environment Law.

Photo: Courtesy of AP

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The King and His Loyal Servant

By Vina Tan, Family Consultant in Jakarta, blog: sangkudaapi.blogspot.com

"What happen if your children don't want to listen to your advice?"
"Do you get angry and keep on criticizing them for not obeying you?"

If yes, you are probably on the brink of making them stay away from you. You think your advice is good for them and if they don't listen, you are getting upset. It is not easy to become parents nowadays, isn't it? And, we need to become a better communicator in order that our children would listen to us. So, even when we have to criticize them, they still could accept. In other words, how we talk to our children is important to make them pay attention to what we say.

For people who don't want to be criticized, there is a famous Chinese saying:
"liang(2) yao(4) ku(3) kou(3)" or "good medicine tastes bitter" (please note that each number inside the bracket represents the phonetics used to distinguish different meanings in Chinese language). And, this proverb was gracefully explained in a story as follows:

Once upon a time in China, there lived a king who couldn't accept any critique. Everybody in the kingdom should follow what he said. As a result, he was surrounded by people who got used to praise him and high ranking officials who were incompetent to help the king run the empire. One day, when the enemy came to attack this kingdom, no one was able to protect and defend their country. Everybody flew away like a bird. Fortunately, the king, accompanied by his loyal servant was able to escape using a horse-drawn carriage. When the king was hungry and thirsty after hours fleeing his palace, the servant gave him delicious food to eat.

"How could you have this?" asked the King.
"I always prepare things for you, Your Highness to anticipate if one day when we have to flee this country, you can still survive." answered the loyal servant
"How did you know that one day I have to leave my kingdom?"
"I predicted long before it happened today."
"Why didn't anybody tell me?"
"You only wanted to hear admiration, adulation and adoration, Your Highness. If I told you before, I believe you would send me to the gallows. And, if I were dead, no one would accompany you today."

When the servant finished his words, the King lost his temper and his face was swollen from an outburst of anger. All of a sudden, he blamed and condemned his servant. The loyal servant was very upset and realized that the King would never ever change. He thought that even in this kind of difficult situation, the king was still heartless and ruthless. In order to avoid further conflict, the servant rephrased his words, "Your highness, I'm deeply sorry for what I've said. It's all my fault. Please forgive me."

Both of them remained silent till the King started the conversation again.
"Tell me, why do I have to leave my beloved kingdom and its people?"
"Cause you are very kind, Your Highness."
"But, why a good king like me could not enjoy his life in the palace and have to go into exile instead?"
"Unfortunately, as a kind-hearted king, you were not supported by good people. They all envy your wisdom and indirectly they forced you to leave your country."

Feeling dazzled, the king laid down his head on the servant's lap and felt asleep. Looking at the king, the servant thought that it was time for him to leave this silly and stupid emperor who didn't have the ability to run and rule his own kingdom. The servant then moved the king's head from his lap slowly and carefully and then walked away. After being left alone, the King who didn't know how to take care of himself was found dead.

Moral of the story: It's impossible to make progress in any aspect of your life if you don't want to be criticized. Criticism is just like a good medicine that tastes bitter. However, it has the power to penetrate deep into your inner organs and cure the disease.

Next time, please don't be upset if your children ignore what you've said to them. You can use the story I've just shared with you to remind them how important an advice or critique to make progress in life. I believe if you use this approach, you will be surprised to witness the power of storytelling to enhance your message to your beloved children.

Source: A Chinese book called 'Ren(2) Sheng(1)' - Making Your Choice in Life.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Brave Corruption Fighters


" The Gecko is now brave enough to fight against the Crocodile!! "

That's what I thought when I read on Kompas newspaper today about the refusal of the Commission for Eradication of Corruption (KPK) to fulfill the Police's request to come to the Police headquarters last Friday.

Those words came to my mind because I once read a posting on the blog of Attorney Anggara about a statement made by the Chief of the Police Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) in an interview with Tempo magazine during which he dubbed KPK as a Cicak: Indonesian for Gecko and the Police and the Prosecutor as Buaya: Indonesian for Crocodile. This statement has become a controversial issue for bloggers. A polling has been conducted to know the importance of a strong KPK compared to the Police and the Prosecutors.

According to KPK spokesman Johan Budi, the National Police has summons KPK's 4 Vice Chairmen and 4 staffs to come to their headquarters last Friday to be questioned as Witnesses in a Crime of Corruption. But the summons letter did not clearly mention what the case was, and who was the Suspect, therefore they cannot as yet fulfil the Police's said request.

Considering that corruption is crime that has caused great problems for our country, and KPK has shown that it is serious in fighting corruption, I hope that KPK would remain as strong as it used to be.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What's wrong with Bank Century?


On November 2008 the Indonesian government took over Bank Century, a private bank jointly owned by Indonesian and Pakistani shareholders, which has suffered a loss of Rp. 7.3 Trillion.

According to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, the decision was made because at that time the national economy was not stable and the bank was too big to fail that its collapse would have great impact on Indonesia's entire banking system.

Due to this condition, the People's Representative Council (DPR) permitted the government to inject Rp 1.3 Trillion to the bank.
However, by the end of the first half of 2009, the government-run Deposit Insurance Agency (LPS) had injected into the bank a total of Rp 6.76 trillion ($669 million) to shore up liquidity and pay off liabilities, therefore almost 4 times than the amount agreed by the DPR.
As a result, in the first half of 2009 Bank Century was able to have a net profit of Rp 140 billion during the period.

The DPR was very surprised with the very large increase in the amount of money injected to the bank, so its members requested the State Audit Agency (BPK) to conduct special audit on the bank.

This case is extremely interesting because the flow of taxpayer's money was done not long before the Parliamentary election (April) and Presidential election (July), but the news about it was widely exposed afterwards.
Further, the state authority that supervise banking, Bank Indonesia, at that time was headed by Boediono, the running mate of Presidential candidate i.e. incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono.
Furthermore, the foreign major shareholders are not available for questioning because they have runaway.

Due to which facts, many people have requested the government to give transparent explanation, some even suspected political motives behind the flow of money, especially after Vice President Jusuf Kalla described the flow of money would implicate many important people in this country. And the Commission for Eradication of Corruption(KPK) has been urged to investigate the case.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here, here and here.

It is very sad that the non transparent flow of large amount of tax payers' money could take place at a time when Indonesia's economic and financial conditions are not good. I hope that the case would be revealed to the public as soon as possible and anyone involved should be responsible.

Photo: Courtesy of Detik.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jakarta Trembled by Earthquake


I used to think that the city where I lived Jakarta and neighboring province of West Java are places in Indonesia which are free from earthquakes.

However, yesterday afternoon I realized that I have been wrong, after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale stroked the town of Tasikmalaya, southern part of West Java. The tremors were strongly felt in all parts of Jakarta, causing panic not only to those who are working and living in high rise buildings but almost everyone in the city.

According to a spokesman of the Disaster Management Agency, 57 people died, at least 110 people were hospitalized 10 of them were in critical condition. 10,000 buildings collapsed, which includes houses, schools, offices and places of worship, most of them located in 10 regencies in West Java, including Tasikmalaya itself, Sukabumi, Cianjur, and one in Central Java.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here, here and here.

The above earthquake has made me and many other people living in Jakarta and vicinity that we are not free from earthquakes which could cause tsunami. Therefore, from now on we should always prepare ourselves for possibility of other earthquakes in the future.


Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The song "Terang Bulan"


Recently, the Indonesian media reported that the Malaysian national anthem "Negaraku" is similar to an Indonesian song "Terang Bulan"(Bright Moon) written by Syamsul Bachri in the '30s & recorded in Solo, Central Java, in 1956 by state owned company Lokananta.

According to the report, when Malaysia became independent on 31 August 1957they changed the song's title & lyric into "Negaraku" and declared it as national anthem. Afterwards, our late President Soekarno asked the Indonesian people to stop singing Terang Bulan.

In spite of the above fact, Lokananta refused to claim Malaysia for taking the said music, and leave it up to the government to decide what to do about it.

However, there were other reports that mentioned that the song Terang Bulan was actually composed by a Frenchman in the 19th century.

In order to clarify this matter, Minister of Tourism & Culture Jero Wacik plan to check the controversial song with the National Archieve.

For details, please click here, here, here, here and here.

Considering that it has been more than 50 years since Malaysia declared "Negaraku" as national anthem, and Indonesia has accepted this when late President Soekarno requested Indonesians not to sing Terang Bulan, I think that it is too late to start claiming that song now. Rather than wasting time, money and energy on that matter, much better if we focus on promoting our traditional culture products such as Batik, Pendet Dance etc. and provide them with Copyright protection in Indonesia and other countries.

Photo: Courtesy of Noscadgie

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Anti Beggars by-law


One of the purposes of fasting during the month of Ramadhan is to enable Muslims feel the suffering of poor people and show sympathy by giving charity.
For which purpose, several institutions have been given authority to collect the charities and to channel them to the poor people.

However, there are some people who want to give their charity directly to the poor among others to beggars. That is why, there are so many beggars on the streets of Jakarta during Ramadhan, most of them are organized by certain people who arrange the travel of those beggars from their homeland in other provinces among others Central Java.

In order to prevent those beggars from coming to Jakarta, two years ago the municipalty government and Parliament of Jakarta have passed a by-law in 2007 which forbid people from giving money to beggars, which carries a punishment of Rp 20 million (US$ 2,000) fine or 60 days in jail.
During the first ten days of Ramadhan, 12 Jakarta citizens have been arrested for giving money to beggars. Besides, the Jakarta Social Agency has gathered 850 beggars, including 83 infants.

The enforcement of this by-law is supported by the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) on one condition i.e. its enforcement should be carried selectively in the sense that people who donate to others who are really in need should not be arrested. MUI has even issued a Fatwa Haram for Beggars.

Meanwhile, a civil rights movement i.e. Urban Poor Consortium rejected this by-law, they said that such law can only be applied when there is no more poverty in Jakarta.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

Considering the above, I felt that the timing for enforcement of above by-law is inappropriate, because during Ramadhan people are supposed to be more tolerant and forgiving toward others. However, considering the by-law has already exists its enforcement should inevitably be carried outn step by step.
Firstly, it should be accompanied by taking firm action against those responsible for bringing those beggars to Jakarta. Afterwards, there should be integrated efforts between the central government, the Jakarta government and government of the provincce where those beggars orginated, to prevent the beggars from leaving their villages i.e. by providing more job and/or money making opportunities for them.

Photo: Courtesy of Weelinx