Wednesday, December 30, 2009

R.I.P : Gus Dur (1940-2009)

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid (69) a.k.a Gus Dur, has passed away this afternoon at 6.45 pm at the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta.

Gus Dur, born on 4 August 1940 in Jombang, East Java, has played important roles in our country among others leading Nadhatul Ulama (N.U) the largest Islamic Ulama organization, Chairman of the Jakarta Cultural Institute, Chairman of Democratic Forum, and President from 1999 until 2001.

All his life Gus Dur has shown his strong commitment as a defender of human rights & democracy since the authoritarian rule of former President Soeharto. In spite of his leadership in N.U Gus Dur has always been respected by people of other religions in Indonesia. During his presidency, the Chinese New Year was recognized as national holiday.

Further, President SBY has announced 7 days of national mourning, and he will lead the funeral of Gus Dur which shall be held in Jombang, East Java, tomorrow.

In this regards, I would like to express my deepest condolence and sympathy to the family of Gus Dur. I pray to God that his soul will rest in peace.

Facebook & Marriage

Lots of things, good and bad, have been said about the social networking site Facebook, here is one that I quoted from the Legal Blog Watch.

Will Facebook Destroy Your Marriage?

It turns out that one of the most significant impacts that the rapid spread of Facebook is having on society may be ... destroying marriages?

The Telegraph reports that by reconnecting old flames and enabling new ones, Facebook is tempting to people to cheat on their partners. One law firm that specializes in divorce asserts that almost one in five petitions they process cite Facebook as a reason, as spouses are finding evidence of flirting and even affairs on the site.

The 20 percent statistic may be high as it comes from a law firm that handles divorces online, but Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online, says that after hearing from his staff that Facebook was a recurring issue, he confirmed the 20 percent figure. "The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to," he says.

The article even mentions one 35-year-old woman who discovered her husband was divorcing her when he updated his Facebook status to read: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady."


Sumatera Tiger Poaching


The total number of Sumatera Tigers has been declining rapidly year after year mainly because of poaching by hunters, as reported by Kompas.

Sumatran Tigers Hunting to Extinction Still Goes on

Wednesday, 30 December 2009 | 5:10 AM

BENGKULU, KOMPAS.com - Poachers still continue to hunt the remaining Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris) in the Bengkulu forest, conservationist Radius Nursidi of the Profauna nature conservation organization said. "Based on its survey in March, Profauna found at least 12 tiger traps in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (PKG) in North Bengkulu," Radius said here on Tuesday.

He said that Profauna conducted the survey only in one area, namely around the PKG forest park where it found at least 12 tiger traps." he said. Poachers also hunt elephants in the Seblat forest park, he said.

Due to the illegal hunting of elephants and tigers in the Seblat PKG forest park in Putri Hijau subdistrict, North Bengkulu, the population of the protected species was increasingly threatened.

"Since 2004, Profauna has recorded that at least eight elephants have been killed," he said. Tiger and elephant poaching in the Bengkulu forest was a serious threat to the population of the protected animals, he said.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Prita is Free from Criminal Charges

Today, the District Court of Tangerang, Banten, has acquitted Prita Mulyasari (32) of the Defamation charges filed against her by the Tangerang Prosecutors Office.

In previous trial, the Prosecutors have demanded Prita be sentenced to six months in jail for Defaming Omni International Hospital in Tangerang based on the Electronic Information and Transaction Law.

The judges said that Prita only sent e-mails to her relatives and friends warning them to be careful with the hospital's poor services.

In reaction to the verdict the Prosecutors plan to appeal said verdict, thus Prita must wait for 14 days to know whether or not the Criminal charges is on.

For detailed reports, please click here and here.

Beside Criminal proceedings Prita is facing the hospital's Civil Lawsuit, in which the District Court of Tangerang and High Court of Banten have found her guilty and fined her Rp 204 million. These Verdicts have sparked people all over Indonesia to donate coins worth more than Rp 600 million plus hundred millions more of paper money. Prita has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against this lawsuit and counter claimed the hospital to pay compensation of Rp 1 Trillion.


Photo : Courtesy of The Jakarta Post.

Rin Sakuragi in Indonesia

Few months ago, the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) rejected a plan by Japanese Porn Star Miyabi a.k.a Maria Ozawa to play in an Indonesian comedy film: Menculik Miyabi (Kidnapping Miyabi).

As a result, the film producer Maxima Production was forced to stopped the making of said film.

Recently, MUI Samarinda, East Kalimantan, has rejected a Horror film produced by the said producer i.e Suster Keramas (Hair Washing Nurse) stared by another Japanese Porn Star Rin Sakuragi(20).
According to MUI Samarinda the film is not worth watching because it is not educative and might cause decadence among young people in Indonesia. The decision was supported by MUI Jakarta.

Meanwhile Maxima Production who has scheduled to screen the film all over Indonesia on 31 December 2009, refused to give any comment because they haven't heard about the said rejection.

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

Considering the new Film Law and the Anti-Pornography Law, it would be interesting to know the development of this matter.


Photo: Courtesy of Detik.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Are we ready for Deadlier Earthquake?

On 26 Dec. 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter Scale struck the western coast of the Island Island of Sumatera causing Tsunami and killing more than 170 thousand people in the Province of Aceh.

Many countries have shown solidarity and provide various kinds of supports including US$ 7 billion in finance, for the reconstruction in Aceh.

Since then, Indonesia has been struck by many other earthquakes the deadliest ones being in Yogjakarta on May 2006 that killed more than 6,000 people and West Sumatera last September killing more than 1,100 people and destroying thousands of building, roads, bridges.

In spite of our experiences in handling similar earthquakes, some people assumed that the rescue and reconstruction efforts are slow. This assumption is caused by lack of understanding on the difficult conditions in the place of tragedy.

Considering the above, I hope that the authorities, especially the National Natural Disaster Recovery Agency, the National Search and Rescue Agency, would make better efforts to anticipate future earthquakes. For example by providing information about natural disasters that might struck Indonesia, and building & improving early warning systems.
Further, the authority must also be strict in granting permits for buildings, for pumping ground water, cutting forests trees, etc.

Although the above efforts would not guarantee that there would not be any more casualties, however they could at least minimize the impact.


Photo - impact of the Tsunami in Aceh : Courtesy of East Asian Times

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avatar, the Movie

This afternoon, me and my son Virya watched the film Avatar at a cinema in Bintaro, Tangerang, where I lived 6 years ago before I moved to South Jakarta.

It is a 2009 American science fiction written and directed by James Cameron, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, officially budgeted at $237 million.
It was enjoyable that I deemed necessary to quote a review on the film from Wikipedia.

In the year 2154, the RDA corporation is mining Pandora, the lush, Earth-like moon of the planet Polyphemus, in the Alpha Centauri system. Parker Selfridge, (Giovanni Ribisi), the administrator, employs former marines as mercenaries to provide security. The humans aim to exploit Pandora’s reserves of a valuable mineral called unobtanium.

Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi, a paleolithic species of sapient humanoids with feline characteristics. Physically stronger and several feet taller than humans, the blue-skinned indigenes live in harmony with Nature and worship a mother goddess called Eywa.

Humans cannot breathe Pandora’s atmosphere. In order to move about Pandora uninhibited, human scientists have genetically engineered human-Na’vi hybrid bodies called Avatars, which are controlled by genetically matched human operators. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic former marine, arrives on Pandora to replace his murdered twin brother, an Avatar operator. Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), the head of the Avatar Program, considers him an inadequate replacement for his brother, relegating him to a bodyguard role.

While Jake is escorting Augustine and biologist Norm Spellman (Joel David Moore) in their Avatar forms, the group is attacked by a large predator, and Jake becomes separated and lost. Attempting to survive the night in Pandora’s dangerous jungles, he is rescued by Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña), a female Na'vi. Neytiri brings Jake back to Hometree, which is inhabited by Neytiri’s clan, the Omaticaya. Mo'at, (C. C. H. Pounder), the Na'vi shaman and Neytiri's mother, instructs her to teach him their ways.

Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the mercenary leader of the security forces, learns of Jake’s relationship with the Omaticaya, and offers him the chance to walk again in exchange for providing intelligence about the natives and learning what it will take to make them abandon Hometree, which rests above a large deposit of unobtanium.

During the next three months, Jake becomes close to Neytiri and the Omaticaya, and begins to prefer the life he lives through the Avatar. Jake's attachment begins to erode his loyalty towards the corporation and the humans (a phenomena called in the past "going native") and when he is finally initiated into the tribe, he and Neytiri choose each other as mates. Jake's change of loyalty is revealed when he disables a bulldozer as it destroys the Tree of Voices; upon seeing this, Col. Quaritch forcibly disconnects him from his Avatar, and presents Selfridge and Augustine with a vlog in which Jake had admitted that his mission was fruitless; that the humans had nothing the Omaticaya considered to be of value and that they would never abandon Hometree. This convinces Selfridge that negotiations would be fruitless and he orders the destruction of Hometree by a military strike.

Augustine, whose research suggests that all organisms on Pandora are linked in a vast bio-botanical neural network, protests at the destruction of Hometree, but Selfridge persists, allowing Jake only one hour to convince the Na’vi to leave before Col. Quaritch’s forces arrive. When he reveals the true nature of his mission to the Omaticaya, Neytiri accuses him of betraying them, which results in Jake and Augustine's temporary imprisonment. Jake’s time runs out and Quaritch’s forces destroy Hometree. Eytucan (Wes Studi), Neytiri's father and clan chief, and many others are killed in the attack. Jake and Augustine are once again disconnected from their Avatars and detained for treason against the humans. Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez), a security force pilot who is disgusted by the violence, breaks them out but Augustine is wounded by the ruthless Quaritch during their escape. With Augustine in a critical state, Jake turns to the Omaticaya for help. Searching for a way to regain their trust, he remembers that Neytiri told him that only five Na'vi had ever tamed the Toruk, an immensely powerful flying beast. Successfully taming it, he flies to the Na’vi, who have gathered at the sacred Tree of Souls. He pleads with Mo'at to heal Augustine, who is now dying. They attempt to transplant her soul into her Avatar but fail.

With the assistance of Neytiri and Tsu'Tey (Laz Alonso), the new leader of the Omaticaya, Jake vows defiance against the humans, and assembles thousands of Na'vi from other clans. Jake prays to Eywa to intercede on behalf of the Na'vi in the coming battle. Col. Quaritch, seeing the Na'vi's growing strength, orders a preemptive strike on the Tree of Souls, as it is the center of Na'vi religion and culture; its destruction would leave the Na'vi too demoralized to continue resisting the humans.

As the humans move against the sacred site, the Na’vi fight back fiercely, but human technology and firepower outweigh their bravery; they suffer heavy casualties, among them Tsu'Tey and Trudy. When all hope seems lost, the Pandoran wildlife suddenly attack the humans in great numbers, overwhelming them in the air and on the ground. Neytiri interprets this as Eywa answering Jake's prayer.

Quaritch orders the bombing of the Tree of Souls but Jake destroys the bomber before it can reach its target. Quaritch escapes in an AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform) suit. He finds the Avatar interface pod, where Jake’s human body is located, and attacks it, damaging it and exposing Jake to Pandora's atmosphere. Neytiri kills Quaritch and saves Jake, seeing his human form for the first time. With the human attack successfully repelled, they reaffirm their love for each other.

The defeated humans are expelled from Pandora, while Jake and his friends remain. Jake is seen wearing the insignia of the Omaticaya clan leader, suggesting that he has become the new leader after the death of Tsu'Tey. The film ends with Jake's soul being successfully transplanted into his Na'vi Avatar.

Desi Ratnasari, a prospective Politician

It seems that the upcoming election for the Chief/Vice Chief of Regency in Sukabumi, West Java, on May 2010, will be filled with movie actresses as candidates.

First, there was movie actress Ayu Azhari who requested the Indonesian Democratic Party In Struggle (PDIP) to nominate her as candidate Vice Chief of Regency.

Recently, the media reported that singer/actress Desi Ratnasari (36) has been approached by the Democrat Party to be a candidate Vice Chief of Regency in the said election.

For details, please click here and here.

I am not a fan of Ayu or Desi, all I know is that both are popular movie actresses in Indonesia, but I felt that a person who wants to be a candidate in an election for Chief/Vice of a Regency should have more that just beauty and popularity. The important thing is that he/she must be able to lead and manage the area and its people.


Photo: Courtesy of Facebook.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Book about SBY

When Soeharto was a President from 1966 until 1998, many books were not allowed to be publicized, even if they were approved for publication they can always be withdrawn from circulation if the authority felt that they might be dangerous for them.

After Soeharto stepped down on May 1998, I thought that the days of book withdrawal have been over.

That's why I was so surprised when the media reported that the Gramedia bookstore has suddenly withdrawn a book written by George Aditjondro titled: " Membongkar Gurita Cikeas " (Revealing the Tentacles of Cikeas) which tells about the business of President SBY & his family, and his alleged involvement in the Bank Century case.
Note: Cikeas is the area where President SBY's personal residence is located.

However, the President's spokesman Julian Pasha said that the President is still studying the book, and no decision has been made about the book.

For detailed media reports, please click here and here.

In my humble opinion, it would be better if the book is not withdrawn from circulation. Doing that would only draw public's curiosity about the book's content. And there is no guarantee that the pirate edition of book can be obstructed from circulation. Let the public be the judge to what is written on the book.


Photo - George Aditjondro (center) : Courtesy of Antara Foto.

Labels for Non-Food Products

Until now, the government only required Food products to have Indonesian language labels.

According to Tempointeraktif, starting January 2010 other products shall be required to have such kind of labels.

Non Food Label Regulation Starts from January
Thursday, 24 December, 2009 | 13:54 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The government is to apply the Trade Ministerial regulation on Indonesian language labels for non-food products, such as electronics, spare parts and construction tools and materials.

“The regulation is part of the Department’s 100 days program,” said Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu yesterday.

Consumer Protection Director Radu Malam Sembiring explained that labels contain information on producers, importers, product content and other information.
In the beginning, 108 products will be regulated.
Deputy Head of the Indonesian Chamber of Trade and Industry (Kadin), for the Industry, Technology and Maritime Division, Rachmat Gobel, said that the regulation existed to anticipate the flood of importeds product. The label regulation should be tightened so domestic products are up to the standard.

Friday, December 25, 2009

N.U & Infotainment

I always believed that Nadhatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia with 35 million members, is a moderate Islamic organization.

There are several reasons for this belief. First, N.U's former Chairman, former President Abdurrachman Wahid (Gus Dur), is a liberal person. Second, the political party that it established i.e Nation's Awakening Party (PKB) is a non exclusive party. Thirdly, its Chairman, Hasyim Muzadi, was former President Megawati's running mate in the 2004 presidential election.

Due to the above facts, I was very surprised when the media reported that N.U has considered TV celebrity shows known as Infotainment as Haram (Forbidden for Muslim). Hasyim Muzadi has even requested the government to ban such shows.

For details, please click here, here and here.

Considering the era of transparency that we are having nowadays, I believe that said N.U's decision would not have a positive response because most TV viewers are now quite wise and smart to choose what kind of shows would be best for them to watch.
Even if the Infotainments are banned, people can easily & cheaply get copies of their VCD/DVDs on the markets.
Further, by declaring Infotainment as Haram, N.U will lose the supports of many moderate Muslims , including mine.

Logo: Courtesy of N.U

Merry Christmas


To All My Christian Friends, Brothers and Sisters, I wish Each and Everyone of You a Merry Christmas.


Imager: Courtesy of 123 Greetings.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ayu Azhari became a Politician

Movie stars are people who are talented to play many kinds of roles in life, including the role as politicians.

It is because of this reason that the people of West Java province has elected Actor Dede Yusuf (43) as Vice Governor on April 2008.

Dede's success has inspired Actress Ayu Azhari (40) to request the Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle (PDIP) to name her as running mate for Dr. Heryanto, PDIP's candidate in the election of the Chief of Regency of Sukabumi, West Java, on May 2010.

For detailed media reports, please click here, here, here and here.

Considering that Sukabumi is the hometown of my late grandmother, I felt that anyone who wants to run for public offices there should not only be popular as an actress, but should also be able to lead the people and work professionally when he/she is elected to the office.
So, as long as Ayu Azhari meet those requirement, I don't think that people would mind about her candidacy


Photo : Courtesy of Inilah.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carrefour & Monopoly

On 3 November, the Commission for Supervision of Business Competition (KKPU) has ruled that PT Carefour Indonesia violated the Anti Monopoly Law year 1999 when it acquired 79% share in local retail company PT. Alfa Retailindo in 2007.

KPPU claimed that the acquisition gave Carrefour a 58% share in the national retail market, therefore against said law. Carrefour was fined Rp 25 billion ($2.6 million) and ordered it to sell its shares in Alfa.

Carrefour rejected said ruling, arguing that its methodology was flawed. Carrefour's official cited an AC Nielsen survey that says the Alfa acquisition only raised Carrefour’s share of the retail market to 17%. He added that KPPU’s ruling was not right and could have an impact on the investment climate and legal certainty, which has been quite conducive in recent years. Due to which it has appealed the ruling to the South Jakarta District Court.

Meanwhile, CEO of the Carrefour Group in France Lars Olofsson has met with President Soesilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) on 14 December when SBY stopped in Paris on his way to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. According to a director of PT Carrefour Indonesia, Olofsson has asked SBY about KPPU's ruling.

Chairman of KPPU Benny Pasaribu said that the meeting was improper because Carrefour is having a dispute with KPPU.
But SBY's spokesman Julian Pasha explained that SBY met Olofsson during a gathering with businessmen of the French Chamber of Commerce in which Carrefour is a member.

The above KPPU's ruling was questioned by a lawyer specializing in merger and acquisition who said that Carrefour's acquisition of Alfa was right because it has been approved by the Capital Market and Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency (Bapepam-LK) and the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

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

Considering that the settlement of this case will consider the fact that Carrefour's acquisition of Alfa has previously been approved by two government agencies.
I also hope that the impact of said acquisition on the market would be re-examined once again so that the truth shall be known. That way, legal certainty can be preserved, and new investors would not hesitate to invest their money in Indonesia.


Image : Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Indonesian Mother's Day

On 22 December 1928, 30 women's organizations from all over Indonesia, at that time known as the Netherlands East Indies, held a congress at Yogjakarta to establish an organization called Indonesian Women's Congress (KOWANI).

In 1938, the Indonesian Women's Congress declared the 22 December as a Mother's Day. And after Indonesia's independence (17 August 1945) this decision was confirmed by the late President Soekarno in his Decree No. 316/1959.

For details on the above, please click here.

Considering the above I would like to wish each and every women in Indonesia a very happy Mother's Day.


Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Asean-China FTA

On 1 January 2010, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 10 members of the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) and the People's Republic of China shall be implemented.

As a consequence, 2,528 goods manufactured in the People's Republic of China will be able to enter the ASEAN market free of any customs.

For Indonesia, where most manufacturers of those products have expressed that they are not ready, implementation of FTA would be like committing an industrial suicide.

Business and manufacturers associations like the Indonesian Iron & Steel Industries Association (IISIA), Association of Indonesian Businessman (Apindo), Indonesian Cosmetic Association (Perkosmi), have stated that their products are not yet ready to compete with much cheaper Chinese goods. Even before the FTA, Chinese good have taken quite a large portion of the market share.

The Coordinating Minister for Economy said that 303 products are not ready to compete e.g. cosmetics, textiles, steel, electronics, tires, furniture, cocoa processing, health care instruments, aluminium, upstream petrochemicals, sheet glass, footwear, machine tools and motor vehicles.

Due tho which facts, the Chairman of APINDO Sofyan Wanandi urged the government to use Article 23 of the FTA which enable countries to request for postponement of implementation of the FTA.

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

I hope that the government realize the devastating impact that the FTA will have on our economy i.e. stop of industries which will lead to widespread unemployment, and therefore postphone Indonesia's implementation of the FTA on products which we are still not ready for at least 3 years.


Image: Courtesy of Deplu Junior.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Climate Change Conference

Yesterday, leaders of 120 countries reached a non-legally-binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Plus-minus of said agreement a.k.a the Copenhagen Accord as quoted from The Guardian.

What was agreed at Copenhagen – and what was left out

National leaders and sleep-deprived negotiators thrashed out a text late last night that could determine the balance of power in the world and possibly the future of our species. The list below gives a breakdown of the key points:

Temperature
"The increase in global temperature should be below two degrees."
This will disappoint the 100-plus nations who wanted a lower maximum of 1.5C, including many small island states who fear that even at this level their homes may be submerged.

Peak date for carbon emissions
"We should co-operate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries …" This vague phrase is a disappointment to those who want nations to set a date for emissions to fall, but will please developing countries who want to put the economy first.

Emissions cuts
"Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 as listed in appendix 1 before 1 February 2010."

This phrase commits developed nations to start work almost immediately on reaching their mid-term targets. For the US, this is a weak 14-17% reduction on 2005 levels; for the EU, a still-to-be-determined goal of 20-30% on 1990 levels; for Japan, 25% and Russia 15-25% on 1990 levels. The accord makes no mention of 2050 targets, which dropped out of the text over the course of the day.

Forests
"Substantial finance to prevent deforestation; adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity."
This is crucial because more than 15% of emissions are attributed to the clearing of forests. Conservation groups are concerned that this phrase lacks safeguards.

Money
"The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to $30bn for 2010-12 … Developed countries set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries."
This is the cash that oils the deal. The first section is a quick financial injection from rich nations to support developing countries' efforts. Longer term, a far larger sum of money will be committed to a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. But the agreement leaves open the questions of where the money will come from, and how it will be used.

Key elements of earlier drafts dropped during yesterday's negotiations:

An attempt to replace Kyoto
"Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments …"
This preamble, killed off during the day, was the biggest obstacle for negotiators. It left open the question of whether to continue a twin-track process that maintains Kyoto, or whether to adopt a single agreement. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada are desperate to move to a one-track approach, but developing nations refused to kill off the protocol.

Deadline for a treaty
"… as soon as possible and no later than COP16 …"
This appeared in the morning draft and disappeared during the day; it set a December 2010 date for the conclusion of a legally binding treaty. The final text drops this date, but small print suggests it will still be next year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coins for Justice

Today, the number of coins donated by people all over Indonesia to help Prita Mulyasari has reached more than 650 million Rupiah.

This is 3 times higher than the 204 million Rupiah (US$ 21,600) fine that Prita must pay based on the verdict of the High Court of Banten regarding Civil Defamation Lawsuit filed against her by the Omni International Hospital in Banten.

The support for Prita has forced the hospital to request for cancellation of Civil proceedings, and request for amicable settlement based on the intermediary of the Minister of Health.

These efforts failed, because Prita wants the Criminal Prosecution against her at the District Court of Tangerang to be canceled too, but cannot be fulfilled by the hospital. So Prita appealed with the Supreme Court for the civil lawsuit case.

Although the Criminal Prosecution is carried out by the District Attorney, but Prita's demand is reasonable, because the Prosecution exists based on the hospital's report to the Police.

In connection with the injustice faced by Prita and the people's support, a businessman Rahmat Shah said that he wants to buy the coins and build a statue that symbolize justice in his hometown Medan North Sumatera.

For detailed media reports, please click here and here.

The coins shows that people hated the injustice faced by Prita who was jailed for 3 weeks just because she sent e-mail to her relatives and friends about the hospital's terrible services.
Whereas there are other people who were suspected of conspiracy against the Corruption Eradication Commission(KPK) but still untouched by the law.


Image: Courtesy of Wikia.

The Papua Kangaroo

Indonesia's provinces of Papua & West Papua on the western part of the Island of New Guinea have many rare animals e.g the Kangaroo.

Unlike the Australian Kangaroo, the Papua Kangaroos are smaller, rain forest-dwelling variety, and easy to carry around.

The fact that they are rare species protected by the government has tempted many people want to have them for private collection.

For example, early this month the Maritime Police in Surabaya, East Java, arrested a man accused of smuggling ten rare Kangaroos by boat from Papua. Five of them were dead when they arrived, and the other five surviving Kangaroos were given to a Surabaya animal sanctuary. The alleged smuggler said that he bought the Kangaroos at a price of Two Million Rupiah (US$ 212) each. Based on the Conservation Laws, if he is found guilty by the Court he faces up to five years in jail and 100 million rupiah ($11,000) fine.

For detailed media reports, please click here, here and here.

I hope that the Papua Kangaroos as well as other rare species from Papua like the Cendrawasih birds would be given much better care and protection.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Underaged Murderer

A 10-years-old boy was suspected by the Jakarta Police of murdering his adoptive mother last October. According to the The Jakarta Globe, the National Commission for Child Protection is now trying to save the boy.

Mercy Urged for Child Charged in Jakarta Murder

The National Commission for Child Protection on Wednesday said it was working hard to save a 10-year-old boy, suspected of having stabbed and beaten his adoptive mother to death, from serving up to 15 years in jail.

East Jakarta Police investigators have said the child, who is originally from Nias and is an orphaned survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, may face charges for violating the 2004 law on domestic violence.

The boy’s adoptive mother, Etty Rochyati, 55, was found dead in a ditch near her house in Ciracas, East Jakarta, in October. She had been found with multiple blows on the head possibly due to being beaten with a blunt instrument and a stab wound to the stomach.

According to police, the boy said Etty had threatened to kick him out of the house if he did not obey her, and told him, “Don’t you know that you have no more mother and father?”

Arist Merdeka Sirait, secretary general of the commission, also known as Komnas Anak, said the charge and the law on which it was based was inappropriate.

If tried, he said, the boy should only be charged with the Criminal Code article on violence leading to death. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years but under the Child Protection Law, minors may only serve a third of the sentence, he said.

Arist also argued that police investigators had failed to take into consideration the regular maltreatment of the child by his adoptive mother.

“What the boy did may be seen as self-defense against abuse and was not intentional,” he said.

“If the boy is still threatened with a 15-year prison sentence, the rule of law in Indonesia has been violated and this runs against what the Justice and Human Rights Ministry has planned for in its first 100-day work program,” Arist said.

He added that a memorandum of understanding had been signed by five ministries and the National Police for underage criminal offenders stipulating they no longer be sent to jail but remanded to social institutions instead.

Arist said the commission would push for an out-of-court settlement.

“We are not dealing with the case of a 22-year-old man but a 10-year-old who is unstable and still has a long life ahead of him,” he said.

He also said that Komnas Anak recommended that if the child, whose identity has been withheld, did not face trial, then he should be returned to the care of the state or to social services to get the appropriate psychological counseling.

“Underaged criminal offenders should be given restorative justice — meaning giving them back to their parents or to social institutions,” he said.

The family of the victim, who Arist said has agreed to drop charges against the boy, will meet with judges of the East Jakarta Court, police investigators, the commission and the Legal Aid Foundation to discuss the best way to move forward with the case.

The Jakarta Int'l Airport

Many people said that Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport is very bad compared to the Changi airport in Singapore.

However, according to The Jakarta Post the airport is the Second Most Ontime Airport in the world.

Soekarno-Hatta world’s 2nd most on-time airport

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 12/15/2009 11:17 PM | Jakarta

Despite numerous complaints about its meager services, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is good at one thing: punctuality.

Luxury travel news portal Forbestraveler.com has announced that the airport is the second most on-time international airport worldwide according to data from FlightStats, an Oregon-based company that tracks flight information for airports and airlines around the world.

The portal ranked Soekarno-Hatta below reigning champion, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, and above Narita, which came in third.

The data defined an on-time airport as one having the most flights less than 15 minutes late.

The same yardstick is used by the Geneva-based Airports Council International.
The study, which included 50 of the busiest airports in the world, took data from August 1, 2008, to July 31, 2009.

The portal’s report called Soekarno-Hatta this year’s most improved airport on its top ten as it ”jumped from last year’s sixth slot thanks to impressive 84.2 percent on-time arrivals and 89.2 percent on-time departures.”

Arrival and departure flights were 79.3 percent and 86.3 percent on-time, respectively, last year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Luna Maya quits Twitter

Last Wednesday, film actress and presenter Luna Maya, closed her Twitter with 123,952 followers after sending a Twitter message on Tuesday night calling Infotainment Journalists (Indonesia's term for Paparazzi) lower than Prostitutes & Murderers.

Her message reached Infotainment Journalist Bambangelf, who replied by calling her trashy, stupid, uneducated and shallow.

The cause of Luna's anger was an incident few hours earlier when she, her boy friend Ariel, singer in the band Peterpan, and Ariel's daughter Alliea, left a cinema after watching Ariel's first movie Sang Pemimpi (The Dreamer).

The journalists approached Luna who was carrying sleeping Alliea, and forcefully asked for interview, then suddenly one of their camera allegedly bumped Alliea's head.

In reaction to Luna's harsh message, the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) is now checking the incident and the possibility of taking legal action against Luna.

For detailed media reports, please click here and here.

In my humble opinion, Luna Maya has a right to be angry at the journalists who has allegedly bumped the head of her boy friend's daughter. But in this case she should use decent words especially when she use a social media like Twitter.


Photo: Courtesy of Cari Artis

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Balibo


The Indonesian Film Censor Board (LSF) has banned the screening of Australian movie " Balibo " in Indonesia.

According to LSF, the movie was banned because it tells about the killing of five Australian journalists by Indonesian soldiers during the invasion of Dili, East Timor, in 1975. This is contradictory to the Indonesian government’s version of the journalists being killed in a crossfire.

However, the banning of the movie does not mean that Indonesians cannot watch it. On the contrary, many people are watching the pirate DVDs of the movie which can be found easily in Jakarta, although not in cinemas but at their own premises.

Further, the movie became much more popular after a retired Colonel in the Indonesian Army suddenly appeared and informed journalists that he is a witness to the killings of the 5 journalists by the Indonesian Army.

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

Considering the above, I felt that the banning of the movie would not be effective in the present age of transparency whereby lots of information including movies can be easily accessed through the internet.
Rather then banning, it would be better if the Indonesian government make a movie that tells about its own version of the Balibo incident.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unilever & the Forests


For many years, forests in the Indonesian islands of Sumatera and Kalimantan have been cut, burned and transformed into Palm Plantations.

In order to slow down destruction of the forests, environmental activists like Walhi and Greenpeace have protested frequently against the Palm Oil Manufacturers, their buyers as well as the Department of Forestry who granted permit for transformation of the forests into commercial plantations.

As a result of those protests, the Food Magazine reported that Unilever as the world's largest buyer of Palm Oil has announced that it is suspending future purchases from Indonesian Palm Oil supplier PT Sinar Mas (SMART). The move followed allegations Smart's plantations are contributing to the destruction of high conservation value forests and expanding onto peat lands.

According to Unilever's Chief Procurement Officer Marc Engel, the company is committed to sustainable sourcing and is taking a stance against a supplier who is accused of breaking the law.

I hope that Unilever's move will be followed by other buyers of Palm Oil, so that our forests can be maintained, and endangered species living there like Orangutan, Tigers and Rhinos can be saved from extinction.

Photo: Courtesy of How Stuffs Works.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Online Activity in Indonesia

" Thailand Reportedly Blocks Facebook, Twitter, CNN and Other Web Sites " that's the title of an article that I read in The Jakarta Globe today.

Although the report has not been confirmed however in the past the Thai Government has banned You Tube in 2007 and 2300 websites last January on the grounds that they were insulting the King of Thailand.

Beside the above sad news, the above mentioned media also has a good news for online activists i.e about the Indonesian President Soesilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) who now has a Twitter.
Much earlier, the Communication & Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring has also been reported to have a Twitter.
Moreover, users of Facebook, Twitters and Blogs in Indonesia have played quite an important role in maintaining justice for example in the Prita and Bibit-Chandra cases.

The above reports show that compared to neighboring countries like Thailand, Indonesian online activists are luckier.

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Komodo National Park


Komodo National Park is currently among three destination in Indonesia that has been qualified in the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign held by the New 7 Wonders Foundation (two other candidates is Lake Toba and Krakatau Island). You may support Komodo National Park to become the New 7 Wonders of Nature by giving your VOTE in this link :

http://www.new7wonders.com/nature/en/vote_on_nominees/

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Miss Indonesia 2009 & the Cult

When Kerenina Sunny Halim was selected as Miss Indonesia 2009 last July, the media reported that the first things that she wanted to do was to learn to speak the Indonesian language and culture.

And now, as Kerenina participates in the Miss World contest 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa, a media in that country reported that she belongs to The Family International, an organization that originated from The Children of God i.e an American religious cult which is quite popular in the '70s and '80s for its members' child and sexual abuse scandals.

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

Considering that Kerenina is representing Indonesia in the above contest, I hope that she would clarify this matter very soon.

Photo: Courtesy of Warta Kota.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do we need a Statue of Obama ?


On Thursday, 10 December, a 1.1 meter bronze statue of young U.S President Barack Obama was unveiled at a park in Menteng, part of Central Jakarta where Obama lived from 1967 until 1971.

The bronze statue cost about $10,000 and was paid for by eight Indonesian patrons, a private television station and a charity that helps the urban poor.

According to the Mayor of Central Jakarta, Sylvana Murni, the statue was erected in the hope that Indonesian children would be inspired by the idea that a little child from Menteng could grow up to become the U.S president.
While Ron Mullers, the chairman of the Friends of Obama Foundation, said that the unveiling of the statue was not a political event but purely inspirational. That is why the statue is not of Obama as a president, but as a child instead.

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

I wonder whether we really need the statue of young Obama at this moment, considering that he has not done anything for Indonesia. He does not even bother to stop in Indonesia when he visited Asia recently.

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe

Protection for Migrant Workers

The government is preparing to ratify a United Nations convention that would provide better protections for Indonesian citizens working in other countries. Please find below an article on the New Strait Times regarding this matter.

Indonesia to join convention on migrant workers

Indonesia will join other countries as a party to the United Nations convention on protecting migrant workers, a Law and Human Rights Ministry official said.

"We are preparing the academic draft (of the necessary regulations)," Indonesia''s Antara news agency quoted the ministry's director general of human rights, Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, as saying on the sidelines of a function to mark the 2009 World Human Rights Day here on Thursday.

Harkristuti said Indonesia was making preparations to ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Indonesia's plan to ratify the convention was laid down in the 2009 National Action Plan for Human Rights, she said.

In the near future, Indonesia would become a party to the UN convention, she said.

All processes related to the country''s plan to ratify the convention would be discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting because the matter was included in the National Action Plan for Human Rights, she said.

Although the discussion would involve a number of ministries it would be the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry that would play a great role in ratifying the convention, she said.

Indonesia signed the convention in September 2004.

The government has come under fire from many non-governmental organisations for not ratifying the convention.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said recently Indonesia would ratify the convention within two years, noting that it was preparing the necessary regulations.

The Law and Human Rights Ministry was one of the agencies celebrating World Human Rights Day which falls on December 10.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Anti-Corruption Day

Ten years ago the United Nations Organization has declared this day i.e. 9 December as the World's Anti-Corruption Day.

In Indonesia, the celebration was conducted by several anti-corruption organizations in many cities, most of which were done peacefully except for the incidents between demonstrators and the Police in Makasar, South Sulawesi and Bima, Nusatenggara Barat.
Therefore, the situation is very different from what has been feared by President Soesilo Bambang Yudoyono.
Most of the demonstrations have similar demands i.e. transparent investigation of the mysterious flow of state money amounting to 6,7 Trilllion Rupiah to Bank Century, and stop criminalization of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

In Jakarta, almost twenty thousand people participated in the demonstrations that started early in the morning until afternoon centered at the National Monument (Monas) Park, as well as other places like the Hotel Indonesia (HI) Roundabout, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) building, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building.

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

I hope that today's quite peaceful celebration of anti-corruption day would assure the government people are sick and tired of corruption in Indonesia therefore efforts to fight corruption should be improved.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prita's Fight for Freedom


On 13 May, Prita Mulyasari (32), mother of a baby & infant, was arrested by the Banten Police on charges of Defamation against the Omni International Hospital in Tangerang, Banten.

Many people thought that the arrest was unnecessary because Prita only sent e-mails to her relatives, co-workers and friends complaining about the poor services she received from the hospital. The protests spread very rapidly and forced the Police to release her on 3 June. Afterward, the Tangerang District Court dismissed the criminal prosecution last July. But somehow, the District Attorney submitted a new prosecution against Prita.

Meanwhile, the hospital's Civil lawsuit was accepted by the Tangerang District Court ordering Prita to pay compensation amounting to 300 million Rupiah to the hospital. Later, the Banten High Court confirmed this verdict but lowered the compensation amount to 204 million Rupiah.

Further, Prita rejected the hospital's offer to cancel the lawsuit if Prita make a written apology to them. This is obvious because if she apologize it would surely mean that she has been wrong.
Instead, Prita decided to fight the verdict by filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.

The above courts' verdicts were protested by many people not only because they thought that they were unfair, but also because they were passed at a time when many injustice occurred, for example people who were allegedly involved in conspiracy against the leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) still remain untouched by the law.

People in many parts of Indonesia are now making efforts to help Prita fight for her freedom. Many of them have been collecting large amount of coins. While members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) have donated 50 million Rupiah to Prita.

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

Considering the above, I hope that the honorable Supreme Judges at the Supreme Court would carefully use their thoughts, feelings, sights, sense in examining Prita's case, not merely based on legal aspects but other aspects as well. That way justice shall prevail.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Plan for 9 December

One of the most attractive topic during the Parliamentary elections last April and Presidential Election last July, is the promises made by President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono(SBY) and his Democrat Party to make Indonesia a free corruption country.

It is for that reason that me and tens of millions of other eligible voters in Indonesia gave our votes to President SBY and his party.

Considering this fact, I was so surprised when the media reported that SBY seems so worried when the anti corruption activists plan to organize tens of thousand people to attend commemoration of the World's Anti Corruption Day next Wednesay, 9 December 2009.

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

I sincerely hope that the President, the ministers and the law enforcement agencies would not he so worried about the above plan to commemorate the Anti Corruption Day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Orangutan

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Information regarding Orangutan that I quoted from Orangutan-SoS.

Once widespread throughout the forests of Asia, orangutans are now confined to just two islands, Sumatra and Borneo. There are two genetically distinct species: the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). The two species show slightly different physical characteristics. Sumatran orangutans have lighter hair and a longer beard than their Bornean relatives, and Sumatran males have narrower cheekpads. Both species are highly endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.

Orangutans breed more slowly than any other primate, with the female producing a baby on average only once every 7-8 years. Infants are dependent on their mothers for at least five years, learning about survival in the forest. Orangutans live for around 45 years in the wild, and a female will usually have no more than 3 offspring in her lifetime. This means that orangutan populations grow very slowly, and take a long time to recover from habitat disturbance and hunting.

Mother and Infant

The orangutan is one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, sharing 96.4% of our DNA. Indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape "Orang Hutan" which literally translates as "Person of the Forest".

Orangutans are unique in many respects. They are the only Great Ape in Southeast Asia, and indeed the only Great Ape found outside Africa. They are the only "red" ape, and the only strictly arboreal ape, meaning that they spend their lives in the forest canopy, even building nests in the trees in which to sleep. The other Great Apes (chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas) do climb and build nests in the trees, but tend to spend their lives on the ground.

Orangutans also differ from the other Great Apes in that they do not live in family groups. The largest family unit is a female and two offspring, and males and females usually meet up only to breed. This semi-solitary lifestyle is thought to have evolved due to the unpredictability of available food. Orangutans primarily eat fruit, and spend up to 60% of their time foraging and eating in order to get enough energy.

Orangutans are highly intelligent and gentle animals. They use tools in the wild and have excellent memories to make mental maps of their forest home in order to find fruiting trees throughout the seasons.

Suicides & Reactions

"Committing Suicide at Shopping Malls is contagious!" That's what I thought when I read the media reports about three suicides cases that took place recently in Jakarta.

The first one was a young lady Ice Yuniar (24), domiciled at Palembang, South Sumatera, who jumped from the Fifth Floor of the Grand Indonesia shopping mall, Central Jakarta. She died instantly.
Four and a half hours later, a man Reno Fadillah Hakim (25), domiciled at South Jakarta, jumped from the Fifth Floor of Senayan City shopping mall, South Jakarta. He died on the way to a hospital.
For details, please click here.

Four days later, Friday, 4 December another man Rikhard Kuirniawan (35) domiciled at Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, jumped from the Eleventh Floor of the Parking Building of Mangga Dua Square shopping mall at North Jakarta. For details, please click here.

The above mentioned suicides have deeply shocked and saddened the families of the deceased, in this connection I would like to express my deepest condolence and sympathy for them.

Further, I would like to quote and share two different writings made by a blogger and a media reporter about the suicide cases.

Blogger Unspun wrote about the reports in Republika which quoted PR of Senayan City as saying that she was very disappointed with Reno's suicide, and wished that he did it elsewhere like a bridge, or fly-over or other high rise building. But later, she denied saying those words. For details, please click here and here.

While a reporter of The Jakarta Globe wrote that the suicides demonstrate the danger of Twitter jounalism. For details, please click here.

Considering the above, I felt that our society should make efforts to stop or at least minimize such suicide. For which purpose there would be efforts to study why people are committing suicides, and why have they chosen famous malls to do that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bank Century & Political Parties

Tonight I watched TVRI's talk show: Dialog Aktual discussing about the Bank Century case, featuring Roy Suryo, member of Parliament (DPR) from the Democratic Party, Ganjar Pranowo, member of DPR from the Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle (PDIP), and Ihsan Mojo, an economic observer from the NGO: INDEF.

The speakers discussed about illegal transfer of money to certain people, DPR's plan to set up a special commission to inquire about the case, who be the chief of said commission, etc., etc.

One interesting thing that I noted was Roy Suryo's revelation that some of the money was allegedly transferred to Murdaya Poo, the recently dismissed Treasurer of PDIP, husband of Hartati Poo, supporter of the governing Democratic Party, who filed a Police report against the NGO Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (Bendera) who accused her of receiving money from Bank Century.

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

Roy Suryo's above revelation is very interesting, considering that until now the possibility of transfer of money from Bank Century to political parties has always been denied.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tifatul Sembiring

Politicians are public relation officers for themselves and their political parties. They would maintain this role even after they have been appointed or elected to public offices.

One of the politicians in the cabinet of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) who maintain such role is Minister of Communication & Information Tifatul Sembiring .

Tifatul was born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, on 28 September 1961, he is a Computer Engineer, and before he became a minister, he was the President of Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS).


The media has been reporting lots of things about him, among others that he is an on-line activist, practiced polygamy, doesn’t want to shake hands with women and thinks that the natural disasters in Indonesia were caused by immorality of its people, which sparks protests. In reaction to the protests in Twitter, Tifatul gave a prize: mobile phone to the best protester i.e. who described PKS as Nazi and Tifatul as Joseph Goebbels but was turned down.

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

Considering the above, I hope that as Minister of Communication & Information Tifatul Sembiring would give full priority to the best interests of the Indonesian people based on the principle of unity in diversity.