Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 Killed at a Court in Jakarta

Three men were killed in a clash between two rival ethnic gangs, from Flores and Ambon, in front of the South Jakarta District Court yesterday afternoon, 

This bloody clash was an escalation of clash between both gangs at the same Court last week, in a trial of two men accused of killing two men of  rival gang at the Blowfish Nightclub in Jakarta on 24 April 2010.
After that trial, both suspects were attacked by the rival gang, although they were guarded by the Police.

According to the news media, there were hundreds of members of the feuding gangs using firearms, knives and machetes, compared to the Police who were only equipped with shields and rubber sticks.
Beside three dead, twelve men were also wounded in the clash, including three Police officers.

The Police plan to change the venue for next sessions trial of the Case, so as to prevent similar incident.

Considering that both gangs have already clashed one week before, I felt that the bloody clash should not have happened if the Police have taken much better precautionary actions to prevent it.
Especially that earlier in the morning the same Court has tried the very high profile case of former Chief of Detectives of the national Police Cmnr. Gen. Susno Duaji. 

Detailed media reports can be found below :
Kasus Blowfish (Kompas)
Three Killed in South Jakarta Blowfish Trial Brawl : Police (The Jakarta Globe) 
Ampera clash unpredictable: City Police (The Jakarta Post)

Photo : Compliment of Kompas.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Political Advisors

The liberal democratic system adopted by Indonesia since May 1998 required members of the national and regional parliaments as well as heads of province/regions to be elected directly by people.

As a consequence of the direct elections, every candidates must be very popular and liked by people who are eligible to vote in the elections. For this purpose, many candidates hired political advisors to help increase popularity.

Unfortunately, many of the advice given by those advisers were not workable, this can be seen from the facts that most candidates failed in the elections.

In this regards, I would like to share an interesting article written by a PR expert in Indonesia i.e. Unspun, on his blog http: // (below).

Echo chamber political advisors

September 26th, 2010 

You have to wonder at the quality of political advisors in this country. Sometimes, you wonder if  they understand politics at all, in spite of their much vaunted reputations as consummate image makers.

The latest victim of bad political advice is Sandiaga Uno, the clean-cut and sensitive looking candidate for the Kadin chairmanship. As we all now know, Sandiaga did not even go into the second round of voting on Saturday night. He came in a distant third in a field of five candidates. This is a shame as someone with Sandiaga’s image and reputation deserves better and his Indonesia Setara campaign had tapped into a strong undercurrent in society (for a first hand report go here).

Political analysts will point out many reasons why Sandiaga did not win, chief of them because of alleged massive vote buying at the business caucus. It may have been so but that’s not so much Unspun‘s concern, which is more on Sandiaga’s political communications. Here, he bombed out with the online community on Wednesday night last week when he invited a group of bloggers to witness ostensibly the launch of his Indonesia Setara campaign.

The bloggers went there to witness the launch of the campaign and a chance to speak personally to Sandiaga but when they got there they felt duped because the event was actually an announcement of his campaign for the Kadin charimanship. The bloggers also felt doubly duped when they were shoved a press release claiming that “hundreds of technopreneurs and bloggers endorsed his candidacy for Kadin chairmanship”.

And to add insult to injury, the liaison officer later offered envelops of money to the bloggers. Within minutes, the bloggers who were there started Tweeting critically about Sandiaga and Indonesia Setara. When uberblogger Twitterer and blogger Ndoro Kakung joined in the conversation, what could be assured was that hundreds, if not thousands, of Tweeps got to know of these shenanigans.

The result was potential damage to Sandiaga’s heretofore pristine image. Did it affect his chances at the Kadin chairmanship election?

Unlikely if you look at the Kadin voting structure:

At the Kadin caucus, the decision makers are a small group. The power to vote the next chairman resides in each of Kadin’s 33 regional chapters that are entitled to three votes each. Another 30 votes are divided among Indonesia’s 180 business associations, grouped into 12 sectors.

What are the chances of these delegates being influenced by what goes on in the Blogosphere and Twitterland? Theirs is a world where influence is secured, traded and lost in smoke-filled hotel rooms and suites in Hotel Mulia. Practical considerations – some say money – but certainly political favors and alliances are the currency among these guys and gals, not something as ephemeral as reutations shaped in the ether of online communications. It is no accident that Indonesia does not have the equivalent of a Huffington Post or any prominent political bloggers.

If you accept this argument, then there is very little necessity for Sandiaga to engage bloggers and Twitterers. It was something perhaps trendy to do but was politically futile and its bad execution only harvested contempt and criticim from bloggers. Strange then why Sandiaga or his people were advised in the first place to engage with onliners, except for what Unspun would call the echo chamber trap.

This is a trap that communications advisers sometimes fall into. Like everyone else, they make recommendations largely based on what shapes their opinions. As some of these communicators are bloggers and Twitterers, their world is largely informed by what happens in blogs and Twitterland. They then make the mistake of confusing it for reality when it actually is an echo chamber for their particular interests and obsessions. They then advice their clients that social media is a must to shore up their popularity.

Sandiaga is not the only one subjected to bad political advice. Even a “seasoned” politician such as Sports Minister and  former Presidential spokesperson Andi Mallarengeng was also a victim.  Even with a brother, Rizal, who is a widely acknowledged expert in political communications, he spent huge resources on unnecessary communications channels when he was contesting to be head of Partai Demokrat.

Who among us could forget the extravagant billboards and television commercials that Andi launched as part of his campaign. And to what end? He lost remarkably. Again the Partai Demokrat caucus was made up of delegates who were influenced by backroom deals and alliances rather than by slick advertising and billboards. It was not as if he was asking the population to vote him in.

On the other end of the spectrum there was also Jusuf Kalla when he tried to stand for President and therefore had to appeal to the public. he did lots of stuff but one of the activities was to meet up with bloggers. It provided a good echo chmber as several people Tweeted about it and there were a few blog entries. But in the end did any of this influence the voters, most of whom do not pay attention to social media? One thinks not.

This is not to say, however, that social media is not important or effective. It was effective when it came to Prita Mulyasari and in the resistance to Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring’s attempts to introduce repressive laws on the net.

In Sandiaga’s case the chatter caused by hi Indonesia Setara campaign gives a good indication that he may be on to something. If the Tweets provide any indication it is that Indonesians are receptive to someone young, clean cut and with a clean reputation taking on a leading role. The message of greater equality for all Indonesians also seemed to have found some resonance.

Sandiaga has lost out on the Kadin chairmanship but his efforts may not have been all wasted. If he can build the Indonesia Setara campaign into a full-fledged movement he can still make a huge political impact in Indonesia. Shooting for the Presidency in 2014 is not out of the question. But for Goodness Sakes, Unspun hopes he gets competent political communications advisors that will correctly identify who he needs to influence or engage first before recommending he plunge into the latest flavor in communications – social media. Find someone with a good sense of the practicalities of life and politics, not someone working out of the Echo Chamber.

(Footnote: Unspun knows the liaison officer who offered envelopes to the bloggers on Wednesday night. Since the case came to light he has come clean, took responsibility and apologized for his actions here (comment 58). Unspun thinks he’s acquitted himself well. After all, all of us can make a mistake, but it takes courage to admit a mistake and to take responsibility for it. He’ll probably be much wiser after this. He’s young. He deserves a break.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Can we have a Single Bar Association ?

For many years lawyers in Indonesia have been trying to establish a strong and powerful Bar Association which will have authority on every lawyers here and therefore gain more respect from the people as potential clients, the Police, Prosecutors, the Courts of Law as well as the government.

But unfortunately, those efforts have always been fruitless, because there were always some lawyers who, for their own reasons, do not seem to agree with the idea of a single Bar Association.
This can be seen from the shameful incidence that took place during swearing-in ceremony of new members of PERADI (Indonesian Bar Association) at a five star hotel in Jakarta last week.

In this regards, I would like to share an interesting post written by Rob Baiton, former English Editor of Indonesian law portal HukumOnline (below), on his blog : 

A Single Bar Association for Indonesia -- No Way!

Sometimes it is not the law in Indonesia that is the "ass" but the lawyers themselves!

I must add, I know a lot of Indonesian lawyers (maybe more than I will ever need to) and the thought of them standing toe-to-toe and slugging it out with their fellow lawyers is something I find mildly amusing. It brings a smile to my face for reasons I cannot properly explain, but just the thought of these upstanding citizens slugging it out....arghhhhhhhhhhh!

The law in Indonesia demands that there is a unified and single bar in Indonesia. This is designed to ensure that there is some degree of consistency and uniformity in the way that Indonesian advocates are certified and come to practice. After the enactment of the Advocates Law back in 2003, this is PERADI (Indonesian Bar Association). PERADI was set up in 2005.

PERADI is inherently infused with politics, some of them personal, and as such it was a no-brainer to expect that sooner or later, and probably sooner, that things would start to heat up around the fringes and then start to unravel, probably in increasingly ugly ways. And, they did. The reality was that the birthing of a new organisation from eight rival bar associations where those eight bar associations were not wound up and dissolved completely meant that simmering tension would remain.

A lot of what has transpired most recently is unbecoming for a professional bar association; it is an embarrassment to all involved. However, the events of today that has seemingly seen lawyers come to blows and the police get involved is a low-point that even some of the more seasoned lawyers might not have thought they would get to see. Some of the scenes were allegedly reminiscent of scenes more likely to be scene in a Taiwanese parliament than at an advocate swearing-in ceremony in a five-star hotel, the Gran Melia, in Jakarta.

Nevertheless, this is what happened when the more recently formed Indonesian Advocates Congress (KAI) turned up at the hotel to protest the swearing-in of the new PERADI advocates by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia. KAI believes that it is the legitimate organisation to represent the interests of Indonesian advocates. This is based on an argument that PERADI from its inception has been legally flawed. However, this would not seem to be the case in the strictest of legal senses because in a Constitution Court decision from 2006 the Court states that PERADI is the one.

It might be time for the KAI to either suck it up and get on with life under PERADI or continue to pursue ever-dwindling legal options to overturn the PERADI monopoly on certificating Indonesian advocates practicing in Indonesian courts. It is time that KAI recognised, whether it wants to or not, that the Supreme Court has issued a Circular which is explicit in stating that KAI affiliated lawyers cannot practice in court until they have satisfied the PERADI requirements for certification. This Circular was hotly contested by KAI, but it only resulted in a mediated deal that still requires the establishment of a single bar association by 2012.

It really does not matter what the single bar association is called; PERADI, KAI or AA (Advocates Anonymous -- AA considering it is a bar association). What matters is that a unified bar can be formed. This will require a commitment to disbanding all rival associations and congresses once a unified bar can be agreed to. This process is not going to be an easy one; too many personalities and too much politicking, but it has to be done.

In many respects, the future of the Indonesian legal system demands that there is stability and that there is uniformity in the certification process for lawyers. This is necessary, of for no other reason, to ensure the rights  of those who enter the Indonesian legal system to seek justice for themselves or those that they represent.

Two rival advocate associations coming to blows in a five-star hotel is an embarrassment on a grand scale. Shame on you all!

Shame, shame, shame.

(The photo is apparently from twitter and comes via here)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Police vs Gunmen

The Province of North Sumatera has seemingly become a battle ground for the Police and unknown gunmen, the latest happened yesterday in Deli Serdang when unknown gunmen attacked a Police station and killed three Police officers. Please find below the news that I have quoted from CNN.

This incident happened only three days after the Police Special Unit Densus-88 raided suspected terrorists in Medan, killing 3 and captured 15 others.

Several weeks before that, a group of unknown gunmen robbed Bank CIMB-Niaga in the province's capital Medan, killing a Police officer.

I wonder whether there is a link between the three incidents.

Gunmen kill 3 officers at police station in Indonesia 

From Kathy Quiano, CNN

September 22, 2010 -- Updated 0216 GMT (1016 HKT)
Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- Unknown gunmen fatally shot three policemen Wednesday at a police station in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, authorities said.

Men on motorcycles entered the police compound about 1 a.m. and shot the officers, who were on duty at the district police station in Deli Serdang, said District Police Chief Inspector General Oegroseno. Oegroseno, who goes by one name, spoke on local television.

The killings raised speculation about a link to recent police raids and the arrests of suspected terrorists in North Sumatra. No such link had been established, police spokesman Marwoto Soeto said.

On Sunday, Indonesian authorities killed three suspects and arrested 15 others in raids. Ties were later established between the 18 and terrorist groups, police said Monday.

The raids netted TNT and high-powered weapons, police said.

The three suspects who were killed Sunday, and three of those arrested, were involved in a bank heist in August, National Police Chief Bambang Hendarsono Danuri said at a news conference Monday in Medan, North Sumatra. The men belonged to a terror cell in charge of raising money to buy weapons, the chief added.

The suspects were part of a militant training camp in Aceh, which authorities raided earlier this year, and fled to nearby Medan to raise more money, Danuri said. Police are still hunting for other members of the group.

Terror cells in Indonesia have used armed robberies to raise money for their operations in the past.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Attorney General's Term

Today, the Constitutional Court made a confusing ruling on the office term of the Attorney General (AG) Hendarman Supanji.

On the one hand the Court ruled that the AG's term should ended along with the end of first term of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono and his Cabinet last October.

But on the other hand, the Court ruled that any decisions made by said AG prior to this ruling, will remain valid.

The ruling itself was made in response to the challenge on Hendarman's position as AG by former Minister of Justice Yusril Ihza Mahendra who was charged last June by the AGO in a Corruption case pertaining to a setting up of a Website at the Ministry of Justice. 

After making the announcement, the Chief of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD told reporters that the confusion occured because the Attorney General Office Law Article 22 does not provide certainty on the AG's office term, therefore the law must be reviewed. He added that the prosecution against Yusril is legally valid therefore should be continued.
This ruling has obviously made Yusril very happy.

Considering that the Attorney General is the highest legal prosecutor in this country, I hope that President would immediately make a decision to solve this matter i.e. either to reinstate Hendarman as AG or find another person to take the job.

Related media reports :
-   Surprise Ruling Sees Attorney General Lose Job (The Jakarta Globe) 
-   Benny : President Harus Segera Bersikap Soal Jaksa Agung (Tempointeraktif) 

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Terrorist Suspects and Legal Rights

Last Sunday, the Police's Special Unit Densus-88, has successfully dismantled terrorist plot in Medan, North Sumatera.

As in past operations, this time Densus-88 instantly killed three men who were suspected of planning terror activities in the province, among others by robbing a bank in Medan on broad day light and killed one Police officer.

Considering that Indonesia adopted the concept of Rule of Law i.e. Supremacy of Law, Equality before the Law, Presumption of Innocence, and Respect of Human Rights, I wonder whether those men deserve to be killed instantly on the spot.

Please don't get me wrong, I am totally against any act of terror that has caused fear and disorder in society. However, I  felt that anyone suspected as terrorists has the right to defend him/her self in the Court of Law.

It would totally up to the Court Judges to decide whether or not he/she is guilty, and what kind of punishment suitable. If the whole legal proceedings confirmed that the alleged terrorist is guilty and should be sentence to death, execution may be carried out.

Beside that, if the suspected terrorist were captured alive, the Police may have more chance to question and get more information about terrorist network. 

Please find below an article that I have quoted from The Jakarta Globe.  

Terrorists, Bank Robbers or Both? Confusion Within Indonesian Police After Deadly Raids
Farouk Arnaz | September 20, 2010

Jakarta. Confusion continues to surround the deaths of three people killed by members of Indonesia’s elite anti terror forces on Sunday night.

Agence France-Presse reported that the United States-backed Detachment 88 counter-terrorism unit, which shot dead three people, critically wounded two others and arrested another two during two separate raids in North Sumatra, quoted National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Iskandar Hasan as saying the arrests were linked to bloody heist at CIMB bank in Medan last month. 

But he could not confirm the suspects were involved in terrorist activities. “It’s true that at around 6:30 p.m. we arrested those suspected of robbing CIMB Medan,” Hasan said. “We’re not able to say whether this is related to terrorism.”

Motorcycles and weapons including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle were seized during the operations in Belawan and Tanjung Balai cities of North Sumatra province, he added. 

The Associated Press, meanwhile, said officials disagreed on what crimes the group allegedly committed.

Brig. Gen. Ketut Untung Yoga, deputy spokesman for the National Police, said the men were suspected of involvement in the bank robbery, while North Sumatra Police Chief Maj. Gen. Oegroseno was quoted as saying that the bodies had yet to be identified. 

“We are not yet sure if they are linked to the bank robbery or to other terrorist activities,” he was quoted by Kompas as saying, adding several automatic weapons were seized in the raids. 

A police source to the Jakarta Globe, however, said that one of the properties raided on Sunday belonged to a member of the hard-line group Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, indicating the operation was targeting suspected terrorists.

“The owner of the house, Ahmad Gazali, is a member of JAT,” the source said on Monday.

JAT is led by hard-line cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is currently being detained at the National Police headquarters on charges related to the militant paramilitary training camp found in neighboring Aceh.

Densus 88 has been criticized in recent months for its high kill-to-capture ratio — with one suspect killed for every four arrested. 

The deaths raise human rights concerns and risk fueling Islamist propaganda and tarnishing what has been a highly praised anti-terrorism campaign that has seen hundreds of suspects arrested and convicted, AP reports.

The killings also mean the suspects cannot be questioned and intelligence on their networks is lost.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Controversial Comparative Studies

One of hottest topics in the Indonesian news media today is the controversy over the costly official trips made by members of the House of Representatives to foreign countries for comparative studies on the implementation of various laws.

Please find below an article about this that I have quoted from The Jakarta Globe

Considering that Indonesia still needs a lot of money for improving education, health and eradicating poverty, I wonder whether such study is necessary at this time. Especially nowadays one can connect with each other fast, easy and less costly through various telecommunication networks .

Legislators Leave for British Trip Despite Outcry
Armando Siahaan | September 20, 2010

Jakarta. Despite mounting criticism, the House of Representatives’ Commission III is sticking with its decision to send legislators to Britain and Canada for a comparative study on an immigration bill.

Commission chairman Benny K Harman said on Monday that the study was important to ensure the quality of the bill.

However, the Democratic Party legislator left it to the press and the media to evaluate the output from the trip. “Whether they do their jobs there, that’s [the media’s] job to determine,” he said, urging the public to scrutinize what the legislators did after the trip.

Benny said delegation leaders would later submit a report to Commission III, which oversees legal affairs. “This will be open for the public to review,” he said, adding the commission was ready to disclose any request for information relating to the trips.

“We will invite the media to learn more about the trip once they return,” he said. “Even though we approved the visit, we ask the public to critique the legislators involved.”

The commission will send two delegations, each including 10 legislators and three staffers, to Britain and Canada.

The group heading to London will be led by commission deputy chairman Azis Syamsuddin from Golkar. It leaves today.

The other group, led by fellow deputy chairman Tjatur Sapto Edy, from the National Mandate Party (PAN), is scheduled to depart on Oct. 1.

“The commission believes that Britain and Canada have modern immigration systems,” Benny said.

Legislators will study the two countries’ handling of citizens’ mobility, especially for foreigners married to Indonesians, the granting of permanent residency and handling of foreign workers.

A document obtained from the commission’s secretariat shows the legislators arrive in London on Wednesday morning local time and spend the day meeting embassy officials and Indonesians living in London.

On Thursday, the legislators are scheduled to visit the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, while on Friday they will visit the United Kingdom Border Agency. The trip ends on Saturday at noon.

The Web site said the delegation would be staying at the Marriott Hotel. Benny did not specify how much the trips would cost but said that did not matter because “if you want a good-quality legislature, it’s expensive.”

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) released a report on Sunday that showed Rp 19.5 trillion ($2.16 billion) had been allocated for official domestic and overseas trips this year.

The amount is shared between the president, the House of Representatives, ministries and other state institutions.

Fitra said Rp 170.3 billion had been allocated to the House for overseas trips, while the president got Rp 179 billion for official visits abroad.

Two House commissions recently sent delegations to five different countries at a total cost of Rp 3.7 billion.

House Commission X, overseeing education, sent its working committee on the Scouts bill to Japan, South Korea and South Africa.

Meanwhile, House Commission IV, overseeing agriculture, sent a delegation working on the horticulture bill to the Netherlands and Norway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Day at the Competition

Yesterday morning I took my son Virya (10) to a Bey Blade Competition at Pondok Indah Mall.

For those who don't know, Beyblade is a high performance spinning top toy. An explanation about Beyblade can be found in Wikipedia (click)

Virya was very joyous, because out of the 189 participants, he won four matches therefore enable him to go to the next competition level and compete with 45 others from Pondok Indah and winners from other area in Jakarta and vicinity on 25 September 2010, at the Lippo Karawaci Mall.

I was happy because the competition provide an experience that Virya would not get at school i.e. the spirit of competing with others in a healthy and supporting environment. Whereas the fact that he became one of the winners would give him more confidence in life.

Beside that, I was also happy because among the parents who accompanied their kids to the competition, there wer people that I knew, like Heru Sanusi, a Law lecturer at Trisakti University and his wife a notary in Bogor,  Desi Thomas owner of a property agency, Emilia Contessa a popular singer in the '70s and '80s. Besides, I also met a new friend i.e. Alladin Rillo, a Filipino diplomat at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Considering the above, I was so happy to be able to accompany my son to the event which made us both so happy.

The French Sex Song

In the '70s, there was a popular French song titled "Je t'aime ... mois non plus" ("I love you ... me neither") written and performed by French Artist Serge Gainsbourg and British Actress Jane Birkin.

The song's lyrics was full of love making words and sounds, therefore suitable to be used as background for watching 8-mm blue movies which were soundless at that time. I believe that it is the sexiest song ever written, maybe that's why it can be downloaded easily from youtube.

Please find below an article about this song that I have quoted from the blog of a historian blogger Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont ( in London, Great Britain.

The Sexiest Love Song Ever written   

There is a feature on Serge Gainsbourg today in Seven, the Sunday Telegraph's art's magazine. A musician, painter, photographer, writer and all round bad boy, he is still an iconic figure in France, his homeland, almost twenty years after his death. A former French president even described him as a descendent of the poets Apollinaire and Baudelaire. After all these years tributes in packets of Gitanes cigarettes and and bottles of Pastis, his favourite vices...sorry, high among his favourite vices, are still left on his grave.

In England he is known, if he is known at all, for one thing and one thing only, a song called Je t'aime, moi non plus (I love neither). The unusual title comes from a quip by Salvador Dali about Picasso: "Picasso is Spanish, so am I. Picasso is a genius, so am I. Picasso is communist, neither am I".

A duet, it was originally written for Bridget Bardot, his then girlfriend, but she asked him not to release their version because she was married, and not to him! He agreed but that same year, 1969, he met and fell in love with Jane Birkin, a young English actress some twenty years his junior. Their duet went on to become a sensation when it was released as a single.

The song is structured as a dialogue between two lovers during sex. Even in these more sexually liberated times it still has a slightly sensational quality. Then it was predictably condemned by the Vatican and banned by the BBC, old Auntie, still the arbiter of British sexual morals. The relationship between Gainsbourg, not just middle aged but fairly ugly, and the young and beautiful Birkin was also an occasion for comment, with The Times saying "To see them together is to believe again in every fairy story ever written".

The two went on to have a daughter together, Charlotte. This week Birkin will open a Parisian park in memory of her former lover, with a Boulevard Gainsbourg following later this year. An exhibition of photographs featuring Gainsbourg is presently on show in Antwerp and there are plans to bring it to London next year.

I think the story of Gainsbourg and Birkin is like that of Abelard and Heloise, one of the great tributes to love, dryly Platonic in the first case, magnificently sensual in the second. I have not the least doubt that Je t'aime, moi non plus is one of the sexiest, most moving tributes to physical love ever written. It makes me tingle, it truly does.

Je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
- Moi non plus
- Oh mon amour
- Comme la vague irrésolue
Je vais, je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Et je me retiens

- Je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
- Moi non plus
- Oh mon amour
Tu es la vague, moi l’île nue
Tu vas, tu vas et tu viens
Entre mes reins
Tu vas et tu viens
Entre mes reins
Et je te rejoins

- Je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
- Moi non plus
- Oh mon amour
- L’amour physique est sans issue
Je vais je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Je vais et je viens
Je me retiens
- Non ! maintenant viens...

The Bad Things about Facebook

As one of the most popular online social media in the world, Facebook provides lots of good things for its members.

For me, Facebook enabled me to reconnect with many friends that I have never met for decades, maintain relationship with existing friends and relatives, as well as make lots of new friends from all over the world.

But as any other things in life, Facebook also has its bad things, as mentioned in the article below that I have quoted from Kompas.

People who constantly check Facebook may be lacking in self-esteem, a study found - Using Facebook is the online equivalent of staring at yourself in the mirror, according to a study. Those who spent more time updating their profile on the social networking site were more likely to be narcissists, said researchers.

Facebook provides an ideal setting for narcissists to monitor their appearance and how many ‘friends’ they have, the study said, as it allows them to thrive on ‘shallow’ relationships while avoiding genuine warmth and empathy. They also tend to use the site for promoting themselves to friends or people they would like to meet, the study concluded.

Researcher Soraya Mehdizadeh from York University in Canada asked 100 students, 50 male and 50 female, aged between 18 and 25 about their Facebook habits.

They all took psychology tests to measure their levels of narcissism, which the study defined as ‘a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance’. Those who scored higher on the narcissism test checked their Facebook pages more often each day than those who did not.

There was also a difference between men and women – men generally promoted themselves by written posts on their Facebook page while women tended to carefully select the pictures in their profile.

The findings, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour And Social Networking, also suggested that those with low self-esteem also checked their Facebook pages more regularly than normal.

This may not be altogether surprising as it is widely thought, however contradictory it may appear, that narcissism is linked to a deep-rooted lack of self-esteem. Miss Mehdizadeh admitted that not everyone would appreciate her findings.

She said: ‘I think people get sort of defensive about it – like, “I don’t use my Facebook for that reason” – because it’s a label that you don’t want to be slapped with.’

Facebook has more than 500million users worldwide and is the world’s biggest social networking website, but it has been involved in a number of controversies.

A study earlier this week showed that the grades of students who use Facebook while they study, even if it is only on in the background, are 20 per cent lower on average than those of non-users.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Russian Engineers Died in Makasar

Three Russian aircraft engineers were found dead last Sunday at the Hasanudin Air Base in Makasar, South Sulawesi.

The men were members of a team of aircraft engineers dispatched by Russia to Indonesia to help assemble and operate newly purchased Sukhoi jet fighter aircraft.

Based on the results of forensic autopsy on their bodies, witnessed by officials of the Russian Embassy in Jakarta, the Police announced that the possible cause of death is Methanol poisoning.

Beside the three men, two others were also treated at a hospital in Makasar after suffering from similar sickness as the three men, i.e vomiting, nausea and headache.

The death of the three engineers would not disturb the delivery of more Sukhoi jet fighters to Indonesia, because Sukhoi will send three new engineers.

I hope that the Police investigation would soon reveal how is it possible that Methanol could be digested by those engineers.

For more details, please read the following media reports :
Polri: Tiga Teknisi Keracunan Methanol (Kompas)
Embassy Probes Deaths of 3 Russians at Makassar Airbase (The Jakarta Globe) 
Sukhoi to send three new supervisors to Indonesia (The Jakarta Post)
Tiga Mekanik Tewas, Perakitan Sukhoi Jalan Terus (Tempointeraktif).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Illegal Logging

The Logging business is a series of activities that cannot be done silently and illegally.

In order to be running, the business must involve so many parties, workers, equipments and transportation, starting from the cutting of trees in the forest,  transporting the logs to the port, and loading them unto sea vessels.

However, believe it or not, in Indonesia many logs have been cut, transported exported illegally for many years. 

But it seems that this illegal business will end very soon after the government decided to ban export of illegal timber as reported by The Jakarta Post (below).

Indonesia bans exports of illegally harvested timber
Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 09/13/2010 9:28 AM | 

Stepping up its fight against illegal logging, the government began the implementation early this month of a ban on exports of illegally harvested wood and wood products.

The government made it mandatory for forestry companies to obtain official certificates to show that timber has been legally sourced without damaging forests. The policy has been deemed necessary since according to official statistics illegal logging activities have been destroying more than 1 million hectares of forests each year.

“If a source of timber is untraceable, it will be categorized as illegal and byproducts will be ineligible for export to markets in the EU,” Hadi Daryanto, the director general of forest product development
at the Forestry Ministry, told The Jakarta Post.

The Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) would be applied for industrial forest concessions (HTI), production forest concessions (HPH) and community plantation forests (HTR).

“We also want to fight trade fostered by illegal logging,” Hadi said.

The new requirement was issued after the European Parliament voted in favor of a ban on the sale of illegally harvested timber and timber products in the European market.

The EU regulation on importation of illegal timber, previously known as “due diligence” is expected to be fully in place by 2013.

The Countries that sign the EU-based Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) would be considered in compliance with EU timber regulations, Hadi said.

“We have long demanded that once we sign the VPA, timber from Indonesia will be subject to due diligence,” he said.

The agreement is an EU licensing scheme to ensure all timber products entering EU member countries have been produced legally.

“The European Commission delegation has agreed in principle with the standard developed under Indonesia’s SVLK system,” Hadi added. 

Indonesia and the European Commission began negotiations on the VPA in January 2007. 

A technical meeting between both parties is scheduled for this month in Jakarta to clarify the details of the agreement before it is signed later this year.

“We should have the annexes completed by the end of October,” Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) VPA facilitator Andy Roby told the Post, adding that experts from the European Union and Indonesia would meet in Jakarta to further discuss Indonesia’s SVLK system. 

“The [SVLK] standard is already accepted by stakeholders in Indonesia. Now we just need to complete the system,” he said.

Roby said there was a need to appoint an agency that would take responsibility for licensing control before exporting wood and wood products. 

There are currently five independent institutions that have been accredited by the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) to check whether harvested timber is legal.

The five institutions are PT Sucofindo, PT Mutuagung Lestari, PT Mutu Hijau Indonesia, PT TUV International Indonesia and the Forest Industry Revitalization Board (BRIK).

Previously, BRIK was the only institution able to certify wood and wood products in Indonesia.

Indonesia, home to 120 million hectares of forests, exports about 33 percent of its timber products to the EU market each year.

Activists have long maintained that much of Indonesia’s illegal timber has been shipped to other countries, including China and Malaysia, before being exported as sawn timber and finished wood products to international markets in Europe and the United States.

The EU is currently negotiating its VPAs with a number of countries, including Malaysia.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Attack on Christians in Bekasi

On Sunday morning, some unidentified men attacked  a group of Christians as they headed to prayer at a field in Bekasi, West Java, fourty kilometers from Jakarta.

The attackers on motorcycles stabbed a worshiper Asia Sihombing on his stomach and pounded Reverend Luspida Simadjuntak in the face as she was about to help him.  

The attackers ranaway after the Police arriived at the scene of tragedy and none of them were caught.

According to media reports, the main cause of the tragedy was a dispute between local people who were mostly Muslims, and the Christian minority who wishes to build a church in the field. In spite of continuous protests, and no permit has been issued by the local government, the Christians have been praying there for almost 20 years.
Some people assumed that the attack was carried out by Muslim hard-liners, but the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) who is known for its hard line stance has condemned the attack.

President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) asked citizens not to be provoked by the tragedy saying that it was an ordinary criminal case and not an inter-religion case. He also instructed the Chief of National Police Gen. Bambang Danuri to investigate the case intensively and report directly to him.

I am very sad that this tragedy occurred only two days after Muslims celebrated Hari Raya Eid/ Lebaran. I hope that the Police would immediately arrest the attackers, so that they can be tried in the Court of law and be punished for their crimes.

Related media reports :
Christian worshippers attacked in Indonesia (The Associated Press).
Jakarta Police Chief: Attack on Church Leaders purely Criminal (The Jakarta Post)
Ciketing Church Warned to Move (The Jakarta Globe)
Mencari Sisi Lain Pemberitaan HKBP Bekasi (Politikana)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lombok oh Lombok

Indonesia has lots of beautiful places with potentials to attract much more tourists from foreign countries, one them is the Island of Lombok located just a few minutes trip by boat from the Island of Bali.
I visited Lombok on September 2003, one year after the first bombing in Bali on October 2002. At that time the island has beautiful beaches, international-class hotels, restaurants, but unfortunately they were rather empty of foreign or domestic tourists. After two days stay, I decided to return to Bali which was far more livelier in spite of the travel warnings imposed by several countries.

After that, I never visited Lombok again, although I have visited Bali several times.

That's my personal experience about Lombok, I believe that other people may have their own better or worst experience there. In order to know that, I have quoted an article (below) written by Colson in Holland  on his blog


Autumn 2005  we were on a Malaysia Airlines flight to Jakarta. We had two main projects ahead of us: with a two weeks interval our two sons would go through the motions of a Javanese wedding. Before, between and after these events which would take place on Sumatra, we planned to become average tourists that would enjoy holidays of about a week each in Jakarta, Yokyakarta and on Lombok respectively.

It was the first time I fell in love with the capital. It was a great start of November of that year. And  the longing is  still present.  Jakarta is a place to return to for exciting discoveries.

Yet over a month later I was glad I had rented a disgustingly luxurious mansion near Senggigi the week previous to our flight home. We really had to recover after we had survived the very lengthy and ridiculously tiring culture shock of the two extended  ceremonies. I had my daughter – who was single at that time – swear a solemn oath to me  she would never  dream of falling for an Indonesian guy or if she ever did not to surrender to pressure to have a Javanese wedding herself. She being an obedient daughter promised she would abstain.

Lombok proved to be  a kind of ‘Bali  about three or four  decades earlier’. We went there with two of the newly weds and our daughter. Partly because of the threat of terrorist’s attacks that was still in the air late 2005, it was a quiet place those days.  Extremely beautiful and fascinating.  Without the upbeat Hindu colourfulness of the famous neighbouring island though. But with Gili islands nearby and Gunung Rinjani towering over us.

Helped by our promise to do some errands we were lucky enough to meet a number of really nice, friendly and hospitable local people. The language barrier was  pretty much levelled because our daughter in law was, if necessary, our interpreter and spokeswoman.  We left after a  week of relaxation with the idea that Lombok was a place to return to and perhaps to stay.
Alas. I had to change my mind lately.

An American, a senior, who lives on the island for many years lost his cool after having gone through the lengthy ritual bombardment by sound which is part of Ramadhan. I admit I can  more or less imagine what happened to him; but I had just one sleepless night in Jakarta at Idul Fitri years ago.  At the time it didn’t pass my mind though to disconnect the Mosque’s loudspeakers. Mr George however was that angry that he even forgot  to take off his shoes on entering the house of God. To be honest in that kind of emotional turmoil I would also would have kept my shoes on. But, well, I would have been to lethargic to take any initiative anyhow. But this guy did – and had to run for his life ( well, not literally) afterwards, because the flocks of faith felt hurt and insulted to the point of drastic anger. “Blasphemy!” they cried. So police protection came in handy and next the man is facing to be jailed for six years before being shipped back to his native country. Okay, he has no place to live either any more: the hot tempered believers has ruined his house and the premises.

I read the news and thought: not a very smart action and not a very relaxed reaction. And forgot about is.
And now there is another incident.

A German citizen, living on Lombok since the start of the millennium,  noticed one or two of his statues in his garden had been vandalized the other day. He wasn’t amused. So he went to the local boss demanding him to find the culprits. In his indignation he allegedly said words expressing his anger like: “What kind of Muslims are living here??!!”.That ( of course, of course ) insulted the local people seriously since they just had finished their evening prayers – I go by the Jakarta Globe report. They were “deeply hurt” ( of course, of course). So mr Alexander  “fled for the forest”and meanwhile “the enraged villagers trashed the resident’s villa and burned his motorcycle”( of course, of course).

I know: in Rome do as the Romans do. Which on Lombok is not that easy for foreigners. Because it obviously would mean one should be an extremely sensitive touch-me-not, who turns on outsiders even if they look at you and who doesn’t hesitate to damage  property and burn down houses of those who annoy you.

I have postponed my return to Lombok indefinitely.  I’m afraid I still have to practice a long time before I will be able to act in accordance  with the peculiar habits of those people on Lombok.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Freedom of Religion

The American priest Terry Jones has canceled his plan to burn the Quran to mark the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack.

There is no guarantee that such plan would not be carried out again in the future, but this cancellation would at least ease the tensions between Muslims and Christians.

This is a very good development for us in Indonesia as the largest Muslim country in the world, whereby any tensions between Muslim and Non Muslim in other places would surely be felt here.

I hope that the above would make everyone especially in Indonesia, no matter what their religion, culture, race, aware on the importance of establishing mutual understanding with each other, for which purpose good communication among them should be established and always be maintained.

And considering that freedom of religion is protected by our constitution, laws and regulations, I hope that the government and law enforcement agencies would provide equal protection for every citizens no matter what their religion is, and severely punish anyone/group of people who violate the laws.
A firm stance on this matter is very important, because experience shows that failure to do so would cause extreme groups take the laws into their own hands.

If we can improve all that, I am sure that Indonesia would be a much better place to live.

Conversations about this matter on the blogosphere  :
Quran Burning Cancelled ? (A. Fatih)
Condemn the Burning of Koran (Tikno) 
Islam : an open letter to a friend (Anastasia FB)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Eid Ul Fitr 1431H


To all my Muslim Friends and Readers of this blog, I wish you all a Happy Eid Ul Fitr. 
Selamat Hari Raya Lebaran, Mohon Maaf Lahir Batin.

Image : Courtesy of

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's Wrong With Miss Indonesia?

                    Qory Sandioriva
Since she was selected as Miss Indonesia 2009, Qory Sandriova (19) has been the target of the news media.

There were several reasons for this, first because she originated from Aceh where females must wear Hijab (head scarf) whenever they appear in public.

When she was selected as Puteri (=Miss) Indonesia and  represent Indonesia in recent Miss Universe 2010 contest the media have been reporting about Qory's failure to speak fluent English during an interview at the contest.

Lately, the media have been reporting about the statement made by Qory's mother Fariawati that Qory has disappeared from home after returning from the Miss Universe contest on 23 August.

Fariawati also said that Qory has changed after she met a 65-years old man who she identified by his initial "R". She aleged that Qory has joined a Mystical Sect because she has been acting strangely.

In an interview with the media Qory denied her mother's allegation, saying that she is now living by herself in an apartment because she wants to live independent in connection with her very tight schedule.

Considering that Qory is still nineteen years old, unmarried, has represented Indonesia in international event, and now is the moth of Ramadhan, I hope that she would always act decently and resume good relationship with her parents.
Photo: Courtesy of

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Ramadhan Evaluation

Three weeks have passed since the holy month of Ramadhan began on 11 August 2010, and during that time Muslims around the world have fasted every day from dawn to dusk.

Beside not eating and drinking fasting people should control their emotion, sexual desires and always be wise in whatever they say and do. Beside that, certain percentage of our annual income should be contributed to help poor people.

In Indonesia, this holy month has been marred by the sea border incident between Indonesia and Malaysia that led to anti-Malaysia protests by group of people claiming to be defender of sovereignty using vulgar and irrational methods, which are absolutely against the spirit of Ramadhan, e.g throwing human feces to the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta and demanding for war.

But thank goodness, religious groups who used to love violence seemed to be rather calm this time.

Further, there were protests against corruption related matters, like President SBY's granting of remission to corruption criminals including the father-in-law of SBY's eldest son, and the announcement of Corruption Erradication Commission (KPK) about politicians who were named as suspects in Bribery case. 
Besides, there was the bloody clash between citizens and the Police at the town of Buol, Central Sulawesi Province, caused by the mysterious death of a Police detainee.

Furthermore, there were the natural disasters i.e. eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra, and the heavy rain falls that inundated many places, including parts of Jakarta. 

On the personal front, although I always fast i.e. not eat and drink everyday, however I have not been so successful in fulfilling my other Ramadhan obligations e.g controlling emotions, words and acts.
The difference is that every time I did it, I immediately aware of my mistake and therefore able to apologize to people who I thought might have been hurt by what I have said and done.

Now that we still have three more days of Ramadhan, before Eid Ul Fitr on 10 September, and starting today I am taking my Hari Raya Lebaran holidays until 14 September, I hope that I would be able to improve the quality of my fasting.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Exodus during Hari Raya holidays

On 10 September Muslims all over the world will be celebrating Ied Ul Fitr a.k.a Hari Raya Lebaran after completing 30 days of fasting in the month of Ramadhan.

In Indonesia, people celebrate Hari Raya Lebaran with their families in their home town. Millions of people city dwellers originating from out of town would spend the holidays in their home town. For which purpose offices, schools, and many factories, shops, would be closed for a long holiday i.e. one week before and several days after Hari Raya.

The exodus of many people from city/town would bring positive and negative effects for those who remain. The positive side is that the city/town would not be as crowded as the way it used to be and the roads would be very convenient, free of traffic jam.
The negative side is that security in the city/town would be quite risky as described in the article below that I have quoted from Kompas..

This Should be Warning for Indonesians on The Brink of Lebaran
Jumat, 3 September 2010 | 14:43 WIB
CILEGON, - Residents are called on to reactivate neighborhood security system (Siskamling) in Cilegon, Banten, as thefts have begun to increase in the runup to the post-fasting Lebaran festivities, police said.
"We have just arrested a thief who stole properties in the house of a resident in Jombang Wetan village in Cilegon," Head of Cilegon Police Precinct Adjunct Snr Com Dadang Rahardja said here on Friday.
He said that without waiting, police speedily took actions to hunt the thief as soon as they had received a report from a local resident named Lalan Marlina. Dadang said that the theft was carried out by four thieves but only one of them was arrested. Police were still hunting three others.
The thieves succeeded in making off a cash of Rp4 million and a computer’s CPU and LCD. In the face of Idul Fitri holidays, many houses are often left vacant by their owners who returned to their home town to have reunions with relatives or families.

Millions of seasonal passengers travel to their home town to have family reunions during the annual post-fasting Lebaran holidays. During the Idul Fitri holiday season last year,  the number of home-bound travelers reached  about  27.25 million, of which 16.2 million used various public transportation modes while the remaining 11.2 million used private cars and motorcycles.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SBY on Malaysia

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Last Wednesday, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) delivered a speech about the troubled relationship with Malaysia caused by the arrest of three Indonesian Maritime patrolmen by the Malaysian Police, and seven Malaysian fishermen by Indonesian Maritime Patrol, last Wednesday.

SBY emphasized the importance of maintaining very close relationship with Malaysia, because both countries :
-  Are neighbors that have very close historical and socio-cultural similarities
-  Have played crucial roles in the development of Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN)
-  Have strong economic ties whereby many Malaysians invest their money in Indonesia, and around two
    million Indonesians work in Malaysia.
SBY said that both countries should immediately negotiate their border so as to avoid similar incidents from happening again in the future.

In short, SBY wants any disputes with Malaysia to be settled through diplomacy based on the spirit of good relationship between the governments of both countries. Although he used plain words for the speech, but considering the venue he has chosen i.e. headquarters of the armed forces, his speech was not as weak as many people said.

However, some political observers said that SBY's speech was too weak, they said that as a persident of a country with a population around ten times larger than Malaysia, SBY should have used stronger words, because it concerns sovereignty of the state..

The speech did not end the anti Malaysia protests carried out by people whose status are not clear, but somehow it has been able to calm down politicians who started the protests in the first place and that's what really matters.

For details, please read the following articles :
Yudoyono's 'feeble' speech gets harsh criticism 
SBY silences war-drum sentiments vs Malaysia
Isi Lengkap Pidato President SBY

Photo of SBY : Courtesy of The Jakarta Post

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Over-explotation of Bali

Indonesia has a many attractive places for local and foreign tourists to visit, the most popular one being the Island of Bali.

Please find below an article about Bali written by Anak Agung Gde Agung, former Minister of Tourism,  quoted from The Jakarta Post.

Is Bali overexploited?

Anak Agung Gde Agung, Jakarta | Thu, 09/02/2010 9:36 AM | Opinion
The answer to the above question is a resounding yes. Yes, Bali is definitely, and badly, overexploited. One has only to glance at the data below to be convinced that this is the current state of affairs there:

Bali last year had 5.75 million foreign and domestic tourists, which is almost twice the island’s population of 3.9 million (the ideal population based on the environmental support capacity is 1.5 million).

Of these 3.9 million “inhabitants”, the number of migrants from Java, Lombok and other parts of Indonesia has been rapidly increasing these past few years and currently is about 400,000, making the indigenous population only 89.7 percent of the local “inhabitants”.

All of Bali’s 48 beaches have undergone acute erosion, so much so that its coastline has lost 181.7 kilometers of land this last decade, which amounts to 41.5 percent of the island’s total shoreline.
In one year alone, in 2008, the satellite data showed that Bali lost 88.6 kilometers of its beaches, caused mainly by massive disregard of zoning and coastline laws.

This last decade, the average temperature in Bali rose from 28 to 30 degrees Celsius to 33. This is caused mostly by an increase in population density.

The number of hotel rooms, excluding those in the fast mushrooming villa complexes, has shot up
to 78,000 while the optimum number is 22,000, as indicated by the survey commissioned by the government.

A hotel room consumes on average 300 liters of water per day. With 78,000 rooms, this amounts to at least 23,400,000 liters of precious water used daily by the tourist industry.

The result is a massive shortage of water in various parts of Bali and acute seepage of seawater penetrating inland, with sea levels rising by 50 centimeters in most coastal areas in Bali.
Massive illegal logging is occurring in the forests of West Bali, endangering the island’s few national parks. 
Since 1983, Bali has lost 25,000 hectares of its forest, indicating a drastic reduction of one fifth of its forest reserves within a 20-year period.

The island’s pride, the Bali tiger (panthera tigris balica) is now long extinct and will soon be followed by its rare bird, the Bali starling (Leucopsar rothschildi) of which only a few dozen currently remain.

Around-the-clock traffic jams are now an everyday phenomena in most parts of Bali, especially throughout the regencies of Badung, Gianyar, Tabanan, Buleleng and the major highway around the whole of the island.

Bali has lost on average 1,500 hectares of lush agricultural land per year to the tourist industry over the past 30 years. Considering Bali’s small land mass, this is an enormous alienation shift.

The situation is especially critical since agriculture is the basis of Bali’s culture and land is regarded as
sacred by the islanders. With each land transaction, the temples, communal way of life, ceremonies and rituals of the Balinese who once lived on that land disappear in one swipe.

In its place comes a hotel, mall or restaurant that every day exudes an alien way of life, fast replacing the indigenous culture.

While the biodiversity erosion are caused by an overuse of natural resources due to an influx of tourists and changes in lifestyle are severe enough, the cultural erosions caused by the land alienations are more critical as they lead to the rapid extinction of the Balinese custom, tradition and identity.
Why has such a calamity befallen Bali? The answer lies in the government, both at the central and provincial levels, together with the tourist industry’s over focus on Bali. 

This has its background in the mid-1970s when Indonesia, short of cash, decided to finance its development program through tourism. Bali, being already well-known worldwide, became the prime cash-cow target.
Since then, little has changed. This over-exploitation of Bali does not only erode the bio-cultural heritage of the island, but tends to inhibit the development of Indonesia’s many other magnificent tourist sites.

Take, for example, the Borobudur temple, the UNESCO–recognized world heritage site attracted only 85,000 visitors last year compared to more than 1 million for the similar Angkor Watt temple in Cambodia.
Another icon, Toraja, known for its unique ethnic culture, was only able to entice 5,000 tourists in 2009.

This also goes for Bunaken, famous for its world–class sea coral formations, which brought in an average of only 10,000 visitors annually versus Thailand’s Pattaya with 4.5 million tourists yearly.

Is it any wonder then that Indonesia, with its countless diverse treasures, could only attract 6.4 million tourists in 2009, a fraction of Singapore’s 10 million, Thailand’s 15 million and Malaysia’s 22 million visitors for that same period?

To save Bali from further rapid erosion and, at the same time, develop the other promising tourist sites throughout the archipelago, the government needs to do some fast-yielding rehabilitation programs.
This can be done by picking a selection of quick-win tourist sites that need only a little refurbishment in order to bloom.

Such examples are the Borobudur, Bunaken and Toraja, which need only small infrastructure touches to turn them into world–class tourist attractions, as they already have the international reputations to do so.

At the same time, the government needs to come up with a relevant branding statement as a national marketing tool to encourage the right type of tourists to come and visit Indonesia.

The right type of visitors will admire the land’s culture and create a spiraling upward effect of similar tourists coming, provoking more admiration for the local heritage.

It is high time that such a move be made by the government to foster more tourist attractions nationwide and save the biocultural heritage of Bali, which is on the brink of losing its self-identity.