Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tax Report

At 8 a.m this morning I went to the Kebayoran Baru Tax Office, South Jakarta, to submit my personal annual Tax Report.

Yes today, 31 March, is the last day for individual citizens and legal entities in Indonesia to submit their annual Tax Report. In this connection, The Jakarta Post reported that the Tax Office will be opened until 8 p.m tonight.

For me, submitting Tax Report is something special because by doing so I felt that I have fulfilled part of my obligations to my country, therefore give me the rights to demand and expect that things would be improved, among others by writing on this blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Building for the House of Representatives

Pictures of the building complex of the House of Representatives (DPR). The picture on the left shows the new 36 storeys building that will be constructed soon.

According to media reports, the construction costs will be Rp 7.2 Million per Square Meter, and each of the 560 members shall have an office with an area of 111.1 Square Meter that will cost Rp 800 Million.  The complex will be equipped with Spa and Swimming Pool.

Photo: Courtesy of  DPR

The Intelligence Bill

The House of Representatives is currently working with the government on the Intelligence Bill :

According to Detik News, there are 12 crucial matters in this Bill :
-  Definition of Intelligence 
-  Eavesdropping/phone tapping
-  Secret Intelligence Information
-  The right intelligence agency to arrest suspects
-  The creation of an Intelligence Coordinating Agency to coordinate intelligence network
-  Supervision of Intelligence agency
-  Organization and Functions of intelligence agency : foreign, domestic, military, law enforcement
-  The Structure and Position of intelligence agency
-  Personnel and Recruitment
-  Codes of Ethics and Prohibitions
-  Demilitarization of the Intelligence agency
-  The rights of victims of Intelligence agency

According to The Jakarta Globe, the government has insisted that the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) should be given the authority to arrest  suspected terrorists before they attack, as well as other people suspected of espionage and subversion.

Some lawmakers and NGO refused to give authorities to arrest and eavesdrop, because they feared that such authority might be abused. Recent release of the Wikileaks alleged that President SBY has used intelligence agency to spy on his political rivals, but was denied by the President and government officials. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Attempt to Smuggle 40 Phytons

The Reticulated Python is a species of Phyton snake found in Indonesia and other South East Asian countries. They are the world's longest snakes and longest reptile, adults can grow up to 8.7 meter in length,  they are relatively slim for their length and are certainly not the most heavily built.

They are nonvenomous constrictors and normally not considered dangerous to humans. Although large specimens are powerful enough to kill an adult human, attacks are only occasionally reported. 

U.P.I reported that authorities at the Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta airport have arrested two men from Kuwait who tried to smuggle 40 Python snakes onto an Air Emirate flight heading for Dubai last Friday.

Both men, Yaqub Ebrahim and Ali Hasan, carry the snakes in sedated condition in their hand luggage onto the plane's cabin but authorities at the international departure checkpoint discovered the Phytons, which were then taken to the Airport's quarantine center.

Daily Mail quoted an airport security spokesman as saying that no animals are allowed to be brought onto an aircraft without permission and special handling. The animals are usually placed in the cargo hold instead of the passenger cabin. And Pythons snakes are among the animals banned.

The suspects would face up to seven years in jail if they are found guilty.

Photo: Courtesy of AFP.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Post Power Syndrome

Retired military generals have the tendency to think, talk and act as if they were still fully active in their career.

This is understandable because they have spent many decades of their career based on single doctrine where high discipline and loyalty are the rules of the game, and differences are intolerable. So after they retired, many of them have difficulties in adapting with civilian life.

According to The Jakarta Globe several retired generals led by ex Army Chief of Staff (Ret) General Tyasno Sudarto, have joint forces with violent organizations that claimed to be acting in the name of Islam a.o. FPI, and threaten to incite religious violence and overthrow the democratically elected President SBY.

The other ex Generals were Gen. (ret.) Fahrul Razi, a former deputy chief of staff.Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muchdi Purwoprandjono, former commander of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus); and Maj. Gen. (ret.) Kivlan Zen, former commander of the Army’s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad).

It is very sad to know that those retired generals whom I highly respect because of  lots of good things they have contributed for our country, would ever want to tolerate any violent actions.

On the one hand I hope that they would change their minds and adopt more peaceful ways to make their voices heard by the government, for example by joining political parties and run as candidate for election.

On the other hand I hope that the government would maintain good relationship with those ex generals and explain their policies to them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Immature Football

Last night, the General Secretary of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Nugraha Besoes announced the cancellation of the association's congress in Pekanbaru, Riau province, whose agenda among others is to elect new chairman to replace the very controversial Nurdin Halid who will end his term on 19 April 2010.

Tempointeraktif quoted Nugraha as saying that the decision was made after a meeting between PSSI executive committee and representatives of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The reason was because the congress has went out of control because of disturbances by certain parties who want to take over PSSI leadership.

According to Kompas newspaper, what happened was that 78 delegation out of 100 delegations from the associations branches in the country have decided to take over the organization of the congress from PSSI management and set up an Appeal Committee and an election Committee to elect new Chairman latest by 30 April. They also canceled some previous decisions made by PSSI.

I am not surprised on how the congress has ended up, because from the beginning Nurdin Halid has stated that he wants to be re-elected in spite of his poor performances, whereas his rival Army Chief of Staff General George Toisutta also show the same ambition. In stead of trying to work together to find a win-win solution, each of them tried to dominate the congress.

Under PSSI's above immature leadership, it is difficult to expect our football team would perform maturely thus better than they used to be..

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Komodo Missing From a Zoo

The Komodo dragon is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang, that can grow to an average length of 2 to 3 meters and weighing around 70 kilograms.

According to Wikipedia, there are around 4,000 to 5,000 Komodo living in the wilderness of those islands.
Beside that, there are also some Komodo living in zoos in several cities of Indonesia and other countries.

Logically, Komodo that are kept in city zoos are supposed to be much safer, well fed and well treated by the zoo keepers compared to those living in the wilderness.

Unfortunately, sometimes things does not seem to work according to logic in some of the zoos in Indonesia.

According to Kompas, three young Komodo which measured 50 centimetres to a meter long, each around one year old, have disappeared from the zoo in Surabaya, East Java, early this month.
The Zoo Keeper was quoted as saying that the Komodo could have been eaten by predators, stolen or escaped. The police are still investigating this case.
The zoo has more than 50 of the giant lizards and trees in the cage had been trimmed to prevent any of the remaining animals escaping.

There is a possibility that those missing Komodo have been stolen, because many people, local and foreigner, love to keep them as their pets and they are willing pay lots of money for that.

The Jakarta Globe quoted an animal conservation NGO chairman as saying that four years ago a one-year old Komodo was priced between Rp 20 million and Rp 30 million at the Pramuka animal market in Jakarta. Now the price has gone up.

I hope that the government and its law enforcement agency would investigate the above mentioned cases and find out how those Komodo disappeared .

Spying on Facebook and Twitter

A few months ago, Twitter micro-blog and Facebook social network have enabled millions of people in Tunisia and Egypt to communicate, coordinate and document protests against their governments which in the end forced their authoritarian presidents to step down from power.

Now Twitter and Facebook are playing similar roles in other countries in the Middle East like Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and perhaps in other parts of the world.

Due to the above mentioned facts our Defense Minister Purnomo once told reporters that Twitter has the potential to be a non military threat to our national security.

According to OkeZone, the Chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Sutanto said last Tuesday that his agency has been monitoring Facebook and Twitter to look for dangerous and subversive activities. In this case BIN will coordinate with the Minister of Communication and Information who will take necessary action.

Sutanto added that BIN will not take direct action but it will give early warnings to government institutions so that they can function well.

I hope that beside spying on Facebook and Twitter, BIN will also be monitoring very closely other dangerous activities which have been terrorizing our society lately i.e. the spread of so many bomb packages in many parts of Indonesia.

Let us Support Earth Hour 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As human beings, we have been exploiting our beloved Earth for many centuries.

Like any other God's creation, the Earth has its limits, therefore it needs to take a break for a while. Due to this fact, let us join hundreds of millions of people around the world who will turn off their lights for at least one hour tonight from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm

Have a wonderful weekend.

Logo :  Courtesy of Earth Hour

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Nuclear Reactor in Serpong

This afternoon I received a Tweet from a friend telling me that Metro TV has reported about a loud explosion at the Technology Research Center (Puspitek) in Serpong, Banten, around 30 kilometers away from Jakarta.

A few hours later, TV stations reported that the Police has announced that the explosion came from a bomb placed outside the Puspitek.

I was very worried to hear about this news because Puspitek is the location of the Siwabesy Multipurpose Nuclear Research Reactor, which according to the website of the National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN) was built in 1992 on an area of 25 Hectares, with a power capacity of 30 Megawatts.

Although this nuclear reactor is very small compared to the 5 troubled nuclear reactors in Furishima, Japan, which according to Wikipedia have power capacity between 460 MW and 1,100 MW, but still it has the potential to spread radiation if not operated, maintained and secured properly.

Considering the above, I hope that the government, Batan, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies would make sure that the the nuclear reactor would be operated, maintained and strictly guarded based on the standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aceh's Logging Moratorium Nominated for International Award

When the Flash Flood hit Pidie in the province of Aceh, on 28 February, the Governor of Aceh stated that the tragedy was caused by illegal logging i.e. cutting of forest trees, in said province.

This statement surprised me because the provincial government of Aceh has issued a Logging Moratorium i.e. stop the cutting of forest trees, since 2007.

But today I was happy when I read on The Jakarta Globe that the World Future Council  has nominated the Instruction of the Governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam No.5/INSTR/2007 re: Logging Moratorium as one of the nominees for the World's Best Forrest Policies.

Beside Aceh's Logging Moratorium, Forrest policies from Bhutan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, Gambia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, India, Rwanda, Turkey, the United States of America and Vietnam had also been short-listed.

Three winning policies will be announced on 21 September at the United Nations headquarters in New York. 

Considering the above I felt that in spite of the obstructions in the implementation of the Logging Moratorium that caused illegal logging still exist, efforts to preserve forrest in Aceh are still considered successful.

I hope that this nomination will strengthen the will and spirit of the provincial government and law enforcement agencies in the province of Aceh to eliminate illegal logging and bring those responsible to the Court of Law.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Misterious Book Bomb

On 15 March 2011 three book-bomb packages were sent to moderate Muslim activist and member of President SBY's Democrat Party Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Chairman of the National Narcotics Agency Comm Gen. Gories Mere, and Head if Pancasila Youth Yapto Soeryosumarno.

Since then, many other book-bomb packages were sent to other people including musician Dhani Ahmad and Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives Taufik Kurniawan.

The first bomb which was sent to Ulil exploded when a Police officer tried to detonate it, causing him to lose his hand. This happened because the Police Bomb Squad came to the place only three hours after they were called. 

The Police has questioned several people but no suspect has been named until now.

No clear message explaining about the purpose of sending those bombs have been mentioned, therefore one can only predict. Ulil predicted that the motive of the person sending bomb to him was politics, in line with his position at the Democrat Party.
While intelligence observer Soeripto thought that the book bomb packages were the works of people from the intelligence circle. It can either be done by the intelligence agency or it individual members.

Considering that people are beginning to think that the bombs were part of scenario to divert public attention from the things that's been happening lately, like the Wikileaks report about President SBY, his wife and top officials,  I hope that the Police would soon finalize their investigation on this case and find those responsible.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Long Distance Testimony

The trial of Abubakar Ba'asyir at the District Court of South Jakarta last week was filled with harsh protests by Ba'asyir as the Defendant and his team of lawyers.

One of the things they protested was the Council of Judges's decision to allow the Witnesses to testify without appearing physically in Court but through teleconference.

In this regards I would like to share what blogger-lawyer Anggara has wrote on his blog:
Anggara quoted Hukumonline as saying that the use teleconference in the trial violate the Criminal Prosedural Law (KUHAP) which stipulated that Witnesses must testify by appearing pshycally in Court.

The KUHAP may not mention about the possibility of using Teleconference in Court Trial, but there is the Witness and Victim Law No. 13/2006 with enable the Hearing of Witness to be carried out through teleconference.
And in this case, the Prosecutors have stated that the purpose of witness hearing through teleconference is to safeguard the safety of the Witness.

The said Law does not specifically rule that the teleconference witness hearing can be done on condition that the witness is under protection, but for the sake of fair trial it would better if the council of judges ask the Prosecutor to explain why must the hear be done through teleconference, and allow the defendant and his lawyers to raise their objection.

Although in the end the judges would decide to allow the teleconference, but the defendant and his lawyers would not be protesting very harshly because they have already been given the chance to raise objection.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Indonesia is a Potential Geothermal Superpower

During the Asia Pacific Summit for the Climate Project in Jakarta last January, Nobel Prize Laurette and former US Vice President Al Gore said that Indonesia has the potential to become the world's Geothermal Energy Superpower.

Al Gore has reason to say that because according to U.P.I Indonesia claims about 40 percent of the world's geothermal reserves
Last March Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry revised the country's geothermal potential to 28,100 megawatts, up from 27,000 megawatts a decade ago.

The ministry's geological agency said that with 30 years of operation, Indonesia's revised geothermal potential is equal to 12 billion barrels of oil. That compares with the country's current oil reserves of 6.4 billion barrels.

Under Indonesia's national energy policy, the government aims to obtain 95,000 megawatts of power from geothermal sources by 2025. Less than 1,200 megawatts of geothermal energy has been explored.

I hope that the government would immediately carry out its plan to develop Geothermal power as a source for electricity, so that we do not have to build a nuclear reactor in the near future.

Attacks on Moderate Moslems and Anti-Narcotic Agency

Yesterday afternoon a bomb exploded at the office of the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI) in Utan Kayu, Central Jakarta.

The bomb was disguised as a book titled " Mereka Harus Dibunuh Karena Dosa-Dosa Mereka Terhadap Islam dan Kaum Muslim " meaning " Those Who Should Be Killed Because of Their Sins To Islam and Muslims ", in a package sent by Drs Sulaiman Azhar LC for the former chairman of the Liberal Islamic Network (JIL), currently a top official of President SBY's Democrat Party i.e Ulil Abshar Abdalla.

According to The Jakarta Post, the book was received by employee of ISAI at around 10 a.m. who contacted the police later in the afternoon after noticing cables sticking out of the book.

Kompas reported that the police were trying to secure the book when the explosion occurred. As a result, the East Jakarta chief detective Comr. Dodi Rahmawan suffered serious injuries, one of his hand was blown off, another Police officer and employee of ISAI were injured.

Later in evening a similar package was sent to Comr. Gen. Gories Mere, former key officer of the National Police’s anti-terrorists unit, Densus 88, at his office at the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) in Cawang, East Jakarta.

According to The Jakarta Globe, the bomb was not opened and was safely disposed of. The head of the Jakarta Police’s bomb squad, Sr. Comr. Wahyu Widodo was quoted as saying that the package was similar to the one sent to Ulil, which contained a thick book in which the bomb was hidden.

I wonder whether the above incidents indicate that the terrorist who used to claim that they were fighting for religion have now join forces with drug dealers.  I hope that the Police Densus 88 will hunt them and bring them to justice very soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nuclear Reactors in Indonesia

Today I received some text messages from friends warning about the spread of radioactive materials from the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan damaged by the recent earthquake and tsunami, that may be blown by the wind to other countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

I was not fooled by this messages because I have been following the news about this matter since yesterday, therefore I understand that the main part of the Fukushima nuclear reactor is still safe.

But I can understand why people are very worried, because they still remember about the blast of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Russia  in 1986, in which tens of thousands of people were by radioactive materials leaked from the reactor.

Fear of such nuclear tragedy has cause pro and contra on the government's plan to build large nuclear power reactors in this country.

Actually, nuclear reactor is not something new for Indonesia, as a matter of fact according to Wikipedia Indonesia has built and operated Nuclear Research Reactors for many decades.

Today, the National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN) operates three nuclear research reactors at the following locations :
1)  Serpong, Banten       :  30 MW Multi-Purpose Reactor (1987)
2)  Bandung, West Java :  Triga Mark II (250 Kw in 1965, 2 MW in 1997)
3)  Yogyakarta              :  Triga Mark II (100 Kw in 1979)

Indonesia is viable to build a nuclear reactor in every provinces due to there are ample stocks of materials and appropriate geological support. Various locations have been proposed for building nuclear reactors that will actually be taken into production for the purpose of generating electricity:

1) Muria, Central Java
2) Gorontalo, in the North of Sulawesi
3) Bangka Belitung province
4) Kalimantan.

As a legal basis for the development of nuclear power reactors, Indonesia has promulgated the Nuclear Power Law in 1997, which stipulated that Indonesia shall have a lot much bigger nuclear power reactor in 2019 that will provide much more electric power (at least 200 MW) for the country.

Considering that Indonesia will need lots of electric power for development of the country, and the source of electricity, i.e. coal, gas, petroleum, geothermal, is limited, I think we should keep an open mind on the possibility of building a nuclear power reactors that can provide much bigger electricity.

But in this case we must make sure that reactor would be located in a place that would not be affected by earthquake and/or other natural disasters, operated and maintained by people who are highly skilled and disciplined.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Must we pay attention to Wikileaks ?

On Friday morning Australian newspapers Sydney Morning Herald and The Age wrote on their front page  about power abuse by Indonesian President SBY and corruption-bribery practiced by several top officials including former Vice President Jusuf Kalla and current Chairman of the People's Consultative Council (MPR) Taufik Kiemas.

According to The Jakarta Post, both newspapers mentioned that their source of information were diplomatic cables of the US Embassy in Jakarta that have been leaked by the controversial website Wikileaks.

The government was very angry at the above news, and Foreign Minister Mary Natalegawa has conveyed a strong protest to the US government via its Ambassador to Jakarta Scott Marciel

In a press statement published on the Embassy's website last Friday, the US government condemns the said disclosure of diplomatic cable on SBY.

Further, The Age has issued SBY's denial on the corruption claim.

In my opinion, the government's said reaction was exaggerating, in the sense that they are protesting news which were published based on unclear source of information i.e the Wikileaks.

Because Wikileaks was operated by people who have no connection with the US government and their embassies around the world. So if Wikileaks claimed that they have access to diplomatic issued by US Embassies, the only way they can do that is by stealing them either from the embassy concerned or from the receiver of those cables at the State Department in Washington DC, USA.   

Moreover, the US government has never confirmed the validity of the materials issued by Wikileaks.
In an interview with TV-One, Foreign Minister Marty Natelegawa quoted the US Ambassador in Jakarta as saying that the material were only hearsay, gossip by some people at their Embassy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flash Flood in Aceh

The magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan seemed to have " robbed " our attention from the natural disaster that has struck our own land.

According to The Jakarta Post, a Flash Flood has hit the District of Tangse, Pidie Regency, Aceh, last Thursday, killing 21 people, and estimated to cause a financial loss of up to Rp 1 Trillion (US$ 114 million).
Search and rescue efforts are still being carried out while waiting for additional support from the government.

According to local official, the biggest obstacle for the search was access to villages, particularly to Rantau Panjang village, because a bridge that serves as the main access point had been cut off due to heavy damage to its construction foundation.

The possible cause of the flash flood is heavy rain fall and massive deforestation in the area.
In this connection I would like to express my condolence and deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.
I hope that the central and local governments would do their very best to provide all the help needed by those affected by the flash flood.

I also hope that efforts would be made to prevent the cause of such flash flood, among others by preventing massive deforestation.

The Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

A powerful earthquake with magnitude of 8.9 on Richter Scale struck the north eastern coast of Japan on Friday unleashing Tsunami with more than 7 meters high waves that swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.

According to The Jakarta Globe, the earthquake was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 2,100-kilometer stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached Tokyo, located hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter.

BBC quoted local officials as saying that more than 1,000 people are thought to have died.and many others missing. Hundreds of bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of the disaster.

Electricity and Communications have been badly affected by the earthquake and tsunami until noon today.

This afternoon, a magnitude 6 earthquake has caused a large explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in north-eastern Japan, close to the epicentre of Friday's earthquake. Officials fear a meltdown at one of the plant's reactors. Tens of thousands of people in the surrounding area have been urged to evacuate

Noriyuki Shikata, deputy cabinet secretary for the Japanese prime minister tweets: " Blast was caused by accumulated hydrogen combined with oxygen in the space between container and outer structure. No damage to container."
Officials of the Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo told TV-One that there are around 20.000 Indonesian citizens living in Japan at the moment, and in order to know their condition the Embassy in Tokyo and Consulate General in Osaka have opened a hot line phone connection.

The Tsunami has triggered alert in countries located south of Japan like Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, but no casualty was reported. And region in the Province of Papua was affected. While in Bitung, North Sulawesi the height of sea waves increase only 10 Centimeter above normal.

President SBY has expressed sympathy and condolence and offered assistance, while countries Australia and New Zealand have sent their rescue team.

In this connection I would like to express my condolence and deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Latest Trial of Abubakar Ba'asyir

Yesterday, the Council of Judges of the South Jakarta District Court rejected the request of the Defendant Abubakar Ba'asyir for exception to charges, therefore allowing the trial of the fanatic cleric to proceed.

During the first session of trial at the Court last February, the prosecutor indicted him of inciting others to commit terrorism, a crime that carries a death penalty. previous trial session.

Ba'asyir denied all links to any extremist activity - he maintains he is a spiritual, religious leader and that he has been unfairly accused. 

He and his lawyers said that the Prosecutors' charges against him were “vague”, “unclear”, “careless” and “incomplete”, and had requested that they be annulled.

During the era of the late President Suharto, Abubakar Ba'asyir was arrested for non-recognition of the Indonesian national ideology Pancasila which promotes religious pluralism, and refusal of his school to salute the Indonesian flag which signified Bashir's refusal to recognise the authority of a secular Indonesian state.

In 1985 Ba'asyir fled to Malaysia where he lived in exile, and returned to Indonesia after Suharto stepped down from power in 1998. 

In 2003, he was charged with treason, immigration violations, and providing false documents and statements to the Police. The charges were related to the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings against Christian churches, which killed 18 people. The Court found him not guilty of treason, but was found guilty on the immigration violations. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but the sentence was reduced to 20 months due to his good behavior in the prison.

In 2004, he was arrested by the Police and charged with involvement in the suicide bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on August, 2003, which killed 14 people, and in the 2002 Bali suicide bombing, which killed 202 people. The Court found him guilty of conspiracy over the 2002 suicide bombing, but not guilty of charges surrounding the 2003 suicide bombing. He was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, but was later cut by 4 months and 15 days.  And on 14 June 2006, he was released. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Father is Okay Now !

This afternoon me and my kid brother Rafik took our father (81) home from a hospital in East Jakarta where he has been treated for Stomach and Throat pains since last Sunday evening.

Actually the medical specialist who treated father has told us last Tuesday that he can go home that day, but we want him to be recovered 100% so we decided to let him stay at the hospital until today.

Thank God, since this morning father has been very ready to go home because he felt very boring at the hospital and wants to be together with mother again at home. However, we only take him home after the specialist assured us that he is okay and can go home.

I am very glad that my father's health condition is okay now.

Crimebook, the Anti-Social Network

Facebook is so popular as a Social Network media, that it has inspired many people to take advantage of it.

It inspired movie makers to produce, gained popularity and money from the movie " The Social Network "

Unfortunately, Facebook has also been used by many people to do bad things. For example there were some Court cases in Indonesia which originated from disputes caused by what people wrote on Facebook.

And recently, I read on Legal Blog Watch about Nick Webber (19) and Ryan Thomas (18) in the United Kingdom, who have been convicted and face up to five years in prison " for running a US$ 26 million Facebook-style website for Criminals described in court as 'Crimebook "

Legal Blog Watch quoted a report in The Age which described the said site as a very "anti-social network" run on a website called, and allowed as many as 8,000 members to exchange details about thousands of stolen credit cards and hacked bank accounts.

The judge in the case described Crimebook as a "criminal enterprise offering sophisticated advice on how to hack into computers, cause them to malfunction and retrieve personal information from computers -- and how to do it on a massive scale."

Police reportedly found 100,000 stolen credit card details on one of the two young men's laptops and traced the information back to the site. After their arrests in 2009, the 18- and 17-year-old skipped bail and fled to Majorca, but they were apprehended last year after returning to the U.K. Both have now pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to make or supply articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting offenders, and conspiracy to commit fraud."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peace Loving People

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Java Jazz Festival has been carried out successfully and peacefully at the Jakarta International Expo, Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

According to the event's organizer, around 150,000 people came to watch live performances by world class musicians like Carlos Santana, George Benson, Corine Bailey Rae, George Duke, Bob James, together with many Indonesian jazz musicians like Bubi Chen, Barry Likumahua, etc. The number of audience has increased almost 50% compared to last year's 103,000 people.

Actually the above success in maintaining peaceful events attended by large crowd is not very special for us. Because on 17 February 2011 we have also been successful in organizing an open air rock concert by British rock group Iron Maiden at the Ancol beach resort, North Jakarta attended by around 20,000 people..

Beside that, last December we have also successfully organized several football matches part of the Asean football tournament (AFF-Suzuki Cup) in Jakarta where more than 80,000 people attended per match, even when our national team lose against the champion i.e. the Malaysian team

Considering the above, I believe that the people of Indonesia are peace loving people. I therefore hope that this would make the government and law enforcement agencies more confident in enforcing the laws and never hesitate to take necessary actions against anyone who violates.

That way, Indonesia would be a more peaceful and better place to live for its citizens, and more foreigners would want to come to our country.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day.

According to Women Watch, the day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.

During International Women's Year in 1975, the United Nations Organization began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the U.N General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions

According  to Wikipedia, in different countries the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements.

In many countries, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

According to the site International Women's Day 2011,  the United Nations Organization has declared the theme for this year's is :  Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

In this connection I wish every women in the world a happy International Women's Day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Nyepi Saka 1933

Nyepi is a "Day of Silence" carried out by the Hindu people in the Island of Bali to commemorate every Saka New Year which this year is on 5 March. It is a Day of Silence, Fasting and Meditation from 6 a.m that day until 6 a.m the following morning.

Nyepi is reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is prohibited. The main prohibitions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.

Although Nyepi is a Hindu holiday, but non-Hindu residents of Bali followed the Day of Silence as well, to  respect for their fellow citizens. Even tourists are not exempted; although free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.

One day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious rituals together.

Source : Wikipedia.

Friday, March 4, 2011

George Benson Coming to Jakarta

Jazz Guitarist and Singer George Benson is one of my most favorite non-rock musician.

I first listened to his songs when I was a teenager, at that time my eldest sister Aty was very fond of him and listened to his songs very often.

My favorite George Benson songs were The Greatest Love of All, This Masquerade and Wonder Boy.

This week he will perform two days at the Java Jazz Festival 2011 at the Jakarta International Expo ground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta as follows :

- Saturday, 5 MarchA Tribute to Nat King Cole,  Online Ticket:  SOLD OUT
- Sunday,   6 MarchThe Greatest Hits Show,  Online Ticket:  Rp 402.500,-  PLUS  Daily Pass: Rp  529.000.- OR Three Days Pass: Rp. 1.449.000,- (Tax Included) 

Photo : Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Carlos Santana will play in Jakarta

Mexican-American Rock Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of the few musicians in the world who accompanied me in my journey of life.

I first listened to Santana's popular hit Black Magic Woman on the radio when I was a little boy in the early '70s, and had got me mesmerized. I loved this song and his other song in Santana's record album Abraxas, that my dad bought me that album

After that Santana released other nice albums, among others Love, Devotion & Surrender, but none of them was as popular as his first album.

In 2000, Santana released the album Supernatural (including the hit Maria-Maria) that won nine Grammy Awards.

In 2002, Santana released the album Shaman, and one of the hits i.e. The song Game of Love won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

And according to The Jakarta Globe, Carlos Santana will play at the International Java Jazz Festival which will be held from 4 March (Friday) until 6 March (Sunday) at the International EXPO in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, and Santana will play on Friday and Saturday.
Tickets can be ordered Online : Rp 747.500,- for Friday, and Rp 862.500,- for Saturday PLUS Daily Pass of Rp 402.500,- OR Three Day Pass of Rp 862.500,- (all prices are inclusive Tax).

Photo :  Courtesy of Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is Freedom a Blessing or a Curse ?

The Constitution of 1945 stipulated that the freedom of every Indonesian citizens is protected by the laws.

However, in 53 years after its independence on 17 August 1945, Indonesia was ruled by authoritarian regimes that used their powers merely for the interests of their family, friends and groups. Freedom was very limited, oppositions was crushed, the media was heavily censored. Any violation would be severely punished either legitimately or illegitimately, among others by shutting down the publisher/broadcaster and detaining the persons in charge.

In spite of the lack of freedom, between 1968 and 1998, Indonesians enjoyed economical, social, political and security conditions which were relatively stable.. The economy grew steadily, educations were affordable, no very serious religious, racial and political conflicts among the people was reported.

But unfortunately, the economy was heavily depended on foreign debts, investments, and exports of natural oil, gas, timbers, so when the international financial crisis broke in 1997, Indonesia was hit very badly, and forced to accept the emergency program directed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including the liberalization of social, economic and political lives.

This fact and nationwide public protests against the 32-years authoritarian regime of President Suharto had forced him to step down from 32 years power on 21 May 1998, and asked Vice President Habibie to take over.

And liberal democracy came to Indonesia and the social, political, economical and security situation became unstable.

One year later, the first free general election was held and won by the anti-Suharto Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle led by the daughter of former President Soekarno namely Megawati. Unfortunately, the People's Consultative Council (MPR) did not elected her as president, instead they elected the leader of the largest Islamic organization namely Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) on October 1999.

Gus Dur was a very liberal and highly respected human rights. He abolished racialist laws against minorities including Chinese citizens, recognized extreme-fanatic religious movements, etc. Muslim-Non Muslim bloody conflicts broke in the Island of Maluku and Sulawesi.

Gus Dur's policies were too controversial for other politicians, including his plan to disband the pro-Suharto Golkar Party, so on July 2001, the MPR ousted him and Megawati became President. Many violence broke, among others the suicide  bombing in Bali in 2002

 In 2004, General Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) won the first freely-held presidential election with a land slide majority of more than 60%. But his Democrat Party only minority seats in the House of Representatives so he must form coalition government with the Golkar Party several Moslem political parties. This weak political support has made SBY always hesitate in taking actions especially against violent organizations using religion as mask like the FPI that often carried out illegal sweepings and curfews on public places.

More suicide bombings exploded in Bali (2005) and Jakarta (2009), many inter-religion conflicts broke in some parts of the country.

In 2009, more than 60% of the people, including me, re-elected SBY once again, but considering that his Democrat Party on got around 25% of the seats in the House of Representatives, therefore SBY must once again rely on the support of his coalition partners i.e. the Golkar Party and Islamic based parties.

This is ironic, because our Constitution adopted the Presidential government-system, whereby the President hold supreme executive power, therefore should not be depended on the House of Representatives.

Today, almost two years I cast my votes for SBY and his Democrat Party, he is still like before. As a result, the majority of our people are still living in poverty, unemployment is growing, many injustices exist, reluctance to fight corruption, only few people can afford the very expensive higher education.
Moreover, violence organizations are seemingly becoming more stronger.

Considering the above, I felt that SBY and his Democrat party should stick to the promises that they have made during the last general election and presidential election i.e. govern the country based on the concept of pluralism, supremacy of law, equality before the law merely for the best interest of the Indonesian people and not just for certain individuals, groups and political parties. That way, people would not regret casting their votes for you in the elections. And the freedom that we have since 1998 would be a blessing, and not a curse, for us.

Well, that's my personal opinion about freedom, I shall be very glad to know about your opinion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Isn't Life Strange

Title of a song written & performed by The Moody Blues, with the following lyrics :

Isn't life strange,
A turn of the page
Can read like before,
Can we ask for more?
Each day passes by,
How hard will man try?
The sea will not wait
You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry.

Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love.
Wished I could be in your eyes;
Looking back there you were, and here we are.

Isn't love strange,
A word we arrange
With no thought or care,
Maker of despair?
Each breath that we breathe
With love we must weave
To make us as one;
You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry.

Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love.
Wished I could be in your eyes;
Looking back there you were, and here we are.

Isn't life strange?
A turn of the page,
A book without light
Unless with love we write.
To throw it away,
To lose just a day,
The quicksand of time,
You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry.

Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love.
Wished I could be in your eyes;
Looking back there you were, and here we are.